Big Ten Recruiting Rankings 3-8-12

Submitted by Ace on March 8th, 2012 at 4:01 PM

With three of the recruiting services releasing their initial rankings and over half the Big Ten now possessing at least one commit, it's time to debut to Big Ten Recruiting Rankings for the class of 2013. I give you zero guesses about who is number one. Congratulations. You somehow won anyway.

ESPN is not included for now since they haven't released anything beyond their Watch List and an unsorted top 100 that they don't link or acknowledge anywhere else on the site, including individual player pages.

Chart? Chart:

Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings
Rank School # Commits Rivals Avg Scout Avg 24/7 Avg Avg Avg^
1 Michigan 14 3.57 3.86 3.86 3.76
2 Ohio State 5 4.20 4.20 4.20 4.20
3 Penn State 3 4.00 3.33 3.67 3.67
4 Michigan State 4 1.75 3.25 3.35 2.75
5 Notre Dame 2 2.50 3.50 4.00 3.33
6 Nebraska 2 4.00 2.50 3.00 3.17
7 Wisconsin 1 1.00 3.00 3.00 2.33
8 Minnesota 1 1.00 1.00 3.00 1.67
9 Illinois 1 1.00 1.00 2.00 1.33
10 Indiana 0 - - - -
11 Iowa 0 - - - -
12 Northwestern 0 - - - -
13 Purdue 0 - - - -

^The average of the average rankings of the three recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.

NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as one-star players. This may be a bit unfair this early in the process, considering there are many unevaluated recruits out there at this stage, but that's life.

On to the full data, after the jump.


#1 Michigan - 14 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Patrick Kugler OL PA 4 5 4
Shane Morris QB MI 4 5 4
Dymonte Thomas S OH 4 5 4
Kyle Bosch OL IL 4 4 4
Jake Butt TE OH 4 4 4
Chris Fox OL CO 4 4 4
Mike McCray LB OH 4 4 4
Wyatt Shallman ATH MI 4 4 4
Logan Tuley-Tillman OL IL 4 4 4
Taco Charlton DE OH 4 3 4
David Dawson OL MI 4 3 4
Jourdan Lewis CB MI 4 3 4
Jaron Dukes WR OH NR 3 3
Khalid Hill TE MI NR 3 3

All but two of Michigan's 14 commits earn four stars on at least two recruiting sites, with three recently earning five-star ratings from Scout. Every player save Colorado's Chris Fox is from the Midwest (or at least a Big Ten state, depending on how you view Pennsylvania). I don't need to tell you this, but things are going rather well in Ann Arbor.

#2 Ohio State - 5 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Cameron Burrows CB OH 5 4 4
Jalin Marshall ATH OH 4 5 5
Evan Lisle OL OH 4 4 4
Billy Price DT OH 4 4 4
Eli Woodard CB NJ 4 4 4

Urban Meyer's class doesn't have the same quantity as Brady Hoke's, but the quality is certainly there; all five commits are at least universal four-stars, and Jalin Marshall is the only player committed to a Big Ten school with five-star ratings from multiple sites.

#3 Penn State - 3 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Christian Hackenberg QB VA 4 4 4
Garrett Sickels DE NJ 4 3 4
Ross Douglas CB OH 4 3 3

Bill O'Brien's first full class at Penn State is off to a strong start, and it could get a major boost if top-ranked TE Adam Breneman chooses the Nittany Lions tomorrow, as expected. At this stage, they're the only school even remotely posing a threat to the "Big 2, Little 10" recruiting situation in the conference.

#4 Michigan State - 4 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Jon Reschke LB MI 4 4 4
Gerald Holmes RB MI NR 3 3
Jalyn Powell S OH NR 3 3
R.J. Shelton RB WI NR 3 3

State has an argument for the three-spot just based on having an extra commit compared to PSU, but I like the overall quality of PSU's class more.

#5 Notre Dame - 2 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Steven Elmer OL MI 4 4 4
Jacob Matuska DE OH NR 3 4

Notre Dame picked up Matuska—who's listed as a tight end, but says he'll come to South Bend as a DE—this week. Michigan was recruiting Matuska as a TE.

#6 Nebraska - 2 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Marcus McWilson S OH 4 4 3
Tre'vell Dixon ATH LA 4 NR 3

The Huskers are just a hair behind the Irish at this stage.

#7 Wisconsin - 1 Commit
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Garret Dooley LB IL NR 3 3

The Badgers are on the board with Illinois LB Garret Dooley.

#8 Minnesota - 1 Commit
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Keelon Brookins CB MN NR NR 3

The Gophers aren't in last. Rejoice, Minnesotans!

#9 Illinois - 1 Commit
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7
Dillan Cazley CB IL NR NR 2

Illinois, at least, can say they're better off than the four schools—Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, and Purdue—that have yet to pick up a commit. Slackers.



March 8th, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

Northwestern has by far the best class of all the teams with no recruits.  They totally should be #10, can't believe you think Indiana's 0-man class is better than the Wildcats!!


March 8th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

Hahaha, we have almost as many recruits as all the other teams combined. That is absurd. Hopefully this weekend will bring us some more good news, and bump up our average rating scores.


March 8th, 2012 at 4:27 PM ^

Thanks. Rivals didn't have him on their commit list, and that was the first service I was checking. Will adjust the rankings in a second.

EDIT: Actually, Spearman decommitted from the Hoosiers yesterday, two days after he committed. Womp womp.


March 8th, 2012 at 4:24 PM ^

And not the number of commits? In that case OSU has a far hgher caliber of recruit in their 5 man class (so far) than we do. Don't get me wrong, I love our class so far, but numbers are numbers.


March 8th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

Do I honestly have to explain why Michigan's 14-member class with three five-star players is better than Ohio State's five-man class with two?

Depth is a good thing in recruiting, especially when that depth is almost entirely four-stars. Ohio State's average ranking would go down even if they added exclusively four-star commits. That doesn't make their class worse.


March 8th, 2012 at 4:39 PM ^

The difference in the date of commitment doesn't matter on signing day.

OSU has the same 'depth' as Michigan because it has the same number of total scholarships to offer.  It's not like Michigan gets to sign a bigger class because guys are commiting earlier.




March 8th, 2012 at 5:25 PM ^

Fair enough, but I'd argue it shouldn't completely ignore the opportunity cost in a scholarship being taken.

Where things stand right now is:  incomplete.  I don't think anyone can confidently saying Michigan is beating OSU in recruiting or vice versa.

For example - McCray.  OSU is passing on him.  UM took him.  We have no idea who wins there, because OSU still gets to use that scholarship on someone else.

In your final 2011 rankings, you put Notre Dame at #3 and Purdue at #6 even though they had 10 fewer recruits.  Minnesota was 12th, even though they had 27 recruits.  IMO, that is completely correct. 

Quality is the most important part here.


March 8th, 2012 at 5:57 PM ^

Again, the recruiting rankings are only looking at how good the committed players in each team's classes are right now. If you value an open scholarship over a consensus four-star, I'm not sure what to tell you. I'm not sticking purely by total commits, and quality is heavily factored, as you pointed out by looking at my final rankings for last year.

Having a team with five commits over a team with 14, given Michigan has more five-star recruits (or an equal number, if you want to count Marshall twice) and more four-star recruits makes absolutely no sense to me. Also, to counter your McCray argument, Michigan offered Evan Lisle but "passed on him" by taking five other offensive linemen. Teams value players differently and have their own recruiting boards that look differ from what is on the recruiting sites. These rankings just use the information that is actually available.

You can also look at each commit in the class and how they're ranked, so draw your own conclusions. Not even Ohio State partisans think the Buckeyes have a better class at this moment than Michigan, however. That's what these rankings reflect, and that's why they get updated weekly.


March 8th, 2012 at 6:46 PM ^

"If you value an open scholarship over a consensus four-star, I'm not sure what to tell you"

Well, Urban Meyer does, clearly.  Brady Hoke has turned consenus 4-star players down as well.  This isn't ridiculous, as you're implying. It's simply a reality for programs like Michigan and Ohio State.  A school like Purdue doesn't operate the way the elite programs do.

You seem confident in applying the quantity assesment to Michigan, but not to lower tiers. I think the issue some people might have here is about objectivity.  Michigan was ranked ahead of OSU for most of the 2012 class, but ended up behind them.  Yes, that's a function of 'where things are now', but what's the point of that when scholarships remain open?   It seems like a lunch-hour argument that a morning-practicing team is working harder than a team that practices at night, when you know each is going to practice an equal amount by the end of the day.

Just to clarify/re-state:  I'm not saying OSU necessarily should be ranked above Michigan, I just think the 'numbers' argument (i.e. quantity) is terrible.  If anything, you should compare our top 5 to their 5...our our median 5 - something along those lines, that at least attempts to account for timing, is far more meaningful than 14 vs 5. 

Also, I'm not disputing your comments about recruiting rankings.  The point is that you're trying to do a evidence-driven ranking.  Selectively applying the quantity number just gives you a way to turn objective numbers-based rankings into an almost completely subjective exercise.




March 8th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

which is why I believe I said I was thrilled with our class. I just recall a lot of focus on this blog previously on average ranking, and many people discounting higher ranked teams around the country because they had more commits than another team that had a higher average rating. Many have criticized the Rivals of the world for giving weight to sheer numbers in their year end rankings of teams. Hence the question. Not sure why it was annoying.


March 8th, 2012 at 6:31 PM ^

But you're right.  You can't put OSU in front of us and say, "but if they fill their class with a bunch more 4 and 5 stars they'll be better than us" because that's not how it works. 

Last year, Wisconsin's first four commits were all 4 stars, a couple of them high 4 stars.  I believe those were the only 4 stars they ended up with, or close to it. 

Because it's futile to speculate about how the classes will fill out, the only thing we can do is compare what the classes look like right now.  Hell, Indiana doesn't have a verbal from a single 4-star or below, does that mean that because they still could fill a class with 5-stars that they should be above Michigan?


March 8th, 2012 at 6:40 PM ^

Its not ridiculous to assume that OSU will fill out their class with 4 and 5 stars.  They have that track record, unlike Wisconsin or Indiana.

You're argument of "it's futile to speculate" is simply wrong.  Every coach does exactly that.  They make a valuation (i.e. they speculate) about who they likely can get.  That's why Michigan didn't offer a guy like Cameron Dillard (local OG), even though he has impressive offers from all over the country.  They probably would have if the guys wanted more fell through, but they 'speculated' that they could get better and they did.  It's what Meyer did with McCray.


March 8th, 2012 at 6:57 PM ^

These rankings ARE NOT predictive.  If you want, you can make a post about where you THINK the recruiting rankings will end up.  That post will either be entirely subjective and depend on your "feelings" about how well OSU and UM will recruit for the rest of the year or it will be a massive research-heavy post including prospective targets and the likelihood of their future verbal commitment to that school.  In the latter event, you would probably realize that having a four star in the bank is better than having a four star selecting between a few schools.  These rankings are basically for our entertainment, but they give us a good idea of where the rest of the big ten stands by aggregating lots of data that would take a while to find on one's own. 


March 8th, 2012 at 9:26 PM ^

There's a difference between acknowledging an unknown and attempting to make a prediction about it.

Given the history of Michigan and Ohio State a low 4-star is a 'typical' recruit and represents 'expected value' for the scholarship.  This requires neither subjective evaluation or deep research.

It's reasonable to conclude that getting a commitment from such a player (or not) doesn't provide an advantage or disadvantage.

McCray for example is a guy that either OSU or UM can argue they 'won'.  An objective observer will consider this a draw (i.e. having no effect.)

My point is that there are many many better ways to try to quantify who is 'winning' the recruiting battle between UM and OSU (at this moment) than quantity of commitments.


March 8th, 2012 at 7:37 PM ^

And a bird in the hand....

Penn State has a tradition of recruiting well, and had some good did that class end up last year? OSU was the reverse....looking like a disaster, fixed at the end. Projecting is a fool's folly. You can only go on what is there now, subject to change. A commit is better than an empty scholarship. You can't assume that 4 and 5 star commits are going to be replaced by higher 4 and 5 star commits.

And most recruiting sites put heavy emphasis on numbers over just average. So it's following the way things are normally ranked.


March 8th, 2012 at 9:07 PM ^

I understand what Mat is trying to say, it's just not the best application of the argument.

Both Michigan and Ohio State can fill an entire class with 3 stars at will.  The "replacement" level of an OSU/UM recruit is three stars.  If, for example, MSU has 24 3 star recruits and OSU has its current class, then yes, I would argue that OSU, with 5 recruits, should be ranked above MSU with 24.  OSU would easily fill up with 3 stars and end up above MSU.

However, this doesn't work in this case.  It's harder to assume that OSU will fill the next 9 scholarships with close to all 4 star recruits.  

It's really way too early for this discussion.  Numbers will eventually even up and the rankings will be much easier to discern.


March 8th, 2012 at 9:32 PM ^

Just trying to acknowledge that there is an 'expected value' for a scholarship.

Generally speaking, for OSU, a 3 star means they failed, a low 4 star is the 'expected value', and high 4 or 5 means success.

I wouldn't assume success or failure in individual cases, but I would assume, given history, that they'll have a little of both.

The only thing I'm doing that is predictive here is assuming that they will use up most of their available scholarships, which I think is reasonable.


March 8th, 2012 at 10:13 PM ^

Not sure where to begin.  Honestly, I'm trying to find a place to begin.  

What you're saying is that Michigan's class is worse because it has some recruits that OSU currently doesn't have.  I know exactly how you're thinking this way, but I am positive that you are wrong.  OSU could very well have a better class than us by the end, but that will only be the case if OSU recruits amazingly from here on out (something michigan has done ALREADY).  

You're basically the guy who looks at baseball standings and thinks that a 42-34 record is better than a 45-35 record.  You assume best case scenario and penalize the team that has played more games.  

With 14 recruits, you would expect michigan to have far more 3 stars in their midst.  You have to assume that by the time OSU hits 14, they will have some 3 stars in their midst.  When they get there, we can compare them a little more fairly, but at this point michigan has a figurative baseball-analagy record of 42-18 while OSU has a record of 4-0.  Which team would you guess would have the better record after 80 games?  Oh wait....I know you're answer.  "That team is gonna go 80-0."


March 9th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

I'm not saying OSU's class is better or worse, I'm saying it is too close to call at this point.  But I'd lean in their favor due to quality so far.  In other words, I'd rather assume they maintain their current pace than fill out the rest of their class with 1 stars.  Neither is correct of course, but one is preferable to the other.

Your prediction about Michigan beating OSU is true, I hope.  But given the last 10-15 years, I wouldn't bet on it.

The baseball analogy (42-434) is a good one but your math is off.  In your example the team that won more games also has the better winning percentage.  I'm arguing that. winning percentage is more important than games won.   Ace is arguing we've won more games AT THIS TIME.  I'm arguing that this is a function of pace, not performance.

"You have to assume that by the time OSU hits 14, they will have some 3 stars in their midst."

I don't agree.  I think you shouldn't make assumptions about what OSU will do in the future. 

Your 4-0 vs 42-18 analogy is better, except its more like OSU is 5-4 while Michigan is 14-7.  Both teams have already lost some guys they clearly wanted, but OSU is being more selective, so their pool of what they consider a 'loss' is smaller, IMO.


March 8th, 2012 at 10:59 PM ^

The biggest problem with your argument, Mat with one t, is that you assume that each school will recruit at the same level every year, but that's not the case. Some years a school will have en especially good class, and some years a school will have a bad one. We don't know how the schools will fill out there classes, or if they'll fill them at all. Last year ND and MSU didn't even have guys for all their spots (in fact, either did we). So ranking teams this way is actually the most objective way to do it, because it assumes nothing.

Your practice analogy was bad because you knew both teams would practice the same amount. A better analogy would be the home run derby. We have used 6 of our 10 outs, but we've hit 25 homers, already a good total. OSU only 2 outs, and they've hit 7 homers. They could catch or pass us. But they also might not, so for the time being, we're in the lead.


March 9th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

I'm not going to predict OSU is going to fill it's class out with 5 stars, but I'm also not going to assume 3 stars.  By effectively punishing OSU for having unfilled scholarships, the assumption is that those spots will be filled be 3 stars (or less - maybe it's zero stars) 

The assumption I'm arguing for is this: that OSU will fill out their class to a normal number.  Michigan will too.  Both will have a similar number of recruits in the end.  THAT is the assumption I'm making that is being ignored in the 'snapshot in time' argument.  I think this is the only reasonable assumption to make.

Your example about home run derby completely ignores the fact that a cap exists.  There is no such cap in home run derby, but there is in recruiting.  OSU can get 5 times it's current number of recruits to get to 25, MIchigan can't get to 70.  OSU can add 20 more recruits to get to 25, Michigan can't get to 34.

More importantly - even if one team gets more quantity than another, that says very little about how good their class is, and says more about what their roster needs are.  I, optimistically perhaps, think the day is coming when Michigan is signing classes that are going to be smaller, due to less roster attrition.  That won't make them worse than the 28 person classes other teams bring in.  When someone ranks Illinois 28 person class full of 3.3 star players ahead of Michigan's 19 person class of 4.1 star avg players, I'll find them foolish.


March 9th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^


Data pulled from Rivals. Obviously these rankings are as seniors. The star rating of the first commit is reflected by the row on which it appears.


2012:  5* - 2

          4* - 14  9/1/10 - 1st commit

          3* - 8

         commits by the end of 3/11: 3  (2-4* & 1-3*)

2011:  5* - 1

          4* - 9   8/31/09 1st commit

          3* - 13

          2* - 1

          commits by the end of 3/10  5 (3-4* & 2-3*)


2010: 5* - 0

         4* - 8

         3* - 9  - 9/11/08 1st commit 

         2* - 2 

         commits by the end of 3/09  2 (1-4* & 1-3*)


2009   5 - 2

          4 - 15

          3 - 8    9/1/07

          2 - 0

          commits by the end of 3/08 7 (5-4* & 2 -3*)


Over this period:

        5 -  5*s  5%

      46 - 4*s  50%

      38 - 3*s  41%

        3 - 2*s   3%


So comparing apples to oranges (since we are using junior rankings for 2013). Meyer's first commit was a 5* on 1/19/12 and at this point he has 5 commits with 4 4*s. You could argue that he is on or slightly ahead of pace despite starting late because of his recent hire. 


However, if you want to argue that Ohio can expect to fill out their recruiting class with a overwhelming majority of 4*s or better based on the past performance of the school, the last few years don't support that. Meyer may make that possible not the history of the program under Tressel. 


March 8th, 2012 at 10:51 PM ^

No one is trying to have a discussion with the rankings. And neither Ace or Mat are trying to be predictive. It's just a glimpse at a moment in time. That's why he does it every week. And right now, that's where they rank. And in your example, I'd rank MSU's 24 recruits higher, because even if OSU guys are 7*'s, a team with 24 guys on it is going to beat a team with 5 on it. It's not saying how well these teams will's saying how they've done SO FAR. (would rather italize than cap there, but on mobile)

Mr Miggle

March 9th, 2012 at 8:32 AM ^

is a very strong point. UM didn't offer him because they thought they could get guys they wanted more at his position. Guess what? They did. And Dillard is still out there. OSU is using the same strategy with McCray. But they haven't gotten the LBs they like more and McCray is off the board. The teams might be following the same strategy, but at this point in the process we're ahead.


March 9th, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

Just to throw in a Buckeye's take: Michigan's class should be ranked higher. They've torn it up so far. OSU has obviously gotten some ridiculously good recruits, but not even we would say that 5 awesome recruits can beat out 14 similarly regarded players. When the class numbers are within 4-5 of each other, then we'll discuss.


March 8th, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

Favorite thing about this class is that it's revealing A LOT about Hoke/Borges/Mattison want to do long term (big lineman, tight end heavy, taller receivers, hard hitting quick LBs, etc) 

Mr Mxyzptlk

March 8th, 2012 at 5:16 PM ^

Dukes, Lewis and Dawson are all in Scout's top 300.  Last year all of the recruits in the top 300 on Scout were ranked as 4-stars.  So, I would expect all have a good chance at getting their 4th star by the end of the recruiting cycle.