Big Ten Recruiting Roundup (12.22.16): Ohio State Moving Closer and Closer to History

By Nick Polak on December 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm
Nov 5, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer greets fans on the way to the stadium before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

With National Signing Day just a little over a month away, it's time to check in with the rest of the Big Ten and what progress each program has made going into the frantic final month of recruiting.

2017 Big Ten Recruiting Team Rankings
Rank Team # of Commits Average Rating Blue Chip % Top-5 Commits


Ohio State

17 0.9572 94% OLB Baron Browning (0.9934)
OT Josh Myers (0.9929)
OG Wyatt Davis (0.9900)
CB Shaun Wade (0.9882)
DE Chase Young (0.9876)



24 0.9040 67% WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (0.9924)
PRO Dylan McCaffrey (0.9725)
OC Cesar Ruiz (0.9692)
WDE Luiji Vilain (0.9532)
CB Ambry Thomas (0.9508)


Penn State

18 0.8887 56% CB Lamont Wade (0.9735)
PRO Sean Clifford (0.9234)
OG C.J. Thorpe (0.9185)
SDE Yetur Matos (0.9184)
DT Fred Hansard (0.9179)



28 0.8588 21% CB Deon Jones (0.9337)
OG Marcus Minor (0.9118)
PRO Kasim Hill (0.9067)
OT Jordan McNair (0.8955)
DT Cam Spence (0.8913)


Michigan State

17 0.8604 18% OG Kevin Jarvis (0.9039)
TE Matt Dotson (0.8992)
WR Hunter Rison (0.8900)
OG Jordan Reid (0.8847)
WR Cody White (0.8847)



20 0.8455 15% OT Micah Clark (0.9390)
OLB Tyshon Fogg (0.9079)
WR Bo Melton (0.9077)
DUAL Johnathan Lewis (0.8558)
OT Samuel Vretman (0.8533)



13 0.8734 23% ILB Avery Roberts (0.9282)
PRO Tristan Gebbia (0.9194)
WR Jaevon McQuitty (0.8952)
WR Keyshawn Johnson (0.8893)
DT Deiontae Watts (0.8792)



18 0.8507 0% SDE Earnest Brown (0.8886)
DT Sam Miller (0.8817)
SDE Trevor Kent (0.8797)
S J.R. Pace (0.8624)
OG Rashawn Slater (0.8584)



15 0.8558 7% OG Kayden Lyles (0.9174)
TE Jake Ferguson (0.8883)
OT Tyler Beach (0.8801)
RB Jonathan Taylor (0.8787)
WDE Andrew Van Ginkel (0.8777)



14 0.8554 7% SDE A.J. Epenesa (0.9881)
OT Tristan Wirfs (0.8831)
CB Djimon Colbert (0.8757)
OT Mark Kallenberger (0.8707)
DUAL Peyton Mansell (0.8580)



14 0.8482 0% WR Ricky Smalling (0.8868)
ILB Delshawn Phillips (0.8737)
OG Larry Boyd (0.8721)
WR Carmoni Green (0.8680)
SDE Olalere Oladipo (0.8512)



18 0.8276 0% DT Derrius Mullins (0.8590)
TE Kurt Rafdal (0.8559)
ATH Bryant Fitzgerald (0.8525)
DT Juan Harris (0.8486)
CB Quran Hafiz (0.8481)



17 0.8214 0% CB T.J. Jallow (0.8582)
PRO Nick Sipe (0.8569)
CB Dedrick Mackey (0.8559)
WR Tyler Hamilton (0.8515)
DT Robert Hudson (0.8437)



14 0.8291 0% OT Blaise Andries (0.8857)
DT Joshua Croslen (0.8518)
OT Eric Abojei (0.8422)
RB Dominik London (0.8341)
CB Raheem Layne (0.8231)

Ohio State is an unstoppable machine

You probably already figured that out by just looking at the chart, but the Buckeyes are putting together a historically great recruiting class, and it still has the chance to get even better. With six five-star prospects already committed, and several others still highly considering Ohio State, Urban Meyer is amassing an absurdly talented group of players.

Look at it this way, every non-kicker in the Buckeyes' class of 17 is at least a four-star prospect. That kicker is only a three-star player, but still 247's top kicker in the country. 14 of the 17 players are ranked 141st in the country or higher, and 11 are in the top-59. Ohio State is the second ranked class nationally, but sits just 7.08 points behind Alabama, with eight fewer commitments. Any way you want to slice it, Urban Meyer is putting together a legendary class.

Five-star players need to be coached up just the same as anyone else, but there's a ridiculously strong correlation between high-level recruiting and high-level results on the field. Not every superstar was one a five-star prospect, but these guys are rated this highly for a reason- they're very, very good at football.

The Big Ten is just as top-heavy in recruiting as it is on the field

Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are beginning to pull away from the field in regards to the 2017 class. Not only do they comfortably have the highest average grades for their recruits, but the three stand in stark contrast with the rest of the conference in terms of blue chip percentage (percentage of the class that is made up of four or five star recruits).

Blue chippers represent at least half of all three classes, with no other school even hitting 25% thus far (though Nebraska is very close with a very small class to date). Even on a recruit-by-recruit basis, it's very clear who runs the conference. Take a look at the top-15 Big Ten recruits.

  1. LB Baron Browning (Ohio State) ★★★★★
  2. OT Josh Myers (Ohio State) ★★★★★
  3. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan) ★★★★★
  4. OG Wyatt Davis (Ohio State) ★★★★★
  5. CB Shaun Wade (Ohio State) ★★★★★
  6. SDE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa) ★★★★★
  7. DE Chase Young (Ohio State) ★★★★★
  8. WR Trevon Grimes (Ohio State) ★★★★★
  9. WR Tyjon Lindsey (Ohio State) ★★★★
  10. APB J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) ★★★★
  11. S Isaiah Pryor (Ohio State) ★★★★
  12. CB Lamont Wade (Penn State) ★★★★
  13. PRO-QB Dylan McCaffrey (Michigan) ★★★★
  14. DUAL-QB Tate Martell (Ohio State) ★★★★
  15. OC Cesar Ruiz (Michigan) ★★★★

For those of you keeping score at home, a staggering ten of the top-15 recruits in the conference are Ohio State verbal commitments, and only one player on the list is attending a school other than OSU, Michigan or Penn State.

Suffice to say, the talent gap is only getting wider across the league as a whole, and especially in the East Division.

But will things start to get tougher for Meyer, Harbaugh and Franklin?

All three of the Big Ten's top recruiters have at least one commitment from a blue chip player out of Florida (even if they were only there to play high school football). The sunshine state has long been one of the country's top producers of talent, and being able to pull the occasional highly-ranked player up north is the mark of a great recruiter in the Big Ten.

However, will recent coaching hires make that even more difficult than before?

With ace recruiters Lane Kiffin and Charlie Strong now at FAU and USF, respectively, it's possible that Meyer, Harbaugh, Franklin and others will have to fight even harder for Florida-based recruits. Florida's crop of 2018 recruits will be some of the most interesting to follow in the next cycle.

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