Glenview, 10/19/12 Maine South's Matt Alviti runs through a big hole in the Glenbrook South defense in Glenview October 19, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
1. Ohio State: Urban Meyer’s ability to close the deal with recruits pays off once again for the Buckeyes, who have another top-five national class. A pair of five-star recruits — Georgia DB Vonn Bell and Texas LB Mike Mitchell — lead the way.
2. Michigan: Five-star Virginia RB Derrick Green and a quintet of four-star offensive linemen, including St. Francis’ Kyle Bosch and Peoria Manual’s Logan Tuley-Tillman, are among the highlights of a top-10 national class for Brady Hoke.
3. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers have quality (five four-star recruits) and quantity (25 players). An intriguing pick-up is three-star OL Matt Finnin, a Crete-Monee grad originally went to Western Michigan before transferring to the College of DuPage to help his father cope with health issues.
4. Illinois: The Illini have a little bit of everything in Tim Beckman’s first true class: five junior college players to ramp up the talent level quickly, a few promising in-state recruits (Bolingbrook QB, Peoria Richwoods RB Kendrick Foster) and pick-ups from talent hotbeds such as Ohio, Texas and Florida.
5. Michigan State: Not much drama in the Spartans’ class, with most recruits having committed months ago. The group includes a pair of four-star linebackers (Shane Jones of Ohio, Jon Reschke of Michigan) and four-star Pennsylvania QB Damion Terry. Julian DE Demetrius Cooper adds local flavor.
6. Northwestern: It’s another low-risk, high-reward group for the Wildcats. They’re looking very smart for locking up QB Matt Alviti after the Maine South QB’s starring effort in the Semper Fidelis game. And multi-talented players like Lincoln-Way East’s Tommy Fuessel and Lyons’ Matt Harris also offer interesting possibilities.
7. Indiana: Kevin Wilson has a breakthrough class heading into his third season in Bloomington. He’s keeping the state’s top players at home — landing three four-star players from Indianapolis alone — while also scoring big in the South.
8. Penn State: A year after the Jerry Sandusky scandal wreaked havoc on the Nittany Lions’ recruiting, they’re on the road back. Five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg from Virginia highlights a class that draws heavily from the program’s traditional East Coast recruiting base.
9. Iowa: The Hawkeyes closed strong, picking up a half-dozen players in the week before signing day. Among them is Simeon LB Reggie Spearman, who joins Naperville North OL Colin Goebel on the list of three-star recruits.
10. Wisconsin: Bret Bielema’s unexpected departure for Arkansas in December probably slowed the Badgers’ momentum. But new coach Gary Andersen held on to Barrington OL Jack Keeler and to Waubonsie Valley TE Troy Fumagalli, who will “grayshirt” with the goal of getting a scholarship in a few years.
11. Purdue: Another team trying to recruit on the fly after a coaching change, the Boilermakers did manage to flip three-star Lincoln-Way Central DL Evan Panfil from Illinois. New coach Darrell Hazell also picked up a rare Public League Chicago section prospect in Foreman DT Johnny Daniels.
12. Minnesota: With in-state talent in short supply — the Gophers signed just one player from Minnesota — Jerry Kill had to range farther afield this recruiting season. From the Chicago area, he landed three-star Marian Central QB Chris Streveler.