5 things we learned about the B1G from National Signing Day
It came and went without a ton of craziness.
National Signing Day for the B1G was not what it once was thanks to the Early Signing Period, but it still had plenty of noteworthy elements from the day.
Here were 5 things we learned about the conference.
1. Jim Harbaugh can read the room
Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Desmond Howard, Ric Flair, etc. Remember 3 years ago when Michigan had every celebrity with a pulse make an appearance at its “Signing of the Stars” event for National Signing Day? Of course you do. It was everywhere.
Who could forget this:
But that was then and this is now.
On Wednesday, Jim Harbaugh didn’t even speak to the media. Yeah, that’s quite the 180. But in a way, it makes sense. Harbaugh has obviously been much quieter about his national presence. Even after a season with double-digit wins, he can clearly tell that selling the program isn’t going to get him anywhere anymore. Winning is.
It’s almost anticlimactic to see this side of Harbaugh. Michigan getting over that hump and winning a B1G Championship would’ve set a completely different tone.
What’s the crazy thing? Michigan actually finished with the No. 8 class nationally (first in the B1G) on Wednesday. That’s the exact same spot the Wolverines finished when they had their “Signing of the Stars” event. Different times.
2. Tom Allen sees you, Purdue
So Tom Allen just signed one of Indiana’s top-rated classes ever in the recruiting rankings era (No. 38 nationally) and guess what? He’s not satisfied. He told the media on Wednesday his goal is to do something that Indiana has never done before.
“The next goal is to be a top 25 recruiting class,” Allen told the media on Wednesday. “I feel like we’re way ahead of where we’ve been in the past.”
He’s right that Indiana is way ahead of where it’s been. The Hoosiers signed 3 of the top 5 players in the state of Indiana for the first time after never signing 2 in the same class. Who signed the other top 2 in-state recruits, you ask? Purdue. And who just put together its first top-25 class in 15 years? Purdue.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s lost on Allen, especially after 2 straight losses to the Boilers since Jeff Brohm took over.
3. Apparently top-5 classes aren’t automatic at Ohio State
You knew there was going to be some setback when one of the best recruiters in college football history, Urban Meyer, announced his retirement. Well, rankings-wise, it was a pretty significant setback. Ohio State finished No. 14 nationally, which marked the program’s lowest ranking since 2010.
Ryan Day couldn’t keep OSU’s first 2019 commit, Doug Nester, who flipped to Virginia Tech on Wednesday. But Day did land 4-star OG Enokk Vimahi from Hawaii.
Only a total of 3 recruits in the 2019 class (2 in the 2020 class) dropped their Ohio State pledges after Meyer’s retirement, which really isn’t all that bad considering he’s considered one of the all-time greats and Day is a first-time college head coach. But this class should still serve as a reminder that while Ohio State is one of college football’s biggest juggernauts, cranking out a top-5 class is by no means a given.
Oh, by the way. Ohio State’s 2020 class is ranked No. 4 nationally.
4. Mike Locksley will take your quarterback
Florida State is the most desperate program in college football, and on Wednesday, it got a little more desperate. Locksley swooped in at the 11th hour and stole 4-star quarterback Lance LeGendre from the Seminoles, who were believed to be the favorites.
Maryland even had a little fun with their signee’s name:
LeGendre-ary!! OFFICIALLY A TERP!! 🐢
— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) February 6, 2019
He didn’t even get a Maryland offer until 2 weeks ago, yet Locksley found a way to get LeGendre on board. That was a much-needed victory for Locksley, who was left to pick up the pieces in the wake of the DJ Durkin fallout.
The Terps barely cracked the top-60 classes, but Locksley getting a surprising addition at the most important position was huge. The offensive-minded head coach probably had the words “Tua Tagovailoa” somewhere in his pitch. I’d assume he will as long as he’s trying to get quarterbacks to come to College Park.
5. The on-paper talent gap is significant
I don’t want to over-value the significance of recruiting rankings here because I know every coach in America will tell you they aren’t important. But there’s still something to be said for being able to target talented players and sign them at an elite level.
The final class rankings showed the following things for the B1G compared to the SEC:
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That’s not just “SEC bias.” This year, that was a bit more prevalent than usual with Ohio State not competing with Alabama or Georgia for the top spot.
Does that mean the B1G is destined to be looking up at the SEC because of how big of a disparity there is in the final numbers? No. Of course not.
What it does do is shape perception. Right now, the perception is still that there is more talent in that region on the country and as a result, that’s why the SEC is believed to have the best athletes year in, year out. Numbers like that won’t change that belief, especially when the SEC continues to be a virtual lock to make the title game and lead with NFL draft picks.
The B1G is still facing an uphill climb when it comes to matching those things. Wednesday didn’t bring the conference any closer to doing that.