Big Ten Early Signing: Michigan comes up big
With the early signing period coming to a close this week, most commitments have put pen to paper and made things official. It’s also a perfect time to evaluate the week that was with a conference-by-conference look at the work being done on the trail. Below, Rivals.com discusses some of the more notable developments in the Big Ten.
TOP CLASS - Michigan
Michigan’s six-member class is not only the top haul in the Big Ten but also the country. The class is headlined by five-star forward Caleb Houstan, the No. 11 prospect in America and the highest-ranked player to sign with UM since Glenn Robinson III in 2012.
Still, it’s the depth of the Wolverines’ class that makes it special. In addition to Houstan, Juwan Howard signed four-star prospects Moussa Diabate, Frankie Collins, Kobe Bufkin and Isaiah Barnes. The class is rounded out by three-star forward Will Tschetter.
It’s clear that, despite limited college coaching experience, Howard knows how to connect with recruits, and the future seems incredibly bright in Ann Arbor.
SECOND BEST CLASS - Michigan State
The Spartans haul would probably have ranked No. 1 in the league in most years. Five-star guard Max Christie headlines the group as one of the more well-rounded players in the 2021 class and is joined by four-star Jaden Atkins, a hard-nosed guard that can create off the dribble. Physical wing Pierre Brooks rounds out the class and will provide Tom Izzo with position versatility and consistent long-range shooting.
This is one of the Spartan’s top hauls of the Izzo era as is, and that’s casting aside the possibility of No. 1 overall player in 2022, Emoni Bates, reclassifying and joining the group.
TOP RANKED SIGNEE - Caleb Houstan, Michigan
The No. 11 prospect in the class of 2021, Houston signed with Michigan on the first day of the signing period. The five-star prospect will provide the Wolverines with a combo forward that boasts incredible range and a reliable three-point stroke. Houstan has increible length and can absorb contact when scoring at the basket. His ball-handling is a bit underrated, as the five-star wing is an versatile, well-rounded prospect that can impact a game in numerous ways while creating matchup issues both outside and in.
SURPRISING CLASS - Nebraska
Nebraska’s three-member class is led by five-star Bryce McGowens, the highest ranked player to ever sign with the Huskers. A former Florida State commit, McGowens backed off his pledge to the Seminoles last month and announced his intentions to join his older brother Trey in Lincoln on Friday.
Landing McGowens is an unspeakably massive win for Fred Hoiberg’s Huskers, the only major conference program to have never won a game in the NCAA Tournament. Three-star signee Keisei Tominaga is also a wildly interesting prospect, as the Japanese import and junior college transfer is a sharp-shooting 3-point specialist that will give Hoiberg a truly unique weapon on the perimeter. Nebraska’s class is rounded out by center Wilhelm Breidenbach.
SLEEPER CLASS - Purdue
Purdue signed just two players in the early signing period, but four-star forwards Trey Kaufman and Caleb Furst. Kauffman is a three-level scorer with a smooth jumper, who will become even more dangerous as he adds muscle. One of the biggest wins of the cycle for any team, Purdue pulled Kaufman out of Southern Indiana, beating out the in-state rival Hoosiers for his letter of intent. In Furst, the Boilermakers are getting a broad-shouldered banger that should pair well with the more finesse-based Kaufman. Furst should make an impact on the glass at both ends of the floor and be able to score at the rim.