This year, recruiting in college football is looking extremely different compared to previous years. Due to COVID-19 putting the world on pause all face-to-face interactions have been suspended. While it’s unknown when things will get back to normalcy, recruiting in the college football world hasn’t slowed down one bit. Although face-to-face interactions have been prohibited, coaches and recruits are keeping in contact through social media, phone calls, texts, FaceTime, etc. Let’s take a look at how your favorite team in the Big Ten is recruiting during the national pandemic
Illinois – B1G Rank, No. 14
As of now, the Lovie Smith’s Fighting Illini is dead last in the Big Ten in recruiting for the 2021 class. Their lone commit Samari Collier is a dual-threat quarterback that hails from Desoto, Texas. His composite ranking is .8336.
Indiana – B1G Rank, No. 11
The Hoosiers may be at No.11 now, but when the 2021 class fills out, it could be one of their best yet. They have five commits, and their top-rated player Cooper Jones (DE) from Valparaiso, IN has a composite score of .8839.
Iowa – B1G Rank, No. 4
Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes are in a great position at the No. 4 spot. To no surprise, they have nine commits, with OG Connor Colby from Cedar Rapids, IA being their top recruit. Colby’s composite score is .9154 and they also have two athletes in Justin Sullivan and Cooper DeJean that have the makeup to be instant impact players.
Maryland – B1G Rank, No. 3
Last season didn’t go as planned for the Terps, but head man Mike Locksley is making waves in recruiting for the 2021 class. Maryland has ten total commits, and to no surprise, this class is headlined by four DMV natives Demiioun Robinson and Taizse Johnson, Antwain Littleton, and ZionAngelo Shockley. Robinson, who has a composite score of .9763 is the highest rated out of the group. At this rate, Locksley and his staff are on the path to take the next step in the Big Ten. Look out.
Michigan – B1G Rank, No. 6
If you look at James T. Yoder’s and former All-American Jourdan Lewis’ twitter pages, it will tell you that Michigan isn’t doing well at recruiting. In year five, Harbaugh continues to show that he is not the elite recruiter that he needs to be for Michigan to become an elite program. While it’s still early, Michigan has seven commits, highlighted by five-star J.J. McCarthy who has a whopping composite score of .9899. One interesting thing to pay attention to with the 2021 class is how the state of Michigan is recruited. With Giovanni El-Hadi committing in April of 2019, the Wolverines seemed like they were in a prime position own the state. Since then, it’s been quiet with recruiting the home state up until Detroit Cass Tech’s Raheem Anderson pledged his commitment to the Wolverines. Anderson’s commitment ended a drought where the Wolverines did not have an in-state commit in over a year for the 2021 class.
Michigan State – B1G Rank, No. 13
Head coach Mel Tucker got a late start as he was hired a few months ago. Tucker is taking a page out of Mark Dantonio’s book in recruiting three-star recruits with the focus on coaching them up to maximize their potential. The 2021 class is highlighted by hometown hero OT Ethan Boyd, who has a .8577 composite score. Given the state of MSU football, I don’t see the 2021 class making much improvement. This rebuilding process will take longer than what many expect, but will Tucker get the time to get the job done?
Minnesota – B1G Rank, No. 8
The boats are still rowing in Minnesota after an 11-win season and they are using that momentum in recruiting the 2021 class. The Gophers have eight commits highlighted by dual-threat quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, who’s composite score is .9013
Nebraska – B1G Rank, No. 9
Last year didn’t go as planned for Scott Frost, but in recruiting he is making his mark. Frost’s 2020 class was No.4 in the B1G, and now they are No.9 with just four commits, highlighted by ATH Randolph Kpai who’s composite score is .9300. The Cornhuskers will get a wave of commits within a few months and that would likely put them in the top 5 in the conference.
Northwestern – B1G Rank, No. 12
Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats are in familiar territory at No.12. This class is highlighted by in-state LB Mac Uihlein and Michigan’s own Caleb Tiernan, who have composite scores of .9050 and .9005 respectively.
Ohio State – B1G Rank, No. 1
It seems like Director of Player of Personnel Mark Pantoni is tweeting out “BOOM” every second. While it may appear that way, it’s evident that Ryan Day & Co. are far and away the best team in the B1G when it comes to recruiting. The 2021 class is highlighted by DE Jack Sawyer, who’s composite score of .9987. In addition to Sawyer, fellow five-star recruits TreVeyon Henderson (RB), Kyle McCord (QB) are big-time gets and to no surprise, the Buckeyes are in the mix to get a few more five-star recruits. The Buckeyes are the epitome of the saying “the rich get richer” as they have 11 top 100 commits, which is more than the SEC, ACC, B1G, Pac-12, and Big 12.
Penn State – B1G Rank, No. 7
James Franklin has been a recruiting dynamo at Penn State and in 2021 that will continue to be the trend. As of now, they are No.7, but with only 7 commits, they will rise in the rankings. Franklin and his staff are doing his usual damage in the DMV as the class is highlighted by OT Landon Tengwall who’s composite score is .9771. On top of that, Franklin is starting to plant flags in Detroit as he got three commits from Jalen Reed, Kobe, and Kalen King, who are all players that held offers from just about every Big Ten school.
Purdue – B1G Rank, No. 10
Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers are sitting at No. 10, but they will jump a few spots. As of now, the only have five commits, which is highlighted by their newest commit Bryon Threats who has a composite score of .8627. Purdue is sneaky when it comes to recruiting and given the success with their past two classes, they will have a few sleepers from Detroit, and other surrounding areas in the Midwest to round out their class.
Rutgers – B1G Rank, No. 5
Greg Schiano isn’t playing games as Scarlet Knights are No. 5 in the conference. While they may not stay that high, it has to be positive to see them not associated with being in last place in any aspect. This class is highlighted by in-state talent Khayri Banton (LB), who has a composite score of .9013.
Wisconsin – B1G Rank, No. 2
The Wisconsin Badgers aren’t a sexy program, they just do everything the right way. Whether it’s their style of play or the way they recruit, they do it with a blue-collar approach. The Badgers is usually a top-five program in the conference when it comes to recruiting and that will likely remain the case for the 2021 class. This Badgers class has the makings of being a special one as it is highlighted by OT JP Benzschawel whose composite score is .9446.
by: Ron Hampston