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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.
A new class of future Big Ten football stars will sign National Letters of Intent today when BTN will air a live, 90-minute Football Signing Day Special at 3 p.m. ET. Host Mike Hall, and analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will review each school’s recruiting class and evaluate how each team filled its most pressing roster needs.
The Feb. 6 National Signing Day for football is a less than a week away, and it’s the first day recruits can ink letters of intent. It’s also the day when every fan dreams big while studying the list of players their school signed and wondering which players will be stars and which ones might be busts. But, honestly, they all look like studs on Signing Day, right?
The calendar says 2012, but it may as well be 1975. The Big Ten is all about Michigan and Ohio State on this Signing Day, hearkening to days of the “Big Two and the Little Eight.” Only in today’s world, it’s the “Big Two and the Little 10.” According to Scout.com, Ohio State and Michigan dominated the Big Ten in recruiting.
Urban Meyer took the strong start by Luke Fickell and company and closed even stronger. The Buckeyes flipped several players committed to other schools, including five-star defensive tackle Tommy Schutt and four-star offensive tackle Taylor Decker.
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.