Big Ten Recruiting: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State pace the pack

Penn State coach James Franklin yells to his players during an NCAA college football game against Appalachian State on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in State College, Pa. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP)

It’s September, and the real football games are starting. Here’s how the Big Ten recruiting rankings are looking with a couple months of real action ahead.

14. Maryland Terrapins |

National rank: 75

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding Maryland for obvious reasons, and feels like it’ll be hard for them to get substantial momentum going on the trail with coach DJ Durkin’s future up in the air. He’s currently on administrative leave. No one has committed since the explosive ESPN report dropped three weeks ago, but three-star defensive end Parker Moorer decommitted. There’s some talent in the class, highlighted by three-star corner Tayvion Land, but it remains to be seen what happens.

13. Illinois Fighting Illini |

National rank: 58

The headliners in the class are still obviously four-stars Marquez Beason and Isaiah Williams, and that duo gives coach Lovie Smith a pair of top-100 recruits. The Illini didn’t pick up any new commits in August.

12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights |

National rank: 57

Rutgers has nine in-state commitments in its class of 13, and it’s highlighted by dual-threat quarterback Zamar Wise, a three-star who has been committed for almost a year. Pleasantville (N.J.) three-star linebacker Mohamed Toure, a three-star prospect, is the newest addition to the fold.

11. Indiana Hoosiers |

National rank: 49

After a loud June, the summer was quieter for Indiana. But the Hoosiers did add another commitment in August. Three-star wide receiver Jordan Jakes, a 6-foot-5 prospect, joined the fold from powerhouse St. Frances in Baltimore. Indiana has 14 commits, and five hail from Florida.

10. Northwestern Wildcats |

National rank: 47

Northwestern beat out a conference rival when three-star offensive tackle Zachary Franks flipped his commitment from Penn State to the Wildcats. Franks is the No. 86 offensive tackle nationally, and he’s the 15th member of a class that includes three other offensive linemen.

9. Iowa Hawkeyes |

National rank: 41

The Hawkeyes held tight with their 14-man class. In-state four-star offensive linemen Ezra Miller and Tyler Endres – the Nos. 1 and 3 prospects in the state, respectively – are still the headliners for coach Kirk Ferentz.

8. Wisconsin Badgers |

National rank: 31

The Badgers are putting together a talented class. As long as five-star offensive tackle Logan Brown and four-star quarterback Graham Mertz are in the fold, it’s going to be a class that can make an impact. Paul Chryst as things on the upswing. Here are the average 247Sports ratings of the prospects in the Classes of 2018, 2019 and 2020: 0.8648, 0.8805 and 0.9232. Things are looking good in Madison.

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers |

National rank: 30

Minnesota has the conference’s largest class with 24 members, and one of them – three-star defensive end MJ Anderson – joined the fold in August. Otherwise, P.J. Fleck has a large influx of youth headed to Minnesota, with Illinois defensive end Jason Bargy ranking as the lone four-star recruit.

6. Nebraska Cornhuskers |

National rank: 28

Scott Frost has things off to a pretty good start. The first-year coach has a talented class, and perhaps most importantly, he’s keeping the top talent home. The Huskers have commitments from four of the top five in-state players with Nebraska linebacker Nick Heinrich leading the way as the class’ top recruit.

5. Michigan State Spartans |

National rank: 24

The Spartans are once again in business with two of the top three recruits in Michigan in their class. Five-star offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs is a huge (literally) get for Mark Dantonio, and six of the class’ top eight players hail from Michigan. It’ll be interesting if Michigan State can make its way further up the rankings during the season.

4. Purdue Boilermakers |

National rank: 25

Purdue is still hanging around here. The Boilermakers have the numbers, with 20 commitments, and the talent, with four four-stars led by local defensive end George Karlaftis, who could wind up as a five-star recruit. Keeping him in the fold is key for coach Jeff Brohm. While some see Brohm as not long for West Lafayette, it is interesting to watch what he builds.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions |

National rank: 15

James Franklin is putting together a class on par with last year’s. The average rating of the Lions’ commits on 247Sports is 0.9131, while it was 0.9170 a year ago. There’s some talent here, with five-star linebacker Brandon Smith leading the way. Four-star quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. and four-star JuCo offensive lineman Anthony Whigan entered the fold in August.

2. Michigan Wolverines |

National rank: 13

Michigan added commitments from a pair of three-stars in August with wide receiver Quintel Kent and defensive tackle Tyrece Woods joining the fold. The headliner is still five-star defensive end Chris Hinton, who has been committed to Michigan for more than a year. It’s worth watching what happens if Michigan can’t quite get things going on the field, though.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes |

National rank: 12

There’s not much of a surprise here. Ohio State found its way back to the top of the rankings. The Buckeyes lost four-star linebacker Kane Patterson in August, but their class still features two five-stars and nine four-stars. Urban Meyer’s future seems fine, for now, and he’s bringing more talent to Columbus.