Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings

Submitted by Tim on October 30th, 2009 at 2:48 PM

This was a regular feature at my old site, and it will make occasional appearances here, though not nearly with the frequency of before. The nitty gritty details are after the jump, but the overview is here for your perusal:

Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings 2009
Rank Team Commits Rivals Avg. Scout Avg. ESPN Avg.
1 Penn State 20 5.79 3.90 77.15
2 Notre Dame 17 5.76 3.59 78.59
3 Ohio State 13 5.72 3.69 78.92
4 Michigan 19 5.62 3.21 77.53
5 Michigan State 14 5.64 3.43 77.71
6 Illinois 9 5.67 3.33 76.56
7 Wisconsin 17 5.14 2.76 71.53
8 Iowa 19 5.64 2.42 68.47
9 Minnesota 21 5.49 2.43 74.00
10 Northwestern 12 5.58 2.67 70.42
11 Indiana 21 5.39 2.28 62.96
12 Purdue 15 5.37 2.27 70.27

Rivals numbers are "RR Rankings," with unrated guys getting q 5.0. Scout numbers are simply stars, with 1* for unrated guys, ESPN's numbers are their arbitrary grades, with unrated players deemed worthy of 40 points. Full data after the jump.

The rankings are sorted first by Rivals RR Rankings, because I think Rivals is generally the best at rating prospects. Within the Rivals numbers, prospects are sorted by Scout (stars) and ESPN (grade) rankings, in that order.

#1 Penn State, 20 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Khairi Fortt LB 6.0 4 81
Paul Jones QB 5.9 5 78
Dominique Easley DE 5.9 4 83
Robert Bolden QB 5.9 4 81
Silas Redd RB 5.9 4 79
Adrian Coxson WR 5.8 5 81
Evan Hailes DT 5.8 4 81
Dakota Royer DE 5.8 4 81
Miles Dieffenbach OL 5.8 4 80
CJ Olaniyan DE 5.8 4 80
Kyle Baublitz TE 5.8 4 79
Mike Hull LB 5.8 4 77
Thomas Ricketts OL 5.8 4 77
Zach Zwinak FB 5.8 4 77
Kevin Haplea TE 5.7 4 78
Daquan Jones OL 5.7 4 77
Alex Kenney WR 5.7 3 80
Luke Graham OL 5.7 3 76
Levi Norwood WR 5.5 3 77
Khamrone Kolb OL 5.5 3 77

The Nittany Lions currently lead the conference in quality of recruits, and almost have the most commitments as well.

#2 Notre Dame, 15 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Chris Martin DE 6.1 5 80
Tai-ler Jones WR 5.8 4 81
Andrew Hendrix QB 5.8 4 80
Blake Lueders DE 5.8 4 80
Giovanni Bernard RB 5.8 4 79
Kendall Moore LB 5.8 3 77
Cameron Roberson RB 5.8 3 77
Prince Shembo LB 5.8 3 78
Alex Welch TE 5.8 4 79
Chris Badger S 5.7 4 79
Spencer Boyd CB 5.7 3 79
Bennett Jackson WR 5.7 3 77
Tommy Rees QB 5.7 3 78
Lo Wood CB 5.7 3 78
Christian Lombard OL 5.6 4 79
Daniel Smith WR 5.6 4 78
Justin Utupo DT 5.6 3 77

Yes, I'm aware that Notre Dame isn't actually in the Big Ten Conference. They're still a regional team that Michigan plays every year. Their class has been boosted by some top commits lately.

#3 Ohio State, 13 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Andrew Norwell OL 5.9 5 81
Roderick Smith RB 5.9 4 82
Corey Brown ATH 5.9 4 80
James Louis WR 5.8 4 81
Jamel Turner DE 5.8 4 79
Tyrone Williams WR 5.8 4 79
JT Moore DE 5.8 4 78
Taylor Graham QB 5.8 3 78
Darryl Baldwin DE 5.7 3 81
David Durham LB 5.6 3 79
Chad Hagan S 5.5 3 75
Scott McVey LB 5.5 4 77
Drew Basil K 5.4 3 76

Ohio State has very few commitments, but the guys that they do have at this point are well-regarded.

#4 Michigan, 19 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Devin Gardner QB 5.9 5 81
Marvin Robinson LB 5.8 4 79
Jerald Robinson WR 5.8 4 77
Ken Wilkins DE 5.8 3 77
Austin White RB 5.7 4 77
Christian Pace OL 5.7 3 79
Ricardo Miller WR 5.7 4 80
Jordan Paskorz DE 5.6 3 78
Tony Drake RB 5.6 3 77
Drew Dileo ATH 5.6 3 75
Cornelius Jones QB 5.6 2 77
Jeremy Jackson WR 5.5 3 79
Will Hagerup P 5.5 3 79
Terrence Talbott CB 5.5 3 78
Stephen Hopkins RB 5.5 3 77
Antonio Kinard LB 5.5 3 77
Terry Talbott DT 5.5 3 75
Courtney Avery CB 5.5 3 73
DJ Williamson WR 5.5 2 78

Michigan's class has been stagnant for quite some time, and probably won't change until after the Ohio State game at the end of November. I think a couple guys (Terry Talbott most of all, perhaps) are underrated, though other schools could probably say the same about some of their guys.

#5 Michigan State, 14 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
William Gholston DE 5.9 5 83
Joe Boisture QB 5.8 4 77
Max Bullough LB 5.8 4 79
Isaiah Lewis CB 5.8 4 77
Mylan Hicks CB 5.7 4 78
Keith Mumphery WR 5.7 3 78
Kurtis Drummond S 5.7 3 77
Nick Hill RB 5.7 3 75
Taylor Calero DE 5.5 3 76
Travis Jackson OL 5.5 3 77
Tony Lippett ATH 5.5 3 78
Marcus Rush DE 5.5 3 78
Mike Sadler K 5.5 3 79
Michael Dennis OL 5.4 3 76

The Spartans look for staying power near the top of the conference by recruiting well.

#6 Illinois, 9 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
CJ Fiedorowicz TE 5.9 4 81
Corey Cooper S 5.8 4 79
Chandler Whitmer QB 5.7 4 78
Dexter McDonald S 5.7 3 79
Daniel Easterly ATH 5.6 3 78
Mark Wilson LB 5.6 3 76
Shawn Afryl OL 5.6 3 70
Michael Heitz OL 5.6 3 NR
Andy Gallik OL 5.5 3 74

With the season that the Illini are having, this class could go very far downhill, very fast. Top commit CJ Fiedorowicz is already planning visits to other schools.

#7 Wisconsin, 17 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Konrad Zagzebski LB 5.6 4 76
Frank Tamakloe S 5.6 3 79
Robbie Havenstein OL 5.6 3 78
Bryce Gilbert DT 5.6 3 74
Michael Trotter S 5.6 3 74
Joseph Brennan QB 5.5 3 78
Manessah Garner ATH 5.5 3 78
Marquis Mason WR 5.5 3 77
Josh Harrison LB 5.5 3 76
Cody Byers LB 5.5 3 75
Warren Herring DE 5.5 3 75
Kyle French K 5.5 2 78
Jeff Lewis RB 5.4 3 77
Jake Irwin DE 5.4 3 NR
Cameron Ontko LB 5.4 2 78
Dallas Lewallen OL NR 2 NR
Jameson Wright S NR NR 77

This is what you expect from a Wisconsin recruiting class. Lots of linemen, very few guys you've heard of until their redshirt sophomore year of college.

#8 Iowa, 19 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Andrew Donnal OL 5.8 4 79
AJ Derby QB 5.8 3 80
Anthony Ferguson DT 5.7 3 77
Austin Gray LB 5.7 3 77
Mike Hardy DE 5.7 3 76
Brandon Scherff ATH 5.7 3 76
Jim Poggi LB 5.7 3 75
James Morris LB 5.7 3 74
Matt Hoch DE 5.7 3 NR
Don Shumpert ATH 5.7 NR 78
Donavon Johnson DT 5.7 NR 76
Louis Trinca-Pasat DE 5.6 3 76
Christian Kirksey ATH 5.6 NR NR
Stephane Ngoumou WR 5.6 NR NR
BJ Lowery CB 5.6 NR NR
Marcus Coker RB 5.5 3 78
Carl Davis DT 5.5 3 75
DeAndre Johnson RB 5.5 2 70
Austin Vier ATH 5.4 2 74

Iowa is upwardly mobile with the season they're having. I think some of their guys are underrated as well.

#9 Minnesota, 21 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Jimmy Gjere OL 5.8 4 78
Lamonte Edwards ATH 5.8 3 76
Chris Hawkins WR 5.7 3 78
Tom Parish QB 5.7 3 73
Josh Allen OL 5.7 2 77
Marquise Hill ATH 5.6 3 76
Mark Lenkiewicz OL 5.6 3 75
Jabari Price CB 5.6 3 75
Donnell Kirkwood RB 5.6 2 77
Jonathan Ragoo OL 5.6 2 75
Kip Smith K 5.5 3 80
James Manuel S 5.5 3 78
Antoine Lewis CB 5.5 3 76
Matt Eggen OL 5.5 2 76
Willie Tatum LB 5.5 2 76
Zac Epping OL 5.5 2 73
Doral Willis DT 5.4 2 77
Dwayne Mitchell LB 5.2 2 NR
JD Pride QB 5.1 NR 71
Allen Veazie CB NR 2 75
Josh Tauaefa DE NR NR 72

Minnesota GO FIGHT ROSE BOWL isn't recruiting as well as they had been GOPHERS in the first couple years of the Brewster administration. With a number of soft commits, and the crappy way their season will probably end, things aren't really looking up.

#10 Northwestern, 12 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Rashad Lawrence RB 5.7 3 73
Brandon Vitabile OL 5.7 3 NR
John Froland DT 5.7 2 74
Paul Jorgenson OL 5.6 3 79
Chance Carter DE 5.6 3 78
Trevor Siemian QB 5.6 2 79
Will Hampton DT 5.5 3 77
Shontrelle Johnson RB 5.5 3 77
Tony Jones WR 5.5 3 77
Chi Chi Ariguzo LB 5.5 3 74
Collin Ellis LB 5.5 2 77
Sean McEvilly DT 5.5 2 NR

I'm sure they're all very smart guys.

#11 Indiana, 22 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Jibreel Black DE 5.7 4 78
Andre Kates S 5.7 2 NR
Ishmael Thomas LB 5.6 3 77
Tim O'Conner WR 5.6 2 72
Marlandez Harris OL 5.5 3 72
Logan Young WR 5.5 2 76
Cameron Cole CB 5.5 2 75
Matt Perez RB 5.5 2 74
Pete Bachman DE 5.5 2 74
Jack Denton LB 5.4 3 76
Matt Zakrzewski LB 5.4 3 76
Kofi Hughes ATH 5.4 3 76
Harrison Scott DE 5.4 3 69
Ryan Phillis DE 5.4 2 NR
Shaquille Jefferson CB 5.4 NR NR
Leneil Himes TE 5.3 3 74
Bill Ivan OL 5.3 3 73
Xavier Whitaker RB 5.3 3 72
Antonio Banks RB 5.3 2 73
Cody Evers OL NR 2 NR
Drew Hardin S NR NR NR
Brian Williams S NR NR NR

The Hoosiers took a big hit when their top commit, DL Jibreel Black, decommitted to Cincinnati earlier this week.

#12 Purdue, 12 Commits
Name Position Rivals Scout ESPN
Sean Robinson QB 5.7 3 78
Joe Gilliam LB 5.6 3 77
Charles Torwudzo WR 5.6 2 74
De'Ron Flood TE 5.5 3 74
Jhony Faustin CB 5.5 3 77
Jeremy Cornelius WR 5.5 2 76
Isaiah Williams ATH 5.5 NR 75
Josh Davis DT 5.4 3 75
Mike Lee LB 5.4 2 78
Reggie Pegram RB 5.4 NR 73
Jesse Schmitt LB 5.2 NR 69
Cody Webster K 5.2 NR NR
Will Lucas LB NR 3 75
EJ Johnson S NR 3 73
Ryan Isaac DE NR 3 NR

Purdue is really trying to make its living in Florida under Danny Hope. It didn't do much for them last year, we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Not sure how frequently these rankings will be making appearances, so stay tuned.


Yinka Double Dare

October 30th, 2009 at 3:28 PM ^

I think when it's all said and done we'll end up higher (we'll probably pick up some guys in the secondary that are definitely higher than the ones they picked up), but there's no doubt we'd love to have Gholston (who realistically we had no shot at) and Bullough (which was good work by MSU's staff).

This probably isn't going to look like what we think of as a Michigan-level class, but we knew this was coming after 3-9. Playing better this season and showing improvement should help us close on some of the guys remaining, but the damage was done.


October 30th, 2009 at 10:18 PM ^

One thing to remember is that MSU is probably not on the radar of too many other high-end recruits. So while UM may nab another top guy like Cullen, MSU is going to probably bring in a couple more 3*-types. That doesn't mean they are bad players, the the numbers should fill out to where their class looks like it has in years before (high 20's-mid 30's).


October 30th, 2009 at 3:26 PM ^

Rivals ranks players by their Recruiting Rankings. Most 2*s appear to be around a RR=5.2, while many of the top 5*s appear around RR=6.0. Players who aren't rated on Rivals don't have a RR value, so Tim set them as RR=5.0, which seems just.

That said, I don't understand how Rivals come up with the RR scores. I don't really follow recruiting that much.


October 30th, 2009 at 3:39 PM ^

I don't think there is an rhyme or reason to the numbers other than to differentiate within the same star level. So a 5.7 is just a high 3* and 5.5 is a low 3*, likewise a 5.8 is a low 4* and so on. It helps them rank the players outside the top 250 by position and by state.

There may be something more scientific to it than that but that's always been my understanding.


October 30th, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

Yeah, that seems to be what I'm seeing in my limited time with recruiting related stuffs. I might read one or two FNL post a season, check these conference comparisons, and then pack it in until signing day. Keeping up with the desires of players I may never see just doesn't interest me that much.


October 30th, 2009 at 3:37 PM ^

There is some talk about who is under rated.

Therefore I will talk about who is over rated on a few of the teams.

I nominate Joe Boisture and Robert Bolden as both being over rated.

Who else is over rated?


October 30th, 2009 at 3:37 PM ^

This is great!

Nit Pick: Anyone else confused by the table heading, "Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings 2009"?

I thought it was ranking the current freshman who made it to campus until "after the jump" I starting looking at the names...


October 30th, 2009 at 3:47 PM ^

You mention that you've done this before, for past seasons. Do you have a url you could post? It'd be really helpful to look at how previous classes with more or less gaudy ratings have fared around the B10.


October 30th, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

With Marvin Robinson and Jerald Robinson slated to join the team next year, Denard , Terrance and Coach Greg already on board...four underclassmen and a coordinator named on earth did the staff let Purdue swoop in and steal Sean Robinson from us?

Section 1

October 30th, 2009 at 4:10 PM ^

that MSU-commit Mylan Hicks is no relation to former U-M (and 49ers) d-back Dwight Hicks.

Because I'd be mightily p.o.'d if Dwight let one of his family become a Spartan.


October 30th, 2009 at 4:12 PM ^

I understand our recruiting suffering this year after 3-9, but what I don't understand is this: why would we or another team suffer the year after a terrible season? We didn't we suffer last year during the bad year? I don't get it. We pulled in guys that were top rated right after our bad year, in November/December of last year when the season was over and the terrible year was fresh in recruits minds. Why would that be the case but then recruiting suffers this year, when its clear we are improving and will likely go to some sort of bowl? It seems like the reverse should be true.


October 30th, 2009 at 4:49 PM ^

It scares them off more than the seniors and those already committed. It allows them to look elsewhere during the early stages of their recruitment.

The same thing happened to ND. In 2007 ND went 3-9. That class (Class of '08) was ranked No. 2 by Rivals. The next class (Class of '09) was ranked No. 21.


October 30th, 2009 at 4:49 PM ^

Nice to see all this. I realize the whole thing is there in order to show quantity and quality, but it would be great to have an additional column that shows where the recruits are from. I know where most of our guys come from... but it'd be interesting to see that info for other schools. Yeah, I could look it up my damn self, but I am entirely too lazy for that.


October 30th, 2009 at 5:47 PM ^

Iowa really does focus on defensive recruiting, and Penn St. is piling on some offense.

Deducting for athletes, who may have been recruited for either side of the ball, specialists, and ignoring position changes for the time being, the rough breakdown of offensive and defensive recruiting thus far is as follows:

Team Offense/Defense

Penn St....70%/30%
Ohio St.....45%/55%
U of M......59%/41%
Mich. St....42%/58%
NW .........50%/50%
Ind..........43%/57% (including Jabreel Black)

Some of the stats are a bit skewed by incomplete classes (notably Purdue), but Iowa and Penn St. are both relatively full at 19 and 20, respectively.

It may very well be that the four athletes already committed to Iowa will wind up on offense, and that Iowa is anticipating losing some of its veteran defenders to the NFL, but somehow I am not surprised by a lopsided defensive class for Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeyes.

I tend to believe (baselessly) that there is some correlation between early recruiting numbers and the focus a coaching staff gives to a particular side of the ball (almost certainly over a long period of time, less true in any given year). I would not be surprised if all but one in the remainder of U of M's class is a defensive player. As it stands today, however, Michigan has initially targeted offensive players at an approximate ratio of 60%/40% (higher, assuming Dileo is utilized at slot) despite the already young and relatively deep offensive talent. The early emphasis on offensive recruiting is consistent with what I've come to expect from this coaching staff's offensive prowess.

At any rate, I expect Iowa to retain a staunch defense for a few more years and Penn St. to continue its recent trend of offensive firepower. Thoughts?


October 30th, 2009 at 7:28 PM ^

While Penn St may be taking more offense overall I would say that they take very highly rated defensive players. I would like to see us shift more towards this line of thinking. Take a few big time playmakers on defense and take as many guys on the offensive side that fit the system. This way even if a big rb recruit don't pan out we have a few more to choose from. Seeing how we spread out the touches to many people we need more good players on 'O' but we could use more great players on 'D'. We just need to get better at picking out the talent on the defensive side of the ball.


October 30th, 2009 at 6:15 PM ^

i was looking at who we could snake oil from illinois if/when the zooker gets canned and it looks like we'd only want CJ Fiedorowicz. is that right? seems like we took a pass on easterly though if signing day is approaching and the zooker is gone and we haven't filled that spot, we may want to look at him again.


October 30th, 2009 at 10:20 PM ^

Looking at the list, I'm wondering if maybe Avery will get a little bit of a bump once he stops being evaluated as a QB option? Everything I've read makes him sound like an underrated CB, but it seems like he is still being viewed as a mediocre QB as well. Just wondering.


October 31st, 2009 at 11:31 AM ^

A few days ago I looked at the recruiting classes for both Iowa and Wisconsin over the last several years as reported by Rivals. What I find most interesting is that both schools recruit poorly compared to Michigan, at least based on the number of stars and final ranking, yet somehow both Iowa and Michigan field very competitive teams. I also looked at Both Boise State and Cincinnati and their recruiting, which is even worse than Iowa or Wisconsin. Needless to say, if Michigan, even in a bad year, had incoming classes like any of the four schools I mentioned, the sky would most certainly be falling and we would wonder what we did to anger the Gods.

One thing that is common to Iowa, Wisc, Cinci and Boise State is that there is relative constancy in their coaches and/or schemes. Michigan, on the other hand, has had three new defensive schemes in the last three years and a major modification to its offense since RichRod replaced Carr.

In my mind, this raises some interesting questions. Obviously, great coaching and great talent makes for national championships or top five rankings. USC and Florida would be good examples. What the data suggests is that good coaching and solid O and D schemes which have been in place for several years can largely make up for less than stellar talent. Maybe we are looking into recruiting class numbers a bit too much.


October 31st, 2009 at 4:48 PM ^

I just need to know that Michigan lost because PSU was better, not because UM was in a funk. Beating Illinois would tell me something about this year's Michgan team. I don't like not knowing what to expect from Michigan. I know this team is really young, they are really talent too. I'm tired of "Guess who is coming to the game?" situations.

I'll be glad when Michigan steps on the field and causes the other team to melt like butter on the sidelines. I hate the rebuilding process! Hurry up and mature Michigan. Go Blue!