The recruiting process is a long, tireless one, filled with several ups and downs throughout the year. But now, two months after the Early Signing Period, the 2019 recruiting season has come to a close.
Coaches put a bow on this year’s class, with National Signing Day ending the recruiting period on Wednesday. Now comes the fun part, when we all get our hopes up for every player to live above and beyond even the highest of expectations.
What better way to build hope and expectation than by taking a look at the best recruit for every team, based on 247Sports’ composite rankings:
Ohio State: DE Zach Harrison, No. 12 overall
Add Harrison to the list of Ohio State defensive ends who have an extremely bright future. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end has a tremendous ability to maneuver around blockers to get to the quarterback. He’s got incredibly strong hands and is capable of bringing down ball carriers by getting just a few fingers on the jersey. Harrison fits in perfectly on a defensive line that has become regarded as one of the best in the country on a year-in, year-out basis. Under Larry Johnson’s guidance, he could join the ranks of Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard, Chase Young and others.
Michigan: S Daxton Hill, No. 14 overall
Speed is the greatest asset for Hill, and that’s what will allow him to be a game-changer in Michigan’s secondary. Never out of a play, Hill has the ability to chase down guys from anywhere on the field. He also possesses great awareness and his able to stops plays for minimal gains. Because of his unbelievable quickness, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jim Harbaugh use Hill in multiple roles, much like Jabrill Peppers a few years ago.
Wisconsin: OT Logan Brown, No. 17 overall
Brown’s mammoth 6-foot-5, 300-pound frame makes him out to be a man amongst boys on a high school field. At times, things almost look too easy. It’s impossible to go through the offensive lineman, and his wingspan makes it extremely difficult to get around him, too. When you think about a typical Wisconsin offensive lineman, Logan Brown is exactly the kind of player that comes to mind.
Penn State: LB Brandon Smith, No. 18 overall
Arguably the hardest-hitting, most powerful defender in the 2019 class. Smith is a cerebral player who almost always makes the right read. He also plays with incredible aggression and physicality that coaches love to see out of their linebackers. Smith also finishes plays extremely well and is capable of getting to the backfield in a hurry. He’ll likely work his way into the rotation this fall and has the potential to earn a reputation as one of the more punishing linebackers in the B1G.
Michigan State: OG DeVontae Dobbs, No. 51 overall
Michigan State desperately needs help on its offensive line, and Dobbs could be an immediate cure for what ailed the Spartans all last season. Dobbs is a lineman who plays with a high motor and often doesn’t quit on his assignment until the defender has his face buried in the turf. Once he finishes on the first level, he moves downfield quickly to clear more space for the ball carrier. Life isn’t going to be quite that easy in the B1G, but Dobbs has major upside.
Purdue: DE George Karlaftis, No. 59 overall
For Purdue fans who remember Ryan Kerrigan’s stint at Purdue, Karlaftis brings a similar skillset to West Lafayette. He possesses a bevy of moves to shed blockers and get to the quarterback and has the speed to beat guys off the snap. Karlaftis’ feet never stop moving and he never quits on a play. This was certainly one of the bigger recruiting victories for Jeff Brohm as he enters his third season with the Boilermakers.
Nebraska: APB Wandale Robinson, No. 87 overall
Even though he’s listed as one of the top 100 players in the class, Robinson’s ability might still be a little undervalued. He’s got excellent speed and an innate ability to change direction on a dime. He’s one of the most elusive players in the class and is the ideal prospect to insert into Scott Frost’s up-tempo, high-powered offensive scheme. If he gets enough touches, Robinson has a realistic shot at being a first-team All-American selection as a true freshman.
Illinois: ATH Marquez Beason, No. 99 overall
Athletic, versatile and intelligent are three really good adjectives to describe Beason and what he brings to Illinois. Most of his highlights come as an offensive player — used as a wide receiver and quarterback — but Lovie Smith intends to use Beason’s talent on the defensive side of the football. That likely means immediate playing time for the four-star athlete. As a defender Beason reads quarterbacks extremely well and has a knack for finding the football. Beason could also be an asset on special teams.
Indiana: RB Sampson James, No. 181 overall
There’s no question that James is the most impressive get for Tom Allen since taking over at Indiana after the 2016 season. The Hoosiers flipped the four-star running back from Ohio State, and now have a player capable of putting up big totals out of the backfield for the next several years. James isn’t the quickest back you’ll see, but his tremendous vision and elusiveness make him a difficult player for defenders to bring to the turf. He’s also a really solid blocking back.
Maryland: WR Isaiah Hazell, No. 224 overall
Maryland has targeted guys with playmaking ability over the last few years, trying to bring more athleticism to the skill positions. Even though there’s a new regime in College Park, the Terrapins are still using the same formula. Hazel can turn short passes into big gains and does a good job at making defenders miss.
Iowa: LB Jestin Jacobs, No. 258 overall
Jacobs is another linebacker who can fly all over the field and make plays. He’s not afraid to take some risks and, when he commits to pursuing the quarterback, is capable of getting to him in a hurry. Jacobs was also used at running back in high school, so he’s got quick feet and great awareness. This is the type of player Kirk Ferentz loves, an athletic player with a high motor and great energy.
Northwestern: WR Genson Hooper-Price, No. 389 overall
With a 6-foot-5, 206-pound frame, Hooper-Price is going to be a matchup nightmare for B1G secondaries — especially now that Hunter Johnson is in Evanston. Hooper-Price has the skillset necessary to be a primary target in the passing game for Northwestern. In addition to his stature, Hooper-Price is an excellent route-runner, can be a target anywhere on the field and has that go-up-and-get-it mentality.
Minnesota: CB Tyler Nubin, No. 392 overall
There are plenty of things to like about Nubin’s game and good reason to believe he can be a difference maker for the Golden Gophers. He may not exactly fit the description of a “shut down corner,” but he anticipates plays well and picks his spots when it comes to being opportunistic. He’s also quick to the football and good at limiting yards after catch. Nubin is also deceptively quick and has solid chase-down ability.
Rutgers: RB Aaron Young, No. 620 overall
Watch Young carry the football an you might believe he’s an underrated prospect coming in at No. 620. He’s got excellent speed and isn’t afraid of contact, though he tends to leave defenders in the dust. Young has also been utilized as a pass-catching back and could be a solid multi-purpose back for Chris Ash and Co. over the next few years.