EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes gives instructions on the sidelines during a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 40-30. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Updated: February 5, 2014 6:22PM
Some things don’t change in the Big Ten.
Like Urban Meyer and Ohio State coming away with the best bunch of recruits on signing day.
The Buckeyes have the consensus best class in the conference and the No. 2 group nationally behind Alabama in what is generally an up year for the Big Ten.
“Urban Meyer just brings the SEC mentality to Ohio State recruiting and it shows,” said CBS College Sports analyst Tom Lemming.
The Buckeyes’ 22-man class includes one five-star recruit — Raekwon McMillan of Liberty County, Ga., the nation’s No. 1 linebacker according to Rivals.com — and 16 four-star prospects.
Most of those players are ranked in the top 15 at their position nationally, including four-star offensive lineman Jamarco Jones of De La Salle. He’s one of the two local Buckeyes recruits along with three-star defensive end Dylan Thompson of Montini.
The other recruiting front-runners in the Big Ten haven’t changed much from year to year either.
Michigan State, which got a boost with wins over Ohio State in the Big Ten title game and Stanford in the Rose Bowl, and Michigan, which had a strong early group of commitments, both landed solid classes.
But one thing that has changed in the Big Ten is its footprint, with Rutgers and Maryland joining the league this fall as its 13th and 14th members.
That brings the conference into the New York/New Jersey and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. markets, which could change how both the new and long-time members recruit.
“I’ve seen Maryland around a lot with the 2015 class,” Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt said. “Both teams are dipping their foot in the water [in the Midwest].”
All Big Ten teams recruit nationally at least to some degree already. But the visibility provided by the Big Ten Network moving into some big East Coast TV markets can enhance those pitches.
“That gives the Big Ten some more hunting ground,” Lemming said, “Maryland’s got a load of talent, the D.C. area, northern Virginia. Jersey’s a great state [for prospects].”