Recruiting 2012 - Big Ten Legends Needs
Posted Jan 30, 2012

What does each Big Ten Legends team need, and what are the concerns this offseason?

Recruiting 2012 

Big Ten Legends Needs

Recruiting 2011 | Recruiting 2010 | Recruiting 2009

CFN Top Prospects for 2011

- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 
- 2009 CFN Top 150 | 2010 CFN Top 200  

- 2011 Big Ten Recruiting Lists
- 5 Big Ten Recruits You Should Care About
- 2010 Big Ten Recruiting Rankings
- Recruiting 2011

- Big Ten Leaders

1. Iowa | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Skill players. The stars of the last two classes were on the defensive line, and this year the stars appear to be the tackles. The offense is set at quarterback for a while, and will have to be addressed next year, but the Hawkeye running back situation that always seems to be full of drama needs more options. The receiving corps might not have any superstar prospects, but there are enough decent ones to develop for 2014.

Team Concerns For 2012: Running back. With Marcus Coker dismissed and backup Jason White gone, the Hawkeyes have to find someone to take the heat off QB James Vandenberg. Iowa always find Cokers, and Shonn Greenes, and backs who can take over and make the offense shine, but the options are slimmer than normal this year. Finding a No. 1 target to replace Marvin McNutt is also a must.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive linemen. The controversy off the field didn’t make much of an impact in recruiting as Kirk Ferentz and his staff came up with one of the program’s better classes in a while. The lines got tremendous help with guard Jordan Walsh a special prospect and Austin Blythe a good-looking guard. Darian Cooper has all the talent to be the team’s next great defensive lineman, while Riley McMinn and John Raymon are strong pass rushers. Iowa also loaded up on tight ends, getting three nice once including 6-5, 230-pound pass catcher Ray Hamilton.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 36. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. After a mediocre class last year, Iowa came up with a strong haul of talent this recruiting season starting with several great prospects for the defensive line. Carl Davis is one of the bigger tackles the defense has had in a while, checking in at 300 pounds, while ends Mike Hardy and Louis Trinca-Pasat have good size. On the offensive side, tackle Andrew Donnal is the key to the class with NFL size and the frame to get a lot bigger. The openings will be there among the skill players to step up and shine next ear, and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz could be too good to keep off the field.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 71. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. Keenan Davis was one of the Big Ten’s best wide receiver recruits and might be needed sooner than later. There weren’t any other major stars, but Jordan Cotton and Josh Brown will be factors by 2011 and three tight ends, led by Anthony Schiavone, were brought in. Iowa does a great job of developing tight ends.

2. Nebraska | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: More players. It was a concern when Nebraska joined the Big Ten that it wouldn't be able to fight off the top conference teams for talent in the Midwest, and that appears to be the case with a light class that's painfully lacking in top prospects. The linebacking corps is loading up a bit with some hard-nosed options for the future, and JUCO transfer Zaire Anderson for now, but for an offense that needs more options the class is lacking in skill prospects.

Team Concerns For 2012: Offensive pop in the passing game. There's Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead, and a prayer for good field position. The receiving corps is still young and emerging, but Martinez is hardly Tom Brady and the offense isn't going to start pushing the ball down the field more. Most of the top defensive starters are back, but the stars – MLB Lavonte David and CB Alfonzo Dennard – won't be easily replaced. The offensive line has to find three new starters including both tackles.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Quarterback. Either the coaching staff doesn’t 1) believe Taylor Martinez is a reliable part of the mix and/or 2) can’t stay healthy and other options are needed. Jamal Turner was taken away from Oklahoma and other Big 12 schools, and while he might be moved somewhere else, he could be a terror of a runner with his sub-4.5 speed. 6-5 Bubba Starling could be the answer with the passing ability to add more pop to the passing game to go along with the speed to be Martinez-like. The running will mostly be done by Aaron Green, a special back out of San Antonio who turned down Alabama, LSU, and Texas to be a Husker. Defensively, JUCO transfer safety Daimion Stafford will make an immediate impact.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 30. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. Again. Bo Pelini wants to make sure the defense remains special, and he reinforced the secondary with more great prospects after loading up the secondary last year. Corey Cooper is a talented safety who has the NFL size and speed to get the pro scouts drooling now, while Ciante Evans is a good looking corner who could play a role as a nickel and dime back early on. Overall this was a good class, but it would've been a special one had Pelini been able to win a few of the bigger battles, most notably the fight for top end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, who ended up signing with UCLA.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 31. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. It was a common theme for teams throughout this recruiting season after everyone’s defense got ripped apart … get better against the pass. Nebraska was no exception with five good defensive backs to go along with DE Jason Ankrah and linebackers Eric Martin and Chris Williams for the front seven. JUCO transfer Dejon Gomes is a big, fast corner, while Lazarri Middleton and Andrew Green have good size and excellent speed.

3. Michigan | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Next level talents. Now this is the class Michigan is used to bringing in. This is a class that's the base of a special team. It'll be a total shock if the Wolverines don't have one of the nation's top linebacking corps in a few years after this haul, while the speed and athleticism on the defensive front is as good as any class in over a decade. Head coach Brady Hoke has the offensive tackles for the future, while the defensive line is loaded with top-shelf pass rushers.

Team Concerns For 2012: The defensive line loses heart-and-soul tackle Mike Martin and two other starters. This year's class isn't going to fill in the gaps right away, but a few of the top ones will get a look for the rotation. Center David Molk is a huge loss, as is the departure of right tackle Mark Huyge and tight end Kevin Koger, but the offense will be explosive as long as Denard Robinson is healthy.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive backs. At the very least, Brady Hoke can sell the fan base on the idea that he tried to fix the team’s biggest issue by throwing bodies at the problem. The young secondary of last year will get its chance to mature, but corner Blake Countess might be too good to not find a spot right away. Delonte Hollowell, Greg Brown and Raymon Taylor might not be safeties, but they’re athletic enough to move around. The linebacking corps got more athletic with this class with Antonio Poole and Kellen Jones both fast and agile. Running back Justice Hayes might be the focal point of the running game soon, at least when Denard Robinson isn’t handling the work.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 9. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. If Rich Rodriguez was in trouble, you wouldn't know if from this fantastic class. The offense got more options with Devin Gardner a 6-4 playmaking quarterback to give Tate Forcier a push, while RB Austin White is a dangerous running back prospect with speed and good all-around skills. RichRod also stepped up the receiving corps with Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson leading the way. But for all the good things about this class, nothing was bigger than pulling off a shocker with the signing of Demar Dorsey out of Florida on Signing Day to join Josh Furman and Marvin Robinson as some of the team's new safety stars. Cullen Christian out of Pittsburgh is one of the nation's best corner prospects with NFL size and quickness.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 15. That Class Was Heavy On ... QB Tate Forcier. Last year, head coach Rich Rodriguez put all his eggs in the Terrelle Pryor basket, and the plan backfired. The quarterback situation last year was a liability at best, an utter disaster at worst, and something had to be done. Now it’s all about Forcier, a small, quick athlete from San Diego who fits the mold of the type of quarterback needed to take the program out of the doldrums. He might be asked to start from day one.

4. Michigan State | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Skill players. The Spartans have mostly gone after defensive prospects over the last few years, and it shows with few defensive linemen coming in this season. There's a little something for all the skill spots with the emphasis on receiver, and head coach Mark Dantonio is bringing in some strong tight ends to play around with the offense. There aren't any superstar prospects compared to what Michigan is getting, but it'll be a good class full of variety.

Team Concerns For 2012: The passing game loses QB Kirk Cousins and receivers B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol, and Keshawn Martin. It's going to take some rebuilding, and a heavy reliance on the running game, but the early loss of RB Edwin Baker won't help the depth. The defense lost anchor Jerel Worthy in the middle and free safety Trenton Robinson, but all the other key parts are back.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive end. The Spartans didn’t exactly capitalize on its breakthrough co-Big Ten championship season – the overall class is mediocre - but they loaded up on the the defensive line with some nice-looking tackles and three phenomenal end prospects. Lawrence Thomas is a potential pass rushing terror on the outside and is the crown jewel of this class, while Joel Heath is a big, talented option. The young running backs corps got even stronger with Onaje Miller, a speedster who could add another element to the offense this year.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 29. That Class Was Heavy On ... Diversity. The Spartans got a little of everything with a strength-in -numbers class. The best prospects are OT Skyler Schofner, a big athlete who'll get a chance to be the anchor up front soon, and DE William Gholson, a big, fast, dream of a 3-4 end when he grows into his 6-6 frame. Max Bullough will get a yet to work behind Greg Jones, and next year he could be the starting middle linebacker. Corner Mylan Hicks is a lockdown coverman with the athleticism and potential to erase just about any Big Ten team's No. 1

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 35. That Class Was Heavy On ... linebackers and running backs. MSU’s early success under Mark Dantonio has come from a strong running game and athletic linebackers, and this class reflects that. Edwin Baker and Larry Caper are in to help try to replace Javon Ringer in the backfield, while Chris Norman and Tyquan Hammock are linebackers who can move. Norman, especially, was a coup for the program with the athleticism and toughness to be a star early on.

5. Northwestern | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Offensive linemen. The last three classes have tried to improve the skill spots, and they're going to need time to work. Led by a great get out of Pennsylvania – guard Adam DePietro – this could be Pat Fitzgerald's best class of linemen yet. He's also getting the best linebacker prospect in his era with Ifeadi Odenigbo out of Ohio, but 2012 is about an O line that should be ready to roll in three years.

Team Concerns For 2012: The defensive line loses both starting tackles, but the big hit comes in the secondary with safety Brian Peters done along with corners Jordan Mabin and Jeravin Matthews. QB Dan Persa might have been special, but Kain Colter got in enough work last year to be ready to go. However, he'll be missing key targets Jeremy Ebert, Charles Brown, and Drake Dunsmore.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Skill players. The Wildcats always get some decent misfits, like Dan Persa, who have the talent but seem to have one minor thing missing. This year, the program got some real, live talents including Zack Oliver, a quarterback out of Baton Rouge with the talent to be the best of the latest strong run of quarterbacks. Running back is a need, and Jordan Perkins, Nick VanHoose, and Trevyon Green will all get their chances right away. Receives Christian Jones and Cameron Dickerson are big targets who’ll be major factors in a few years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 59. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Northwestern doesn't always get the superstar talented, but it upgraded the receiving corps with three good prospects who should shine in the system. Tony Jones is a speedy target out of Michigan, while Rashad Lawrence and Venric Mark can also move. The coaching staff isn't looking to Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter to replace Mike Kafka at quarterback right away, but the opportunity will be there this fall to take the gig. This was a small class of defensive prospects, but there are some good ones including linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo, an all-star name if nothing else.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 69. That Class Was Heavy On ... running backs. It’s never a positive to recruit to fill an immediate need, but that’s exactly what Northwestern had to do with Tyrell Sutton gone and Omar Conteh hurt. The Wildcats need running backs, and it got them led by Arby Fields; a speedy, shifty back who should fit the offense to a T. Mike Trumpy and Davion Fleming might be relied on right away if injuries hit the backfield.

6. Minnesota | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Jerry Kill likes the run the ball, but he's not going after any star backs. He's bringing in quarterbacks to be ready to provide options after MarQueis Gray is done after next year, and he's loading up on receivers to start adding some more punch to the passing game. The secondary is getting an instant infusion of talent from the JUCO ranks with three signed on to make up for key losses while improving the depth.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offensive line has to be better. Kill is building for the future with this class of linemen, but he needs more production out of the ones brought in over the last few years. It'll be a young line that needs time, but the team can't afford another season with so much inconsistency up front. The defense needs a few young tackles to come through, and it needs a middle linebacker to replace Gary Tinsley and a safety to replace Kim Royston.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Offensive linemen. For new head coach Jerry Kill to do what he wants with his offense, he’ll need stronger, tougher offensive linemen than Minnesota has had in years. The hope will be for tackles Luke McAvoy and Foster Bush to quickly grow into real, live bookends for the front five, while guard Kyls McAvoy and Tom Olson have the potential to be terrific with a few years in the weight room. Tight end Peter Westerhaus and receiver Quentin Gardener will soon be focal points of the passing game.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 74. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Tim Brewster was hired as the head coach a few years ago because he was thought to be a master recruiter. He did a decent job this year, helped by having a new stadium to sell, and he and his staff went hard after offensive linemen to change things around after struggling so much to generate a running game. Jimmy Gjere is a tall, rangy tackle prospect with room to add another 30 pounds, while Mark Lenkiewicz and Matt Eggen will be plugged in somewhere up front by 2012.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 47. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. The Gophers needed to bring in more talented targets for the future, and they might have gotten their No. 2 receiver, alongside Eric Decker, in JUCO transfer Hayo Carpenter. Bryant Allen and Victor Keise come from out of state, Missouri and Florida, respectively, to develop. The real stars of the show might turn out to be tight ends Ra’shede Hageman and Kendall Gregory-MgGhee. Hageman is the total package.

- Big Ten Leaders