How Big Ten's Classes of 2014 look so far

How Big Ten's Classes of 2014 look so far

It's nearly the halfway point of the recruiting cycle for Class of 2014 football players.

Illinois has received 12 commitments who will arrive on campus and start their careers when the 2014 season begins against Youngstown State.

How much will change between now and Feb. 5, 2014, when National Signing Day arrives is unclear.

At least right now.

But here's a look at Illinois and the 11 other Big Ten teams when it comes to the prospects they've brought on board so far.

Number of commits: 12

Top commit: Geronimo Allison, wide receiver, Iowa Western Community College

Comment: Allison plays for a powerhouse junior college program and should see his numbers increase this fall with the departure of several key wideouts from last year's national champs.

Number of commits: 10

Top commit: Delroy Baker, offensive tackle, West Port (Fla.) High School

Comment: Kevin Wilson has seven players committed so far who play on the offensive and defensive line, and Baker had offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and Missouri, among others.

Number of commits: 12

Top commit: Ross Pierschbacher, offensive tackle, Cedar Falls (Iowa) High School

Comment: Kirk Ferentz was able to keep one of the state's best prospects in Iowa City. Pierschbacher, a four-star recruit, picked the Hawkeyes in mid-January despite offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Boise State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford and Wisconsin, among others.

Number of commits: 14

Top commit: Jabril Peppers, defensive back, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High School

Comment: The five-star corner is one of the main reasons the Wolverines are near the top of the team rankings. The physical defender who committed in late May had offers from all the top programs, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford, among others.

Michigan State
Number of commits: 13

Top commit: Deon Drake, linebacker, Cass Tech (Mich.) High School

Comment: The Spartans always do seem to have some stud linebackers. This four-star recruit who committed to Mark Dantonio's program almost 11 months ago could be next. Michigan State has picked up four prep players from Illinois in this class so far: center Brian Allen (Hinsdale Central), offensive tackle Chase Gianacakos (St. Charles North), safety Matt Morrissey (Stevenson) and defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr. (Chicago Mt. Carmel).

Number of commits: 6

Top commit: Jeff Jones, running back, Washburn (Minn.) High School

Comment: Jerry Kill will have his work cut out with this class. The key is holding on to Jones, a four-star recruit who has a soft verbal to the Golden Gophers and recently camped at Florida State.

Number of commits: 11

Top commit: Montae Harrison, wide receiver, Lee's Summit (Mo.) West High School

Comment: Big wideout (6-3, 200) made Bo Pelini's Fourth of July when the four-star recruit chose the Cornhuskers ahead of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas state, Michigan State and Missouri, among others. Nebraska has commitments from two players (tight end Freedom Akinmoladun from Grandview, Mo. and offensive guard Tanner Farmer from Highland, Ill.) who were key priorities for Illinois.

Number of commits: 13

Top commit: Clayton Thorson, quarterback, Wheaton (Ill.) North High School

Comment: Thorson, a four-star recruit, fits the mold of classic Wildcats quarterbacks. He is mobile and can keep defenses honest with his arm. Northwestern has two other four-star recruits in Glenbard North (Ill.) running back Justin Jackson and Galion (Ohio) athlete Dareian Watkins, two players Illinois targeted.

Ohio State
Number of commits: 16

Top commit: Demetrius Knox, offensive guard, All Saints Episcopal (Texas) School

Comment: Any number of players Urban Meyer has enticed to Columbus could fit the bill of top recruit. Knox is ranked the top offensive guard by, but offensive tackle Jamarco Jones (Chicago De La Salle) and defensive end Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va.) are other players to watch.

Penn State
Number of commits: 13

Top commit: Michael O'Connor, quarterback, IMG Academy (Fla.)

Comment: The success Bill O'Brien had last year with Matt McGloin should benefit the Nittany Lions' recruiting efforts, even with NCAA sanctions in place. O'Connor, a four-star recruit, fits the mold of pro-style quarterback O'Brien wants to run his system. He picked Penn State ahead of offers from Michigan State, Mississippi State and Missouri, among others.

Number of commits: 8

Top commit: Gelen Robinson, defensive end, Lake Central (Ind.) High School

Comment: The four-star recruit and son of former Purdue basketball great Glenn Robinson shouldn't have difficulty finding his way around West Lafayette. The pass rusher who Illinois had interest in and had offered, chose Darrell Hazell's Boilermakers in favor of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

Number of commits: 11

Top commit: Jaden Gault, offensive tackle, Monona Grove (Wis.)

Comment: The Badgers probably won't look much different with Gary Andersen on the sidelines than they did with Bret Bielema and Barry Alvarez. Gault is a four-star recruit future Wisconsin running backs should love to run behind. Andersen has assimilated himself well with the state's high school head coaches, having six prep players from Wisconsin pick the Badgers so far.

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