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BTN interviewed all 14 Big Ten football coaches on Wednesday’s two-hour “BTN Football & Beyond: Signing Day Special.”
Michigan paid a price for stumbling across the finish line in 2013, watching a 5-0 start melt into a 7-6 finish. The biggest casualty of going 2-6 in the final eight games was losing DE Da’Shawn Hand, who was hailed as the No. 1 player in the nation by one recruiting service. The Wolverines looked like the favorite for the precocious Hand. Alas, he tabbed Alabama in a mid-November. Maybe the best part of Brady Hoke’s class is the fact seven players already are enrolled.
Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced Wednesday the signing of 26 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Hoosiers in 2014. IU signed 14 defensive players and 12 offensive players. The Hoosiers added six defensive backs, four defensive linemen and four linebackers on defense and four offensive linemen, four wide receivers, two running backs, one tight end and one quarterback on offense.
Minnesota continues to gain steam under Jerry Kill with his best class yet. The unit is paced by in-state RB Jeff Jones, the pick of the crop in this signing class and the top recruit in the state of Minnesota. Jones was a must-get for Kill and Co., who are trying to lock up the state. No doubt, Jones it the most touted signee of the Kill era. The Gophers also bolstered their haul by flipping two key recruits late: WR Conner Krizancic flipped from Cincinnati; Gary Moore switched from Southern Miss.
For the eighth time since becoming Northwestern head coach in 2006, Pat Fitzgerald announced on Wednesday (Feb. 5) his program’s incoming freshman class as part of National Signing Day festivities. The highly regarded 2014 class features 15 signees — eight on offense and seven on defense — and draws from eight different U.S. states.
Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore the work of Urban Meyer at Ohio State. He continues to set the recruiting standard in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes were the runaway winners in the talent search this season with a class rated by most services as the second-best in the nation. That’s three Ohio State recruiting classes and three Big Ten recruiting championships for Meyer. OSU hung on to a commitment from OL Jamarco Jones, who strongly considered Michigan State after a late visit.
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Every season, Kirk Ferentz signs a class that looks remarkably similar to previous years. Not awesome … not bad … pretty solid. That’s the case again. Keep an eye on RB Markel Smith, the top running back in Missouri and one of the all-time best in St. Louis prep annals.
Bo Pelini announced the Huskers’ 2014 recruiting class on Wednesday. The Huskers welcome 24 scholarship players to the program for the 2014 season, including three players who enrolled in January. The scholarship class includes players from 13 states, including four players from Texas and three each from Nebraska, Florida and Louisiana. Among the signees, 13 players are expected to begin their career on offense, with 10 defensive players and a place-kicker.
Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday the signing of 12 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play football for the Fighting Illini in 2014. The 12 newest Illini join six other newcomers who are already on campus taking classes – four early enrollees and two junior college transfers – in the 18-man 2014 recruiting class.
Anyone who saw Wisconsin play knows the yawning need for some big-play wideouts in Madison. Maybe the Badgers have a gem in one of the five they signed. The best of the quintet looks to be Krenwick Sanders and Chris Jones.
Despite having scant time to fill his initial Penn State class, new coach James Franklin did just fine. In fact, he did very good, reeling in a top-three class in the Big Ten. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t hired until Jan. 11. Among Franklin’s “gets” were five players who had committed to him while he was still Vanderbilt coach. DB Grant Haley; QB/DB Trace McSorley; Brendan Brosnan; Chance Sorrell; Lloyd Tubman. Franklin held on to a commitment from ballyhooed TE Mike Gesicki and QB Michael O’Connor, the prize of the class who already is enrolled.
Michigan State flipped DT Craig Evans from Wisconsin. Evans is a four-star player and nice get for the Spartans, who continue to build a defensive juggernaut. What did Mark Dantonio think of his 2014 signing class? Hear all about the reigning Rose Bowl champion’s latest class in this post.
New coach Gary Andersen got off to a slow start upon arriving in Madison from Utah State in late-December. And RB Alex Collins, who some think is the top running back in the nation, opted to join Bret Bielema in Arkansas. But Andersen made up some ground and finished with a strong collection of talent, highlighted by a late commitment from top JC QB Tanner McEvoy, who picked the Badgers over Florida.
Purdue head football coach Darrell Hazell announced the signing of 23 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Boilermakers. The class features three early enrollees in quarterback Danny Etling, defensive end John Strauser and running back David Yancey.
Because of the NCAA sanctions because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lions assembled the smallest class in the league (17). But it’s a strong class that is anchored by a total of six linemen on both sides of the ball. O’Brien hung on to early commitments from Christian Hackenberg (the No. 2 QB in the nation) and TE Adam Breneman (the No. 2 tight end in the nation).
The Buckeyes inked a boffo class on the heels of last year’s impressive haul, with defense being an emphasis. In fact, no Big Ten school signed more defensive players than the Buckeyes’ 15. And OSU inked the top collection of defensive backs in the nation, according to Scout.com. Ohio State’s collection of talent is headlined by LB Mike Mitchell, who joins RB Dontre Wilson as top talents from Texas.
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One month removed from completing a 10-win season, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald announced the addition of 21 newcomers to the Wildcats football program for the 2013 season — 19 inked to National Letters of Intent along with two walk-ons admitted during the early decision process.
Bo Pelini and company did a good job, bringing in a big class (26) that lacks a superstar but has a lot of high-quality signees. There’s a strong collection of players on defense, paced by DT Maliek Collins, DE A.J. Natter, OLB Josh Banderas, and S D.J. Singleton of Jersey City, N.J.
Coming off their first bowl since 2009 and entering their third season under Jerry Kill, a last-place finish in Big Ten recruiting ranks is a bit of a disappointment. The fact this was a small class played a role in that low ranking. But just know this: Kill never signed top classes at Northern Illinois, and that program just went to the Orange Bowl with a core of players he recruited.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio introduced the Spartans’ 2013 recruiting class Wednesday afternoon at a press conference inside the Clara Bell Smith Center Auditorium. Watch our crew discuss and analyze the latest Michigan State recruiting class now.
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Michigan was right on the heels of Ohio State, signing more players than any Big Ten school (27). The cream of the class is the guy who committed last: Derrick Green, a 5-11, 220-pound smasher with speed from Richmond, Va., who is considered the top running back in the nation by Scout.com. Green picked Michigan over Auburn and Tennessee and solves a gnawing need at running back for the Wolverines.
Coming off the program’s worst season since 2000, it’s difficult to get a read on this class. There are no five- or four-star players in a class that is heavy on offensive players. In fact, only one Big Ten school signed more than Iowa’s 12. (Michigan has 15.) It’s a good thing, too, because the Hawkeyes struggled mightily on that side of the ball in 2012.
Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced the signing of 22 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Hoosiers in 2013. Indiana signed 13 defensive players, five offensive players and four athletes. The Hoosiers added six defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs on defense and two tight ends, two wide receivers and one running back on offense.
Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday the signing of 15 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play football for the Fighting Illini in 2013. The 15 newest Illini join 10 other newcomers who are already on campus taking classes – five early enrollees and five junior college transfers – in the 25-man 2013 recruiting class.