Big Ten Signing Day: Ohio State class ranked best in conference. Penn State, Michigan next in line
Despite not participating in the Big Ten title game for the past three years, Ohio State continues to be the most successful recruiting program in the conference.
Including No. 1 national target Jeremiah Smith, the Buckeyes signed five of the six five-star recruits ranked by 247Sports Composite on Wednesday and headed to Big Ten institutions. The class received a national ranking of No. 4.
Among the teams who were in the conference in 2023, Penn State (ranked 14th) and Michigan (15th) are ranked second and third in the Big Ten, respectively.
Oregon pulled together the sixth-ranked class in the country, which would place it at No. 2 in the Big Ten. Oregon is one of four Pac-12 teams that will join the league in 2024.
LEADER OF THE PACK
The Buckeyes signed two five-star receivers, Mylan Graham of New Haven, Connecticut, and Smith of Hollywood, Florida; they also added Eddrick Houston of St. Louis, one of the best edge rushers in the country. At a midday press conference, Smith declared his intention to join with the Buckeyes, but it took Ohio State nine hours to get a letter of intent from him.
Due to Kyle McCord’s enrollment into the transfer portal, four-star quarterback Air Noland of Fairburn, Georgia, gained attention. If coach Ryan Day chooses not to use the portal to acquire an experienced signal-caller, Noland could challenge Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz for the starting job.
BEST OF THE REST
247Sports has listed Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Purdue as the top six teams among the Big Ten in 2023.
Luke Reynolds of Cheshire, Connecticut, is the top tight end recruit that the Nittany Lions have acquired. Michigan added four offensive linemen, including 6-foot-8, 295-pound tackle Andrew Sprague of Kansas City, Missouri, after losing four starter players. Jadyn Davis, a four-star quarterback from Charlotte, North Carolina, was also added by the Wolverines.
Coach Matt Rhule of Nebraska pulled off a major upset when he convinced Georgia to release No. 2 quarterback prospect Dylan Raiola and kept Ainsworth, Nebraska’s Carter Nelson, the No. 2 tight end, at home. Following Braelon Allen’s draft declaration, Wisconsin signed four-star running back Dilin Jones of Olney, Maryland, to address a critical need. Three four-star recruits were added by Purdue, among them Midland, Texas, quarterback Marcos Davila.
UNDER THE RADAR
Iowa likes to refer to itself as “Tight End U,” and four-star Gavin Hoffman of Overland Park, Kansas, will try to carry on the heritage. In order to sign S. Koi Perich of Esko, Minnesota, a top-100 recruit, Minnesota withstood a late charge from Ohio State. Along with five transfers, new Michigan State coach Jonathan Smith signed 18 high school players. Seven of Rutgers’ twenty-three recruits came from Florida. Illinois signed 19, Indiana signed 16, and Northwestern signed 15. Maryland signed 21 athletes.
STAR OF THE CLASS
A year after making his Ohio State vow, Smith kept accepting visits, and Florida State and Miami made hurried attempts to convince him to change his mind. Day grinned and audibly exhaled during the signing day press conference when he heard that Smith had declared he would remain with the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-3, 198-pound Smith led the undefeated Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School with ninety receptions for 1,389 yards and nine touchdowns.
Raiola is regarded as Nebraska’s best recruit since national championship quarterback Tommie Frazier signed in 1992. He is ranked as the 6th overall prospect by the 247Sports composite. Raiola had already pledged to Georgia and Ohio State, but last weekend’s official visit convinced him to join with the Huskers. Father Dominic Raiola played 14 seasons as a professional for the Detroit Lions after being named an All-America center for the Huskers in 2000.