5 quick B1G thoughts from National Signing Day 2021
Most of the big recruiting news comes during the Early Signing Period. It’s something we’re all still getting used to in this new era of college football. But that doesn’t mean National Signing Day doesn’t have at least a few storylines.
On Wednesday, we still saw some last-minute commitments, a few surprises and a handful of late flips in the recruiting process. It’s not quite as active as the December signing period, but fun nonetheless.
It wasn’t an overly active day in the B1G, but there are still a few things to talk about. Here are five quick things from the B1G on National Signing Day.
Michigan had the most productive day
The Early Signing Period took most of the excitement out of National Signing Day, but Michigan had the most productive and interesting day on the recruiting front. The Wolverines started the day off with a bang, flipping 4-star Oak Park native Rayshaun Benny from rival Michigan State. His last-minute decision catapulted the Wolverines into the Top 10 of the national recruiting rankings, per 247Sports.
Benny is one of the Top 200 prospects in the 2021 class and ranks as the No. 16 defensive tackle, as well. He was easily one of the biggest additions during National Signing Day for any team in the B1G.
Later in the day, the Wolverines were able to flip another defensive tackle, 3-star lineman Ikechukwu Iwunnah. He had previously been committed to Colorado.
It appears Jim Harbaugh’s 4-year contract extension and staff overhaul during the offseason was appealing to some unsigned commits. The Wolverines raked in the benefits on Wednesday.
One of the best DB prospects slipped away
Avante Dickerson is an Omaha, Nebraska native and had previously been committed to Minnesota. There was a thought that the 4-star cornerback would land at one of those two B1G programs and step on the field and make an immediate difference in 2021. And while he might still be able to get on the field early in his career, it won’t be in the B1G.
Dickerson committed to Oregon on National Signing Day, giving the Ducks a great defensive talent with an immeasurable ceiling and the potential to be a threat at multiple positions on the field. Dickerson played on both sides of the football in high school and was incredibly production.
247Sports had Dickerson listed as the No. 8 cornerback in the 2021 recruiting cycle and the No. 122 prospect overall, regardless of position. He would’ve been fun to see in a B1G uniform — and Minnesota and Nebraska fans are probably bummed that he didn’t commit to their respective programs. But the incoming freshman should enjoy plenty of success at Oregon.
Penn State, Michigan State made a much-needed splashes
The 2021 recruiting class didn’t quite live up to the standard that James Franklin has set in State College. Penn State did have a lot of quality commitments in this year’s cycle, but there just weren’t many pledges. Entering National Signing Day, the Nittany Lions had just 15 players in the class.
Penn State was able to make a big splash on Wednesday, though, adding 4-star defensive end Davon Townley into the mix. The nation’s No. 19 strong-side defensive end picked the Nittany Lions over other B1G offers from Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska. His pledge also got PSU into the Top 25 nationally, currently at No. 21.
Over in East Lansing, Michigan State suffered a big loss by seeing in-state rival Michigan swipe away Benny. However, the Spartans were able to add a versatile two-sport athlete to the mix. Louisiana wide receiver and 3-star prospect Keon Coleman announced his commitment to Mel Tucker’s squad, giving the program a much-needed playmaker.
Coleman is also expected to walk-on to the basketball team at Michigan State.
Does that make up for the loss of Benny? Not exactly. Tucker could use all the help he can get while attempting to rebuild this program. But the day wasn’t a complete loss, and the Spartans a really nice offensive weapon to the class.
Low, low, low totals for Indiana, Purdue and Illinois
Let’s go ahead and give Bret Bielema a pass here. Illinois only add 14 total commitments, but he didn’t get much help on the recruiting front from his predecessor Lovie Smith. Bielema did his best to grab some late additions, it just didn’t work. He’ll have to depend on the transfer portal in Year 1.
Indiana and Purdue, though? The Hoosiers ranked 12th in the B1G, despite posting an historic year on the field in 2020 and having an 8-win season in 2019. Considering the success Tom Allen had on the recruiting front prior to the Hoosiers’ on-field success, you’d think IU would see a significant bump in recruiting. There was no change on National Signing Day.
Yes, Indiana did land 3-star and heavily-recruited receiver Malachi Bennett, but even with his addition, IU still only has 14 members in this year’s class and just two 4-star prospects.
Jeff Brohm didn’t do any better in West Lafayette. He’s typically been able to land explosive playmakers at the skill positions (Rondale Moore and David Bell, to name a few), but that wasn’t the case this year. Some thought the Boilermakers might make a late surge for some commitments, but things were quiet on that front.
Purdue has just 15 pledges, a 4-star recruit and the B1G’s 13th-ranked class.
Even with no activity, Ohio State is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the B1G
This really didn’t even need to be said, but Ohio State had no news to speak of on National Signing Day and it still owned the B1G’s top-ranked recruiting class. By a wide margin.
Per 247Sports, Ohio State’s No. 2 ranked class was more than 40 points better than the conference’s second-best class, which belong to rival Michigan. The Wolverines’ were still eight spots behind the Buckeyes in the national rankings, too.
Ohio State still didn’t accomplish the goal of bringing in the nation’s top class, that title went to Alabama. The Crimson Tide hauled in the highest-ranked recruiting class in the history of the rankings system. So, Ryan Day and company have something to shoot for next year.
As far as the B1G goes, though, nobody was even close to touching Ohio State.