Recruiting news is picking up around the Big Ten, and I have a few thoughts to share.
ESPN Recruiting has updated its 2012 class rankings, and only two Big Ten squads appear in the new Top 25. Michigan checks in at No. 6, as Brady Hoke and his staff continue their incredible start to recruiting. Penn State is listed at No. 18, thanks to a class already featuring several standout linemen. Who's missing? Ohio State. The Buckeyes have fallen out of the rankings after Kyle Kalis decommitted and several coveted in-state prospects went elsewhere.
Michigan's recruiting surge is notable, and things could get better if Kalis and fellow Ohioan Chris Wormley, a standout defensive end from Toledo, pick the Maize and Blue. Although Ohio State shouldn't panic so early in the process, it's a bit unsettling to see a number of homegrown prospects go elsewhere. I figured the ongoing turmoil around the program would impact Ohio State's national recruiting more than its local recruiting. While the Buckeyes should continue to scour the Southeast and other areas, they must place a premium on keeping the best Ohio players at home.
The Wolverines might not be the hottest Big Ten squad on the recruiting trail. That would be Wisconsin, which has picked up three commits in the past 24 hours and could soon add another in offensive lineman Adam DePietro. The Badgers last week bolstered their offensive line with Ohio tackle prospect Kyle Dodson. Wisconsin can't be too far away from cracking some of the national recruiting rankings. The overall quality of recruits seems to be improving for a team that still labels itself as a developmental program.
Some Michigan State fans were getting restless about recruiting several weeks ago, as archrival Michigan piled up commits and the Spartans seemed to be stuck on four. As coach Mark Dantonio told me last week, "We'll get our guys." Well, they have. Michigan State now has doubled it number of commits and added coveted prospects like defensive end Se'von Pittman. The Spartans also have added two verbals in the past day.
After securing no verbal commits through May, Indiana has added five since June 12, including linebacker Nick Mangieri. Northwestern also is on a surge, adding four commits since June 7.
It likely will take at least a year to evaluate Nebraska's recruiting as a Big Ten member. The Huskers are expected to sign a very small class in February, and they're having to be very picky with their scholarship offers. We might not get a full read on how Nebraska's recruiting strategy will change in its new league until the 2013 cycle.
Here's the latest recruiting scorecard of 2012 verbal commits for Big Ten teams ...
Michigan State: 8
Penn State: 8
Ohio State: 8