Posted by Bryan Fischer
Not much to say about the top class in the country other than to say you have to be impressed with what Brady Hoke has done without coaching a game. He's landed the elite Midwest talent and also gone to Utah, Tennessee and California to fill out the rest of the spots. There's plenty of players who should see early playing time as Hoke transforms the program in Ann Arbor.
2. Penn State (#20)
This is a meat and potatoes group for Joe Paterno as eight players are offensive or defensive lineman. There's no elite skill position player but quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg is a good pick up and tight end Jesse James was impressive this summer in 7-on-7. There are still some elite prospects the program could add but it's doubtful they can move up to the top spot.
3. Michigan State (#23)
The Spartans are seeing a little bit of a bounce from their big season last year with this class, landing players such as end Se'Von Pittman and Elite 11 quarterback Tyler O'Connor. They've gone out of region more and while they're not doing as well as in-state rival Michigan, there's a lot of solid, building block players.
4. Ohio State
Buckeyes are facing the double barrel of having their head coach gone and the possibility of NCAA sanctions, both of which are, without a doubt, effecting the program's recruiting. There's no true elite prospect, running back Brionte Dunn is as close as the school gets and he's has the weakest commitment in the class.
Why is Indiana in the top half of the recruiting rankings? Number one quarterback and number two overall prospect Gunner Kiel is the biggest reason why. Head coach Kevin Wilson has done a good job overall of getting Midwest talent beyond the crown jewel too.
A small but talented class, Wisconsin has the best bang for your buck in the Big Ten. Bart Houston is an Elite 11 and top 100 quarterback who is a perfect fit for the Badgers offense and linebacker Vince Biegel should be able to get into the lineup sooner rather than later.
An under the radar but solid effort from the Wildcats this year. Running back Malin Jones and guard Adam DePietro are both very good pickups. There's a little bit of a mix of in-state players and because of Northwestern's academic reputation, some national players in there too.
The Hawkeyes are used to evaluating late and closing their class strong the past couple of months. This year they have a pretty solid start as cornerback Maurice Fleming is a good get from Chicago and offensive lineman Jaleel Johnson is a very good lineman.
Who wouldn't want to play for a coach named Kill? This class surprisingly has several players from the state of Florida (5) and the staff has locked up most of the in-state talent this year. Altogether a solid effort this year for the Gophers.
What's Nebraska doing down at number ten? Well it's a numbers game and the Cornhuskers just don't have them. They have a good group with linebacker Michael Rose and end Greg McMullen but they'll need to step up the number of commits soon.
The headliner is quarterback Austin Appleby who has the size of a college signal-caller while still in high school. He impressed at the Elite 11 and has two targets in the pair of tight ends committed. Anytime a third of your class is kickers however, there's a reason why you're near the bottom of the conference.
Also a smaller class, Ron Zook has recruited all over the country without focusing on one area in particular. There's potential in this group but the Illini still need to build some momentum.