- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
Spring practice is finished, and the recruiting cycle for the 2015 class is well underway. With the first quarter of the recruiting calendar behind us, here's a look at how the Big Ten is faring, first with a scout's take on the entire conference and then a team-by-team breakdown.
Scout's take on Big Ten recruiting
With 12 commitments, Penn State is clearly leading the field in the Big Ten. Its top six commitments all rank within the top 25 of their respective positions nationally, including defensive tackle Adam McLean. It's a down year in the Midwest recruiting cycle for the second year in a row, which could explain why commitments are down. Big Ten programs are having to cast a wider net to supplement their classes. Nebraska has 10 commitments, including most recently landing ESPN 300 dual-threat quarterback Kevin Dillman. It's a down year in Ohio once again, which might reflect why Ohio State -- with just two commits -- is taking its time. Michigan currently has one of the conference's most explosive commits in ESPN 300 athlete Shaun Crawford. -- Tom Luginbill
Who they have: Illinois has done a nice job with in-state talent in the 2015 class. Quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald was the first to join the class, followed by running back Dre Brown, both from Illinois. Those two prospects should be able to help reel in a few other in-state targets and maybe even a few other Midwest prospects as well. Starting off the class with a quarterback was a big deal, as Fitzgerald will be a key piece to this class and the future offense.
Who they want: The staff would love to continue its success in state with Quinn Oseland, Gabe Megginson, Cameron Green and Flynn Nagel. The competition is going to be tough to keep those prospects home, but a solid season for the Illini could be an outstanding selling point. The coaching staff is also hoping to pull in a few Midwest prospects, including offensive lineman Adam Solomon, defensive back Jay Stocker, athlete David Edwards and defensive end Rashod Berry.
Spring storyline: The Illini are coming off a disappointing season, but they have some positives headed into the fall. The quarterback position should be more stable with transfer quarterback Wes Lunt likely to take over. If Illinois can convince a few more of the top in-state prospects to stay home, it could be a step in the right direction for coach Tim Beckman and his staff.