Recruiting 2012 - Big Ten Leaders Rankings

Posted Feb 4, 2012

Ranking and analyzing the 2012 Big Ten Leaders Recruiting Classes

Recruiting 2012

Big Ten Leaders Rankings

Recruiting 2012

CFN 2012 Recruiting Rankings & All-Star Teams
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2012 CFN All-Big Ten
Recruiting Team

QB – Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
RB – Brionte Dunn, Ohio State
RB – Greg Garmon, Iowa
WR – Aaron Burbridge, Mich St
WR – Eugene Lewis, Penn State
TE – Devin Funchess, Michigan
OT – Taylor Decker, Ohio State
OG – Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
C – Wendy Laurent, Penn State
OG – Ryan Watson, Purdue
OT – Kyle Kalis, Michigan
PK – Paul Griggs, Purdue

DE – Noah Spence, Ohio State
DT – Ondre Pipkins, Michigan
DT – Tommy Schutt, Ohio State
DE – Adolphus Washington, OSU
OLB – Joe Bolden, Michigan
MLB – Royce Jenkins-Stone, Michigan
OLB – Ifeadi Odenigbo, Nwestern
CB – Terry Richardson, Michigan
S – Demetrious Cox, Michigan St
S – D.J. Singleton, Wisconsin
CB – Armani Reeves, Ohio State
P – No Punters Signed

1. Ohio State | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Welcome to Urban being Urban. Meyer appears to have a renewed energy, and it shows with a typically great Ohio State recruiting class. Even with almost no time to work, he's getting just about everyone he wants from Ohio and has been able to get a few key players from outside the state. In just a short time he's putting together a monster that's as good as any class in the country, particularly on the defensive front where he's loading up with the best prospects for any line in America. The skill positions aren't being ignored, but the Buckeyes need to keep building up the defense. Meyer will go more for the offensive side next year.

Team Concerns For 2012: How quickly will the offense adjust to what Meyer wants to do? Top receiver DeVier Posey is gone, as is RB Dan Herron, but Braxton Miller might be the perfect quarterback for Meyer's attack. The problem is on the offensive line with three starters gone including both tackles and center Mike Brewster. The defense should be experienced up front, but the most talented linemen will be in coming in the fall.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Urban Meyer's team might not have anything to play for this year – being ineligible for the Big Ten title and a bowl game – but there's still a ton of talent and plenty of excitement. Even after top recruiting class after top recruiting class under Jim Tressel, there's no one leaving early for the NFL, and the returning team is loaded with promise and potential … for 2013.

Braxton Miller will challenge Michigan's Denard Robinson for the honor of being the Big Ten's most thrilling player, and he'll get a year of experimenting and experience to be ready to be truly special in two years. Three starters are gone off the offensive line, while top receiver DeVier Posey and running back Dan Herron have to be replaced. On the other side, the line could be the best in the Big Ten, and linebacker Ryan Shazier appears to be a mortal lock for All-Big Ten honors. In all, ten starters could be back on defense, both kickers return, and of course, the coaching situation is a major positive. Now it'll all be up to motivation.

2. Penn State | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Whatever head coach Bill O'Brien can get. A few prospects have said they wanted to come to Penn State no matter what, but for the most part, the top players are staying away from the mess. This is hardly a disastrous recruiting season considering all the problems with few good receivers signing on and the defensive line is getting a few three-star types, but this isn't nearly the type of class the program is used to getting.

Team Concerns For 2012: It's all about getting through the transition. The offense needs the most help, especially for the passing game. The quarterbacks in place simply can't play, but at least Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden are veterans. The defensive line has to replace Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Devon Still and end Jack Crawford, and all four starters are gone from the secondary. The offensive line loses four starters from a group that was fine, but merely above-average at best.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Forgetting about the baggage and the problems the program will be dealing with over the next several years, Bill O'Brien's team has a major, major problem on the field – it needs a quarterback. Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden both had issues throughout the season, but the offense will have RB Silas Redd to count on. The line has to replace four starters, leading receiver Derek Moye is done, and the depth at running back is questionable. Defensively, the line loses all-star tackle Devon Still and pass rusher Jack Crawford, but the linebacking corps should be terrific with Gerald Hodges ready to break out on a national scale. All four starters have to be replaced in the secondary.

3. Indiana | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... FBS players. Head coach Kevin Wilson openly groused about the talent level after coming over from Oklahoma, and now he has had a full recruiting season to change things around. While he lost top quarterback prospect Dusty Kiel to Notre Dame, he's getting a few passers and some strong receivers. The defense has to be far better, and it starts up front with JUCO transfers Jaccari Alexander and David Cooper for the linebacking corps, and enough talent for the depth on the line to get an immediate upgrade.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offense has to start producing on a consistent basis. Tre Robertson is a fun quarterback to work around, and Stephen Houston is a promising, pounding back, but Wilson's passing attack needs a deep threat and the line has to be night and day better. There's experience, but the skill level is lacking.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The Hoosiers failed to beat an FBS team, but the biggest loss came this offseason when star QB prospect Dusty Kiel ultimately chose Notre Dame after verbally committing to IU. Second-year head coach Kevin Wilson had a really, really young team, and now the hope is for quarterbacks Tre Roberson and Edward Wright-Baker to play like experienced veterans. Stephen Houston and D'Angelo Roberts are promising backs to work the running game around, while Kofi Hughes is a good No. 1 target. The defense was a disaster finishing last in the Big Ten in yards, scoring D, and run defense, but all four starters are back on the line and three starters in the secondary are back. Leading tackler Jeff Thomas is gone from the middle.

4. Purdue | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... After years of mostly going after the defensive side, the coaching staff is trying to improve the offense. Danny Hope has a few nice quarterback prospects about to sign on, while the receiving corps is loaded with as many good options as the program has had in several years. Tight end will be the strength with Ryan Morris and JUCO transfer Greg Latta good enough to play right away. Ryan Watson is a terrific guard prospect and a huge get for down the road, while JUCO transfer Devin Smith is expected to see time at tackle now.

Team Concerns For 2012: Safety will require the most work with both Logan Link and Albert Evans gone, but big recruiting classes from 2009 and 2010 should boost up the secondary. The offensive line has to come up with two new starters on the left side and Nick Mondek at right guard. Carson Wiggs could be the rare drafted placekicker, but Paul Griggs is Scout.com's No. 3 ranked prospect.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Shockingly, QB Robert Marve got another year of eligibility, but the offense should still be Caleb TerBush's to fly. The 1-2 rushing punch of Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers should be among the Big Ten's most productive if the line can replace three starters. Leading receiver Justin Siller is gone, but Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross are promising. The defense caught a huge break when DT Kawann Short chose to return for one more year to anchor a defensive front that should be the best in the Danny Hope era. The secondary loses both safeties but gets back top corner Ricardo Allen. Raheem Mostert led the nation in kickoff returns.

5. Wisconsin | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The offensive line. The Badgers don't need to come up with a big class, going after quality over quantity. Bret Bielema is going outside of the state for some of the key prospects, including getting guard Dan Voltz out of Illinois. More good ones are on the way. Bielema has mostly focused on getting the type of defenders who fit what the program likes to do by developing overachievers, but this year, more top players are giving UW a look.

Team Concerns For 2012: Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. It's Wisconsin, so the offensive line will be fine with a little bit of time, and the defense has enough great prospects from the last few recruiting classes to be ready to fill in the gaps, but Russell Wilson was a special quarterback who bailed out a bad situation when he signed on. The offense will continue to work around Montee Ball and the running game, but a third straight Rose Bowl is out without an efficient passer. Both kickers – PK Philip Welch and P Brad Nortman – have to be replaced.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The Badgers might win the Leaders by default with Ohio State not eligible for the Big Ten title and Penn State in trouble, but there's one big question. Is there another Russell Wilson out there?

Jon Budmayr has an elbow issue that's having a hard time healing, while Curt Phillips is a tremendously talented prospect who can't catch a break when it comes to knee injuries. The starting quarterback won't have to do too much passing with Heisman finalist Montee Ball returning to mount another assault on the record books. Center Peter Konz is leaving early for the NFL, but the line was just fine when he missed time during the year hurt; it'll once again be one of college football's best front fives. Chris Borland and Mike Taylor form one of America's best linebacking duos, but five starters are gone off a defense that needs more speed and athleticism.

6. Illinois | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Receivers. Tim Beckman is known for being a defensive coach, but his Toledo teams lived on a high-octane offense. It's Illinois, so the passing game is going to get plenty of attention with the receiving corps getting new prospects to play around with. The defense is getting a few nice linebackers, and kicker Ryan Frain will get a shot at the job right away, but across the board this class pales in comparison to the monsters Ron Zook brought in when he first started up in Champaign.

Team Concerns For 2012: Key offensive performers. QB Nathan Scheelhaase is back for two more years, but his top target, A.J. Jenkins, is gone, as are top backs Jason Ford and Troy Pollard. Losing left tackle Jeff Allen could be the biggest problem early on next season; there are more good skill players waiting in the wings. Defensively, who's going to be the next great defensive lineman? Tackle Corey Liuget was the main man two years ago, and last season Whitney Mercilus was the best defensive end in college football. The hope is for tackle Akeem Spence to be the next big thing.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: New head coach Tim Beckman isn't exactly making a great first impression after having problems filling out his coaching staff, but he has a good team in place to work with. Star end Whitney Mercilus is gone to the NFL, but three starters are back on the line and big-time tackler Jonathan Brown leads a strong linebacking corps. The secondary gets three starters back and shouldn't have too big a problem replacing corner Tavon Wilson. The offense starts with QB Nathan Scheelhaase, but he needs to find a new No. 1 target with A.J. Jenkins gone. Donovonn Young will get the first look to handle the running game, working behind a line that loses tackle Jeff Allen but should be strong with a little bit of tweaking.

- Big Ten Legends Rankings