State of the Union: Signing Day 2014

A look around the conference for this year's recruiting class

This was a relatively exciting signing day for the conference, especially compared to the lack of surprises from last year. Can we lay blame on the shoulders of newcomers Maryland and Rutgers? Perhaps...but Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes may have something to say about that.

Illinois

Total commits in the 2014 class: 18

Recruiting class rankings: 72 (Rivals), 70 (247), 71 (Scout); 13th in B1G

Last minute additions: Jeff George (a 2* DE from Indianapolis, IN); Chris James (a 2* CB from Orange, TX)

Last minute subtractions: DB Tyree Stone-Davis, who with his twin brother Tyrin had signed his LOI for the Illini in December as a JuCo transfer. Both brothers weren't able to enroll early due to academics, but all indications are that Tyree won't get his academic house in order in time to be a part of the Illinois football team.

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Jihad Ward, a 3/4* DT from New York City who picked the Illini over a handful of other BCS offers.

Biggest surprise of the year: There weren't really any surprises in this class, aside from the rapid decline in recruiting that the program has taken over the past few years. The Illini have been pretty good about stealing one or two great recruits from another B1G (or SEC, or Big 12) program every year; this year, there aren't really any that spurned a quote-unquote bigger time school to be part of Beckman's program.

For more information: Check out the Champaign Room for your Illini recruiting needs.

Indiana

Total commits in the 2014 class: 28

Recruiting class rankings: 37 (Rivals), 51 (247), 44 (Scout); 7th in B1G

Last minute additions: Simmie Cobbs (a 3* WR from Oak Park, IL, who decommitted from Purdue for the Hoosiers on February 2); Chris Covington (a 2* Athlete from Chicago, IL); Will Dawkins (a 3* WR from Vero Beach, FL); Kiante Walton (a 2/3* CB from Columbus, GA)

Last minute subtractions: None

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Dominique Booth, a 4* wide receiver from Indianapolis who picked the Hoosiers over offers from Alabama, FSU, Michigan State and Virginia Tech, amongst others.

Biggest surprise of the year: How good this class turned out. Indiana started out slow (their first commit didn't pull that trigger until June 2013), but they really picked up steam near the end. As the dust settled, they out-recruited half of the conference--no small feat for Kevin Wilson.

For more information: For more full coverage on the Hoosiers' 2014 class, check out Crimson Quarry's coverage.

Iowa

Total commits in the 2014 class: 21

Recruiting class rankings: 60 (Rivals), 53 (247), 41 (Scout); 8th in B1G

Last minute additions: Torey Hendrick (a 3/4* DE prep school transfer from Georgia); Ross Reynolds (a 2* OL from Waukee, IA); Miles Taylor (a 3* S from Gonzaga in DC who had previously been committed to Georgia Tech)

Last minute subtractions: Jyaz Jones (a 3* DB from Texas who decommitted for Colorado State)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Jay Scheel, a 4* athlete from right inside Iowa who had originally committed to the Hawkeyes back in January 2013.

Biggest surprise of the year: Kirk Ferentz signed two kickers to this class! Just kidding, that's not a surprise--this is Ferentz, after all. Aside from that, there aren't really many surprises in this class for Iowa, though this year's class does seem to have more stars overall than last year's.

For more information: Go to BHGP for their creepy recruiting coverage. Stay for the snark and wrestling knowledge.

Maryland

Total commits in the 2014 class: 17

Recruiting class rankings: 54 (Rivals), 43 (247), 61 (Scout); 9th in B1G

Last minute additions: Antwaine Carter (a 2* S from Waldorf, MD); Nnamdi Eguaba (a 3* LB from Baltimore); Daniel Ezeagwu (a 2/3* CB from Stafford, VA), and Damien Prince (a 5/4* OL from Forestville, MD)

Last minute subtractions: Jordan Noil (a 3* WR from Georgia who decommitted and signed with Appalachian State)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Prince--and it's probably not even close. The OT waited until signing day to make his final decision, and picked the Terps over Florida. A few weeks ago, Penn State was making a push for the lineman, but a last minute trip to State College was cancelled, and Prince chose to stay close to home at Maryland over the SEC.

Biggest surprise of the year: For me, it's Prince's signing. Maryland, even having gone to a bowl in 2013, could be argued has underperformed under Randy Edsall, and their schedule doesn't look any more favorable when they join the Big Ten East next year. The Terps were able to keep the #1 player from their state (and #2/3 player nationally at his position) at home--something that they've struggled with sometimes recently. It's a recruiting coup that can't go unnoticed.

For more information: Testudo Times does good work on all fronts...but Penn State fans might want to avoid the comments.

Michigan

Total commits in the 2014 class: 16

Recruiting class rankings: 31 (Rivals), 20 (247), 27 (Scout); 4th in B1G

Last minute additions: none

Last minute subtractions: none

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Jabrill Peppers, a consensus 5* DB from New Jersey who was the #2 overall recruit nationally in the class of 2014. He chose the Wolverines over offers from basically everyone under the sun, and in spite of a last minute push from Coach Franklin.

Biggest surprise of the year: For the second year in a row, the Wolverines had a very uneventful signing day, with no commitments or decommitments in the days and weeks leading up to the big day. This year, though, was even more strange--there hadn't been any additions to Michigan's class since August 2013. For a class that was once fighting Ohio State for the tops of the conference, a fall to around fourth in the conference has to be a disappointment for Brady Hoke.

For more information: If you want to stay in the SBNation family, check out Maize'N'Brew--they've got you covered. For even more Michigan info, head on over to MGoBlog, where Ace and co have recruiting coverage down to a science.

Michigan State

Total commits in the 2014 class: 23

Recruiting class rankings: 21 (Rivals), 25 (247), 19 (Scout); 2nd in B1G

Last minute additions: Craig Evans (a 4* DT from Sun Prairie, WI, who decommitted from the Badgers in January); TJ Harrell (a 3* Athlete from Tampa, FL, who picked the Spartans on signing day over UGA and Louisville); Miguel Machado (a 3* OL JuCo transfer from Pasadena, CA, who flipped from Purdue on signing day); Malik McDowell (a 4/5* DE from Southfield, MI)

Last minute subtractions: Darius Slade (a 3* DE who flipped to Ohio State on signing day)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: McDowell, who hasn't yet signed but committed to the Spartans on signing day over offers from Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan, Alabama, Florida...and whose mother reportedly doesn't want him to go to Michigan State.

Biggest surprise of the year: Michigan State's surprise occurred back in January, when it won the Rose Bowl--and it's reaping the benefits now, with arguably the second best class in the conference, and possibly the best it's ever had.

For more information: The Only Colors is pretty awesome. Plus, it's green, which is the second best color for a sports team (behind blue, of course).

Minnesota

Total commits in the 2014 class: 20

Recruiting class rankings: 53 (Rivals), 64 (247), 49 (Scout); 10th in B1G

Last minute additions: A lot: Jonathan Celestin (a 2* LB from Georgia); Isaiah Gentry (a 3* WR from Cincinnati who flipped from Kent State); Melvin Holland, Jr (a 3* WR from Ashburn, VA); Craig James (a 3* DB from Edwardsville, IL); Conner Krizancic (a 3* WR from Mentor, OH); Gary Moore (a 2* DT from Mobile, AL, who had been committed to Southern Miss); Jared Weyler (a 2/3* OL from Centerville, OH)

Last minute subtractions: Khari Blasingame (a 3* S from Alabama who flipped to Vanderbilt in late January)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Jeff Jones, a 4* RB from Minneapolis who decided to stay at home despite a late push and offer from Michigan.

Biggest surprise of the year: Minnesota's good 2013 on the field didn't yield the recruiting results some expected--though they did pick up in the end, after being the last Big Ten school to garner a 2014 commit. They were last in the conference headed down the stretch, but picked up some quality recruits on signing day to hop a few schools and finish tenth.

For more information: For all of your Minnesota needs, check out the Daily Gopher's coverage of signing day.

Nebraska

Total commits in the 2014 class: 25

Recruiting class rankings: 32 (Rivals), 35 (247), 34 (Scout); 6th in B1G

Last minute additions: AJ Bush (a 2* QB from Norcross, GA); Glenn Irons (a 2* CB from New Orleans); Sedrick King (a 3* DE from Plant City, FL, who flipped from UCF in late January); Mikale Wilbon (a 4/3* RB from Chicago who left Vanderbilt's class when Franklin came to PSU); DeAndre Wills (a 2/3* DE from Alabama who had offers from a variety of SEC schools)

Last minute subtractions: none

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Tanner Farmer, a 4* OL from Highland, IL, who signed with the Huskers over Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri.

Biggest surprise of the year: The number of preferred walk-ons in this class--18--is almost as much as Nebraska's signing class--and is more than some of the conference's signing day classes. The Cornhusker's class itself was slow to start but turned out pretty good in the end--decidedly in the top half of the conference.

For more information: CornNation has all of your Cornhusker recruiting (and other) needs covered.

Northwestern

Total commits in the 2014 class: 16

Recruiting class rankings: 69 (Rivals), 45 (247), 59 (Scout); 12th in B1G

Last minute additions: Jared McGee (a 2/3* S from Mansfield, TX, who flipped from UT-San Antonio); Xavier Washington (a 2/3* DE from Cedar Hill, TX)

Last minute subtractions: none

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Parrker Westphal, a 4* CB from Bolingbrook, IL, is already enrolled at Northwestern, and chose the Wildcats over offers from a ton of powerhouse programs like Notre Dame, three-quarters of the Big Ten, and a handful of SEC schools.

Biggest surprise of the year: What started off as looking like one of Northwestern's best recruiting classes in the program's history really fell apart down the stretch; they were near the tops of the conference eight months ago, but were passed by most of the conference. A disappointing 2013 season with unmet lofty expectations undoubtedly has something to do with it.

For more information: Sippin' on Purple should has some good coverage of Northwestern.

Ohio State

Total commits in the 2014 class: 23

Recruiting class rankings: 3 (Rivals), 3 (247), 5 (Scout); 1st in B1G

Last minute additions: Darius Slade (a 3* DE who had visited PSU for the Nebraska game, then committed to the Huskers; he proceeded to decommit for MSU in December, then decommitted for Ohio State in January)

Last minute subtractions: none

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Raekwon McMillan, a 5* LB from Georgia who enrolled for spring semester at OSU, after many had predicted he would end up with the Crimson Tide (he had offers from half the SEC and Pac 12, as well as other top B1G schools).

Biggest surprise of the year: None, really--the Buckeyes started strong out of the gate, and continued that way down the stretch. The biggest surprise might be that Urban Meyer allowed Les Miles to jump him in the final recruiting rankings when all was said and done.

For more information: Land Grand Holy Land positively does work, and are okay for Buckeyes.

Penn State

Total commits in the 2014 class: 25

Recruiting class rankings: 24 (Rivals), 24 (247), 25 (Scout); 3rd in B1G

Last minute additions: Saeed Blacknall (a 4* WR from New Jersey who flipped from Rutgers); Torrence Brown (a 3* Ath from Alabama who committed on signing day having never set foot in State College); Christian Campbell (a 3* S from Alabama); Koa Farmer (a 4* LB from California who flipped from Cal); Amani Oruwariye (a 3* CB from Tampa who followed Franklin from Vanderbilt)

Last minute subtractions: Lloyd Tubman (a 3/4* DE from Louisville whose verbal was considered "soft", and signed with UK on Feb 5)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Blacknall, who reached out to the staff once they were in place and asked to visit Happy Valley. He signed with PSU over Bama, FSU, LSU, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, amongst a whole host of others.

Biggest surprise of the year: The fact that James Franklin finished the recruiting year as strong as he did--this bodes well for Penn State in years to come. Watch out, B1G East.

For more information: see Nick's full breakdown of the PSU class here.

Purdue

Total commits in the 2014 class: 18

Recruiting class rankings: 75 (Rivals), 72 (247), 68 (Scout); 14th in B1G

Last minute additions: Corey Clements (a 3* JuCo OL from Mesa Community College); Cedric Dale (a 3* CB from Lewisville, TX, who flipped from BYU)

Last minute subtractions: Simmie Cobbs (a 3* WR from Illinois decommitted for rival Indiana); Ladarius Wiley (a 3* WR from L.A. that flipped to Vanderbilt)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: David Blough, a 3* QB from Carrollton, TX, who has already enrolled at Purdue.

Biggest surprise of the year: How much difference a year makes--last year I was talking about how impressed I was with Darrell Hazell, and his salvaging of the Boilermakers' 2013 recruiting class. This year they're at the bottom of the conference, after a dismal season.

For more information: Hammer and Rails is actually quite good.

Rutgers

Total commits in the 2014 class: 25

Recruiting class rankings: 57 (Rivals), 59 (247), 55 (Scout); 11th in B1G

Last minute additions: Sam Blue (a 2* DE from Raleigh, NC); Darian Dailey (a 2* CB from Bradenton, FL); Alan Lucy (a 2* LS from Dinwiddie, VA); Eric Margolis (a 2* WR from West Nyack, NY); Giovanni Rescigno (a 2/3* QB from Warren, MI)

Last minute subtractions: Saeed Blacknall (4* WR from Manalapan, NJ, who flipped to PSU); Justin Herron (a 3* OT who flipped to Wake Forest at the end of January)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Robert Martin, a 3* RB from Harrisburg who picked the Knights over Pitt and WVU (but who never had an offer from Penn State).

Biggest surprise of the year: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. What was once a top 25 class, in the top 3 of the Big Ten, saw a spate of decommits in the past six months--and it took its toll, as they filled their class (once all 3-4 star recruits from the state of New Jersey) with 2 star recruits from far away--and without a commit in their class with a single rating over 3 stars. The Scarlet Knights now roll into the conference in the bottom of the recruiting game, with a tough schedule to boot.

For more information: On the Banks has your Rutgers needs covered.

Wisconsin

Total commits in the 2014 class: 26

Recruiting class rankings: 33 (Rivals), 33 (247), 29 (Scout); 5th in B1G

Last minute additions: D'Cota Dixon (a 3* DB from New Smyrna Beach, FL); George Rushing (a 3* WR from Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Last minute subtractions: Craig Evans (a 4* DT from Wisconsin who flipped to Michigan State); Cornelius Sturghill (a 3* Ath who flipped to Louisville)

Top recruit of the 2014 class: Jaden Gault, a 4* OL from Monona Grove, WI, who enrolled for spring Semester over offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Tennessee--and had been committed to the Badgers since August 2012.

Biggest surprise of the year: Not too many surprises in this class. Gary Andersen hovered around fifth in the conference the entire year, and that's where he ended up; this class is very respectable, not outstanding, but will definitely allow the Badgers to compete for West championships going forward.

For more information: Bucky's Fifth Quarter does good work.

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