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Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Big Ten class rankings analysis

By Gerry Hamilton



Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Big Ten conference, check out our conference rankings:

1. Michigan, 15 commits: The Wolverines are No. 6 in the RecruitingNation class rankings, which includes nine ESPN300 prospects -- among them headliner and No. 2 overall Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic High). Michigan could make a move into the top-5 by winning the race for No. 4 Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge High). Defensive tackle and No. 67 Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mi./Southfield High) is another top target still in play. No. 41 overall John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic High) will visit Nov. 29, and is another top target remaining.

2. Ohio State, 18 commits: The No. 9 class nationally features seven ESPN300 prospects and 13 four-stars, led by No. 58 overall Damon Webb (Detroit, Mi./Cass Technical High) and No. 66 Jamarco Jones (Chicago, Il./De La Salle Institute). With a class expected to be 22-23 signees, many targets remain. They include No. 14 Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County High), No. 41 John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic High), No. 43 Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer High), No. 86 Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln High) and junior college offensive tackle Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau Community College) -- among others.

3. Penn State, 12 commits: The Nittany Lions are No. 25 nationally with a class that features a trio of ESPN300 prospects, including No. 55 De’Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro High). Top targets remaining are No. 86 Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln High), No. 142 tackle Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon High), three-star tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional High) and others.

4. Northwestern, 13 commits: The Wildcats currently check in at No. 29 nationally led by ESPN300 quarterback Clayton Thorson (Wheaton, IL
Wheaton North High School). Top targets remaining include No. 92 Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Il./Bolingbrook High), No. 242 Brandon Lee (Indianapolis, In./Lawrence Central High) and No. 279 Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic High).

5. Wisconsin, 16 commits: The No. 36-ranked Badgers class is made up of one ESPN300 prospect in No. 132 Jaden Gault (Monona, Wi./Monona Grove High), three four-stars, including quarterback D.J. Gillins (Jacksonville, Fla./Ribault High) and 12 three-stars. Top targets still on the board include No. 56 Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./Saitn John Bosco High), 100 Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom High), three-star cornerback John Plattenburg (Houston/Lamar High) and a number of others.

6. Nebraska, 12 commits: The Cornhuskers currently sit at No. 38 in the national rankings and are led by No. 253 D.J. Foster (Lincoln, Ne./Southeast High) and four-star quarterback Zack Darlington (Apopka, Fla./Apopka High). Top targets remaining include junior college prospects Claude Pelon (Mesa, Az./Mesa Community College), linebacker Devante Bond (Roseville, Calif./Sierra Community College) and a number of others.

7. Michigan State, 16 commits: The Spartans have the No. 39-ranked class nationally, led by No. 270 overall Brian Allen (Hinsdale, Il./Hinsdale Central High) and four-star Gerald Owens (Westville, N.J./West Deptford High). Michigan State has the chance to ascend with targets such as No. 92 Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Il./Bolingbrook High), defensive end Darius Slade (Montclair, N.J./Montclair High) and junior college offensive tackle David Hedelin (San Francisco, Calif./City College of San Francisco) still on the board, among a number of others.

8. Iowa, 15 commits: The Hawkeyes are quietly putting together a sneaky good class, led by No. 277 overall Jay Scheel (La Porte, Iowa/Union High). Top targets remaining are No. 151 overall Brian Wallace (Saint Louis, Mo./Christian Brothers College), running back Markel Smith (Saint Louis, Mo./St. John Vianney High), cornerback Craig James (Edwardsville, Il./Edwardsville High) and others.

9. Indiana, 12 commits: The Hoosiers currently have a class that includes three-star prospects, led by offensive tackle Delroy Baker (Ocala, Fla./West Port High). Three-star cornerback Craig James (Edwardsville, Il./Edwardsville High), tight end Dav'ion Riley (Lake Wales, Fla./Lake Wales High) and safety Tony Fields (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby High) are among the top targets still on the board.

10. Illinois, 14 commits: The Illini currently has a class with 14 commitments, including 10 three-star prospects in running back Matt Domer (Chicago, Il./Mount Carmel High). Four-star linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombard, Il./Montini Catholic High) and wide receiver Dorian Baker (Cleveland, Oh./Cleveland Heights High) are two of the top targets still on the board.

11. Purdue, 9 commits: The Boilermakers nine-man class is made up of eight three-star prospects, including quarterback David Blough (Carrollton, Texas/Creekview High) and outside linebacker Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne, In./Carroll High). Three-star offensive tackle Marcus Applefield (Weeki Wachee, Fla./Weeki Wachee High) is one of many prospects Purdue is still after.

12. Minnesota, 8 commits: The Golden Gophers class has seven three-star commitments, headlined by running back Jeff Jones (Minneapolis, MN
Washburn High). Running back D’Ernest Johnson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee High), safety Khari Blasingame (New Market, Ala./Buckhorn High) and wide receiver Kendrick Holland (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven High) are three prospects Minnesota is still in the mix for.