As of early Tuesday evening, the Big Ten had roped in seven different players rated as 5-star prospects by 247 Sports — or the same number as the previous three recruiting cycles combined.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is about to put the final bow on what many consider one of the best recruiting classes in the country, and maybe the best in the Big Ten in a generation — of the 20 commitments as of Tuesday night, 18 are either of the 4-star (13) or 5-star (5) designation.
Of Michigan’s 27 commits, 19 are either 4-star or 5-star gets. Penn State, Maryland and Nebraska have piled up waves of speed; Michigan State, Iowa and Rutgers have added layers of quality depth.
Throw in Illinois, Northwestern and Wisconsin, and 11 of the league’s 14 classes are expected to finish among 247 Sports’ composite top 50 classes when the dust settles from National Signing Day on Wednesday. Given the influx of studs across the conference, we posed this question to a panel of recruiting experts at the Land of 10:
Which Big Ten team’s class — other than the team you cover — has impressed you the most so far, and why?
Jeremy Birmingham, Ohio State — Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State
Michigan, Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State have all put together good groups for 2017. The Wolverines will land close to 30 prospects and are set to finish with a big close. Nebraska’s reach into California has been key to the Huskers’ revitalization. Penn State rode James Franklin’s charm and the Nittany Lions’ big finish in 2016 to serious momentum on the recruiting trail in December and January. The Big Ten is in good hands.
Brandon Justice, Michigan — Ohio State
Easy: Ohio State. That’s an unbelievable class. I’m thoroughly impressed, and have to take a step back every time I look at that list. I mean, five 5-star players? That’s something. But the biggest ‘whoa’ about this class is that all of Ohio State’s commitments aside from kicker are ranked among the top 300 prospects in the country. It has a lot of hype to live up to in Columbus, but, that shouldn’t take anything away from what Urban Meyer and the staff in Columbus pulled off this cycle.
Corey Masisak, Penn State — Ohio State
Ohio State could have the best recruiting class in the history of college football if the Buckeyes had more scholarships available. The amount of blue-chip talent in that group is absurd. Michigan and Penn State have a long way to go to catch Urban Meyer on the recruiting trail.
Luke Srodulski, Michigan State — Ohio State
I don’t know how you can pick any program other than Ohio State. It’s not a particularly big crew, but it includes many of the nation’s most elite talents. Quarterback Tate Martell has the skills to be dominant in the spread. Letting 4-star OLB Antjuan Simmons go and then replacing him with 5-star OLB Baron Browning is ridiculous. And a secondary with Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade? Forget about it.
Chris Heady, Nebraska — Michigan
If it came down to Michigan and Nebraska, most targets pick to go North. Donovan Peoples-Jones took his first official visit to Nebraska, but committed to Michigan. Jaylen Kelly-Powell thought about Nebraska, visited Michigan, then committed to the Wolverines. Chuck Filiaga had Nebraska in his final three, but it wasn’t a secret Michigan was his top choice. Not surprising, but still impressive.
Bobby La Gesse, Iowa — Ohio State
Ohio State is the only answer. The Buckeyes ended up with the top prospect at seemingly every position. The Class of 2017 will help ensure that Ohio State remains not only a top team in the Big Ten, but in position to compete for a national title in the coming years.