Posted by Bryan Fischer
We're right about halfway to Signing Day and that means it is time to take a look at the Big Ten and see how the conference is shaping up on the recruiting trail. Here's a few accolades for a few of the programs who are making head way (or not) at this point in August.
Big Ten Commitment List
Best class: Michigan
Quite the impact Brady Hoke has made in just a few months at the helm. The Wolverines have the top class in the country at the halfway point and have blown rival Ohio State out of the water on the recruiting trail. The program has five Top 100 players committed, with several others that are in the mix to make the list by Signing Day. This is a strong class that will be counted on to make an impact early in Ann Arbor with the transition to the new regime.
Work left to do: Nebraska
Bo Pelini and company haven't seen a big bounce from moving to the Big Ten just yet. The Cornhuskers have one of the smallest recruiting classes in the country at the moment and though they have some nice players, such as linebacker Michael Rose, there just isn't any depth or impact players at this point in the process.
Under the radar class: Wisconsin
It's a small class but what it lacks in quantity, Brett Bielema more than makes up for in quality. Three of the eight players committed are in the Top 100 and they address key positions at quarterback, offensive line and linebacker. Bart Houston is a perfect fit for what the Badgers do on offense and they have done a great job of getting the best player in the state in Vince Biegel. Wisconsin is still in the running for several other players and could finish strong come Signing Day.
Top commit: Quarterback Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.), committed to Indiana
Loading up: Northwestern (6) and Michigan on offensive linemen (5), Michigan State on wide receivers (3), Penn State on tight ends (3).
Frequent Fliers: Purdue with commitments from eight states.
Fence builders: Ohio State, all of the school's commitments are from Ohio.
Road to Signing Day storyline: Will Ohio State land some elite talent?
It's not fun for Ohio State to see Michigan grab all the headlines on the recruiting trail (though, as any Buckeye will remind you, it has been awhile since they had a headline about beating their rival on the field). Given the coaching change and possible NCAA sanctions, there's a great deal of uncertainty and that has translated into a lack of production at the halfway point. Ohio State is one of the few places that can land elite recruits despite off the field issues because they continually send players to the NFL. The issues are a little bit different this year but if USC could the past two years, so can Ohio State. The only question might be when, not if, the Buckeyes will land some elite recruits between now and February.
Top 25 Teams:
20. Michigan State