Jun. 8—Some Big Ten football teams are recruiting like the conference title contenders they are. Others have a lot of work to do this summer to build a 2024 class. Illini beat writer Scott Richey takes a look at where all 14 teams stand as the calendar flips to June:
Number of commits: 17
Rivals national ranking: No. 3
247sports national ranking: No. 2
Overview: Jim Harbaugh continues to flirt with the NFL every offseason, but he's reached a point at Michigan where the fan base actually wants him to stay. Consecutive Big Ten titles in 2021 and 2022 plus even more important wins against Ohio State both those years have changed things. And Harbaugh is recruiting at a level to keep that run going.
Their best recruit is ... five-star quarterback Jadyn Davis. The Providence Day School (N.C.) standout is the No. 4 quarterback in the country and No. 26 overall prospect. Alex Orji would seem to be next in line after the J.J. McCarthy era ends in Ann Arbor, Mich., but Davis could — and probably will given his status — push Orji right away in 2024.
They still need help ... at wide receiver? It's a fairly balanced class from a position standpoint, but more options for Davis wouldn't be a terrible idea. The Wolverines are trending in the right direction with five-star St. Louis native Ryan Wingo, and Davis' high school teammate Jordan Shipp is on Michigan's board, too.
Number of commits: 13
Rivals national ranking: No. 6
247sports national ranking: No. 4
Overview: Consecutive losses to Michigan means Ryan Day is on the hot seat in Columbus, Ohio. At least by those that think losing to "that team up north" is the most egregious sin an Ohio State coach can commit. It doesn't seem to be hurting the Buckeyes' recruiting, though, with 11 four- or five-star recruits committed so far.
Their best recruit is ... south Florida standout Jeremiah Smith. The five-star prospect is the top recruit in Florida, the top wide receiver in the country and trails only Georgia-bound quarterback Dylan Raiola in the 247Sports national rankings. Smith is the heir apparent to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.
They still need help ... on the defensive line. You can never have enough big bodies up front, and while the Buckeyes have addressed the offensive side of the equation with three commitments, they're still searching for defensive linemen. Three five-star prospects, including St. Ignatius standout Justin Scott, have Ohio State among their recruiting leaders.
Number of commits: 17
Rivals national ranking: No. 5
247sports national ranking: No. 6
Overview: It's an annual challenge for Penn State in keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses, in this case, being Michigan and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions probably can't wait for the Big Ten East as currently constructed to go away, but James Franklin keeps recruiting at a high level.
Their best recruit is ... four-star athlete Quinton Martin. The Belle Vernon, Pa., native projects as a running back and gives off some quasi-Saquon Barkley vibes from a physical standpoint. Martin is also the top-ranked recruit in Pennsylvania just like Barkley was in 2015.
They still need help ... at wide receiver and are in the mix for a slew of four-star options. Keeping River Rouge (Mich.) standout Nick Marsh, a top-100 national recruit, away from division rivals Michigan State would be a coup. But IMG Academy (Fla.) slot receiver Jerrae Hawkins is an option and so is Winslow Township (N.J.) star Jaylan Hornsby.
Number of commits: 10
Rivals national ranking: No. 14
247sports national ranking: No. 15
Overview: How new coach Luke Fickell constructs his first full class will be telling given how much he used the transfer portal this offseason to add 14 players for the coming season. Fickell hasn't shied away from offering the top prospects in the Class of 2024, but he only has one top-300 recruit committed.
Their best recruit is ... Illinois native and four-star tight end Grant Stec . The Jacobs product had an offer from Fickell at Cincinnati but had his sights set on the Big Ten and the Badgers in particular. The coaching change in Madison, Wis., didn't change that, as he picked Wisconsin over Iowa and Northwestern.
They still need help ... up front with only one offensive lineman — Arrowhead (Wis.) three-star Derek Jensen — committed. Four-star Pope John Paul II (Pa.) tackle Kevin Heywood and four-star Dexter School (Mass.) interior offensive lineman Liam Andrews are both in play.
Number of commits: 15
Rivals national ranking: No. 19
247sports national ranking: No. 16
Overview: The Gophers haven't had to get too far from home in building their 2024 class. Seven of the 15 commits are from the state of Minnesota, and only three could be considered geographical outliers. Overall, per usual, it's quantity for P.J. Fleck and Co. at this point of the cycle.
Their best recruit is ... from unlikely recruiting hotbed Kindred, N.D. — population 889. Interior offensive lineman Riley Sunram is a three-star prospect ranked first in his state, 29th at his position and inside the top 500 nationally.
They still need help ... in the secondary. More so at cornerback with a pair of safeties already committed. Atop the board at cornerback is South Gwinnett (Ga.) three-star Jaylin Lackey, who is also considering Vanderbilt and Virginia.
Number of commits: 11
Rivals national ranking: No. 21
247sports national ranking: No. 19
Overview: It's a fairly typical Kirk Ferentz class to date. Plenty of homegrown talent sprinkled with some top-25 talent out of Illinois that mostly falls into three-star prospect territory. It's what the Hawkeyes have done for two-plus decades on the recruiting trail with only a single five-star recruit (Edwardsville's A.J. Epenesa) in the last 15 years.
Their best recruit is ... four-star offensive lineman Cody Fox, who has a slight edge on four-star linebacker Derek Weisskopf. Both are in-state prospects, with Fox checking in at No. 14 among interior offensive lineman and inside the top 300 nationally.
They still need help ... at tight end only to try and keep up the tradition of turning them into NFL prospects. High on the Hawkeyes' board is Illinois native and Immaculate Conception standout Eric Karner. Iowa will have to fend off Alabama, Florida, Michigan State and Texas A&M, though, to land the three-star recruit.
Number of commits: 11
Rivals national ranking: No. 23
247sports national ranking: No. 22
Overview: It's simple, really. Greg Schiano has to keep adding talent to get the program back to what it was in his first stretch as Rutgers' coach. Last year's 4-8 record was an improvement, but the Scarlet Knights haven't had a winning season since 2014.
Their best recruit is ... four-star athlete Gabriel Winowich , who will line up at running back for the Scarlet Knights. Winowich is the only top-500 commit for Rutgers to date, and the Detroit Country Day (Mich.) star has been Schiano's headliner since January.
They still need help ... everywhere, basically, as the rebuild continues in far eastern reaches of the Big Ten. Rutgers remains in the mix for four-star Bergen Catholic (N.J.) offensive tackle Nyier Daniels, four-star Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) safety Jaylen McClain and four-star Eastside (N.J.) athlete Willy Love , but the Scarlet Knights are far from their only suitors.
Number of commits: 7
Rivals national ranking: No. 32
247sports national ranking: No. 32
Overview: Nebraska fans probably don't want to hear this, but it's not 2002 anymore. The fans still show up at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., like it still could be, but the reality is first-year coach Matt Rhule has real work to do. The foundation of the Cornhuskers' 2024 class is ... fine.
Their best recruit is ... four-star athlete Rodney Gradney . The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Texan has 10.88-second speed in the 100-meter dash, is a triple jumper and throws the discus. Where he plays at Nebraska is still to be determined.
They still need help ... at most positions as Rhule builds his first full recruiting class. In-state prospects are on the list of top targets, including four-star Bellevue West (Neb.) wide receiver Dae'vonn Hall and four-star Ainsworth (Neb.) tight end Carter Nelson.
Number of commits: 7
Rivals national ranking: No. 36
247sports national ranking: No. 35
Overview: It shouldn't be a surprise that two of Purdue's top-four commits so far are defensive backs. That's the position group that helped new coach Ryan Walters build his reputation and build what became one of the top defenses in the country at Illinois last season.
Their best recruit is ... four-star quarterback Marcus Davila. The Midland Legacy (Texas) product was recruited by now-Purdue offensive coordinator Graham Harrell when the latter was at West Virginia, and that relationship helped the Boilermakers flip the one-time TCU commit.
They still need help ... on the defensive line. Walters knows what kind of difference an impressive defensive front can make, and Purdue is in the running for West Bloomfield (Mich.) four-star Brandon Davis-Swain and Parish Episcopal School (Texas) three-star Caleb Mitchell Irving.
Number of commits: 7
Rivals national ranking: No. 48
247sports national ranking: No. 38
Overview: A look at Northwestern's list of offers reveals how selective coach Pat Fitzgerald is during the recruiting process. There simply aren't that many targeted players compared to most teams. The Wildcats occasionally land a national-level recruit — think recent NFL first-round pick Peter Skoronski — but Fitzgerald is focused on fit in Evanston.
Their best recruit is ... three-star interior offensive lineman Gabe VanSickle in an offensive lineman-heavy class so far for the Wildcats. VanSickle, a Coopersville (Mich.) product, is the lone Northwestern commit to date ranked among the top-800 players nationally.
They still need help ... at any position that's not an offensive or defensive linemen given six of the seven committed players in the class play in the trenches. Two recruits of note high on the Wildcats are Collierville (Tenn.) three-star quarterback Aidan Glover and Colquitt County (Ga.) three-star edge rusher Tyshon Reed Jr.
Number of commits: 5
Rivals national ranking: No. 48
247sports national ranking: No. 47
Overview: The one issue for Tom Allen and the Class of 2024 is the Indiana coach might not be around to see them pay off on the field for the Hoosiers. His seat has to be feeling toasty with a 17-35 record in the Big Ten in seven seasons.
Their best recruit is ... three-star quarterback Timothy Carpenter. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder who plays for former Ohio State wide receiver and 10-year NFL pro Jeff Graham at Trotwood-Madison (Ohio), is ranked as the No. 43 quarterback in the class.
They still need help ... with somebody who plays on the defensive side of the ball. All five current commits — even "athlete" Javier Etheridge — are offensive recruits.
Number of commits: 4
Rivals national ranking: No. 66
247sports national ranking: No.61
Overview: Four commitments as June begins means Maryland coach Mike Locksley has quite a ways to go. Especially when you consider the former Illinois offensive coordinator has signed multiple four- or five-star recruits in every class since he got the job in 2019.
Their best recruit is ... an international addition in three-star prospect Justin Okoronkwo . The German linebacker, who played soccer and competed in gymnastics growing up, was also Locksley's first commit in the Class of 2024.
They still need help ... at all positions. Intriguing multiple targets out of the DMV includes four-star Gonzaga (D.C.) defensive lineman DD Holmes, along with four-star linebacker Aaron Chiles and four-star running back Dilin Jones out of Our Lady Good Counsel (Md.).
Number of commits: 3
Rivals national ranking: No. 61
247sports national ranking: No. 70
Overview: Michigan State coach Mel Tucker isn't shy about bolstering his roster with frequent trips to the transfer portal. Tucker added 14 transfers ahead of the 2021 season and 14 more this offseason. High school recruiting might take a bit of a back seat for the Spartans.
Their best recruit is ... four-star cornerback Jaylen Thompson . The Riverdale (Tenn.) product told reporters he was still intent on taking other visits after his late December pledge to the Spartans. But Thompson was on campus in East Lansing, Mich., this past weekend and all reports indicate he's a lock for MSU.
They still need help ... anywhere and everywhere. Five-star IMG Academy (Fla.) defensive lineman David Stone would be a huge get as the No. 6 overall recruit. The Spartans also recently hosted unranked Xaverian Brothers (Mass.) quarterback Henry Hasselbeck, son of three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Number of commits: 3
Rivals national ranking: No. 68
247sports national ranking: No. 71
Overview: This recruiting cycle isn't all that different from others in Bret Bielema's short time at Illinois. Few commitments early with the summer months being the pivotal stretch to put a class together. Three 2024 commitments as June and camp season began certainly follows that trend.
Their best recruit is ... three-star quarterback Trey Petty, who plays at the same high school — Starkville (Miss.) — as current Illinois quarterback Luke Altmyer. Petty led the Yellowjackets to a state title last fall, passing for 2,737 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushing for 766 yards and 17 more touchdowns.
They still need help ... across the board. Top targets of note include four-star Naperville North wide receiver Luke Williams, three-star Dublin Coffman (Ohio) defensive lineman Demetrius John, three-star John F. Kennedy (La.) cornerback Bernard Causey and unranked Pinckenyville tight end Karsen Konkel.