Recruiting 2013 - Big Ten Leaders Needs
Posted Jan 31, 2013

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

Recruiting 2013

Big Ten Leaders Rankings

CFN Top Prospects for 2013
- 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 

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- Recruiting 2013 - Big Ten Legends Needs & Concerns

Illinois | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Illini have to start playing up to their talent level. Ron Zook did a decent job of bringing in the athletes, but can they play? They couldn't in 2012 - or Tim Beckman couldn't coach them. The pressure is on for the nation's second-worst offense to start producing, but the defense and special teams need a major boost, too. The O is loaded with veterans, but the defensive front that got rocked has to replace three starters who'll likely find roles at the next level.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Gone are the days when Ron Zook was making everyone mad after getting top talent after top talent, but Tim Beckman is bringing in a nice big class with the defense getting the biggest boost. The secondary has a few nice prospects in corners Darius Mosely and Caleb Day, but the line has the bulk with Jarron Clements and Bryce Douglas future starters in teh interior and JUCO transfer Abens Cajuste brought in to see time right away. Quarterback Aaron Bailey is the near future, but never year's class will need to focus on getting him some weapons.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 71. That 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. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 35. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. The Illini defensive front got an influx of talent for the inside with Chris Jones and Clint Tucker two active big bodies who fit the team team perfectly. Ends Darrius Caldwell and Chris O’Connor are dangerous pass rushing prospects. While running backs Joshua Ferguson and Donovann Young going to shine, the offensive class is about the passing game with Reilly O’Toole the quarterback for three years from now and receivers Dondi Kirby and Kenny Wright two big, strong targets. The big coup was tight end Jon Davis, who turned down Notre Dame and UCLA.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 50. That Class Was Heavy On ... The middle of the defensive back seven. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer is the star of the class and wide receiver Darius Millines is a good one to step in and potentially produce early on, but Illinois needed to do something about its defense ... and now. Jonathan Brown, Mark Wilson, and Jay Prosch are all built to play inside linebacker, and they might provide instant depth. Safety Earnest Thomas is the best defensive prospect brought in, while JUCO transfer Trulon Henry has to find a spot somewhere in the secondary immediately.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 38. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. Lost in the Ron Zook era amidst the publicity around the offense has been a defense that’s been consistently strong. This year’s recruiting class helped the defensive front more than any other area with promising pass rushers Cornellius Carradine and Michael Buchanan for the outside with Lendell Buckner and Akeem Spence for the inside. Buckner has the body and the upside to be special.

Indiana | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Hoosiers have to stop the run. Kevin Wilson's offense will only get better and better with ten starters returning to an attack that led the Big Ten in passing, but the defense gave up points and yards faster than the O could crank them out. IU was last in the Big Ten in total defense and scoring defense, having the biggest problems against the run despite leading the league in sacks and tackles for loss. The Hoosiers needs defensive tackle help as soon as possible.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. No team in the Big Ten has a bigger area of need than Indiana has on the defensive line. It's asking too much for anyone to start right away, but 6-5, 285-pound Darius Latham and JUCO transfer Jordan Heiderman might be too good to not be thrown to the wolves. End David Kenney has all the tools to quickly turn into one of the team's top pass rushers. Safety Antonio Allen is soon going to be the team's top defensive back, while tight end Danny Friend will be a key outlet target. Receivers Isaac Griffith and Anthony Young are going to be a part of the rotation by next year.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 57. That 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. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 57. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. New head coach Kevin Wilson wants receivers to be able to move the ball vertically even more than Bill Lynch did, and he loaded up with three excellent targets from the tiny but quick Shane Wynn to the 6-5 Jay McCants. Defense got plenty of help, especially in the secondary, with big safeties Forisse Hardin and Mark Murphy, potentially seeing time right away, while Kenny Mullen bring speed at corner and Nick Stoner and Michael Hunter are versatile options for the outside.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 64. That Class Was Heavy On ... Help for the defensive back seven. The Hoosiers need to go with the strength-in-numbers theory to find enough bodies to come up with a solid and steady defense. Five strong linebacking prospects were signed led by Matt Zakrzewski, a safety-sized guided missile for the outside, and Chase Hoobler for the middle. Shaquille Jefferson will be a starting safety in the near future, while JUCO transfers Andre Kates and Lenyatta Kiles will provide instant help on the corners.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 681. That Class Was Heavy On ... quarterbacks. IU was more than just competitive with Kellen Lewis was on, and it showed just how much the program needs a strong quarterback to carry the rest of the team. The Hoosiers might have picked up two with Edward Wright-Baker and great athlete, and Dustin Kiel a nice passing prospect. These two will get a little bit of time to develop with the future of the program to eventually ride on one of their shoulders.

Ohio State | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: Defensive line, defensive line and defensive line. Of course, it would be nice if the passing game became a bit more sophisticated, but that's not what the offense is about with Braxton Miller able to make big plays down the field when needed. The run defense improved as the year went on and the talent level is being raised by Urban Meyer, but the Buckeyes have to replace all four starters up front along with linebackers Zach Boren, Etienne Sabino and Storm Klein. It's Ohio State - there are more talents waiting in the wings - but it's going to be the concern early on.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Much is being made about the haul on the defensive line, and rightly so, with Joey Bosa and Tyquan Lewis among the nation's top end prospects and Michael Hill, Donovan Munger and Billy Price three excellent tackle prospects, but the key is the secondary. Corner Eli Apple was a nice get out of New Jersey, and Cameron Burrows and Gareon Conley are just as strong, while safeties Darron Lee and Jayme Thompson are going to someday be excellent starting safeties. Overall, this is a special class - even for Ohio State - with linebacker Mike Mitchell, receiver Jalin Marshall and tackle Evan Lyle all destined to be all-stars.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That 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. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was Heavy On ... the defensive front seven. All eyes will be on Braxton Miller, who might be the quarterback and the key to the start of the 2011 season, but the Buckeyes will be loaded for years to come thanks to the pickup of several amazing defensive players. The Signing Day coup of Curtis Grant, the nation’s top outside linebacker, was the icing on the cake for a class that came up with NFL talents in Michael Bennettat defensive tackle and Steve Miller on the outside. Ejuan Shazier will be the team’s next great inside linebacker, while brother Ryan Shazier will be a star on the outside.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Predictably, Ohio State didn't come up with its normal jaw-dropping haul of NFL talents after coming up with the nation's top class last year. But that didn't mean that a few key prospects weren't signed led by superstar offensive tackle prospect Andrew Norwell, who'll be great once he hits the weight room. The receivers aren't the sure things of past classes, but Corey Brown, James Louis and Tyrone Williams can move. Roderick Smith is a freakishly talented running back who could've gone anywhere in the Big Ten and got a big push from Georgia and Oklahoma.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 1. That Class Was Heavy On ... everything. Name the position and about 100 other teams would be ecstatic to do as well overall as Ohio State did in any one area other than quarterback (and Kenneth Guiton isn’t a bad prospect). Running back? Jaamal Berry and FB Carlos Hyde are the stars of a good group. The receiving corps, led by Cris Carter’s son, Duron, is special, the offensive tackles are all prototypes, the defensive tackles big and quick, the linebackers fast, and the defensive backs even faster. This class has it all.

Penn State | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: Beyond the ongoing issues of the university and the image problem, on the field, the Nittany Lions have to keep pressing forward by getting production from young players who'll now get more and more of a shot considering all the restrictions going forward. Getting the quarterback situation settled with Matt McGloin gone will be the first goal after a shocking year for a passing game that went from miserable to excellent. The special teams have to be better after an awful year punting averaging just 34.5 yards per kick and a paltry 18 yards per kickoff return.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Hackenberg to Breneman. Bill O'Brien is doing what he can considering all the program's problems and restrictions - who wants to sign up to play a career full of exhibition games? Even so, getting superstar quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman would make this a successful class even in normal times. The problem is going to be the lack of depth, and O'Brien can't miss. Recruits for the next few years have to be ready to rock and roll and have to be part of the depth chart as soon as possible, but it's still a tough overall sell. The defensive line is getting some help with Garrett Sickels a good-looking pass rusher and Curtis Cothran a potentially excellent end. There are some nice talents across the board - linebacker Zayd Issah will be a player - but if Hackenberg and Breneman aren't great, this class will be average at best.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 55. That 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 a few good receivers signing on. 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. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 34. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Not since the Derrick Williams class of 2005 has Penn State brought in a group of receivers like this with Bill Belton, Matt Zanellato and Allen Robinson all good enough to be the No. 1 target. The defensive front should be stronger with Shawn Oakman and Deion Barnes on the end and Ben Kline at linebacker, but the focus is on the offensive front as Donovan Smith leads a phenomenal group of talents. Angelo Mangiro is one of the nation’s best guards, and Anthony Zettel isn’t far behind. Tackle Anthony Alosi might start right away.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 14. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. Are top prospects worried about the Joe Paterno era ending any time soon? Hardly. Only three linebackers were signed, but it would've be a stunner if Mike Hull in the middle and Khairi Fortt and Dakota Royer on the outside form the nation's best corps going into the 2013 season. Hull was the nation's top inside prospect and he should be the program's next great linebacker. DaQuan Jones and Evan Hailes are ready-made 300-pounders for the inside of the line, while C.J. Olaniyan is a speed rusher for the outside. Offensively, Paul Jones is one of the nation's best quarterback prospects, but that didn't stop Robert Bolden, a passer who'd make the recruiting season for about 100 other programs, from also signing.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. The strength of the class is at offensive tackle, but the immediate need was at receiver with Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood gone. Joe Paterno and his staff aren’t going to ask the incoming freshmen to step in and start right away, but it would be nice if Justin Brown, Shawney Kersey, Brandon Felder, Devon Smith and Christian Kuntz were able to push for potential playing time. Brown is the star of the bunch, but Kersey and Smith are the speedsters who could make a more immediate impact.

Purdue | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Darrell Hazell has to work a few miracles out of a team that has some nice pieces, but isn't good enough overall to be a true threat for the Big Ten title. The defensive front loses Kawann Short in the interior, but it gets most of the starters back - now it has to stop someone's running game. The Boilermakers had the second-worst defense in the Big Ten and had way too many problems against anyone who could run the ball. The punt return game was awful averaging a non-existent 3.16 yards per pop.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive line. Two years ago Danny Hope went big on beefing up the defensive front. New Head coach Darrell Hazell is getting an even bigger haul for the front wall with eight prospects coming in - but don't expect an immediate impact. Tackles Antoine Miles and Johnny Daniels need time to get bigger for the interior, while Danny Ezechukwu out of Georgia has the potential to be a pass rushing terror down the line. The offense isn't being ignored with running backs Keyante Green and David Yancey to pack a 1-2 punch by 2016.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 61. That 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. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 74. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The skill positions got some instant depth with JUCO transfer Akeem Shavers at running back and JUCO transfer tight end Sterling Carter, and Akeem Hunt ill be the team’s star back in the near future. Defensively, the success of recent Boilermaker linemen helped get Robert Kugler, the star of the class and a dangerous pass rushing prospect, while Randy Gregory could be a good one with time in the weight room. 315-pound Michael Rouse will someday be the anchor of the defensive front.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 48. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Head coach Danny Hope went big on the defensive linemen last year, and this year he came up with a big class of defensive backs signing seven including Ricardo Allen, a good corner who might be too good to keep on the bench as a freshman. Out of all the defensive backs brought in, only one true safety, E.J. Johnson, was signed. It's Purdue, so the offense is never going to be ignored and Hope brought in QB Sean Robinson, a big, athletic passer, and a good receiver in O.J. Ross.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 64. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. Purdue hasn’t stopped anyone’s running game in a few years, and now it’s time to give it a try. That’s not to say there haven’t been good linemen flowing through the program, but most of the stars have been pass rushers. JUCO transfer Kris Cooke should be an instant upgrade for the interior, while Eric McDaniel and Brandon Taylor will be the foundation for future defenses. Xavier Melton and Cody Davis aren’t bad tackle prospects, either.

Wisconsin | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The defense should be excellent and the special teams and running game will be a plus, so all the focus will be around a passing game that has to be even more efficient and more effective. While much was made out of the strange quarterback situation, the receivers were the bigger problem. If Jared Abbrederis wasn't making big things happen, the passing attack went kaput. The offensive line - by Wisconsin's standards - has to be far better, and that's where new head coach Gary Andersen should shine. 

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. It's been a weird time with the coaching change, and at some point it would be nice if Gary Andersen can bust the program out of the "recruit to a type" mode, but this year's class could potentially be good if some of the defensive backs pan out. Corners Jakarris Washington and Keelon Brookins were good gets from Massachusetts and Minnesota, respectively, while Matt Hubley is a sneaky-good safety prospect. Two of the keys for down the road are running back Corey Clement out of New Jersey and receiver Rob Wheelright out of Ohio, each with the talent to have had their pick of schools. They might be needed as soon as possible.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 66. That 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. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 38. That Class Was Heavy On ... Outside linebackers. Wisconsin might be Tight End U. with the success of players like Travis Beckum, Lance Kendricks, and others over the last few seasons, and there’s more talent on the way with Sam Arneson, Austin Maly, and Eric Staffes three good pass catchers. Overall, this is a typical Badger class with no real superstars, but plenty of midlevel prospects who fit the team’s mold. The one top pickup was Jake Keefer, local product with great range. Michael Caputo and Jordan Fredrick are just two of the several other good outside defenders brought in.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Overall, this was a diverse and strong class that made up for a few years of subpar Signing Days. Wisconsin might recruit to fit the program, but this class also has talent. The Badgers signed a ton of defensive linemen last season and kept bringing in the talent this year with six excellent prospect. 292-pound DT Beau Allen was the key piece to the puzzle, while Sherard Cadogan and Konrad Zagzebeski fit the UW mold of smallish, lightning quick speed rushers on the outside. Jeff Lewis and James White will have a few years to work into the running back rotation.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 53. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. The Badgers have been surprisingly soft up front over the last few years. Poor tackling has been part of the problem; injuries have been the other part. This year’s class addressed the needs up front led by tackle Jordan Kohout, arguably the state’s top recruit. Pat Muldoon and Shelby Harris are strong pass rushing prospects who have to come through and shine sooner than later.

- Recruiting 2013 - Big Ten Legends Needs & Concerns