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Hot Reads: Recapping a Quiet Second Signing Day in the Big Ten

February 07, 2019

"I think this is probably where we’ll land going forward and I think most people will," Scott Frost said of a quiet second signing day on Wednesday that saw the Huskers add one new player to the 2019 class. "I think people are landing there because that’s the trend right now."

It might be more than a trend. It might just be the reality of this new recruiting calendar. On the day after the first day of early signing in December, I took a look at how recruiting went in the Big Ten West Division. I did the same for the East a day later.

Very little changed in the weeks since. Nebraska was one of just four schools in the Big Ten that actually saw its ranking in the 247Sports Composite improve. The Huskers added two 4-stars, safety Noa Pola-Gates and wide receiver Demariyon Houston, in the second signing period, rising from 24th in the team rankings on Dec. 20 to 20th today. That still ranks fourth in the Big Ten.

Here's a quick update on how late signing went for the rest of the conference.

MICHIGAN (8th 247 Composite, +0 spots from Dec.) | The Wolverines stood pat with their class and held on to the top class in the Big Ten. The Big Ten's only top-10 class. Five-star defensive back Daxton Hill is a name to know.

PENN STATE (13th, -5) | The Nittany Lions welcomed three late additions––one a local 2-star, another a German defensive tackle––but dropped five spots in the national rankings. That was more a matter of getting passed. Linebacker Brandon Smith is the top-rated recruit in Penn State's class.

OHIO STATE (14th, -2) | The Buckeyes had one big signing-day addition, 4-star offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi. Ohio State's class ranking is uncommon for the Buckeyes, but this is still the most talented class in the conference on a per-player basis.

PURDUE (25th, +0) | The Boilermakers added the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year, wide receiver David Bell, at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January. That was it for Purdue in the second signing period, but it was a nice finale for the best class in program history.

WISCONSIN (27th, +0) | No movement or additions for the Badgers, though this is still one of the better classes at Wisconsin in years.

MICHIGAN STATE (30th, -2) | The Spartans made one nice addition––4-star wide receiver Tre'Von Morgan–but held steady in the rankings for the most part.

INDIANA (38th, +2) | The Hoosiers added two depth-providing signees in the late period and rose a couple of spots. It's hard to get noticed in the East, but I like a lot of the things Tom Allen is doing here. Indiana could be a tough out for teams in the near future.

IOWA (40th, -1) | The Hawkeyes added a couple of athletes from Florida in the later period, dropped a spot in the national rankings and still moved up in the Big Ten rankings thanks to . . .

MINNESOTA (42nd, -7) | The Gophers added 3-star wide receiver Gervarrius Owens in January, but got passed by a few schools. This is still Minnesota's best class since 2009.

NORTHWESTERN (50th, -4) | The Wildcats added a 2-star running back and that's it.

MARYLAND (59th, +24) | New head coach Mike Locksley had a ton of work to do, and did what he had to do. Maryland added 11 players in the late period and flipped 4-star quarterback Lance LeGendre from Florida State. Don't be surprised if the Terps' 2020 class ranks in the top four in the Big Ten.

RUTGERS (60th, +0) | The Scarlet Knights added a pair of in-state prospects and remained right where they were in the rankings in late December.

ILLINOIS (62nd, +4) | The Illini signed 13 players, including a pair of linebackers added in January. The talent level is good, but with a class this size there's not a lot of room to be wrong on guys.

And that, as a whole, seems like it's going to be the standard sort of late-signing period, at least in the Big Ten, going forward. Most schools sign a guy or two unless it has hired a new coaching staff (i.e. Maryland) and they have to scramble to fill a class from a drastically reduced pool of players.

The first position isn't terribly interesting, but it's a whole lot better than the second.

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