Ohio State hasn't played in the Big Ten championship game in three years, but it remains the conference's top program in recruiting.
The Buckeyes were on track Wednesday to sign five of the six five-star recruits in the 247Sports Composite rankings who are headed to Big Ten schools — including No. 1 national recruit Jeremiah Smith. The class was ranked No. 3 nationally.
Penn State (14th) and Michigan (16th) are second and third in the Big Ten, respectively, among teams that were in the conference in 2023.
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Oregon, one of four Pac-12 schools that will enter the league in 2024, assembled the fourth-ranked class in the nation, which would put it at No. 2 in the Big Ten.LEADER OF THE PACK
The Buckeyes were poised to land two five-star receivers — Smith, who is from Hollywood, Florida, and Mylan Graham, of New Haven, Connecticut — and one of the nation's top edge rushers in Eddrick Houston, of St. Louis. Smith announced his intent to sign with the Buckeyes at a noon news conference, but Ohio State had not confirmed it received a letter of intent from him by late afternoon.
Kyle McCord's entry into the transfer portal turned the spotlight on four-star quarterback Air Noland, of Fairburn, Georgia, who could compete for the starter's job against Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz if coach Ryan Day doesn't go to the portal to find an experienced signal-caller.BEST OF THE REST
Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Purdue are ranked Nos. 2-6 by 247Sports among the teams that were in the Big Ten in 2023.
The Nittany Lions landed the No. 1 TE prospect in Luke Reynolds, of Cheshire, Connecticut. Michigan loses four starting offensive linemen and signed four, led by 6-foot-8, 295-pound tackle Andrew Sprague, of Kansas City, Missouri. The Wolverines also brought in four-star QB Jadyn Davis, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nebraska coach Matt Rhule scored a huge victory when he got No. 2 QB prospect Dylan Raiola to flip from Georgia and kept No. 2 TE Carter Nelson, of Ainsworth, Nebraska, at home. With Braelon Allen declaring for the draft, Wisconsin filled a big need with the signing of four-star RB Dilin Jones, of Olney, Maryland. Purdue signed three four-stars, including QB Marcos Davila, of Midland, Texas.UNDER THE RADAR
Iowa likes to call itself “Tight End U” and will try to keep the tradition alive with four-star Gavin Hoffman, of Overland Park, Kansas. ... Minnesota staved off a late run by Ohio State to sign a top-100 recruit in S Koi Perich, of Esko, Minnesota. ... New Michigan State coach Jonathan Smith signed 18 high school players to go with five transfers. ... Rutgers signed seven of its 23 recruits out of Florida. ... Maryland signed 21 players, Illinois 19, Indiana 16 and Northwestern 15.STAR OF THE CLASS
Smith pledged to Ohio State a year ago but continued to take visits, and Florida State and Miami made late bids to get him to flip. Day, during his signing day news conference, smiled and let out an audible deep breath when he was told Smith announced he would stick with the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-3, 198-pound Smith had 90 catches for 1,389 yards and 19 touchdowns for unbeaten Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School.BIGGEST SURPRISE
Raiola, the 247Sports composite's No. 6 overall prospect, is considered Nebraska's top recruit since national championship quarterback Tommie Frazier signed in 1992. Raiola previously gave pledges to Ohio State and Georgia, but the Huskers got his signature after he made an official visit last weekend. His dad, Dominic Raiola, was an All-America center for the Huskers in 2000 and a 14-year pro with the Detroit Lions.