Big Ten Football Recruiting Power Rankings

Written by Lloyd Ribner III (@Ribner3

The college football season has begun, however that is not the only thing that started recently, as coaches are now allowed to contact prospective 2015 recruits. However, our rankings only include the class at hand. Nebraska was the only school to add a commitment to their 2014 class this past week. Heading into the month of September, the Big Ten as a whole is struggling. The conference continues to be labeled as the “Big Two & Little 12”, and it is a rather accurate description of the recruiting landscape in the conference. Things have been slow around the conference as far as recruiting is concerned, and that bug has bit the Hoosiers as well. Indiana has not received a commitment since July when both Nick Carovillano and Jermane Conyers both pulled the trigger on the same day.

Without further ado, here are your Big Ten Recruiting Rankings:

Big Ten Recruiting Breakdown.png
Delroy Baker put a bunch of smiles on the faces of the Hoosier coaching staff when he committed to Indiana back in June.   

Delroy Baker put a bunch of smiles on the faces of the Hoosier coaching staff when he committed to Indiana back in June.


14. Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers are in the cellar of the Big Ten as far as 2014 recruiting is concerned. They have the second lowest overall star average while receiving just ten commitments as of Tuesday. The Hoosiers won big, albeit against an FCS foe.  Putting up 73 points should turn the heads of some recruits out there and peak their interest. The Hoosiers should have many of their key recruits in town in a few weeks for their night game against Missouri.

Key Commit: Delroy Baker, OT, 6’6” 275, Ocala, FL






13. Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Gophers still only have six commitments, the lowest total of any Big Ten program. However, the players they do have combine to push their overall star average to 3.08, better than six other programs in the conference. Numbers will not allow this to be a very big class, so there shouldn’t be much panic amongst Gopher fans. The Gophers took care of business last week against UNLV and will head on the road to face an eminently beatable New Mexico State team. Minnesota’s next big recruiting weekend should be September 28th when they play the Hawkeyes.

Key Commit: Dimonic McKinzy, QB, 6’1” 210, Kansas City, KS

12. Purdue Boilermakers

Darrell Hazell has had a few scores on the recruiting trail, but he has mostly struggled so far. That carried onto the field this weekend as the Boilermakers were spanked 42-7 by Cincinnati. The Jim Tressel disciple is getting close to landing his first recruit out of the state of Ohio in Cincinnati Colerain receiver Travon Hudson. The three-star receiver plans to announce his decision within the next few weeks and Purdue is thoroughly in the mix. They host Indiana State this weekend, so expect most recruits to skip it in favor of the Notre Dame game the following week.

Key Commit: David Blough, QB, 6’1” 180, Carrollton, TX

11. Illinois Fighting Illini


The end of July was good to the Illini as far as recruiting is concerned, but since then it has been ugly. Tim Beckman is on the hot seat, and his team’s week one scare again Southern Illinois didn’t do him any favors. Both on the sidelines and in the recruiting game it seems as if Beckman is over his head. Amazingly enough he has made the Illini fans miss Ron Zook. Illinois will hope to have better luck against Cincinnati this weekend than Purdue did last Saturday. 

Key Commit: Tyrin Stone-Davis, WR, 6’3” 195, Woodland Hills, CA

10. Maryland Terrapins

Maryland may be playing their games in the ACC, however the players they are recruiting will be playing their colligate ball in the Big Ten. While the Terps are currently near the bottom of our rankings, don’t expect them to finish here. They have some top-level talent already on board, and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is doing everything he can to add even more. One of the nations top recruiters will look to finish the class out strong. Most of Maryland’s targets, including five-stars Damian Prince and Jalen Tabor, are holding off their official visits for their late October game against Clemson.

Key Commit: Jesse Aniebonam, DE, 6’4” 230, Olney, MD

9. Iowa Hawkeyes

Playmaker Jay Scheel will bring some much needed athleticism to Iowa City.

Playmaker Jay Scheel will bring some much needed athleticism to Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes put up a good fight against Northern Illinois, a BCS team from last season, but were unable to pick up a victory to kick the season off at home. They did pick up an in-state commitment for their 2015 class this week, however that is not a part of these rankings. This coming week the Hawkeyes host Missouri State; so don’t expect that all that many recruits will want to make the trip to Iowa City for that matchup. Once again, lots of dollars and very little results, especially on the recruiting trail, for Kirk Ferentz.

Key Commit: Jay Scheel, ATH, 6’1” 170, La Porte City, IA

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers

While this might come as a surprise to many that Nebraska could sit so low in the rankings, there is a rational behind it. With Lincoln being in such a remote location it is hard to bring commits in for unofficial visits, so many who are interested in playing for the Huskers wait until their senior year to make the trip. The Cornhuskers should see themselves moving up the rankings rather soon after their recent 4-star commitment of defensive lineman Peyton Newell. In addition a few others potentially coming down the shoot as both Joshua Kalue and Madre London, both Nebraska leans, are visiting this weekend.

Key Commit: Peyton Newell, DT, 6’2” 282, Hiawatha, KS

7. Wisconsin Badgers

D.J. Gillins, the number four dual-threat quarterback in the nation, will take his talents to Madison for new head coach Gary Andersen. 

D.J. Gillins, the number four dual-threat quarterback in the nation, will take his talents to Madison for new head coach Gary Andersen. 

Gary Andersen has done a good job thus far in year one picking up right where former head coach Bret Bielema left off when he departed for SEC territory. While they do not compete with the upper echelon of the conference, the Badgers have shown that they can recruit well. The key will be to show that just because the staff of the teams that went to three straight Rose Bowls has left, doesn’t mean that the winning ways have as well. The Badgers put up a massive performance in week one, albeit against UMass. Next weeks game against Tennessee Tech doesn’t provide any tougher of a test, and while usually teams don’t bring in a bevy of recruits to matchups like this, Wisconsin has decided to do just the opposite. The Badgers will have many of their top targets come to Madison for the game including four-star tight end Ryan Izzo.

Key Commit: D.J. Gillins, QB, 6’3” 185, Jacksonville, FL

6. Northwestern Wildcats

After a strong start, the Wildcats have gone quiet on the recruiting trail. They could get off the schnide however, if they are able to lock in, four-star lock down corner Parrker Westphal. Once considered a Michigan lean, looks now as if he will be playing his college football in Evanston. The Wildcats took care of business on the west coast, and return home to take on another BCS level program in Syracuse.

Key Commit: Justin Jackson, RB, 5’11” 180, Carol Stram, IL

5. Michigan State

The Spartans have been quiet for quite some time, following the conference trend, however they could still finish very strong. It looks as if Chicago product, four-star Nyles Morgan could end up in Spartan green when all is said and done. In addition Michigan State has another prospect in Montae Nicholson visiting campus this weekend, as they take on South Florida, and will try and woo him from the Nittany Lions’ grasp. Most of the in-state recruits will be headed to Ann Arbor to take in the Wolverines taking on Notre Dame.

Key Commit: Chris Durkin, QB, 6’4” 216, Youngstown, OH

4. Penn State Nittany Lions

Bill O’Brien and his staff have done an excellent job dealing with the limited number of scholarships as well as selling a program that cannot go to a bowl game. Penn State can only give out 15 scholarships in 2015; however, there are ways to increase that number with early enrollees. They do have a bunch of big targets still in play including Montae Nicholson. Mike Gesicki, Quadree Ollison and Thomas Holly are also potential big scores for the Lions. None of those top prospects are planning to come to State College for next weeks game against Eastern Michigan. However, when Michigan comes to town in mid-October, expect to see a ton of talent watching the game.

Key Commit: DeAndre Thompkins, WR, 6’0” 170, Swansboro, NC

3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

While it might be a surprise to some more traditional Big Ten fans to see Rutgers so far up the rankings, Kyle Flood and his staff have been among the hottest staffs in the conference. The Scarlet Knight hope they will able to continue their winning ways as one of their top targets, Noah Brown, takes a visit to Ohio State this weekend. The Buckeyes will be looking to close hard this weekend and secure a commitment before he leaves Columbus. On the other hand Rutgers will look to once again show that their fence around the Garden State is becoming stronger and stronger. The Scarlet Knights have more commitments than any other Big Ten program, checking in with 23. With that many players on board, and the numbers game starting to become an issue, don’t expect much more news out of Piscataway.

Key Commit: Saeed Blacknall, WR, 6’3” 210, Englishtown, NJ

2. Michigan Wolverines

A consensus top-5 player in the nation, Jabrill Peppers showed off his personality by rocking the winged helmet when he committed to Michigan.

A consensus top-5 player in the nation, Jabrill Peppers showed off his personality by rocking the winged helmet when he committed to Michigan.

As per usual under Brady Hoke, the Wolverines got off to a blistering start with a plethora of commitments early in the 2014 cycle. After filling up the majority of the class the pace has slowed as Michigan is only expected to take a few more prospects. Their top targets are Da’Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell. This weekend should be a huge one for the Wolverines both on and off the field, as it is the last time that Michigan will host Notre Dame at The Big House for the foreseeable future. The players who will be in the stands should be equally intriguing as both the five-star Hand and four-star McDowell should be on hand. While not a part of these rankings a large group of 2015 targets should also be in attendance.

Key Commit: Jabrill Peppers, ATH, 6’1” 205, Paramus, NJ

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Dante Booker will have an Ohio State letterman's jacket of his own next year.

Dante Booker will have an Ohio State letterman's jacket of his own next year.

The Buckeyes once again lead the way as far as Big Ten recruiting is concerned. The Buckeyes have held the lead for quite some time now since they took over the lead after the Wolverines sprinted out to their fast start. Three of the four services we looked at have Ohio State at the top of the conference, with just ESPN, who in my opinion is the clear number four in my recruiting sites power rankings. As noted in the Rutgers section, Noah Brown is supposed to be visiting this coming weekend and the Buckeyes will try and snag a commitment before he leaves town. With the Buckeyes playing a rather uninspired non-conference schedule many targets visits are being pushed back and will make their trips to Columbus for either the Wisconsin or Penn State games.

Key Commit: Dante Booker, OLB, 6’3” 212, Akron, OH