The 2013 recruiting season is grinding to a halt with a week remaining until signing day. Each team in the Big Ten has landed at least one player in this class that will be looked to as the cornerstone of the recruiting class.
It is tough to project early success for recruits once they land in college, but these 12 players are as sure of a bet as you can get in this process of player development.
Looking ahead to signing day, here are the top recruits from each Big Ten team.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off of an undefeated season looking to repeat the nearly impossible feat, and land in the Big Ten title game at year’s end.
To get there, the Buckeyes needed an outside vertical threat that can assist Braxton Miller in the passing game. The Buckeyes offense was very vanilla last year, but with a playmaker to spread the field, Ohio State should be able to open up the playbook this fall.
Marshall can step in and provide a spark on offense that will help the passing attack explode in 2013.
Jalin Marshall is the No. 4 wide receiver and the No. 35 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The Wolverines caught some bad news after the Iowa game in November when leading rusher Fitz Toussaint fell to a leg injury. In comments to mlive.com, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke eluded to the comeback being lengthy for the junior tailback:
"I think he’ll have a full recovery. How long that is? I don’t know.”
It could be a redshirt season for Touissant in 2013. If that happens, Derrick Green will be looked to immediately in the Wolverines' offense.
Derrick Green is a big-bodied back that is game-ready today. He has great one-cut ability, and is a bruiser in the middle. He will be an every-down back for Michigan.
Green is rated as the No. 4 running back and the No. 26 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Iowa is struggling to put together a strong class this season, but the headliner brings a little hope to a struggling offensive unit. Damond Powell is the star of the class, bringing a speedy threat to the receiving corps.
He is 5’11”, 175 pounds, giving him ideal size for the slot. The Hawkeyes will also put him on the outside, hoping to use his speed to gain an advantage on fly routes.
Without this type of playmaker on the roster, Iowa will continue to struggle in the new Big Ten.
Powell is rated as the No. 22 receiver and the No. 148 overall JUCO player in the country.
Damion Terry is the star of the Spartans' 2013 class. He is a dangerous, dual-threat quarterback that stands at 6’4”, 218 pounds. He has a frame that could carry 240 pounds with ease.
The Spartans hurt for plays from the quarterback position a year ago, and bringing in a guy with this skill set could give an extra dimension to the offense in 2013.
Terry may not get the start by year’s end, but he may be a Wildcat option that is used by the Spartans throughout the year. It would get him solid experience, and give the Spartans a chance at catching a defense on its heels.
Terry is the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 201 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The Northwestern Wildcats ushered in a two-quarterback system in 2012 making waves through the Big Ten, and winning their first bowl game since the 1940s.
Kain Colter is a rising senior, but once he departs the offense will be looking for another playmaker to take over the spread-option role.
Matt Alviti will be that guy for the Wildcats. Alviti is the star of the Northwestern class for 2013, and is the future of the offense for this team.
He may redshirt this season, but it would be a solid move to bring him in on occasion to get some real game experience.
Alviti is the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 224 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Christian Hackenberg is one of the keys to the Penn State football future. This program is about to fall on hard times, but they can be consistently competitive with players like Hackenberg on the roster.
This team needs leadership from this class and Hackenberg is the type of player that can be that cornerstone for the Nittany Lions.
He is a big-bodied player, standing at 6’4”, 210 pounds with a frame that could add some bulk. This is the biggest pickup in recruiting for Penn State in modern history. Landing this quarterback under the cloudy future ahead was huge for Bill O’Brien and Co.
Hackenberg is rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback and the No. 13 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The Badgers said goodbye to longtime stud running back Montee Ball after this season, but Corey Clement is talented enough to step in and help the Badgers keep pounding the ground.
Clement is the star of Wisconsin’s 2013 class. He fits a major need for the Wisconsin offense, and has the size to step in and be a player right away.
The Badgers are transitioning into a new coaching staff this fall, so it will be open competition for playing time in the backfield.
Clement is the No. 12 running back and the No. 153 overall player in the 2013 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Darius Latham is a major 4-star pickup for the Hoosiers. Indiana is trying to get on the football map in the Big Ten, and landing star linemen like Latham will ensure that happens.
Indiana has a need upfront and may ask for Latham to step in from day one and anchor the offensive line. The Hoosiers need to find running room somehow. If it comes from a freshman, so be it.
Latham is the No. 16 offensive tackle and the No. 225 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The Illinois offense struggled mightily in the Tim Beckman system during the first year for the former Toledo head coach. Now Beckman has the chance to bring in a hand-picked quarterback to run his system, and he landed a good one for the 2013 class.
Aaron Bailey is a star quarterback that brings elite dual-threat capabilities to the field for the Illini. The Illini have a returning starter in Nathan Scheelhaase, but Bailey could walk in and challenge for snaps right away.
After a 2-10 season, no position should be safe on the depth chart. Bailey should receive Wildcat snaps to change the pace of games early in 2013.
Bailey is the No. 3 dual threat quarterback and the No. 162 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The Golden Gophers have the worst recruiting class in the Big Ten, but one bright spot on the commit list is Drew Wolitarsky. He is a receiver out of California.
He made his commitment to the Gophers known on January 27, and is a player that has this coaching staff excited heading into the new year. Adding a dynamic outside threat to the offense is huge for this team.
Wolitarsky is rated as the No. 139 receiver in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Randy Gregory is a star JUCO defensive end that is heading to the Cornhuskers ready to hit the field running immediately.
The Cornhuskers have been on a defensive hiatus at times over the past two years, so adding a solid end to the defense should help this team turn the tables a bit on the Big Ten heading into 2013.
Gregory is a huge prospect that is the cornerstone for this class.
He is rated as the No. 1 weakside defensive end and the No. 7 overall JUCO player according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Purdue is struggling to put together a strong class that can challenge in the Big Ten consistently. One major positive has been the addition of Danny Etling to the class.
The Boilermakers offense relies heavily on quality decision making and strong play from the quarterback. Etling brings poise to the position, and a skill set that will help Purdue excel as early as next season.
This team is trying to climb from mediocrity inside the conference. Etling is a good start to help the climb.
Etling is rated as the No. 17 pro-style quarterback and the No. 290 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.