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Classes complete for Illinois, Michigan, MSU

2/4/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

No two Big Ten teams experienced a more eventful signing day than Illinois and Michigan.

Both programs lost verbal commits and added some key signees. Both addressed some needs and came up short in other areas. There weren't many dull moments for head coaches Ron Zook and Rich Rodriguez and their assistants.

Illinois unveiled its class of 20, which can be found here. The day began with Illinois losing wide receiver commit Kraig Appelton to Wisconsin, but the Illini held on to Appleton's high school teammate, wideout Terry Hawthorne, who could make an immediate impact.

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase likely will be Illinois' quarterback of the future, and the team added key pieces on both lines and at defensive back. The ability to lure Justin Green from Ohio State should bolster Illinois' rushing attack and return game. Illinois did lose several commits in recent weeks and won't make the splash it made in 2007, but this seems like a solid class.

Michigan's class of 22 signees can be seen here. Signing day brought more good than bad for the Wolverines, who added quarterback Denard Robinson, wide receiver Je'Rel Stokes and cornerback Adrian Witty. They lost two defensive tackle commits but certainly upgraded the skill positions on both sides of the ball. Defensive end Craig Roh and defensive tackle William Campbell should be immediate contributors on a line that loses three starters. Robinson and Tate Forcier likely will be in the mix for the starting quarterback spot this fall.

Rodriguez's ties to Florida showed up in this class, which features eight players from the Sunshine State.

Here are some notes on Michigan's class from the official release:

  • (William) Campbell and [J.T.] Turner are the top-rated players in the state of Michigan and Ohio, respectively. This is the first time that the Wolverines had the top-ranked athletes from both states since 2002: Prescott Burgess (Ohio) and LaMarr Woodley (Michigan).

  • (Tate) Forcier's brother, Jason, played at Michigan during the 2005 and 2006 seasons before transferring to Stanford. Both of Tate's brothers play in the Pac-10: Jason (Stanford) and Chris (UCLA).

  • Six recruits are ranked among the ESPNU 150: Craig Roh (48), Quinton Washington (82), Isaiah Bell (92), Denard Robinson (102), Tate Forcier (145) and Taylor Lewan (149).

  • Defensive end Anthony LaLota was the No. 2 prospect in the state of New Jersey.

  • High school teammates Taylor Lewan and Craig Roh are listed as the fifth- and fourth-ranked players in the state of Arizona, respectively.

Michigan State had fewer surprises today, but Mark Dantonio unveiled a class of 23 that appears to be the program's best crop in recent memory. ESPN's Scouts Inc. ranks the Spartans' class at No. 21 nationally. Among the highlights are running backs Edwin Baker and Larry Caper, tight end Dion Sims and quarterback Andrew Maxwell.

The Spartans went local with 12 in-state players and only two from outside the Big Ten region (Floridians Denzel Drone and Jairus Jones). The class is heavy on offensive linemen (5), linebackers (5) and wide receivers/tight ends (5).

Michigan State's signing list and bios can be found here.