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Big Ten football recruiting: where does the conference stand with the 2023 class?

There are some surprises at the top of the conference in recruiting rankings so far.

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It is the middle of June, which is traditionally one of the busiest periods on the college football recruiting calendar. The Badgers have had two big official visit weekends, which has already resulted in two commits, and have one more coming up this weekend, albeit with fewer prospects than the first two.

Keeping up with just Wisconsin recruiting is a time-consuming activity so we wouldn’t expect you to know too much about how the rest of the conference is doing, and that’s exactly why this post should be useful! Let’s take a look at the rest of the Big Ten and see how the Badgers stack up so far with their rivals.

The ratings here are from the 247Sports Composite, the large number after the team name is the “total points” each team has and “blue-chips” are 4 and 5-star rated players.

No. 1 Northwestern Wildcats, 200.41, No. 4 nationally

  • 18 commits
  • two blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 87.19
  • top recruit: 4-star DL Ashton Porter

No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions, 200.28, No. 5 nationally

  • 12 commits
  • seven blue-chips (one 5-star)
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 90.48
  • top recruit: 5-star IOL Alex Birchmeier

No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, 196.80, No. 7 nationally

  • 10 commits
  • nine blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 92.80
  • top recruit: 4-star OT Luke Montgomery

No. 4 Michigan State Spartans, 180.33, No. 9 nationally

  • 11 commits
  • eight blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 89.62
  • top recruit: 4-star DL Andrew Depaepe

No. 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers, 169.12, No. 14 nationally

  • 15 commits
  • one blue-chip
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 86.10
  • top recruit: 4-star IOL Jerome Williams

No. 6 Iowa Hawkeyes, 156.62, No. 16 nationally

  • 11 commits
  • one blue-chip
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 87.07
  • top recruit: 4-star RB Kendrick Raphael

No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 127.50, No. 26 nationally

  • eight commits
  • one blue-chip
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 87.56
  • top recruit: 4-star IOL Riley Van Poppel

No. 8 Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 126.66, No. 28 nationally

  • 14 commits
  • zero blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 85.88
  • top recruit: 3-star IOL JaSire Peterson

No. 9 Purdue Boilermakers, 122.29, No. 33 nationally

  • eight commits
  • one blue-chip
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 86.73
  • top recruit: 4-star QB Rickie Collins

No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers, 120.38, No. 35 nationally

No. 11 Michigan Wolverines, 106.82, No. 38 nationally

  • six commits
  • two blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 88.57
  • top recruit: 4-star LB Raylen Wilson

No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini, 103.80, No. 43 nationally

  • eight commits
  • one blue-chip
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 85.89
  • top recruit: 4-star ATH Kaden Feagin

No. 13 Indiana Hoosiers, 47.81, No. 66 nationally

  • three commits
  • zero blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 86.09
  • top recruit: 3-star TE Sam West

No. 14 Maryland Terrapins, 43.82, No. 72 nationally

  • three commits
  • zero blue-chips
  • 247Sports avg. commit ranking: 84.75
  • top recruit: 3-star QB Robert Long

Alright, that’s a lot to unpack. Let’s start with the obvious...Northwestern has the best recruiting class in the conference and a top-five one in the whole damn country?!?! Well, yes, technically they do. However, that’s why we included “average commit ranking” in here too.

The ‘Cats have the most commits in the conference, three more than the second highest team, and that’s why their total number is so high. In fact, only two teams in the country (Texas Tech and Cincinnati) have more commits this cycle and it’s no coincidence that they are both right ahead of NU in the national rankings.

Now, even when you switch to average recruit ranking, Northwestern would still be No. 6 in the conference and have already accumulated more total points than their entire 2022 class, which was No. 13 in the conference. With no classes over the past five seasons ranking higher than No. 12 in the Big Ten, Pat Fitzgerald’s squad is far outperforming their usual spot. I am not an expert on Northwestern’s roster math, but I can’t imagine they have too many more open scholarships so their ranking will start falling as other teams fill out their classes.

Some other notes

  • Our old friend Saeed Khalif is really helping Michigan State kill it on the recruiting trail this year. The Spartans have eight blue chip recruits, only one behind league leader Ohio State, and have a ton of momentum going right now.
  • The Big Ten only has one 5-star commit right now, IOL Alex Birchmeier (Ashburn, Va.) who committed to PSU last summer.
  • Wisconsin (three) has one fewer commit from the state of Illinois than the Illini (four) do.
  • Michigan is starting slowly, but they have a bunch of high-end prospects that they are in line to snag and should start rocketing up the rankings soon.
  • Maryland and Indiana are, well, not doing great. It’s a shame that Tom Allen wasn’t able to capitalize on IU’s good season two years ago because they are not recruiting like a team on the rise any longer. Mike Locksley signed an extension back in April and has a talented, young QB on the roster and recorded the Terps’ first winning record since 2014 last year. Being in the DMV area, a fertile recruiting ground for sure, Maryland should end up closer to the middle of the conference when all is said and done.