Big Ten Football: 2015 Recruiting Needs for Each Team
Each team in the Big Ten has recruiting needs that must be filled during the 2015 recruiting cycle. Recruiting in the Big Ten will change a bit this year, as Rutgers and Maryland are entering the classic conference.
However, the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins will only make things that much more competitive in the league, which makes filling recruiting needs that much more important.
Michigan State could be looking hard at receivers and interior offensive linemen, while Wisconsin needs a big nose tackle. Plus, Ohio State could target several tight ends.
Tim Beckman hasn't gotten off to the best start as head coach at Illinois, so he needs to upgrade his recruiting. That will start with Beckman filling his recruiting needs for 2015.
For starters, Beckman only signed two offensive linemen in 2014. He'll need to bring in double that number, at least, in 2015. In the physical Big Ten, it's crucial for a team to have depth in the offensive trenches.
Next, Illinois needs to sign multiple defensive backs. The Illini only signed one recruit in the secondary in 2014, and that player was a safety. Look for cornerback to be a priority.
Indiana signed 4-star receiver Dominique Booth in 2014, so the Hoosiers are going to try to build on the recruiting momentum Booth brought them.
That momentum should be used to fill a couple of needs. Head coach Kevin Wilson is a great offensive mind, so it shouldn't be hard for him to bring in a few receiving tight ends who excel in the passing game, as that is a position of need in his program.
Next, Wilson needs to sign a true center to man the pivot in Bloomington. After that, focusing on outside linebackers and perhaps taking a running back would be smart moves.
Iowa is one of the the model programs in the Big Ten for stability, as head coach Kirk Ferentz is one of the most respected head coaches in football.
While he's not an elite recruiter, Ferentz has shown a knack for filling recruiting needs throughout his tenure at Iowa. This year, he has needs on the edges of both sides of his fronts, with offensive tackle and defensive end being priorities.
Iowa signed just one offensive tackle in 2014, with more depth being needed at defensive end on the roster.
Maryland will enter the Big Ten looking to make an immediate impact in the league. The best way to immediately show its conference foes it means business is by getting off to a great start in recruiting.
The Terrapins have several needs this year on the trail, and two of them are on the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Randy Edsall needs to bring in multiple defensive linemen, including some beef at defensive tackle.
Next, signing multiple middle/inside linebackers should be high on Edsall's to-do list. Finally, look for Maryland to target several receivers.
Michigan signed a class in 2014 that is better than many people think. Its 2015 group should be another terrific haul for head coach Brady Hoke.
Yet Big Blue will have to fill some needs to continue shaping up its talented roster. Michigan has mostly upperclassmen in the secondary, so this class will require multiple defensive backs, with safety likely being the position of emphasis.
Next, Hoke needs to sign two pass-rushing/weak-side defensive ends this year. He only signed one player at that spot in 2014.
A pair of centers would be nice, but one is more realistic. Finally, future depth at tight end could be something addressed with Michigan's 2015 class.
Michigan State did not sign a single receiver in 2014. The Spartans are not exactly known for their speed on the perimeter, so head coach Mark Dantonio must target several receivers for his 2015 recruiting class.
Next, while MSU brought in four offensive linemen in its last class, none of the quartet are guards. So making sure depth is not a problem in the interior of the offensive line should be addressed.
Tight end and inside/middle linebacker are also needs.
Head coach Jerry Kill is starting to see results at Minnesota, as the Gophers went 8-5 in 2013, plus they have been to two straight bowl games.
To continue building on his growing momentum, Kill needs to make sure he fills his needs with his 2015 class. With only one player signed in 2014, the secondary needs more bodies.
Kill should aim for signing a true free safety and a true box safety. He needs another inside/middle linebacker, plus it wouldn't hurt to sign multiple offensive linemen.
Big Red signed three guards in 2014, and they were the only offensive linemen in the class. Offensive tackle will be a priority in 2015.
Next, it would be wise for head coach Bo Pelini to continue signing defensive linemen to provide depth and scheme versatility. Linebacker is also a need, especially on the outside, since Pelini did not sign one in 2014.
Northwestern signed a solid recruiting class in 2014, as several players in the group could be cornerstones of the program in the coming seasons.
This year's class needs some receivers, as the 2014 group doesn't have any. Offensive line is also a need due to only two being included in head coach Pat Fitzgerald's most recent class.
A defensive-minded coach, Fitzgerald also should focus on the back-seven part of his defense.
Ohio State will once again be among the favorites to win the Big Ten in 2014. Head coach Urban Meyer is one of the best recruiting head coaches the game has ever seen, so filling needs will not be a challenge in Columbus.
Meyer's main needs are on the offensive side of the ball. Initially, targeting multiple tight ends in this class is a top objective for the Buckeyes. Landing a receiving tight end and a big-bodied blocking tight end would be gravy.
The Buckeyes also could use a running back or two, plus landing an elite dual-threat quarterback to pilot their spread-option attack could be a bigger priority than many Ohio State fans think.
Said Tony Gerdeman of TheZone.net:
Barring any transfers, the Buckeyes will only be losing Rod Smith following the 2014 season. Still, with the number of different ways OSU uses running backs, they could set out to land a few of them in 2015.
New head coach James Franklin is a passionate recruiter who is going to make the Big Ten recruiting trail a lot more interesting.
Penn State has a big need at linebacker, as its roster needs more depth at the position and it only signed two in 2014. Expect Franklin to attempt to sign nearly four players who play on the second level of the defense in 2015.
The Nittany Lions also need defensive ends, especially explosive pass-rushers. Plus, interior offensive linemen will be main targets of Franklin and his staff.
Purdue needs to continue adding speed and athleticism at running back and receiver on offense. Its roster isn't in a position to be picky, as the Boilermakers simply need to upgrade their level of overall talent.
Receivers and running backs will be priorities for Purdue, with only two players who play those positions being signed in 2014. The front seven of the defense also has needs at each position.
Another new program in the Big Ten is Rutgers. The folks in Piscataway can never be underestimated in a recruiting battle, and their B1G membership will make them even more formidable.
Head coach Kyle Flood has a need at center, as his program needs a young pivot-player. Flood also needs multiple receivers in this class due to not signing one in 2014.
While Rutgers signed five defensive backs in February, not one of them was a safety. Defensive tackle can also be classified as a "need."
Wisconsin lost 4-star defensive tackle Craig Evans to Michigan State late in the 2014 recruiting cycle, which stings.
Evans was a perfect candidate to play nose tackle in the Badgers' 3-4 defense, which is a key position in the scheme. Head coach Gary Andersen is a defensive line coach at heart, so he's going to have to search hard for a big defensive lineman or two who can align over the head of a center.
Andersen also has needs at linebacker, cornerback and tight end. Plus, he would be wise to bring in another class of multiple offensive linemen.
All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports.