Analyses: First year coach Bret Bielema entered a recruiting situation in Illinois, where the program finished last or next to last in each of the previous three grades and signed the fewest potential conference candidates during that time. The Bielema effect was immediately felt with a class that signed the numbers 22 and ranks in tenth place by exiting the Early Signing Period. Bielema said early in his tenure that recruiting in the state would be a priority, and backed him up by signing 10 prospects in the state in the first period, including linebacker Jared Badie, who is only second in the top 10 in Illinois. sign with the state school in the last five grades.
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Analyses: Indiana’s field success in the 2020 season resulted in recruiting, and even a disappointing 2021 season didn’t derail what will become the Hoosiers’ best recruiting class in the age of rivals. The class is highlighted by seven four-star elevations, including defensive Rivals100 athlete Dasan McCullough, who is one of three four-star state stars in the class. Tom Allen‘S staff also finished strong, overturning tight end Brody Foley from Tennessee and adding defensive four-star Nick James from Florida in December. Indiana’s previous record in the national team recruiting chart was 38th, but the Hoosiers have pretty much secured a top 20 placement this year.
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Analyses: Iowa has been involved in some high-profile recruiting battles along the stretch, and has won its fair share. The biggest catch was undoubtedly five-star safety Xavier Nwankpa. The Hawkeyes had to beat Notre Dame, Ohio State and a number of major national programs to earn their first five-star AJ Epenesa in 2017. With just 17 prospects signed in the first period, Iowa has room to sign more if that’s how you want it. However, this class is already one of the best of the last decade and is currently the highest-scoring 2022 class in the Big Ten West Division.
Grade: B +
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Analyses: It’s been a busy week in College Park, but it delivered more talented players to the Terrapins. That late group included three of the top five Terrapins ranked players in the class, most notably four-star athlete Octavian Smith and Rivals100 Jaishawn Barham. Head coach Mike Locksley overturned Barham from South Carolina on the day of the signing. His staff also overturned Virginia Tech’s three-star running back Ramon Brown and Penn State’s three-star offensive tackle Andre Roye during signing week. The class is currently eighth in the Big Ten, but sixth in the East Division, just ahead of Rutgers.
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Analyses: Michigan is making its first appearance in the College Football Playoff with a senior-led squad. The closet will need to be restocked after the conclusion of this season, e Jim Harbaugh he was able to tackle it with numbers and talent in the early acquisition period. The Wolverines signed 22 prospects in the first period, for a class that currently ranks third in the Big Ten and eighth nationwide. Five-star cornerback Will Johnson is the headliner, but the Wolverines also have nine four-star stars, including safety Keon Sabb, who was overturned by Clemson on signing day.
Grade: B +
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STATE OF MICHIGAN
Analyses: Mel Tucker arrived in East Lansing after recruiting for the 2021 class had begun in earnest for most programs, then saw a 15-month downtime begin just a few weeks later. So, 2022 is truly her first full recruiting class with the Spartans, and she has come out of the early acquisition period as one of the top 20 classes. Tucker has been praised for his use of the transfer portal since arriving in East Lansing, but he has also shown his recruiting prowess in the high school ranks with this 2022 class. The Spartans have had good success in the state, achieving four-star Jaden Mangham, Alex Van Sumeren and Dillon Tatum, but the headliner is four-star quarterback Katin Houser from California, who is at number 140 nationwide.
Grade: B +
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Analyses: PJ Fleckthe recruiting efforts since arriving in Minnesota have been remarkably consistent. Gophers have signed a class that ranks around number 40 in the country almost every year, and this is where this 2022 class stands out from the first signing period. Depth has been added across the board, but especially on a defensive level, where four stars Anthony Smith and Trey Bixby are among the three signed prospects. The Gophers went to South Dakota for their quarterback, three-star Jacob Knuth, and surrounded him with five new pass catchers and three other offensive linemen in this class.
Grade: C +
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Analyses: Plagued with rumors, his coaching position at Lincoln was heating up, Scott Frost had a hard time generating momentum on the recruiting journey during the crucial recruiting stages of 2022. By the time the Nebraska administration confirmed that Frost would be back in 2022, most of Cornhusker’s main targets were already off the board. The news gave Frost and his staff time to add the numbers overdue, however, with half of the 14 signatories making their decisions in December, including their only four-star engagement, the defensive back of the New Jersey Jaeden Gould. However, Nebraska’s 2022 class is the last in the Big Ten to come out of the Early Signing Period, a position the Cornhuskers are certainly not used to.
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Analyses: Northwestern usually signs one of the smaller classes in the Big Ten, and this 2022 group is no different. Fifteen prospects signed with the Wildcats on December 15, which include a group that ranks 13th in the conference and 48th nationwide. Thanks in part to a 15-month downtime, it was a late-developing class. Four-star Reggie Fleurima was the first commit in the class, offering his pledge last March. Northwestern’s first commits all came from the state, before expanding and landing potential customers from places like California, Texas, Arkansas, and Connecticut.
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STATE OF OHIO
Analyses: For the eleventh time in the last 12 classes, Ohio State comes out of a sitting signing period with the Big Ten’s top recruiting class. The Buckeyes’ recruiting dominance over the conference is nearly unmatched, but in this cycle they have Penn State and Michigan at his heels. However, the state of Ohio only signed 18 potential clients, while Penn State and Michigan are well beyond the 1920s. The class got a boost when five-star Sonny Styles was reclassified from 2023 to 2022. He joins fellow five-star CJ Hicks and a host of potential Rivals100 in the Buckeyes class.
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Analyses: With the NCAA’s loosening of restrictions on how many prospects can be signed into this class, we are seeing larger classes signed in the early subscription period than in previous years. Penn State checks in with the largest class in the Big Ten with 23 potential signed customers. Five-star far defender Dani Dennis-Sutton is the headliner, but most of the top talents in this class control in offensive skill positions. Quarterback Drew Allar, running backs Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton, and receivers Kaden Saunders, Mekhi Flowers and Anthony Ivey are all rated four stars.
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Analyses: Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm locked up his quarterback early, setting a solid foundation for this 2022 class. Four-star Brady Allen finished his high school career with over 12,000 yards passed, a Class 3A state title and Mr. Football honors in the state of Indiana. Brohm told Rivals.com on the day of the signing that Allen has been helpful in attracting other prospects to West Lafayette. Purdue’s other four-star in this class, defensive end Joe Strickland, is also from the state of Indiana, as well as three other prospects they signed in the first bout. Look for Purdue to attack the transfer portal hard this off-season.
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Analyses: Although Rutgers comes out of the early subscription period with the lowest class in the Big Ten East, part of that is due to the size of the class. It is the only school in that division other than Ohio State to sign less than 20 potential clients and has an average star rating that ranks better than three high-ranking schools. Rutgers may add another prospect in the late run, but he is expected to hit the transfer portal hard this off-season. Among the 2022 high school recruiting class are four-star Jacob Allen, Samuel Brown, Moses Walker, Kenny Fletcher, Anthony Johnson, and Amarion Brown.
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Analyses: Wisconsin have been as good as any other team in the country at keeping their best state talent at home. This is likely to happen again in 2022, especially after the state’s # 1 player, Joe Brunner, got involved last summer. However, Wisconsin has lost two four-stars to out-of-state schools, and is in a battle to keep four-star lineman Carson Hinzman at home. Brunner became the only four-star to sign with the Badgers in the early acquisition period, and leads a class of just 14 people that ranks 12th in the Big Ten team rankings.
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