Best Class: Ohio State (No. 2 nationally, 0.9273 247Sports Composite Rating) Of the Buckeyes 23 commits, 18 hold at least four-star status, led by the nation’s top inside linebacker in Raekwon McMillan and the country’s No. 2 outside linebacker in Dante Booker. Speed, speed and more speed for Urban Meyer and his staff as Top247 playmakers Curtis Samuel, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Noah Brown and Terry McLaurin bring more big-play ability and explosiveness to the offense in Columbus. Ohio State is bringing in a balanced class with difference makers at every position, including Top100 offensive lineman Jamarco Jones, who gave Michigan State a late look but signed with the Buckeyes.
Raekwon headlines a talented LB class for Ohio State.
Surprise Class: Northwestern will sign its first Top50 class in 247Sports Composite Ratings history, which currently dates back to 2009, headlined by three Top247 Chicago-area prospects in cornerback Parrker Westphal, the school’s first ever early enrollee, running back Justin Jackson and quarterback Clayton Thorson. Pat Fitzgerald and his staff are bringing in 16 prospects, with Top247 tight end/outside linebacker Garrett Dickerson also one of the jewels headed to Evanston.
Sleeper Class: The Illini class ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten, but there are instant impact guys that can help push Illinois into a bowl game for the first time since Tim Beckman has taken over in Champaign. Illinois addressed several needs in this class going the JUCO route, led by a pair of receivers in Tyrin Stone-Davis (ranked No. 3 nationally) and Geronimo Allison (No. 13). Four-star defensive tackle Jihad Ward is the class’s top recruit, as he checks in as the country’s No. 2 JUCO defensive tackle and No. 6 prospect overall. The Illini have 19 in the fold including U.S. Army All-American center Nick Allegretti.
Best Recruiting Win: The Buckeyes held off a late charge from Alabama and Clemson to land the five-star McMillan, who also turned his back on in-state Georgia and Auburn for Ohio State.
Best Recruiter: The lead recruiter on Samuel and Brown along with four-star offensive lineman Demetrius Knox, Ohio State offensive line coach Ed Warinner played a big role in keeping Jones in the fold down the stretch, while also helping flip offensive tackle Brady Taylor from Virginia Tech. Warriner is listed as the secondary recruiter for four-star offensive linemen Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout as well.
Best Recruiter Effort: Michigan State offensive line coach Mark Staten was the primary recruiter on all seven of his commits, including landing and then keeping Top247 athlete Montae Nicholson in the fold, touted center Brian Allen, and running back Madre London. Staten went and got players from Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Florida in this class.
Best Recruit: Five-star athlete Jabrill Peppers heads to Michigan as the nation’s No. 3 prospect overall. He has the ability to be a difference maker as a defensive back, running back and return man in Ann Arbor, but is expected to begin his career in the secondary. The fantastic football talent is also an outstanding student.
Sleeper Recruit: Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest athlete Simmie Cobbs went under the radar because state transfer rules kept him from playing his junior season, but the Indiana bound specimen has the size at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds and athleticism to be an impact player at receiver, defensive back or linebacker in the Big Ten. Had Cobbs played his junior season, he more than likely would’ve held several more offers.
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