Report Card: Breaking down the early signings in the Big Ten
The dust is settling on the Early Signing Period, and while some Big Ten programs cleaned up, others have more work to do in the spring.
Eric Bossi breaks down the Big Ten’s best and worst of the early period.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
In his second year on the job at Ohio State, Chris Holtmann has put together the Big Ten’s best recruiting class. Five-star point guard D.J. Carton headlines the group that also includes four-star combo forwards E.J. Liddell and Alonzo Gaffney. The signings of Carton and Liddell were made even sweeter by the fact that the Buckeyes had to defeat stiff competition from conference rivals to land each of them.
For whatever reason, it always looked like high-scoring combo guard Mark “Rocket” Watts would leave his home state of Michigan for college. As things wound down in his recruitment he appeared to be on his way to Florida State. Then, out of nowhere he put the brakes on things with Florida State and made a surprise commitment to Tom Izzo and Michigan State, giving the Spartans an explosive scorer who ranks in the top 50 nationally.
Minnesota really took a bad beat when combo forward Tray Jackson backed out on it. He committed to the Golden Gophers after the summer and the four-star looked to be the best possible replacement for senior Jordan Murphy. Then, out of nowhere he decommitted from the Gophers and committed to Missouri within a few hours.
All eyes are turning to Indiana, where the Hoosiers once again find themselves battling with some very successful big-name programs to keep homegrown five-star talent home. Last year Archie Miller and his staff pulled it off with shooting guard Romeo Langford, and this year they’ve got their eyes on a pair of five-stars in big man Trayce Jackson-Davis and forward Keion Brooks. Landing at least one is a must and would make for recruiting success. Both would be cause for a party in Bloomington.
Once Fran McCaffrey’s son, Patrick McCaffrey, adds Big Ten strength his skill and versatility will make him a problematic matchup.
Michigan State: B+
Given that neither Rocket Watts or Malik Hall was expected to land at Michigan State for much of their recruitment, it’s a nice haul. The Spartans are still very much in it for No. 1 Vernon Carey Jr. and top 5 center Isaiah Stewart.
Combo guard Mika Adams-Woods is the most intriguing player in the Huskers' three-man class.
Ohio State: A-
The Buckeyes have the highest-ranked class in the conference, and D.J. Carton will likely start at the point from the minute he arrives on campus.
Penn State: B-
The lone signee for Rutgers, Paul Mulcahy, is a Rivals150 guard capable of playing multiple backcourt spots.
The Badgers have only signed Minnesota forward Tyler Wahl. A good athlete who can play the three or the four, he’ll contend for early minutes in Madison.