The 2019 recruiting class will produce some interesting storylines for a lot of the programs around the Big Ten. Nebraska's class is off to a solid start with 16 commits, but what about the rest of the conference?
Here are five recruiting classes to keep an eye on in the Big Ten throughout the season.
Every year under coach Urban Meyer, Ohio State has been a recruiting juggernaut. Meyer has recruited the fifth, second, third, seventh, fourth, second and second-ranked classes nationally in his time with the Buckeyes. Ohio State is on track for yet another top-five class in the nation for 2019. Right now, they even have five 4-star players and a 5-star player committed for their 2020 class.
The big question surrounding the program: will Urban Meyer still be around to steer the ship? The Buckeyes will likely be fine recruiting-wise in the long run because they are Ohio State. There would be a short-term effect on their recruiting should they part ways with Meyer, though. That will be interesting to watch as more news is known from Columbus.
James Franklin has quietely continued to load up Penn State’s roster with blue-chip talent. On the national level, Franklin sometimes doesn't appear to receive the credit he deserves for the level he is recruiting at. To compare, Clemson gets a lot of love for how much talent the team has. The last two recruiting classes, Penn State has out-recruited the Tigers.
Keeping an eye on the Nittany Lions for the 2019 class isn’t about whether or not can out-recruit most in the conference. It’s whether or not they can keep up with the Oklahomas, Alabamas and Georgias of the college football world.
The Michigan Wolverines are a big national brand. Since Jim Harbaugh has taken over the program, he has made sure to not let anyone forget that with trips overseas for spring football and plenty of other antics. Is the shine wearing off of Harbaugh on the recruiting trail, though?
In 2018, the Michigan class ranked 21st nationally (just behind North Carolina and two slots ahead of Tennessee and Nebraska who both went through coaching changes). That class came on the heels of a monster class of 30 prospects that was ranked fifth nationally. Where the Wolverines land this season will go a long way toward showing just how much juice Harbaugh has left in living rooms.
The common thought around the Wisconsin football program is the Badgers just recruit players that fit their system and develop them. While that has been true for the most part under head coach Paul Chryst, the Badgers got off to a hot start in the 2019 recruiting class. At one point this summer, Wisconsin had a top 10 class and was the talk of the recruiting world. Other teams are catching up though, and the Badgers have lost a couple of commits.
Does Wisconsin need to recruit better nationally to truly take the next step and become a College Football Playoff contender? Or, will the Badgers be able to keep relying on development as teams like Nebraska and Northwestern get better? Those are the questions for 2019.
Coach Jeff Brohm has something brewing in West Lafayette. In the 2018 class, Purdue ranked 11thin the Big Ten, which might not look like a lot of progress. However, in 2017 the Boilermakers ranked 14th in the Big Ten. Nationally in 2018, Purdue was 51st, which was up from 72nd in 2017.
Some think the Class of 2019 could be a Top 25 class for Brohm. If Purdue can start recruiting consistent Top 25 classes to go along with Brohm’s coaching ability, the Boilermakers will become a thorn in the side of Big Ten opponents very quickly.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.