Big Ten Recruiting Update: Rutgers! Purdue! Comment Count

Ace June 30th, 2016 at 2:36 PM

Texas A&M's loss was Ohio State's gain.

It's time for our monthly check-in on Big Ten recruiting. While Ohio State and Michigan held steady at the top of the rankings, there's been plenty of movement below them. Here's where the rankings stood at the end of May:

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Iowa
4. Northwestern
5. Maryland
6. Nebraska
7. Wisconsin
8. Penn State
9. Rutgers
10. Michigan State
11. Minnesota
12. Illinois
13. Indiana
14. Purdue

Here's how they rank now, courtesy of 247:

Yes, Rutgers is on a tear, adding nine commits since the last update.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the post.]

I had four tiers last time around, but by now there's three clear tiers: Michigan and OSU at the top, a big pack in the middle, and a group of four lagging well behind the rest.

The Big Two, Still

Ohio State had been in a holding pattern since March after racing out to a huge lead in the national team rankings. They still hold that top spot after gaining two huge commitments in June: five-star CA OG Wyatt Davis and top-ranked dual-threat QB Tate Martell. Martell's May decommitment from Texas A&M caused a Twitter meltdown from their WRs coach, which in turn caused more decommitments from A&M. I'm sure he'll encounter nothing of the sort in Columbus.

The Buckeyes did lose a four-star in OH RB Todd Sibley, but that was expected; they'd already told Sibley he'd have to grayshirt, and after months of taking visits he finally flipped to Pitt.

With five commits since the last update, Michigan has moved up from ninth to fourth overall in the national team rankings, closing the distance a little on OSU. The Buckeyes are still well ahead despite having four fewer commits—the gap between OSU and Michigan is nearly as large as the gap between Michigan and Rutgers. While Michigan might eventually catch OSU based on sheer volume—the Buckeyes project to have a smaller class—it's going to be tough to match their quality; the only OSU commit outside the top 300 overall is the top-ranked kicker in the country.

The Second Tier: Rutgers Makes A Move

No program's class changed more over the last month than Rutgers, which picked up nine commits, including four-star MD OLB Tyshon Fogg. None of their other commits this month rank in the top 800 overall on the 247 Composite, however, and their 19 total commits is tied for second-most nationally (Western Michigan has 22). As other teams fill out their classes, RU is going to slide down from their current perch at #15 nationally.

Iowa slipped from 11th to 17th after spending June filling out the bottom end of the class. The Hawkeyes picked up six commits, all ranked below 850th overall, and lost behemoth three-star DT Juan Harris, who has now committed and decommitted from his home-state school three times.

Continuing the theme, Northwestern picked up three low-to-mid three-star commits and a two-star kicker; they remain one spot behind the Hawkeyes in the national rankings. With 17 early commits, none ranked in the top 350, the Wildcats will move down as other teams round out their classes.

Nebraska slipped in front of Maryland after picking up commitments from three-star prospects OG Broc Bando and DE Robert Porcher IV, the latter of whom held a Michigan offer, though probably not a committable one after the additions of Corey Malone-Hatcher and Luiji Vilain. 

Michigan State no longer ranks behind any directional Michigan schools, which was fun while it lasted. They added five three-star commits this month, and while none ranks higher than 625th overall, there's potential for some to leap up the rankings: the lowest-rated of the bunch, FL DE Donovan Winter, added a Michigan offer after the Fort Lauderdale satellite camp. (M subsequently landed Vilain and no longer needed to pursue Winter.)

Maryland added only unranked three-star WR MJ Jarrell since the last update. They're one spot behind MSU at #28 in the national rankings.

If you wanted to split this tier in two, the divide would come between Maryland and Wisconsin, which is ranked #36 overall. The Badgers have been stuck on ten commits since early May. Penn State is in a similar situation; they rank #40 overall and haven't added anyone to the class since the end of April.

The Basement: Boilers Up

The next Big Ten squad is all the way down at #74 in the rankings, but after claiming only one commit in the last update, Purdue will happily take that for now. The Boilermakers have picked up six commits over the last few weeks, headlined by the #25 pro-style QB in the country, Californian Nick Sipe.

Illinois stays at 12th in the conference, mere fractions of a point behind Purdue. Of their six total commits, two of which pledged this month, only two rank among the top 1000 (yes, one thousand) overall prospects. Minnesota ranks a couple points below the Illini after adding three players in June that all rank outside the top 1000.

That leaves Indiana, which doesn't have a commit ranked in the top 700, to bring up the rear.



June 30th, 2016 at 7:59 PM ^

These aren't just 4-stars; scrolling through the 247 top-100 recruits is depressing. There are Buckeye commits everywhere. Top 100 guys. And they're in on a couple of others that aren't yet committed.

Michigan doesn't have to beat OSU in recruiting, but we have to keep up. Unlike the Carr years, Michigan has the coaching to compete with the rival. But IMO Michigan needs to close the deal on some of the top prospects that they are currently in on. 

More, better prospects will invariably equate to more, better players. Yeah, some guys are going to miss. Some lower-ranked guys are going to emerge. But the surprise 3-stars might occupy 2 or 3 positions; that leaves 19 or 20 other spots that I would rather have 4/5 stars occupying.


July 1st, 2016 at 2:33 PM ^

I agree that OSU's continuing recruiting dominance over Michigan is worrying, but I really do think that there's no one better than Harbaugh at any level of football when it comes to player development and squeezing every last drop of production out of a team's personnel. Stanford under Harbaugh never out-recruited USC, and yet he turned that program into an improbable NFL factory.

Also, as much as I hate to cite this example, bear in mind that the only B1G coach against whom Urban Meyer has a losing record is Mark Dantonio (1-2). You can probably count on one hand the number of recruiting battles that Dantonio has won against Meyer. 

Stars matter, but having a coach who is the very best at player development keeps me from losing sleep over Ohio State out-recruiting Michigan.

True Blue Grit

June 30th, 2016 at 3:36 PM ^

have a somewhat higher probability of success at the college level and beyond.  But they also don't mean that 2 or 3 star guys can't develop into NFL draft picks.  If you can get higher rated players that also fit in with the rest of the team and match the offense/defense you're running, all the better.  I love seeing 5 star guys coming here,  But honestly, how many in the last 10 years either haven't panned out or didn't have stellar careers?  There's a whole bunch.   Time will tell.

turd ferguson

June 30th, 2016 at 4:31 PM ^

No, it's not strictly a Michigan phenomenon.  The "Do stars matter?" debate is frustrating because neither side picks up on the nuance.  On one hand, there's a positive correlation between prospects' star ratings and productivity, and it just makes sense that higher-rated prospects are better prospects.  All else equal, we should prefer getting 5-star guys to 4-star guys and 4-star guys to 3-star guys.  On the other hand, there's a ton of noise in player ratings.  Good coaches (Harbaugh, Beilein, Dantonio, etc.) consistently get more out lower-rated prospects, the fit between players and schemes matters (e.g., for Rodriguez), some positions are harder to evaluate and less meaningful with ratings (e.g., OL, which is why I think some Hoke classes were overrated), there are egos and personalities involved, and it's just hard to predict how these kids will do.

I used to be clearly on the "stars matter" side of this MGoBlog debate, and I still really believe that, but more often than not I think people here overstate it.  If I had to bet, I'd say this OSU class severely underperforms MGoBlog expectations and this MSU class severely outperforms MGoBlog expectations.


June 30th, 2016 at 5:56 PM ^

And win with lower ranked recruits.  Harbaugh is not going to outcoach Meyer.  At best he will be even-up with him as far as player development and game coaching, so if he's getting talent that's a notch below OSU's, there's no clear way he's going to make up that gap and keep us from looking up at the Buckeyes pretty much every year.  He needs to be recruiting step for step with them, and so far, he's not even close.  


June 30th, 2016 at 8:03 PM ^

We would have been better off without Gary. I mean who needs a the No. 1 player in the country? Like it or not National Championship quality recruiting has been shockingly consistent. The numbers tell us if you want to win a National Championship then you need 3/4ths of your class to be at least 4 stars. Recruiting under that 3/4 rule typically means you will be on the outside looking in.


June 30th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

Just like last time if we are being honset with ourselves OSU''s class is on a tier of its own.  It isn't a top 2 right now, its a clear #1 and a clear #2


June 30th, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

You grouped michigan and osu in a tier together at the top.  If a gap of 40 points seperates tiers than osu is tier 1, michigan is tier 2, and rutgers etc is tier 3.  You also could have made osu tier 1 and rutgers and michigan in a tier together since apparently being 40 points apart is acceptable within tiers.

All I'm saying is that tiers can have 1 team.  There 4 clear tiers to the conference right now.  OSU is in the first tier, Micigan is in the second.  People wouldn't be happy if you put Rutgers and Michigan in a tier together no matter how much explictily you would state that there is a large gap.


June 30th, 2016 at 4:42 PM ^

They are separated from Ohio State by three spots. You then drop eleven spots to get to the next B1G team (where you reach B1G teams at #15, #17, #18, #25, and #27).

Could you put Ohio State and Michigan in their own tiers? Sure. Hell, to be accurate you could also create 14 tiers. Or you could look at the general clumpings and say "hey, this is not objectively wrong, so whatever."


June 30th, 2016 at 8:06 PM ^

Tiers By Average Rank

  • OSU is at 94.
  • UM, PSU, Maryland, Nebraska are 87-88.
  • MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin are at 85-86
  • Everyone else is 82-85

Doesn't that look a whole lot more realistic?  Northwestern doesn't have even a single 4-star recruit, but I'm supposed to think their recruiting is going better than PSU, Nebraska, and Wisconsi?  Rutgers, Iowa, Norwestern are at 3,4,5 in 247's ranks. That is dumb.

By average rank the "everyone else" tier includes Rutgers.  Rutgers may be ranked #15 when relying on quantity of 3-stars but they are still technically Rutgers and, let's be honest, that means they have a next-to-zero chance of finishing with a top 25 class. 

The point:  The published rankings are dumb. As the M-go-licious link points out, the rankings are based heavily on quantity. This is dumb. Month of commitment won't matter one bit come next Fall. Using pure average isn't perfect either, but it's far better this early in the cycle than letting number of early commits decide everything.

Read Mgolicious (I guess Brian posts these?). Go back and read Mathletes posts on recruiting class rankings. Talk to your local engineer. There is a better way to do this than analyzing the dumb team ranks and writing up observations based on them.




June 30th, 2016 at 7:54 PM ^

The real story is closer to what AK is arguing. 

Maryland's class is three 4-stars away from Michigans (despite 7 fewer commitments).  Michigan's class is two 5-stars and four 4-stars away from OSU's, even though they have 3 more commitments.  Maryland is MUCH closer to Michigan than OSU. Maryland is MUCH more likely to pass Michigan than Michigan to pass OSU.

3-star recruits are replacement level players in the Big Ten.  Having more of them committed earlier doesn't make your class stronger.  If anything it's the other way around.

It's totally disengenous to argue that there's a Big 2 at this point unless you're just blindly taking the (dumb) rankings at face value.


July 1st, 2016 at 1:10 AM ^

that's why when Meyer was hired he was able to sign Bosa, Elliot, Washington, Apple and the rest of that first class of his that was terrific. Meyer lucked into that National Title. Meyer lucked into a 50-4 record at Ohio State. Yes, maybe the circumstances of Michigan being bad helped, but good coaches create their own luck.

 I hate Ohio State as much as the next guy, but burying our heads in the sand and pretending like they're not recruiting at an all time level is asinine. 

That being said, I still have my doubts about Meyer's longterm plans for a program and his ability to keep a program fresh. If you think of us as Florida State, and Ohio State as Florida, it makes everything seem a lot better and that may be biased as hell but sue me. 


July 1st, 2016 at 7:45 AM ^

I don't buy the whole FSU comparison thing...  Sure, on a macro level that comparison may be valid.  But details come into play in the real life, and the details between Meyer's situation in Floriduh and at OSU are very different.  I just don't see him 'burning out' now, like he did at UF.  He's not afraid of competition - thinking about JMFH at night isn't going to scare him out of that truck stop.  It's Harbaugh's job to bring Michigan up to that level (he's doing it), and Meyer's job to keep OSU where it is now.  I see nothing that says both won't happen...

And fuck you for making me defend that pompous prick - regardless of how much I may like your point!


June 30th, 2016 at 4:10 PM ^

I like looking at average star/player better, and OSU is clearly in a class of their own right now.  Their average star per player is 4.14.  No one else is even close when it comes to average star per player.  UM actually comes in 3rd at average star per player with a 3.47.