In most cases, you can count on a coach making 1 major promise during his introductory press conference: “We’re gonna put a wall up around our borders on signing day.”

Or something to that extent.

No team can survive just off of the talent in its own state, though, or Texas would actually be good. You’ve also got to do a bit of the poaching you’re trying to prevent in your own backyard.

Here, we’ll take a look at how each Big Ten program fared in this early signing period in 3 different areas: the top in-state signee, the best out-of-state signee, and how the program fared overall with in-state recruiting this cycle.


Top in-state signee: OLB Jared Badie (Oswego)

An unquestionable win for the Illini. Badie, the state’s No. 12 prospect, picked Illinois over Michigan State and Tennessee. But, when you’re the state’s flagship school, players like Badie need to become guys down the list rather than the first guy on the list.

Top out-of-state signee: CB Elijah Mc-Cantos (Florida)

Mc-Cantos is rated the No. 95 player in Florida, but that’s the thing about Florida — there’s so many players that recruiting analysts can’t possibly rate all of them correctly. Mc-Cantos could end up being a diamond in the rough.

How they fared in Illinois

Bret Bielema signed 6 top-20 players in the state, which ties the total from the previous 4 years put together. But that came from the group of guys ranked 12-20. You can’t have North Carolina coming in and nabbing the No. 5 guy in the state (LB Sebastian Cheeks).

Bielema got off to a decent start, but he still has a lot of ground to make up.


Top in-state signee: Edge Dasan McCollough (Bloomington)

McCollough is the top-rated signee in Indiana football history. His dad, Deland, is Indiana’s running backs coach, so that no doubt helped the Hoosiers swim into uncharted recruiting waters.

Top out-of-state signee: CB Trevell Mullen (Florida)

Tom Allen speaks of his team as a family, and it’s quite literal in the case of his top 2 signees. Mullen’s older brother, Tiawan, is already a starting corner at Indiana.

How they fared in Indiana

The Hoosiers signed 3 of the top-1o Indiana prospects. When you’re battling Notre Dame and Purdue for guys in a state more known for hoops than football, that is a respectable haul.

It’s a bit amusing, though, that quarterback Brady Allen (Purdue) and defensive lineman DJ Allen (Rutgers) signed with other Big Ten programs rather than play for coach Tom Allen.

In other words, Tom Allen is crushing it in recruiting except when a player shares a surname with him.


Top in-state signee: S Xavier Nwankpa (Altoona)

The Hawkeyes won a pitched battle for Nwankpa, the first 5-star recruit in state history. Thankfully, the safety plays a position where the Hawkeyes were well-suited to impress recruits this year.

Top out-of-state signee: RB Kaleb Johnson (Ohio)

Johnson, a 3-star recruit, was originally committed to Cal before flipping to the Hawkeyes in October. Another case of Iowa’s strong start to the season paying dividends.

How they fared in Iowa

The Hawks signed 3 of the top-10 Iowa recruits, including 1 of the 3 4-star prospects behind Nwankpa. That guy is defensive lineman Aaron Graves, who rated 16th nationally at his position. The lone loss that hurts is tight end Eli Raridon, but the Notre Dame legacy never wavered from joining the Fighting Irish.


Top in-state signee: LB Jaishan Barham (Baltimore)

Barham is Maryland’s No. 3 overall recruit. Like 4 of the top-5 players in the state, he goes to — and plays defense for — powerhouse St. Frances Academy.

Top out-of-state signee: WR Shaleak Knotts (North Carolina)

Knotts is a 4-star who also visited Georgia and Tennessee this summer, so that qualifies as a good get for Mike Locksley.

How they fared in Maryland

Recruiting the DMV is not for the faint-hearted, which is why Locksley landed this job in the first place. There are top-10 Maryland prospects going to 6 different schools, plus 2 more who won’t be signing until February.

Locksley ended up with 2 top-10 Marylanders, but no top-10s from Virginia. You get the sense he could have done better.


Top in-state signee: CB Will Johnson (Gross Pointe)

The 5-star corner was the best recruit in Michigan. He’s also the only in-state player to sign with the Wolverines, though there are a couple of still-unsigned players who might swing to Michigan in February.

Top out-of-state signee: DL Derrick Moore (Maryland)

Moore is the No. 2 guy in the previously mentioned talent hub of Maryland.

How they fared in Michigan

Jim Harbaugh got the state’s lone 5-star player, which matters. And Michigan can be highly selective about who it brings in. This is the nation’s No. 9 signing class, and there are more guys from California (4) than The Mitten.

However, the Wolverines were definitely handed an in-state recruiting L to Michigan State in pursuit of defensive lineman Alex VanSumeren.

Michigan State

Top in-state signee: DL Alex VanSumeren (Essexville)

This 6-5, 300-pound defensive tackle was ranked the No. 3 recruit in the state.

Top out-of-state signee: QB Katin Houser (California)

Much of Mel Tucker’s out-of-state focus was in Georgia, where he found 7 new Spartans, but he went to the West Coast to land a quarterback.

How they fared in Michigan

The Spartans picked up 4 of the top-10 prospects in Michigan. The Wolverines have more of a national footprint, but Tucker sent a strong message about where the top recruits in the state of Michigan should continue their football careers.


Top in-state signee: DL Trey Bixby (Eden Prairie)

Bixby is the No. 2 recruit in the state, and 1 of 3 defensive linemen anchoring the top of PJ Fleck’s signing class. He’s the 41st-ranked defensive lineman in the country

Top out-of-state signee: DL Anthony Smith (Pennsylvania)

Smith is the 40th-ranked defensive lineman in the country, and the 11th-best overall prospect in Pennsylvania.

How they fared in Minnesota

There’s not much depth in the Minnesota high school ranks. Top-10 recruits regularly pick FCS North Dakota State.

And it can be challenging for other reasons. This year’s No. 1 prospect, offensive tackle Lucas Heyer, picked Stanford. Heyer makes it 5 straight years that Fleck has failed to keep the No. 1 prospect in Minnesota home. That’s not a good look.


Top in-state signee: LB Ernest Hausmann (Columbus)

Hausmann is the No. 5 recruit in Nebraska. That’s it. Fifth.

Top out-of-state signee: CB Jaeden Gould (New Jersey)

The Huskers fared better in talent-rich New Jersey, nabbing the No. 2 overall recruit in the Garden State after he decommitted from USC.

How they fared in Nebraska

In the entire Power 5, there is no school more monolithic within its own state than Nebraska. Not even LSU or Ohio State. Which means, in theory, no program should have an easier time recruiting its own state than the Cornhuskers.

And they could only land the fifth-best recruit in a state that produced 9 Power-5 signees.

Incredibly weak stuff from Scott Frost.


Top in-state signee: WR Reggie Fleurima (Naperville)

Fleurima is the No. 6 recruit in Illinois and the No. 35 wide receiver in the country. This 4-star is a fine get for the Wildcats.

Top out-of-state signee: Edge Anto Saka (Maryland)

Saka, the other 4-star recruit in Pat Fitzgerald’s class, was the No. 8 recruit in Maryland and is the 26th-ranked edge rusher in the country.

How they fared in Illinois

Even though they were lapped by the Illini on the field this year, the Cats still have a decided advantage within the state despite their exacting academic standards. Northwestern signed 2 top-10 players in Illinois, tying Michigan for tops in the state.

Ohio State

Top in-state signee: LB CJ Hicks (Dayton)

The top talent in a state overflowing with football talent. Hicks will get on the field as a freshman.

Top out-of-state signee: QB Devin Brown (Utah)

The path to the field is a bit more clogged for Brown as long as CJ Stroud is around, but he’s wise to bet on himself. Ohio State backup quarterbacks tend to find their way onto the field whether in Columbus or eventually elsewhere.

How they fared in Ohio

Penn State and Notre Dame snuck some top recruits out of the state, but the Buckeyes signed 5 of Ohio’s top-10 and 4 of the top-6. This is the No. 4 signing class in the country, and Ryan Day got the majority of guys he wanted in Ohio.

Penn State

Top in-state signee: RB Nicholas Singleton (Reading)

The Nittany Lions’ run game was dormant in 2021, so the No. 2 recruit in the state will be in position to make an immediate impact next season.

Top out-of-state signee: QB Drew Allar (Ohio)

This 5-star signee is the gem of the nation’s No. 6 recruiting class. I don’t expect him to replace Sean Clifford, but given the makeup of Penn State’s roster he could be a guy who does some special things for very good teams in 2023 and ’24.

How they fared in Pennsylvania

Top recruit Enai White signed with Texas A&M, but other than that Penn State cleaned up in its backyard. Franklin brought in 6 top-10 and 8 top-14 signees, including 3 guys from greater Philly. Franklin has had issues recruiting that city in the past.


Top in-state signee: QB Brady Allen (Fort Branch)

Like Allar at Penn State, this 4-star signee is poised to potentially take over the program once Aidan O’Connell is gone in 2023.

Top out-of-state signee: RB Kentrell Marks (Ohio)

Marks is the No. 17 overall player in Ohio and the 39th-ranked running back in the country. At 6-1 and 180 pounds, he’ll presumably need to add some bulk before becoming a contributor.

How they fared in Indiana

The Boilers were edged 3-2 by Indiana in grabbing top-10 in-state prospects. They did finish with 5 top-24 signees.

Decent. Could be better. What’s more interesting to me is Jeff Brohm dipping into Texas and Louisiana for 3 players from each state. Texas in particular has been pretty, pretty good to Purdue in the past.


Top in-state signee: OL Jacob Allen (Princeton)

New Jersey is a talent hotbed, which helps explain why Rutgers hadn’t signed the top recruit in the state since 2012. The Scarlet Knights simply weren’t good enough. Greg Schiano is turning that around (again). Allen is the top recruit in Jersey, and will stay home.

Top out-of-state signee: LB Moses Walker (New York)

Another great advantage of Rutgers is the ability to dip into New York City and Philadelphia for “local” talent. This 4-star linebacker from Brooklyn is such an example.

How they fared in New Jersey

Everybody wants a piece of Jersey, which has been particularly good to Notre Dame and Wisconsin over the years. Schiano signed 5 top-15 players, plus key additions from NYC and Philly. Outside of Ohio State and Penn State, perhaps no one in the B1G did better at attaining localized talent in this cycle.


Top in-state signee: OT Joe Brunner (Milwaukee)

Brunner is the ideal Badgers signee — a 6-6, 300-pound offensive tackle from Wisconsin. He was the top player in Wisconsin and No. 8 offensive tackle in the country.

Top out-of-state signee: S Austin Brown (Illinois)

Brown is the kind of guy Bielema needs to start signing if Illinois is going to turn it around. It’s one thing for Wisconsin to get a guy from 1 of the Illinois counties on Wisconsin’s southern border. But Brown is from way downstate Johnston City, which is closer to Memphis than Madison.

Even though he’s “only” the No. 8 player in Illinois, this qualifies as a great get for Wisconsin.

How they fared in Wisconsin

Paul Chryst got the top player in Wisconsin to sign with the Badgers for the 6th straight year.

Carson Hinzman, the state’s No. 2 recruit, is choosing between the Badgers and Ohio State, and won’t sign until February. With his decision pending, Wisconsin still has 4 of the top-10 in-state recruits.