Regardless of the state a program is in, every team has needs on signing day. This is where you stay on top, or figure out how to dig your way from the bottom.

Grading these classes is the purview of recruiting experts who have followed these prospects throughout their high school careers. Which is to say, not something I have done.

But I do know what matters for each Big Ten team as it is currently constructed. And with that, we will take a look at 1 key takeaway for every B1G team’s recruiting class.

Illinois: Land of Bielema?

With 6 players in 247 Sports’ top 20 Illinois prospects, Bielema added as many top 20 in-state signees as the Illini signed in their previous 4 classes combined.

Granted, all of them are ranked between 11-20, which makes Bielema’s next step forward fairly obvious. In particular, he needs to break the seal in East St. Louis, which perpetually produces the best football talent in the state.

Indiana: Best class ever

Tom Allen followed up one of the worst seasons in Indiana football history by putting together the best recruiting class the Hoosiers have ever assembled. Indiana — Indiana! — is ranked 4th in the Big Ten and 19th in the country.

It begins at home with 4-star Bloomington South edge rusher Dasan McCollough, who is the top-ranked recruit in IU history. It extends all the way to Florida, where a whopping 7 signees will make their way up to Indiana.

Iowa: Xavier stays home

It’s not every year that the state of Iowa produces a prospect like Xavier Nwankpa. In fact, he’s the first Iowan to ever earn 5 stars from Rivals, which has graded prospects since 2002.

The 6-2, 190-pound defensive back from the outskirts of Des Moines chose Iowa over Notre Dame and Texas A&M. Nwankpa is the key to Iowa’s class, which ranks No. 26 overall in 247 Sports’ composite.

Maryland: Always be closing

Just call Mike Locksley the closer.

Things looked grim for the Terps a week ago, but Locksley landed 6 commits from Monday-Wednesday to boost Maryland’s class into the national top 30. Running back Ramon Brown, a last-minute flip from Virginia Tech, figures to be a player who can help Maryland early in his career.

Michigan: Back in the top 10

After a hiatus last year, Jim Harbaugh has another top-10 class at Michigan. The Wolverines check in at ninth nationally.

Only 2 of those signees are actually from Michigan, but 1 of them is the best player in UM’s class — 5-star cornerback Will Johnson. When you’re constructing a roster to beat Ohio State, corners and pass rushers are the most valuable commodities.

Michigan State: Just peachy

The Spartans have a league-leading 6 Michiganders in their signing class — yet Michigan isn’t their most fertile recruiting ground.

That would be Georgia, where former Bulldogs defensive coordinator Mel Tucker worked his magic to bring in 7 new Spartans. If Tucker continues farming these twin pipelines, Michigan State won’t lack for talent. MSU’s class is ranked 21st after checking in at No. 46 a year ago.

Minnesota: Buy in bulk

Of course size matters at the school that plays for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

Minnesota’s strength is its huge offensive line, and now the Gophers are bulking up on the other side of the ball. Of Minnesota’s 4 highest-rated signees, 3 are defensive linemen. All of them are at least 6-4.

Nebraska: The portal needs to be good

Due to current roster construction the Cornhuskers only added 13 players, which helps explain why they find themselves with the Big Ten’s 14th-ranked recruiting class.

The biggest get was 4-star defensive back Jaeden Gould, who decommitted from USC when Lincoln Riley was hired.

Scott Frost will need to find multiple high-impact transfers in the portal for the Huskers to be a factor next season.

Northwestern: No drop-off for Cats

Because of what Northwestern is — a place for really smart people — there will always be somewhat of a ceiling for this program on signing day. If Pat Fitzgerald can slide into the top 50, it’s a job well done.

Which makes this class, which ranks 46th in the country, well done.

Fitz was able to stay close to Evanston for his best prospect — 4-star receiver Reggie Fleurima from Naperville, Ill. And he was also able to dip as far Maryland for his top defensive signee, 4-star edge rusher Anto Saka.

Ohio State: Buckeyes once again lead the way

The expectation is that Ohio State will win the Big Ten on signing day, and Ryan Day made sure the Buckeyes did it again.

With 2 5-stars and 14 4-stars, Ohio State’s class checks in at fourth in the country. Both 5-stars are in-state defensive players — linebacker CJ Hicks (Dayton) and safety Sonny Styles (Pickerington). Ryan Day already addressed the defense’s struggles by hiring a new coordinator, and now he’s given Jim Knowles skilled tools to work with.

Penn State: Nittany Lions on the rise

James Franklin signed the nation’s No. 6 recruiting class, which is Penn State’s highest-ranked group since 2018. The Nittany Lions were just 21st a year ago.

Drew Allar, a 5-star quarterback from Ohio, is considered the gem of the class. But Franklin did well within his own state’s borders, adding 6 of the Top 10 prospects in Pennsylvania. That includes a trio of defensive players from Philadelphia — linebackers Abdul Carter and Keon Wiley and defensive end Ken Talley.

Philly has been an Achilles heel for Penn State of late, but not in this class. That could be key for the program in years to come.

Purdue: Train, or rocket ship?

A year after signing a meager 76th-ranked recruiting class, Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers are up to 39th with their 2022 class.

Even with Indiana cleaning up, Purdue was able to rise because it brought 2 of the state’s most talented players to West Lafayette — 4-star quarterback Brady Allen (Fort Branch) and 4-star defensive lineman Joe Strickland (Indianapolis).

Rutgers: Act local

Rutgers — the State University of New Jersey, mind you — had not signed the top-rated player in Jersey since 2012.

That’s no longer true now that Greg Schiano inked Princeton offensive lineman Jacob Allen with the Scarlet Knights.

Schiano crossed the Hudson and did the same thing in New York, adding No. 1 Empire State recruit Moses Walker. Walker is a 4-star linebacker from Brooklyn’s storied Erasmus Hall program.

Schiano also crossed the Delaware and did the same thing in Philly, signing 4-star linebacker Anthony Johnson and 4-star running back Samuel Brown.

Put it all together and you’ve got Rutgers with the No. 27 signing class in college football.

Wisconsin: Of course there’s a really good offensive lineman

Like Nebraska, the current roster numbers led Wisconsin to sign a small, 13-man class. But the Badgers landed the biggest fish in the state, and what a big fish he is.

At 6-6 and 300 pounds, Jack Brunner is the No. 8-ranked offensive tackle in the country, and happens to live in the ideal state for staying home to become a future NFL offensive lineman. Paul Chryst has now reeled in the top-rated player in Wisconsin 6 straight years.