The World-Herald's Sam McKewon and Rich Kaipust examine each Big Ten team's 2013 recruiting class.
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1. Ohio State
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Eli Apple
6-1, 185 pounds, cornerback, Voorhees, N.J.
The Buckeyes signed four cornerbacks in this class, and Apple is the fastest, longest and most physical of the bunch. He can also return kicks.
HIDDEN GEM: Timothy Gardner
6-5, 310 pounds, offensive tackle, Indianapolis
OSU had just five offensive linemen last year, so Gardner— a project who had Big Ten offers from only Purdue and Indiana — is a need recruit.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Jalin Marshall
6-0, 190 pounds, athlete, Middletown, Ohio
OSU coach Urban Meyer didn't have a Percy Harvin-type in his offense last year, and Marshall — a wingbone quarterback in high school — fits the bill. He'll be given a shot to play early.
BIG MISS: Laquon Treadwell
6-3, 200 pounds, wide receiver, Crete, Ill. (Signed with Ole Miss)
OUR TAKE: Behold the recruiting acumen of Urban Meyer. With a full year to recruit this class, Meyer didn't disappoint, collecting excellent athletes at key skill positions — running back, corner, linebacker — and getting a Braxton Miller clone in quarterback J.T. Barrett. The class lacks a great tight end or a big-bodied red zone receiver, but OSU addressed needs on the line.
247Sports national rank: 2
ESPN national rank: 3
Rivals national rank: 2
Scout national rank: 1
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Derrick Green
6-0, 220 pounds, running back, Richmond, Va.
Wolverines beat all the major players for prospect ranked No. 8 nationally by Rivals.
HIDDEN GEM: Da'Mario Jones
6-2, 185 pounds, wide receiver, Westland, Mich.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Jake Butt
6-6, 235 pounds, tight end, Pickerington, Ohio
BIG MISS: Jaylon Smith
6-3, 212 pounds, linebacker, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Signed with Notre Dame)
OUR TAKE: Nice haul overall, starting with Green being the Wolverines' highest-ranked get since quarterback Ryan Mallett in 2007. The bonus with Green is that Michigan made big scores with offensive linemen for the second straight year, including 300-pound four-stars Logan Tuley-Tillman and Kyle Bosch, who enrolled last month. Went into Ohio to snag defensive back Dymonte Thomas, linebacker Mike McCray and Butt — all Top 10 prospects in the state, according to Rivals.com — but Michigan checks in slightly behind the Buckeyes in the national ratings. Intriguing prospect is quarterback Shane Morris, who some think has an NFL arm.
247Sports national rank: 5
ESPN national rank: 6
Rivals national rank: 5
Scout national rank: 2
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Terrell Newby
5-10, 180 pounds, I-back, West Hills, Calif.
After going for a staggering 2,305 yards and 45 TDs as senior, might fit immediate need.
HIDDEN GEM: Maliek Collins
6-2, 285 pounds, defensive tackle, Kansas City, Mo.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Randy Gregory
6-6, 230 pounds, defensive end, Fishers, Ind.
BIG MISS: Lavon Hooks
6-4, 295 pounds, defensive tackle, Booneville, Miss. (Signed with Mississippi)
OUR TAKE: What stands out in a solid class might be the addition of four-star I-backs Terrell Newby and Adam Taylor now that Nebraska is having to replace not only Rex Burkhead but also Braylon Heard. The hype surrounding Johnny Stanton simmered last season when he sat (torn ACL), but the Californian is still a prized get at quarterback. NU appears to have helped itself at linebacker for the second straight year by landing Marcus Newby, Josh Banderas and Courtney Love. Didn't quite get all the defensive tackles it needed or wanted, but hoping for immediate help off the edge with juco defensive end Randy Gregory.
247Sports national rank: 23
ESPN national rank: 23
Rivals national rank: 17
Scout national rank: 11
4. Penn State
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Christian Hackenberg
6-4, 210 pounds, quarterback, Fork Union, Va.
The nation's No. 1 pro-style QB stuck with the PSU despite NCAA penalties. Hackenberg has all of the tools. Big arm, good footwork and decent mobility.
HIDDEN GEM: Richy Anderson
5-11, 175 pounds, athlete, Frederick, Md.
Penn State needs as many skill weapons as it can find. Anderson is shifty enough to play either running back or receiver.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Tyler Ferguson
6-5, 210 pounds, quarterback, Bakersfield, Calif.
The junior-college prospect will be one of two scholarship quarterbacks in the program this spring, and he'll have a head start on Hackenberg by a few months.
BIG MISS: Dorian Johnson
6-6, 280 pounds, offensive tackle, Belle Vernon, Pa. (Signed with Pittsburgh)
OUR TAKE: Given how fiercely the NCAA punished Penn State for the next four years, O'Brien did a more than respectable job of putting together this class. Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman are the best at their respective positions, while three defensive end recruits — headlined by Garrett Sickels — are impressive. The class lacks great playmakers at running back and wide receiver, and Johnson was a five-star lineman who decommitted from PSU to go with Pitt.
247Sports national rank: 26
ESPN national rank: 24
Rivals national rank: 40
Scout national rank: 45
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Corey Clement
5-11, 205 pounds, running back, Glassboro, N.J.
Compact, downhill runner who should continue the legacy of great Badger running backs. Clement's grit is similar to Montee Ball's.
HIDDEN GEM: T.J. Watt
6-4, 215 pounds, tight end, Pewaukee, Wis.
The Watt name means a little more in Madison than to recruiting services. T.J. is the youngest of three, and he'll join older brother Derek at tight end.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Sojourn Shelton
5-10, 160 pounds, cornerback, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Wisconsin needs more speed and explosive playmakers, and the diminutive Shelton has enrolled early to help the Badgers on special teams and defense.
BIG MISS: Kevin Olsen
6-3, 210 pounds, quarterback, Wayne, N.J. (Signed with Miami, Fla.)
OUR TAKE: The Badgers rarely land top 25 classes, and 2013 was no different. Although UW got six players from its own state, it lost out on a few stars like A.J. Natter (who committed to Nebraska). The new staff in Madison is likely to be more aggressive than Bret Bielema was. Whether they can develop players the way Bielema's excellent staff did is another question.
247Sports national rank: 37
ESPN national rank: 33
Rivals national rank: 56
Scout national rank: 37
HEAD OF THE CLASS: David Kenney
6-2, 250, defensive end, Indianapolis
The Hoosiers have a few players rated higher than Kenney, but this full-tilt, four-star tough guy is the keystone of the class. Indiana couldn't stop a flea last year. Kenney gives them a foundation for the future.
HIDDEN GEM: Rashard Fant
5-9, 160, athlete, Fairburn, Ga.
An explosive athlete from a small catholic school in Atlanta, Fant had mostly offers from FCS schools until Indiana discovered him. In 46 touches on offense, he scored 10 touchdowns and gained 917 yards. He averaged 22.5 yards on punt returns.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Antonio Allen
5-10, 205, safety, Indianapolis
The U.S. Army All-American will be counted on to help a pass defense that ranked 98th in efficiency last year.
BIG MISS: Elijah Daniel
6-4, 250, linebacker, Avon, Ind. (Signed with Ole Miss)
OUR TAKE: The Hoosiers hit Florida and Georgia hard, taking seven athletes out of the two states. Nearly 60 percent of the class is comprised of defensive players. Indiana ranked 103rd in total defense, so reinforcements are necessary. That IU, as bad it's been, can outrecruit more accomplished teams like Iowa and Northwestern speaks volumes about coach Kevin Wilson's ability to sell the future.
247Sports national rank: 43
ESPN national rank: —
Rivals national rank: 41
Scout national rank: 51
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Aaron Bailey
6-2, 225 pounds, quarterback, Bolingbrook, Ill.
Bailey's a stud of a runner, often the best athlete on the field in a state filled with good athletes. He needs polish as a passer, but the Illini should have a pretty good zone read game.
HIDDEN GEM: James Crawford
6-2, 190 pounds, safety, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The nephew of Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson started just one year for power St. Thomas Aquinas, but had three interceptions in the Florida 7A title game.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Caleb Day
6-1, 190 pounds, athlete, Hilliard, Ohio
Illinois averaged less than 300 yards per game on offense last year, so any dose of athleticism is welcome. Day, a four-star prospect, can play running back or wide receiver.
BIG MISS: Ethan Pocic
6-7, 285 pounds, offensive tackle, Lemont, Ill. (Signed with LSU)
OUR TAKE: This is the “regime change” class for Illinois, the one where coach Tim Beckman had enough time to scout the guys he wants and bring in a big class. The Illini grabbed a lot of in-state prospects, including Bailey, who's the real deal as a runner. The class is missing game-changers on the offensive and defensive lines, however.
247Sports national rank: 46
ESPN national rank: —
Rivals national rank: 46
Scout national rank: 42
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Danny Etling
6-2, 210 pounds, quarterback, Terre Haute, Ind.
The Boilermakers tend to attract good QB prospects, and Etling is the latest in the line of talented signal-callers. He'll get a look this spring.
HIDDEN GEM: Leroy Clark
5-10, 190 pounds, cornerback, Miami, Fla.
New coach Darrell Hazell's first commit could be a solid defensive back/kick returner. The Boilermakers need more speed.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Keyante Green
5-9, 180 pounds, running back, McDonough, Ga.
The upside on Green — who had offers from Ohio State, Florida State and Georgia, among others — is high as Purdue looks to have a more consistent running game under Hazell.
BIG MISS: Randy Gregory
6-6, 230 pounds, defensive end, Arizona Western College (Signed with Nebraska)
OUR TAKE: Hazell, a former Ohio State assistant, is handling this class the right way. It won't be too big, and it won't be highly rated, but Purdue pulled some good athletes out of SEC country to couple with Etling, who can sling it. Next year, look for the Boilermakers to have a much bigger class.
247Sports national rank: 62
ESPN national rank: —
Rivals national rank: 55
Scout national rank: 58
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Colin Goebel
6-4, 275 pounds, offensive lineman, Naperville, Ill.
A potential three-year starter with good size and versatility to play tackle or guard.
HIDDEN GEM: Malik Rucker
6-0, 175 pounds, cornerback, New Hope, Minn.
Rucker finished with 83 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions his senior season at Cooper High School.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Damond Powell
5-11, 175 pounds, receiver, Toledo, Ohio (Snow College)
Iowa needs threats in the passing game, so watch for Powell, who averaged 30.0 yards per catch last season at Snow.
BIG MISS: David Kenney
6-2, 250 pounds, defensive end, Indianapolis (Signed with Indiana)
OUR TAKE: Cover your eyes if you're a Hawkeye fan and big into recruiting rankings. Iowa landed nothing higher than a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.com. Huge setbacks were losing verbals from Kenney, whose father got hired for an administrative role at Indiana, and safety Delano Hill, a four-star out of Detroit poached by Michigan. Hawks also allowed Iowa State to nab West Des Moines offensive tackle Jake Campos, considered the top prospect in Iowa.
247Sports national rank: 55
ESPN national rank: —
Rivals national rank: 52
Scout national rank: 52
10. Michigan State
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Jon Reschke
6-2, 227 pounds, linebacker, Bloomfield, Mich.
Rival Michigan tried late to steal Reschke, who could be the eventual heir to Max Bullough in the middle.
HIDDEN GEM: Dylan Chmura
6-6, 225 pounds, tight end, Waukesha, Wis.
Chmura has good bloodlines at tight end as son of former Packers TE Mark Chmura.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Gerald Holmes
6-0, 205 pounds, running back, Flint, Mich.
There's a good chance Holmes and/or R.J. Shelton get significant carries in a Spartan backfield now without Le'Veon Bell.
BIG MISS: David Dawson
6-4, 282 pounds, offensive lineman, Detroit (Signed with Michigan)
OUR TAKE: Appears to be a typical Mark Dantonio class, with strength at linebacker and cornerback and a potential standout defensive end with Demetrius Cooper. Is Damion Terry the Spartans' future at quarterback? The four-star recruit from Erie, Pa., is coming off a monster senior season. Michigan State was able to get just one offensive lineman, Dennis Finley, a teammate of Dawson.
247Sports national rank: 33
ESPN national rank: 35
Rivals national rank: 38
Scout national rank: 44
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Berkley Edwards
5-9, 185 pounds, running back, Chelsea, Mich.
The brother of NFL receiver Braylon Edwards has the kind of breakaway speed the Gophers need.
HIDDEN GEM: Chris Streveler
6-2, 190 pounds, quarterback, Woodstock, Ill.
Streveler got only light Big Ten interest, but has the ability to tuck it and run when necessary.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: De'Niro Laster
6-3, 220 pounds, linebacker, Cleveland
Laster is one of four pickups at linebacker, where Minnesota lost two starters.
BIG MISS: Nate Andrews
6-0, 180 pounds, receiver, Fairhope, Ala. (Signed with Florida State)
OUR TAKE: It's a small class for Minnesota, thus not rated very high, after the Gophers had only 12 graduating seniors and some other departures. What they like about it, however, is the help they have found at the skill positions. Some see similarities between Streveler and Jordan Lynch, the quarterback that Gophers coach Jerry Kill recruited to Northern Illinois who led the Huskies to the Orange Bowl. The Gophers also went looking for speed on defense, and likely will try to convert a receiver or two to the secondary.
247Sports national rank: 65
ESPN national rank: —
Rivals national rank: 60
Scout national rank: 74
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Matt Alviti
6-1, 180 pounds, quarterback, Park Ridge, Ill.
The four-star prospect appears a perfect fit for Wildcats' spread offense and draws comparisons to Dan Persa.
HIDDEN GEM: Tommy Fuessel
6-3, 180 pounds, receiver, Frankfort, Ill.
Fuessel was somewhat overlooked because he was a high school quarterback.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Godwin Igwebuike
6-0, 190 pounds, athlete, Pickerington, Ohio
Igwebuike and Fuessel are among four athletes who can play on either side of the ball.
BIG MISS: Jaleel Hytchye
5-11, 170 pounds, cornerback, Cincinnati (Signed with Kentucky)
OUR TAKE: Speed and versatility stand out with this Northwestern class. Future offenses will get a boost not only from the Wildcats landing Alviti, but also four talented offensive linemen and a pair of 200-pound running backs out of California (Warren Miles Long and Xavier Menifield). Northwestern also worked Ohio pretty hard to get five prospects, including Igwebuike and 6-foot-7, 280-pound offensive tackle Sam Coverdale.
247Sports national rank: 51
ESPN national rank: —
Rivals national rank: 52
Scout national rank: 46