Ohio St., Michigan classes show most star power in Big Ten
The competition between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh never ends.
Meyer signed the class rated best in the Big Ten on Wednesday, just ahead of Michigan's. Harbaugh, however, landed the best player in the country.
Meyer's Buckeyes brought in 25 players, including 17 four-star prospects and five-star defensive end Nick Bosa. Harbaugh's Wolverines had signed 28 by late afternoon, including 14 four-stars and the nation's consensus No. 1 player in defensive tackle Rashan Gary from Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey.
Michigan State assembled a national top-25 class, one of its best under 10th-year coach Mark Dantonio, and Penn State's James Franklin and Nebraska's Mike Riley showed off their recruiting chops.
As expected, Ohio State and Michigan brought in the biggest bounties of talent.
Meyer put the finishing touches on a class that's No. 4 nationally, according to the 247sports.com composite rankings, when 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive tackle Malcolm Pridgeon decided to sign with the Buckeyes.
Harbaugh didn't disappoint with his first full class. His quirky antics on the recruiting trail played well on social media, and the glitzy ''Signing of the Stars'' production on Wednesday commanded national attention. By day's end, the consensus of analysts was that the Wolverines were No. 5 in the country.
Some things to know about Big Ten recruiting:
STRONGEST CLASS: Ohio State. Headlining the class is Bosa, a top-five national prospect who committed to the Buckeyes in July and then had a monster season to help lead St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale to a Florida state championship. No surprise he's a Buckeye. He's the brother of NFL-bound Ohio State star Joey Bosa.
ROSE MO MUST WAIT: Iowa's first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1991 generated minimal recruiting momentum. That's because the class was mostly assembled before the 2015 season even kicked off. Kirk Ferentz and his staff eschew the star system and look for players they can develop. After loading up on linemen the last cycle, the Hawkeyes went for more skill, speed and athleticism. Best of the bunch is Nate Stanley, a 6-4, 207-pound quarterback from Menomonie, Wisconsin, who has been committed to Iowa since November 2014.
COOK'S REPLACEMENT? Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry combined to beat Ohio State last season, but with the prolific Connor Cook gone, Michigan State fans are feeling a lot better with the signing of QB Messiah deWeaver. The four-star prospect from Huber Heights, Ohio, fits well into the pro-style system, and he also can hurt opponents with his legs.
LIONS ROAR, BUT QUIETLY: One of the Big Ten's best but most overlooked classes belongs to Penn State. That's life in the loaded East Division. Franklin upgraded his offensive line, where three of the four signees are four-stars, and picked up four-star running back Miles Sanders of Pittsburgh.
FIRST-YEAR COACHES: A half-dozen players de-committed from Illinois after the school removed the interim tag from Bill Cubit's title and gave him only a two-year contract. The Illini still signed 25 players, and the class was ranked higher than those at Indiana, Rutgers and Purdue. Minnesota's Tracy Claeys had some players de-commit after Jerry Kill's retirement, but he kept the prize of the class, four-star linebacker Carter Coughlin of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Maryland's DJ Durkin strengthened his secondary but was smarting after losing QB Dwayne Haskins, who was recruited by former coach Randy Edsall and flipped to Ohio State last month. Rutgers coach Chris Ash signed 17 players, nine from New Jersey.
REST OF THE WEST: Nebraska mined California for four players, including three four-star prospects, and Riley put together the Huskers' best class in years. Northwestern hopes receivers Riley Lees from Libertyville, Illinois, and Bennett Skowronek of Fort Wayne, Indiana, can help perk up the offense. Wisconsin loves homegrown offensive linemen, and it picked up a four-star recruit in Cole Van Lanen of Green Bay.
FUNNIEST MOMENT: No doubt, it was Harbaugh's attempt to climb a tree. According to media reports, Harbaugh was visiting cornerback David Long in Los Angeles when Long's little sister asked the coach to climb a tree in the family's front yard. Harbaugh obliged, though he didn't make it all the way up. Long ended up signing with the Wolverines.
AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org