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Big Ten Spotlight: Four predictions for the 2023 season

Brandon Innis
Brandon Innis

The 2023 recruiting cycle is entering crunch time and teams around the country are finalizing their recruiting classes. This week we're looking at each conference and predicting which team will win the conference recruiting title, which team will be the biggest surprise, what the conference's biggest recruiting win will be and which decisions will cause major changes in the conference recruiting standings.

Up next is the Big Ten and while the team at the top looks to be a sure thing, there are few certainties when it comes to how the rest of the conference will shake up.


THIS SERIES: Four predictions about the ACC for the 2023 class | Big 12 | SEC

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100

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The 2023 Big Ten recruiting champ will be ... Ohio State

With the No. 3 overall class and an average star rating of 4.05, which is tops in the nation, the Buckeyes sit at the top of the conference by a wide margin. Penn State currently is in second place with the No. 14 overall class, and even with a stellar finish, the Nittany Lions likely won't come close to topping the class that Ohio State has put together this recruiting cycle.

The class is impressive from top to bottom with two five-star receivers leading the way in Carnell Tate and Brandon Innis out of Florida. The five-stars are followed by a whopping 17 four-star recruits headlined by offensive lineman Luke Montgomery and defensive lineman Jason Moore.

Ohio State has won the conference recruiting rankings nine out of the last 10 years and while this class is impressive in its own right, it almost seems like this level of recruiting has become the norm in Columbus.



The biggest surprise team in the league will be ... Illinois

Bret Bielema
Bret Bielema (USA Today Sports Images)

Bret Bielema has the Illini off to an impressive 7-3 start which is a massive turnaround for the program. Illinois is picking up steam on the recruiting trail as a result. The 2023 class currently holds the No. 40 spot and with a strong finish could crack the top 30 with an outside chance at the top 25. Both of which would be a far cry from the No. 90 class that Illinois finished with in 2020.

The key to this class finish lies with two in-state four-star recruits in Rivals250 WR Malik Elzy and defensive back Jyaire Hill. As things stand today Illinois looks to be trending with both. Should it find a way to land the two highly-ranked recruits from its home state, along with a couple additional three-star caliber players, we could see a team that currently stands at No. 9 in the conference rankings potentially cracking the top five.



The biggest recruiting victory will be ... Nebraska landing Malachi Coleman

Nebraska landed one of its biggest recruits in recent memory when four-star athlete Malachi Coleman announced his intentions to stay home on Oct. 22. The Lincoln (Neb.) East standout opted to commit to the Huskers out of a top seven that also included Oklahoma, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oregon, Georgia and USC – despite numerous questions surrounding the program, with the most notable being the lack of a permanent head coach heading into signing day.

Much of Coleman's pledge is tied to interim coach Mickey Joseph's status, and should Joseph not end up coaching for the Huskers come next season, this pledge could potentially flip in a heartbeat. As things stand today, Coleman remains committed despite a push from other major schools. Should Nebraska land his signature on signing day he will undoubtedly be the biggest recruiting victory in the Big Ten.



The biggest remaining decision that will impact the conference ranking will be ... Nyckoles Harbor

Harbor is the highest-ranked uncommitted Rivals250 recruit with a Big Ten team toward the top of his recruitment. Should he choose Michigan in the end, his signature could do wonders for the Wolverines' conference recruiting ranking.

Jim Harbaugh's squad currently sits with the No. 5 recruiting class in the Big Ten and when looking at how things could potentially shake out with recruiting in the conference, his commitment could catapult Michigan to a top three finish or better with some help. Harbor is as freaky as they come and could make a solid Michigan class almost spectacular on his own.