How did the Big Ten teams stack up in recruiting for 2016?
The Big Ten is trending up entering the 2016 season, and National Signing Day did nothing to slow the momentum from the 2015 campaign for the league’s top teams. Ohio State and Michigan were two of National Signing Day’s biggest winners, as the Wolverines and Buckeyes landed top-five classes and two of the three five-star prospects entering the conference. Both teams should be playoff contenders next fall, with a handful of freshmen expected to make an immediate impact. Although Ohio State and Michigan won the headlines on Signing Day, Michigan State (No. 20 national average class rank) and Penn State (No. 20.75 average class rank) also picked up solid classes.
One of the Big Ten’s underrated winners of Signing Day was Nebraska. Despite a 6-7 record in coach Mike Riley’s first season, the Cornhuskers signed the Big Ten’s No. 5 recruiting class. Additionally, the No. 24 rank in the 247Sports Composite was the program’s highest mark since a No. 22 finish in 2013. Nebraska signed five four-star recruits according to the 247Sports Composite, which is nearly as many as it inked from 2014-15 (six). The Cornhuskers have signed the best recruiting class in the Big Ten West Division over the last two seasons. That’s a positive sign for Riley and this program moving into 2016.
The Big Ten’s four new full-time coaches had their share of ups and downs on the recruiting trail this season. Two programs Illinois (Bill Cubit) and Rutgers (Chris Ash) finished outside of the top 65 nationally in the consensus rankings among the four major services. Maryland’s D.J. Durkin signed the No. 8 consensus class in the Big Ten but missed on keeping a couple of touted local prospects at home. Minnesota’s Tracy Claeys guided the program to a No. 48 finish in the 247Sports Composite, which is the highest mark for the Golden Gophers over the last five seasons.
To recap National Signing Day, Athlon Sports is taking a look at the top recruiting classes by each league. The national rankings from the four major scouting services – Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN – were used to compile a consensus average, which we used to rank teams in each league. Additionally, the number of three, four and five-star recruits signed by each team are indicated in the table from the 247Sports Composite.
Big Ten 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings