Each Big Ten's Sleeper Recruit
Big Ten Positional Rankings
Scout's National Signing Day Hub
Lovie Smith and his staff did a fine job in their first class. Four-star in-state prospects Ricky Smalling, a playmaking wide receiver and explosive defensive tackle Kendrick Green were important grabs both because of talent and geography. St. Louis was also kind to the Illini with offensive lineman Larry Boyd and defensive back Tony Adams both signing despite Missouri offers. Offensive tackle Alex Palczewski and cornerback Nate Hobbs are major sleepers as late finds who could be standouts within a couple years. JUCO linebacker Delshawn Phillips has a great chance to start this season and 6-foot-6 JUCO quarterback Dwayne Lawson figures to be in the competition at his position as well.
New head coach Tom Allen was able to keep his class largely intact despite the late coaching change. His defense is in good shape with a stud defensive tackle in Leshaun Minor coming in along with 6-foot-6 defensive end Britt Beery and hard-hitting safety/linebacker Bryant Fitzgerald all coming from the Indianapolis area. On offense, tight end Peyton Hendershot is an athlete and matchup nightmare. A late get from Mississippi, 6-foot-3, 210-pound wide receiver Tyrese Fryfogle also figures to be a tough matchup for opposing defenses. Running back Morgan Ellison was a Signing Day add and is a 220-pounder who may fall in line with past three-star backs like Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard who had great careers in Bloomington.
This class has to start with five-star defensive end A.J. Epenesa, one of the best in the country at his position and a very likely candidate for early playing time. They also added defensive back Ihmir Marsette on Signing Day. In-state offensive linemen Mark Kallenberger and Tristan Wirfs have All-Big Ten written all over them. Defensively, the Hawkeyes landed defensive back Trey Creamer and linebacker Nate Wieland late in the process. If Epenesa draws a lot of attention from offenses, Levi Duwa, an explosive edge rusher can make them pay. Daviyon Nixon, a flip from NIU has the potential to be the steal of the class. Offensively, at the skill positions, the Hawkeyes have two backs with good quickness and speed coming in with Ivory Kelly-Martin and Kyshaun Bryan.
D.J. Durkin's class is the surprise of the nation, let alone the conference. The Terps look headed for a top ten national class. A lot of that talent comes right from home. The top four commits in the class are all from Maryland including national top 100 prospect Anthony McFarland, a running back who is also a dangerous receiver. He will have a familiar face blocking for him in high school teammate Marcus Minor, a four-star guard. Immediate help comes at defensive back from safety Markquese Bell who has a chance to play early. Defensive tackles Cam Spence and Breyon Gaddy form a tough combo inside. Finally, quarterback Kasim Hill, a four-star who had a good offer list, completes a well-rounded class with his arm talent. A great close for the Terps included four-star wide receiver Tahj Capehart a Va Tech flip and four-star running back Cordarrian Richardson.
Jim Harbaugh got a big one on Signing Day with explosive five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon who comes up from Georgia. He did very well in-state, getting eight from his home turf including five-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and cornerback Ambry Thomas, who are both on campus and figure to play as true freshmen. Peoples-Jones is part of an excellent receiver class which has size from Nico Collins, a Signing Day grab from Alabama, Tarik Black and Brad Hawkins and skill in the slot with Oliver Martin. The Wolverines also filled key needs at offensive tackle with Chuck Filiaga, Andrew Stueber and others, and at linebacker, where Josh Ross should be a contender for early time. Dylan McCaffrey may not contend immediatley at quarterback, but there is excitement about his future.
Mark Dantonio and the Spartans bring in a class that has six four-star prospects in it. Wide receivers Cody White and Hunter Rison both have NFL bloodlines as well as intangibles in addition to their athleticism and late Purdue flip C.J. Hayes adds even more size and skill to that group. Offensive linemen Kevin Jarvis and Jordan Reid are the class' two highest ranked prospects, which bodes well for quarterback Rocky Lombardi. Tight end Matt Dotson was another big four-star get as was linebacker Antjuan Simmons, a one-time Ohio State commit. Joining him on defense are two cornerbacks in Tre Person and Josiah Scott who are confident, physical kids who can play man to man in the MSU system. Another cornerback, a big, long one in Emmanuel Flowers came aboard on Signing Day.
P.J. Fleck closed out the class strong for Minnesota, adding several key prospects including four-star defensive back Kendarian Handy-Holly. He is joined by Demetrius Douglas, Justus Harris and Adam Beck in the secondary, all late adds who all had major power-five offers. He also took several Western Michigan commits with him including big offensive tackle Kyle Sassack who teams with four-star Blaise Andries for a formidable twin tower. JUCO defensive tackle Royal Silver and quick-twitch defensive end Boye Mafe give the Gophers immediate help up front. Some think early-enrollee Tanner Morgan could compete for the quarterback job this year.
Once again, Mike Riley and company went all over the country for talent, but it was the West Coast that was particularly good to the Huskers. Four-star wide receivers Tyjon Lindsey, a Vegas native who was once committed to Ohio State, and Keyshawn Johnson from California, are two important pieces. Johnson and Missouri native Jaevon McQuitty both are on campus and could compete for time at a spot the Huskers lost some bodies at. Jamire Calvin is yet another four-star receiver coming in and that is with a four-star quarterback Tristan Gebbia coming in. On defense, linebackers Avery Roberts and Andrew Ward are good athletes to pair with a talented, 300-pound defensive tackle in Deiontae Watts.
This is a really good class for Pat Fitzgerald. We think linebacker Peter McIntyre, quarterback Andrew Marty and tight end Trey Pugh were all steals coming out of the state of Ohio. Then they add three four-star defensive linemen in Earnest Brown IV, Trevor Kent and Sam Miller. Brown is one of the higher rated prospects the Wildcats have signed in recent years and was a terror throughout his career and during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Cornerback Cameron Ruiz and wide receiver Jace James are two in-state guys who have the tools to be impact players in Evanston as well.
This Ohio State haul could go down as one of their best as Urban Meyer and company are averaging well over four-stars per recruit. Five-star quarterback Tate Martell draws a lot of headlines. Not a big guy, but mobile, competitive and accurate, his career will be exciting to watch in Columbus. There was a need at defensive back and the Buckeyes filled it and then-some with five-star Jeffrey Okudah and four-stars Shaun Wade, Amir Riep and Marcus Williamson, all of whom could compete for early time. The class' top prospect is edge-rusher Chase Young, a five-star from Maryland. The offensive line is also in good hands with five-star Wyatt Davis and four-star Josh Myers. Martell's weapons will include highly regarded receiver Trevon Grimes. Four-star in-state offensive tackle Thayer Munford was a key Signing Day addition.
After a good season on the field, the Nittany Lions finished strong in recruiting as well with what looks to be a top 15 national class. Five-star cornerback Lamont Wade is the headliner of the group. Four-star Tariq Castro-Fields committed to them on Signing Day. Safety Jonathan Sutherland, defensive linemen Yetur Matos, Damion Barber and Fred Hansard give them three more four-star recruits on defense. Linebacker Ellis Brooks was a late four-star grab and speedy Detroit corner Donovan Johnson rounds out the four-stars in the defensive class. Guard C.J. Thorpe is the top offensive guy on the board and will be blocking for four-star quarterback Sean Clifford.
Jeff Brohm takes over as head coach and needed some immediate help and got it with JUCO prospects like 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver Isaac Zico. Two quarterback prospects, Nick Sipe and Griffin Alstott, son of former Boilermaker great Mike Alstott, give Brohm, a former quarterback himself, two signal-callers. Offensive tackle D.J. Washington followed Brohm over from Western Kentucky and has great upside. JUCO linebacker Kai Higgins and 6-foot-6 defensive end Giovanni Hightower bring needed size and ability to the front-seven.
Chris Ash brings in a full class which is led by three Scout 300 prospects, outstanding offensive tackle Micah Clark, physical linebacker Tyshon Fogg and playmaking wideout Bo Melton. Center Owen Bowles was a good in-state get and will be blocking for in-state quarterback commit Johnathan Lewis, a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder with great strength and ability. Defensive end Brendan Bordner was a kid who the Scarlet Knights beat out many programs for. Watch out for wide receiver Tyler Hayek, a 6-foot-4 sleeper who has a chance to be the surprise of the class.
The Badgers will not be ranked as high nationally because of a smaller class size, but there is definite quality in the commits they have. Four-star offensive lineman Kayden Lyles leads the way and he is joined by a couple fellow in-staters in Tyler Beach and Alex Fenton who have upside. Tight end Jake Ferguson is Barry Alvarez's grandson and an excellent all-around athlete. JUCO defensive end Andrew Van Ginkel figures to play right away while Izayah Green-May has the tools to develop into an excellent pass rusher down the line. Safety Scott Nelson comes in from Michigan after the Badgers beat out several conference foes for him. Four-star wide receiver Danny Davis committed on Signing Day, giving the Badgers a guy who can go get the ball and make plays in space.