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Monday, September 10, 2012
Future is bright for Big Ten

By Jared Shanker

Saturday was hardly a banner day for the Big Ten.

But the conference could be raising some banners in the near future with the strong recruiting classes many of the league’s programs are putting together.

The best of the Big Ten’s 2013 recruiting classes belongs to Michigan right now. ESPN 150 quarterback Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) is the future of the program and is the kind of pro-style quarterback Brady Hoke needs for his offense. Morris won’t have to worry much about protection either once he arrives in Ann Arbor, as the Wolverines have five offensive line commitments -- and all five are in the ESPN 150.

The Wolverines plan to sign a full 25, and they could close out what is currently the No. 2 class with ESPN 150 recruits Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) and Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage). If Michigan can wrap up 2013 with those two, it could be enough to retake the top spot in the rankings from USC.

Ohio State is not far behind Michigan, sitting at No. 5 in the rankings. The Buckeyes could have the nation’s top cornerback tandem committed, and once again are putting together a solid class along the defensive line. The Buckeyes could close out their class with a few more ESPN 150 prospects, too.

For a second consecutive year, Wisconsin has a smaller but very strong class. The Badgers have a final few spots and are targeting big-name prospects such as ESPN 150 running back David Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) and four-star Sojourn Shelton (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation).

The Badgers also have four commitments for the 2014 class, including quarterback Chance Stewart (Sturgis, Mich./Sturgis).

Penn State is trying to keep its class together, but it can build around No. 1 quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union) and tight end Adam Breneman (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff).

Illinois and Iowa have 18 and 17 commitments, respectively, and are looking to add a few more pieces. Both have solid classes already.

So while Week 2 of the 2012 season was not too kind to the Big Ten, help is on the way in a B1G way.