Conference Call: Big Ten leading the way as signing period nears
We are less than a week away from the first signing period, and already we have a pretty good idea of the winners of the class of 2018. Breaking down the power leagues by Rivals150 pledges, the Big Ten leads, thanks to the early work that its members had done. Everyone else is playing catch-up as we enter the month of November.
RELATED: Rivals 2018 Team Rankings | 2018 Rivals150 | Preseason AP poll
No. 1 BIG TEN
RIVALS150 COMMITMENTS: 31
It is not just one school, but really a whole bunch that have done the work for the Big Ten dominance. Michigan State currently sits with the best class in America, thanks to Tom Izzo's five-man Rivals150 class. Michigan isn’t too far behind, as the Wolverines hit the ground running this summer by nabbing the pledges of three Rivals150 prospects and arguably the best shooter in America (not to mention a would-be top-50 recruit, if he were playing in the United States).
Maryland, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue have also grabbed at least two Rivals150 prospects this fall. Toss in Illinois, which nabbed a local five-star prospect, Iowa securing an early commitment of a strong four-star prospect and Rutgers holding the pledge of an immediate scoring weapon, and the Big Ten looks to have solidified its standing as a premier league in college basketball.
No. 2 ACC
RIVALS150 COMMITMENTS: 19
As usual, Duke and North Carolina carry the baton for the ACC, as each holds at least one five-star commitment and the bluebloods remain heavily entrenched in the recruitment of a handful of other elite targets this fall. The surprise of the league is Notre Dame, as Mike Brey and his staff did a phenomenal job of securing four Rivals150 commitments before the leaves began to change.
Kevin Keatts hit the ground running at N.C. State, securing his own four Rivals150 commitments, as the Pack remain one of the hottest programs on the trail. Danny Manning has lured top-50 talent to the Winston-Salem campus since his hiring, not to mention French import Jaylen Hoard. Syracuse boasts its own five-star commitment in Darius Bazley, and Josh Pastner has his Georgia Tech program on the uptick, thanks to the pledge of Michael DeVoe. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has accrued a three-man class that is led by top-75 wing Landers Nolley.
No. 3 SEC
RIVALS150 PLEDGES: 18
There have been some hits and misses with the SEC - and we are not talking about the pigskin any longer. Sure, Kentucky is due to make some noise, as it currently holds just one commitmen: five-star guard Immanuel Quickley, and Florida has hit on two top-75 guard commitments this fall.
Arkansas remains the surprise of the league. The depth is impressive, as the Hogs showcase five Rivals150 commitments, the most of anyone in America. LSU, after the hiring of Will Wade, has been tremendous at funneling talent to the Baton Rouge campus. The Tigers hold three top-60 commitments, led by five-star center Nazreon Reid.
Ben Howland has his Mississippi State program on the rise and should continue to remain on a similar trajectory with the pull of five-star forward Reggie Perry and much underrated wing D.J. Stewart. The buck stops there, however, as Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M have combined for zero 2018 commitments. Overall, the league looks as deep as ever heading into the season, but that might be short-lived if some of its members don’t find a way to add to their classes this fall.
No. 4 PAC-12
RIVALS150 COMMITMENTS: 16
There is plenty of firepower headed to the Pac-12, and there is also a ton of depth, as every school except Washington State has been able to celebrate at least two commitments prior to the early signing period.
The top program is USC. Despite the recent FBI investigation that saw one of its assistant coaches arrested, Andy Enfield and the Trojans have remained firm holding three top-50 commitments. Just like USC, Arizona hasn’t budged much. While the Wildcats did lose five-star guard Jahvon Quinerly to a decommitment, they retain a top-tier class and hold two top-50 pledges.
Washington, Utah, Colorado and Stanford have done a nice job of adding more depth and versatility to their rosters. Oregon may be on the cusp of a tremendous class, and the Ducks already have secured one five-star commitment in Louis King. UCLA has further work to be done with its front court, but a four-star wing is already headed its way. Arizona State also boasts an immediate scoring presence with top-50 guard Luguentz Dort.
No. 5 BIG 12
RIVALS150 PLEDGES: 14
It has been a struggle for the Big 12 this fall, although Texas, Kansas, Iowa State and the surprise of the bunch, TCU, have kept the league in contention.
Bill Self and the Jayhawks, as always, have been a presence on the recruiting trail. While they made some news this spring with its transfer spree, they have also worked the high school ranks by nabbing three top-50 commitments.
Texas is not too far behind, holding two top-50 pledges, and Iowa State, a program that has been known for its transfer success, holds three Rivals150 commitments. Jamie Dixon has done excellent work at his alma mater, TCU, as he has kept some of the top talent within the state of Texas and also went overseas for New Zealand big man Angus McWilliam. Baylor and West Virginia have cashed in with a Rivals150 commitment, while Oklahoma State secured two under-the-radar forwards. Oklahoma is one of the few power conference programs that remains empty-handed, though the Sooners' primary focus remains in the 2019 and 2020 classes.
No. 6 BIG EAST
RIVALS150 PLEDGES: 9
Heading into the new college basketball season, Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence are each in contention for league supremacy, and the future shouldn’t be much different, thanks to the early work that each program has done.
The Wildcats hold two top-60 commitments, Providence boasts just the same, along with two forward commitments. Seton Hall, in need of replacing its three top producers after this season, celebrated with three commitments from a few local products.
Georgetown, led by new coach Patrick Ewing, has been the surprise of the conference, as it has struck gold in the south - including Rivals150 forward Josh LeBlanc. Marquette and Creighton have remained steady this fall, thanks to their own duo of ranked prospects. Xavier, Butler and St. John’s have some work to be done this winter in filling out their future rosters - which would only help the league as a whole moving forward.