In their first year in the Big Ten, the Cornhuskers spread around their recruiting, signing players from ten different states. The headliner of the class is quarterback Tommy Armstrong, a Texas native who can run it and throw it. He’s ranked in the top nationally at his position.
It was a difficult year for the Nittany Lions, and the off-field transgressions and coaching change did have an effect on them, as several committed players switched to other schools. That said, there are some highly regarded players coming in.
Head coach Jerry Kill and his crew emphasized the home state and the Gophers landed two of the state’s top three players and eight of the top ten. Leading the way are massive 6’9 offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig and Andre McDonald, a physical 6’3 wide receiver who was committed to Vanderbilt, but switched to the Gophers shortly before Signing Day.
The big catch for the Boilers this year was four-star guard Ryan Watson, a Maryland kid who chose them over offers from his home-state Terrapins, Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and others. Two wide receivers, Jordan Woods and Danny Anthrop, aren’t big names, but have big time ability to go with strong senior years.
The Spartans, for the third straight year, signed the top prospect in their home state, explosive wide receiver Aaron Burbridge. He is a good bet to play early because of the graduation of B.J. Cunningham and Keith Nichol, as is Monty Madaris, another four-star wide receiver who comes to the Spartans from Cincinnati.
Brady Hoke and the Wolverines enjoyed a very strong recruiting year, finishing with one of the nation’s top classes. One of their biggest coups was flipping five-star offensive tackle Kyle Kalis from Ohio State. The offensive line haul in addition to Kalis was particularly strong, with Erik Magnuson and Ben Braden as two of the other big men to watch for.
The Hawkeyes had a good year in recruiting, picking up three four-star prospects, two defensive linemen from Illinois, Faith Ekakitie and Jaleel Johnson and Pennsylvania running back Greg Garmon.
A great class for Pat Fitzgerald and company. Ohio linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo is one of the Wildcats’ highest rated signees over the last few years. He has 4.5 speed and great pass rush ability. Four-star offensive lineman Adam DePietro spurned many other offers to sign with Northwestern, as did several of his future teammates, Ian Park, Kenton Playko, Eric Olson and Connor Mahoney.
The Badgers had a great haul, landing five four-star prospects, including the top two players in their own state, linebacker Vince Biegel and running back Vonte Jackson. As usually, there is talent on the offensive line coming in. Guard Dan Voltz had offers from Alabama, Michigan and others before choosing the Badgers.
Illinois had a coaching change and new head coach Tim Beckman was able to come in and close the class out for the Illini. One of the top guys in the class comes from in-state, Lincoln Way East wide receiver J.J. Robertson who brings big play ability and ball skills to the table.
In his first full year with the Hoosiers, head coach Kevin Wilson really emphasized the home-state recruiting approach. Indiana signed eight from in-state, including two from one of the state’s powerhouses: Warren Central. Those two, speedy wide receiver Kevin Davis and linebacker Jordan Wallace, are among the headliners in the class.
Today is National Football Signing Day and BTN has you covered on TV and the Web. At 4:30 p.m. ET this afternoon BTN airs a live 90-minute “Football Signing Day Special” with host Mike Hall, analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith, Chris Martin, and Scout.com national recruiting expert Allen Trieu evaluating each school’s recruiting class in detail.
With Wednesday’s Football Signing Day right around the corner, it’s time to focus on the areas of need for each Big Ten team. Should your team be eying offensive linemen? Wide receivers? Defensive backs? BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his top three recruiting needs for all 12 Big Ten teams in this post.
A new class of future Big Ten football stars will sign National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, and BTN will air a live, 90-minute “Football Signing Day Special” at 4:30 PM ET that day to reveal which student-athletes will attend Big Ten universities.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of programs, which is why schools spend thousands of dollars in the pursuit of talent. The BusinessofCollegeSports.com recently listed total recruiting expenses for men’s and women’s sports from 2010-11.