Big Ten Recruiting Roundup (03.16.17): Nittany Lions Leading the Charge

By Nick Polak on March 16, 2017 at 9:00 am
James Franklin

Alex Robinson


With spring practices kicking off across the conference, recruiting figures to pick up as prospects hit the road to check out workouts, and spring games. Before they do, here is where the league's 14 members stand.

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


Penn State

11 0.9335 91% ★★★★★ WDE Micah Parsons (0.9986)
★★★★ APB Ricky Slade (0.9832)
★★★★ DUAL Justin Fields (0.9795)
★★★★ TE Zack Kuntz (0.9670)
★★★★ WR Justin Shorter (0.9585)


Ohio State

4 0.9784 100% ★★★★★ DUAL Emory Jones (0.9840)
★★★★ S Jaiden Woodbey (0.9818)
★★★★ APB Jaelen Gill (0.9815)
★★★★ RB Brian Snead (0.9662)



6 0.8513 17% ★★★★ SDE Devin O'Rourke (0.9210)
★★★ PRO Jason Whittaker (0.8670)
★★★ ATH Charlie Mangieri (0.8388)
★★★ TE Brian Kaiser (0.8329)
★★★ OG Charles Schmidt (0.8316)



6 0.8433 0% ★★★ S Reggie Pearson Jr. (0.8570)
★★★ SDE Boyd Dietzen (0.8529)
★★★ PRO Ben Bryant (0.8527)
★★★ S Trent Ingalls (0.8500)
★★★ ILB C.J. Goetz (0.8255)



5 0.8496 0% ★★★ DT Elijah Teague (0.8637)
★★★ CB Terell Smith (0.8516)
★★★ DUAL Brennan Armstrong (0.8463)
★★★ CB Benjamin Sapp III (0.8444)
★★★ OT Jalen Mayfield (0.8422)


Michigan State

4 0.8831 50% ★★★★ TE Trenton Gillison (0.9152)
★★★★ ATH Xavier Henderson (0.9150)
★★★ PRO Theo Day (0.8627)
★★★ CB Christian Jackson (0.8396)



3 0.9347 100% ★★★★ OG Emil Ekiyor (0.9517)
★★★★ OLB Otis Reese (0.9275)
★★★★ SDE Aidan Hutchinson (0.9248)




3 0.9126 67% ★★★★ TE Cameron Jurgens (0.9484)
★★★★ WR Eric Fuller (0.9443)
★★★ DT Masry Mapieu (0.8450)




2 0.8289 0% ★★★ OG Jeffrey Jenkins (0.8316)
★★★ OLB Mike Bruner (0.8262)




1 0.7999 0% ★★★ S Jordan Jusevitch (0.7999)




0 - 0%  



0 - 0%  



0 - 0%  



0 - 0%  

Breaking Down Borders: Ohio Edition

Obviously Penn State's 2018 class is leading the way thus far. With a whopping 11 committed recruits carrying a 91% blue chip rating, that's hardly surprising. We know by now about what the Nittany Lions have done on the trail to this point, so let's take a closer look at the biggest threat to their spot atop the board- Ohio State.

The Buckeyes are primed to pull in yet another top-three recruiting class when all is said and done. Urban Meyer has his sights set on another group of five-star players, many of whom will end up choosing to attend school in Columbus. One big question surrounding this class for Ohio State, however, is how much they will dip into their local state talent.

As outlined by our friends over at Eleven Warriors, there is a ton of talent in Ohio in the 2018 cycle. As Meyer and the Buckeyes have continued to grow stronger, though, they have been bringing in higher and higher percentages of out-of-state kids, particularly from the coach's former stomping grounds in Florida. Meyer himself has said he wants the classes to end up as 50/50 splits, half Ohioans, half from elsewhere. Is Meyer prepared to take on some Ohio-based players who aren't quite as nationally-touted as others just to try to hold firm on that ratio?

The answer, likely, is no. For a program that has a better "path to the NFL" than anyone, save Alabama, the interest from top-end players isn't going away. And considering the greatest glut of talent still resides in the south, the out-of-state trend may not be going away.

Why does this matter for Penn State? It's simple, really. As Meyer and his staff continue to be forced into looking at the very best of the best, regardless of their home state (boy, what an awful problem to have), it's simply an inevitability that some talented Ohioans will continue to fall through the cracks. Some of those names to watch for Penn State include DT Aeneas Hawkins, OLB Dallas Gant, DE/DT Tyreke Smith, OLB Xavier Peters and OG Blaine Scott.

Sparty Starting Strong

Michigan State may only sit sixth in the rankings right now, but with two four-stars already in the class, both from Ohio no less, Sparty looks primed to bring in another solid class in 2018. They need to bring in more than just another four-star tight end (they got one of those in 2017, too), but they're certainly off to a great start, all things considered.

What About The Bottom-Feeders?

Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers and Illinois don't have any commits yet. But guess what? That's okay! Kind of.

For Rutgers, Purdue, and Illinois, the bottom is familiar territory. Yes, Rutgers had a strong class in 2017, but overall these three teams are used to finishing near the bottom of the barrel in the conference.

Maryland, though, is an interesting case. The Terps were the beneficiaries of the "new coach bump" in 2017, bringing in a fantastic class. Now, in order to continue bringing in higher-level recruits, D.J. Durkin and his staff have to begin to make good on the vision they've shared with prospects and their families. This could mean that Maryland's 2017 class will move more slowly than past years as recruits wait to see the on-field product.

Or it won't. Recruiting is weird, and doesn't make sense 75% of the time. We're all just along for the ride.