Wisconsin football team in huddle
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Who Has Gained and Lost Ground in Big Ten Recruiting Lately?

September 22, 2020

Football is in focus now that the Big Ten is coming back. The dead period continues for the foreseeable future. A lot has happened in Big Ten recruiting over the last few months. Teams have settled in to fully virtual recruiting at this point. Let’s take a look into a few topics that have been ongoing throughout this cycle conference wide.

Best in Class

Ohio State continues to pace the conference and is in range for the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. The Huskers game-one opponent has not slowed down one bit in recruiting under Ryan Day. They have possibly widened the recruiting gap on the conference. Alabama made a charge through the extended dead period to challenge them for the No. 1 spot while flipping one of Ohio State’s defensive back prospects. The Buckeyes have a staggering four 5-stars and 12 4-stars in their 19-man class.

Fast Starters

Remember when Iowa and Minnesota got off to fast starts in the 2021 cycle? Minnesota was hanging around a top 10 class at one point. That start was powered by double-digit commitments between April and May. The Gophers have since lost considerable momentum with a handful of decommitments. Minnesota has one commitment since May. Iowa’s class is powered by in-state prospects in a deep year in the state. After a fast start by the Hawkeyes they have slowed down as well. Rivals has Nebraska with the 17th-ranked class, Iowa with the 23rd-ranked class and Minnesota at No. 29. 247Sports has things a bit tighter; Iowa at No. 21, Nebraska at No. 22 and Minnesota at No. 27.

Team to Watch

No one around the conference wants to see what happens if Wisconsin starts recruiting at a high level. If the Badgers can match their recruiting with development they will become even more dangerous as a program. Here are the three years of conference recruiting rankings for Wisconsin.

  • 2020-5
  • 2019-6
  • 2018-7

Paul Chryst currently has the Badgers in the third spot in the conference. If that holds it will be the team’s highest finish since Nebraska joined the league. It won’t surprise anyone that the Badgers’ three highest-ranked players are all offensive linemen. That includes 5-star Nolan Rucci. After that is outside linebacker TJ Bollers. Look out for the Badgers to become a national-championship contender if this continues.

What About Nebraska?
The Huskers are in an interesting spot right now. The class is almost complete for the Huskers. Yet they are much closer to surging like Wisconsin versus faltering like Minnesota. There should be a late run of defensive players to round out the Huskers class. The team still has no defensive linemen in the class and would like to add at least one linebacker. There is also room for another defensive back in the class. A top 15 class is in the distance for Nebraska if everything falls right but it will take some work.

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