NSD Post Review: Big Ten

National Signing Day has come and gone. It's time for BRR to review the rest of the Big Ten Conference.

The 2012 recruiting process has come to its final phase following the conclusion of National Signing Day. The annual event was a success for many of the top programs in the conference, most notably Ohio State and Michigan. In total, there were 18 top 100 prospects and five five-star recruits who signed their letters of intent to join one of the programs in the storied Big Ten conference.

Noah Spence
In his first season as the Buckeye's head coach, Urban Meyer utilized his strong recruiting tactics just as he did during his time at Florida and Utah. He reeled in the third ranked recruiting class and seven players ranked in the top 100. The premier of the bunch are two defensive ends: Noah Spence (No. 2 nationally) and Adolphus Washington (No. 3 nationally). Overall, Ohio State collected 12 offensive recruits and 13 defensive recruits with a conference-high average of 3.76 stars.

Not to be outdone by Meyer was Michigan's second-year coach, Brady Hoke. Right behind Ohio State as the fourth-overall recruiting class is the Wolverines, who collected six top 100 recruits and a conference-high 13 four-star prospects. The centerpiece of the Michigan class is their lone five-star commitment: offensive tackle Kyle Kalis (No. 6 OT nationally). Four-star defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins (No. 7 DT nationally), tight end Devin Funchess (No. 8 TE), and linebackers Royce-Jenkins Stone (No. 2 MLB nationally) and Joe Bolden (No. 4 OLB nationally) are all well on their way to competing for playing time come the 2012 season.

While Ohio State and Michigan stocked up on blue-chip prospects, Michigan State quietly went about their business and put together a solid class ranked No. 36 in the nation and third in the conference. The Spartans realized what positions they needed to fill, so they went out and brought in the best possible replacements they could locate. With B.J. Cunningham and Keith Nichols gone, Michigan State snagged two four-star, sure-handed receivers in Aaron Burbridge and Monty Madaris. However, Mark D'Antonio didn't stop there. He reeled in two other four-star recruits in safety Demetrius Cox and outside linebacker Jamal Lyles to bump Michigan State's total to a 3.64 star average per recruit.

Four other Big Ten schools find themselves ranked within the top 50 recruiting classes: Iowa (41), Northwestern (45), Penn State (47) and Nebraska (49).

The Hawkeyes have 24 recruits between high school/junior college and three four-star prospects. The prized possession in their class is running back Greg Garmon, who has a shot to see plenty of playing time in the backfield along with two-star running back Barkley Hill. Defensively, Iowa bolstered the middle of their line with two four-star defensive tackles: Faith Ekakitie and Jaleel Johnson.

Northwestern will enjoy their top 100 prospect, outside linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo, to go along with their pair of three-star running backs: Malin Jones and Traveon Henry. They also gathered four-star offensive guard Adam DiPietro and 6-foot-5, three-star tight end Jack Schwaba.

Ifeadi Odenigbo
Penn State missed out on quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg, who switched his commitment to Florida, but they did collect LOIs from four-star wide receiver Eugene Lewis, three-star tight end Brent Wilkerson and center Wendy Laurent.

The rest of the Big Ten (Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota) had their fair share of success on National Signing Day, as well.

The Boilermakers went heavy on offense with 18 commitments compared to just five on defense, receiving LOIs from four-star offensive guard Ryan Watson and three-star tight end Ryan Morris. Their class also boasts the No. 3 kicker in the nation, Paul Griggs.

Wisconsin boasts one player in the top 100, quarterback Bart Houston, in addition to five four-star recruits, which is the highest total for a Big Ten team outside of Ohio State and Michigan.

Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota didn't reel in any five or four-star recruits, but the Golden Gophers do boast a strong class with a league-high 27 commitments that features offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig, quarterback Philip Nelson and tight end Maxx Williams.

- Josh Harvey -

Kyle Phillippi covers the Big Ten Conference for BigRedReport.com. His work has also been featured in Big Red Report Magazine. Previously, his stories were featured on PonyStampede.com, covering SMU athletics.
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