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Recruiting scoreboard: How Big Ten teams are performing in a time with no visits

Recruiting scoreboard: How Big Ten teams are performing in a time with no visits

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Even in the middle of a pandemic, college football recruiting doesn’t stop.

That includes the Big Ten, as league teams have collectively received commitments from more than 120 recruits since the NCAA announced March 13 that in-person visits wouldn’t be allowed until at least July, and those deadlines have now been extended to September.

Schools, including Nebraska, have still been recruiting fervently using phone calls and online means like Zoom and social media. A few schools have still recruited strongly during this time. Others are still trying to find their footing.

Here’s the current recruiting scoreboard for the 2021 class (as of May 18), including service rankings and top players committed to each class:

Ohio State

Total commits: 19

Commits since March 13: 9

247Sports composite national/Big Ten: 1/1

Rivals: 1/1

The big names: Five-stars DE Jack Sawyer, RB TreVeyon Henderson, QB Kyle McCord

Skinny: Ohio State keeps rolling along, undeterred by a pandemic, and is way out in front of not only every other Big Ten school, but every school in college football. OSU is a juggernaut and stays at No. 1 nationally, although Alabama is making a move.  


Total commits: 20

Commits since March 13: 18

247 composite: 9/2

Rivals: 7/2

The big name: Five-star QB J.J. McCarthy

Skinny: McCarthy has a game that looks an awful lot like Joe Burrow’s. The Wolverines are off to a fast start on 2021, with a strong run of players on the offensive and defensive lines. Just three of UM's commits are from the state of Michigan. The Wolverines have that many from Florida and...Massachusetts, too. This is a national program.


Total commits: 17

Commits since March 13: 10

247 composite: 17/4

Rivals: 15/3

The big name: Four-star OT David Davidkof 

Skinny: The Hawkeyes have four offensive linemen in the class from three different states. Iowa's doing its best work on the recruiting trail in years - especially at skill positions. Winning pays dividends, and it seems have staved off much negative fallout from the investigation into strength coach Chris Doyle. 


Total commits: 15

Commits since March 13: 7

247 composite: 15/3

Rivals: 17/4

The big names: Four-stars OT JP Benzschawel and OT Riley Mahlman

Skinny: The Badgers are already loading up on three positions of strength: running back, inside linebacker and offensive tackle. Both running backs, Loyal Crawford and Jackson Acker, are from the state of Wisconsin. A fertile recruiting area - that few other programs even try to recruit - is one of Wisconsin's quiet advantages. Wisconsin has five four-star recruits in the class, including pass rusher TJ Bollers.


Total commits: 17

Commits since March 13: 8

247 composite: 18/5

Rivals: 27/7

The big name: Four-star DE Demeioun Robinson

Skinny: The Terrapins hired Mike Locksley because he can recruit. He’s proving his bosses right so far with several strong recruits on the defensive side of the ball, where Maryland - which allowed 500 yards and 35 points per game in Big Ten play - needs the most help. Maryland has 13 commits from either its home state or nearby Washington DC. Locksley is clearly trusted in the DMV.


Total commits: 15

Commits since March 13: 10

247 composite: 23/6

Rivals: 23/6

The big name: Four-star CBs Avante Dickerson and Steven Ortiz

Skinny: The Gophers have capitalized on their big 2019 season. Ortiz, out of Arizona, turned down Oregon and Washington, among others, to play in the Twin Cities. Dickerson turned down LSU, home state Nebraska and more. Will these commits stick? Hard to say. Minnesota suffered two decommits in the month of June. 

Penn State

Total commits: 13

Commits since March 13: 11

247 composite: 26/7

Rivals: 21/6

The big name: Four-star OT Landon Tengwall

Skinny: The Nittany Lions got a big win on Tengwall, who picked Penn State over Notre Dame, then followed up with a very Good Friday, landing three defensive commits from the city of Detroit. They also flipped Rodney McGraw from Indiana to PSU, likely the wake of NU landing Patrick Payton. 


Total commits: 21

Commits since March 13: 17

247 composite: 30/8

Rivals: 20/5

The big name: Four-star pass rusher Khayri Banton

Skinny: New/old coach Greg Schiano hasn’t wasted one second since returning to the job that made him famous. The Scarlet Knights are winning in-state recruiting battles they haven’t won since Schiano left for the NFL. Ten of Rutgers' 21 commits are from the state of New Jersey. Rutgers probably finishes with a top 40 class - not inside the top 20 - but it's a vast improvement over recent history. 



Total commits: 14

Commits since March 13: 11

247 composite: 35/9

Rivals: 28/9

The big name: Four-star LB Randolph Kpai and four-star OT Teddy Prochaska

Skinny:  Nebraska has made a nice move up the recruiting boards in the last month as the commits rolled in. Most of NU's commits - Branson Yager, Patrick Payton and Shawn Hardy - have never really visited Lincoln. Payton and Hardy keep low profiles on social media, too. Massive offensive guard Henry Lutovsky is underrated. So is Payton. Watch NU's continued pursuit of five-star outside linebacker Terrence Lewis and, of course, its pursuit of Council Bluffs Lewis Central tight end Thomas Fidone. 


Total commits: 14

Commits since March 13: 13

247 composite: 40/10

Rivals: 40/10

The big name: Four-star OT Caleb Tiernan and four-star linebacker Mac Uihlein

Skinny: The Wildcats typically fill their class in spring and summer because they already know who will academically qualify. Because Northwestern recruits so specifically for fit, it needs visits it can’t currently use. Then again - three four-stars out of 14. Good stuff. Pat Fitzgerald seems fired up. 


Michigan State

Total commits: 12

Commits since March 13: 12

247 composite: 62/12

Rivals: 60/12

The big name: Three-star defensive end Tyson Watson 

Skinny: Mel Tucker's staff is on the board with three in-state prospects with MAC offer lists and one prospect, Watson, who was pretty highly-coveted by lots of programs in the league. Hey, gotta start somewhere. MSU also landed a quarterback out of Dallas, Hampton Fay, that Tucker had recruited at Colorado. The Spartans are destined for a wild card class of players who either haven't been to East Lansing or who don't know Tucker and his staff well. 



Total commits: 14

Commits since March 13: 13

247 composite: 57/11

Rivals: 57/11

The big name: Three-star OL Brody Wisecarver

Skinny: Illinois prefers to play the transfer market pretty heavily, so it should make more of its moves later this spring or in the summer. The Illini only signed 14 players in the 2019 class and 13 in 2020. But the Illini is making its move a little bit and has a whopping seven players from Florida in the class. 


Total commits: 11

Commits since March 13: 10

247 composite: 67/13

Rivals: 62/13

The big name: Four-star QB Donoven McCulley

Skinny: The Hoosiers typically lose the recruiting battle to Purdue on a regular basis. Does that change after IU’s strong 2019 season? Doesn't look like it. Indiana is on a run in early April and even landed its own Australian punter. If there was a weakness, perhaps to hiring Tom Allen as the head coach, it might have been recruiting and, right now, Indiana has work to do on the trail. 


Total commits: 9

Commits since March 13: 7

247 composite: 82/14

Rivals: 80/14

The big name: Three-star WR Preston Terrell

Skinny: The Boilermakers have commits from five different states. After two giant classes, it's likely Purdue goes a little smaller in 2021. As it stands, the Boilers have some work to do to get out of the Big Ten recruiting basement. But Purdue is a young team, with lots of freshmen and sophomores from two highly-touted recruiting classes. Jeff Brohm will have this crew ranked somewhere in the 40s or 50s before it's all done. 


The 2020 Nebraska football schedule

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  • Updated

Along with approving a series of waivers — set to go in effect May 11 — that will make virtual recruiting a little bit easier, the NCAA announced Wednesday that it will vote May 13 whether to extend the recruiting dead period another month. 

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