Big Ten Rankings 1/3/2003
Illinois bound- Brian Grzelkowski
Illinois bound- Brian Grzelkowski

Posted Jan 3, 2003

There have been several big commitments during the dead period. Purdue has made the most noise. Ohio State landed the top cornerback tandem in the nation. Is Michigan still #1?

1. Michigan 3.83

The Wolverines have the best class in the Big Ten from top to bottom. This class starts with 5- star tight end Will Paul and ends with 3-star offensive lineman Pat Sharrow. Michigan is still in the hunt for All-American Prescott Burgess.

2. Penn State 3.66

The Nittany Lions lost Jason Evans to Stanford but they did manage to receive commitments from offensive lineman Joel Holler and Virginia wide receiver Terrell Golden. Penn State may not have a big 2003 class but they’re going to make every scholarship they have, count.

3. Ohio State 3.61

Donte Whitner and Dareus Hiley have given the Bucks their verbal commitments and those commitments would have been enough to push for the top spot in Big Ten. However, 3-star linebacker Reggie Smith and 2-star offensive lineman, Kenyon Buford also verbally committed to Ohio State, bringing down Ohio State’s overall score. Prescott Burgess would give this class a big lift.

4. Wisconsin 3.07

14 solid commitments for the Badgers and more good news as Lee Evans says he’ll be back in Madtown next fall. The latest commitments of Albert Young (New Jersey) and Brandon Kelly (Ohio) have made Barry Alvarez a very happy man. Can the Badgers land top in-state prospect, Joe Thomas?

5. Purdue 2.91

The Boilers have been on a tear in late December and early January. Joe Tiller and his staff raided the state of Michigan for three solid prospects, Doug Van Dyke (Marshall), Garrett Bushong (Ionia) and Chris Patrick (Ithaca) and recently added one of Ohio’s top prospects, defensive end, Raymond Edwards.

6. Illinois 2.80

The addition of 4-star Junior College running back Gerard Jackson, wasn’t enough to catch Purdue. The Fighting Illini have 26 commitments and they’d love to give #27 to All-American defensive tackle Moe Dampeer. Offensive lineman Martin O’Donnell and quarterback Brad Bower are the cream of the crop in this recruiting class.

7. Iowa 2.71

Kirk Ferentz hasn’t finished in the top five in (Big Ten) recruiting since he took over as head coach of the Hawkeyes. That being said, Ferentz is getting the last laugh as he wins the conference in 2002 and takes his team to the Orange Bowl. If we were giving out rankings for talent evaluation, Iowa would be in the Top 2 along with Joe Tiller and Purdue.

8. Minnesota 2.45

Glen Mason and his Golden Gophers had a successful 2002 season and they aren’t doing too bad in the recruiting wars either. Florida quarterback Pete Martinsen says he’s solid with Minnesota and a couple of speedy wide receivers, Micah Rucker (Florida) and Paris Hamilton (Texas) have jumped on board as well.

9. Northwestern 2.41

Randy Walker and his staff have done a very good job recruiting in 2002 considering the down year they had on the gridiron. Michigan offensive lineman Fred McConnell is the latest to pledge Northwestern. January will be a big month for the Wildcats as they’ll bring in the majority of their top talent in on official visits.

10. Indiana 2.33

Gerry DiNardo had a very good first season as head coach but he’s finding out quickly that Indiana is a basketball school. DiNardo and his staff continue to leave no stone unturned on the road and recently received commitments from Indianapolis (Ben Davis) tight end Brian Faires and Illinois defensive back, Aaron Mitchell.

10. Michigan State 2.33

The Spartans have a new coach and now John L. Smith and his staff hit the road looking for talent to bring to East Lansing. All-American linebacker Lamarr Woodley (Saginaw) says he’s now considering Michigan State. Don’t look for Michigan State to finish last come February.

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