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Big Ten Spotlight: Teams that won on the recruiting trail in October

Saboor Karriem
Saboor Karriem (Richard Schnyderite -- Rivals.com)

With only nine new commitments across the entire conference, the month of October was relatively quiet on the Big Ten recruiting front. In fact, only seven of the conference's 14 schools added to their 2023 class with Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan State, Minnesota, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Indiana all going 0-for-October. While the sample size is small in terms of commits, here is a look at the five Big Ten teams that won October on the recruiting trail.

OCTOBER RECRUITING WINNERS: The ACC | Big 12 | SEC

RELATED: 2023 Big Ten team rankings

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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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ILLINOIS 

The Illini didn't make a splash with any elite caliber commitments last month, but they were the only Big Ten school to land multiple commits in the month of October, and that sets them apart from the pack.

JUCO offensive lineman Dez'Mond Schuster kicked it off when he committed on Oct. 22, and he will provide immediate help for an offensive line that will be graduating multiyear starters at the year's end. Commitment No. 2 came from long and talented defensive back Saboor Karriem, who has a chance to be a special player at the college level and it could be argued he is slightly underrated as a 5.6 three-star recruit. The final commit of the month came from defensive end Alex Bray out of Missouri. Although raw, he has the physical and athletic gifts to develop into a solid player in the Big Ten.

The biggest piece to Illinois' recruiting puzzle may have also come in the month of October - only not in the form of new commitments. The nation's highest-rated uncommitted receiver - Chicago Simeon's Malik Elzy - reopened his recruitment after being a longtime Cincinnati pledge, and Illinois is one of the schools he is seriously considering. Additionally, four-star in-state defensive back Jyaire Hill remains in play for Illinois as he has prolonged his recruitment, which leaves the Illini right in the mix for his pledge. Should the Illini close on the in-state four-stars, they could be looking at one of their better recruiting classes in recent memory.

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NEBRASKA 

Malachi Coleman
Malachi Coleman (Greg Smith/Inside Nebraska)

The Huskers' ability to land in-state phenom Malachi Coleman goes down as one of Nebraska's biggest recruiting wins in recent memory. Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds with 10.46 100-meter speed, the Lincoln (Neb.) East athlete recruit is about as freaky as they get when it comes to a high school prospect.

Coleman's combination of size and athleticism were impressive enough for schools to offer him as a receiver, tight end, defensive end, outside linebacker and defensive back, making him one of the most versatile players in the nation regardless of class. Although he could have gone just about anywhere in the country, Coleman chose to stay home despite questions surrounding the Huskers' coaching situation. This commitment was the best news Nebraska has received this season, and it makes the Huskers my No. 2 recruiting team from the Big Ten in October.

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OHIO STATE 

Kayden McDonald
Kayden McDonald

The Buckeyes' lone commitment in October was a big one, and it came from four-star defensive tackle Kayden McDonald out of Georgia. McDonald is a massive presence on the interior defensive line and he has a level of twitch and athleticism that you rarely see from a 310-pound high school recruit. Not only does McDonald have the ability to take on double teams and dominate against the run, he also brings the rare but highly coveted element of an interior pass rush to the Buckeyes' defensive front.

McDonald's pledge to Ohio State was important for a number of reasons, but the fact that the Buckeyes were able to go into SEC country and pull a highly coveted player may be the most notable part of this recruitment. His commitment also cemented Ohio State's No. 1 Big Ten class, which will be hard for any school in the conference to match moving forward.

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IOWA 

Anterio Thompson
Anterio Thompson (Greg Smith)

The Hawkeyes were due for a 2023 committment as they hadn't received a pledge since July 12, prior to striking gold with JUCO defensive tackle Anterio Thompson. The Iowa Western product is incredibly light on his feet at 295 pounds and has a chance to wreak havoc for Big Ten offensive lines early on during his tenure at Iowa.

The recruiting drought wasn't as bad as it sounds because the Hawkeyes put in major work early on in the 2023 class. Thompson's commitment to Iowa solidified a class that currently ranks No. 3 in the conference and No. 25 overall.

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PURDUE 

Ryan Browne
Ryan Browne (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The Boilermakers' quarterback room has been in good hands with All Big-Ten quarterback Aidan O'Connell behind center. But his phenomenal run at Purdue will come to an end at the completion of this season, leaving Purdue fans wondering what comes next. Four-star Rickie Collins appeared to be the future behind center when he committed to Purdue in October of 2021, but instead his decommitment over the summer left coach Jeff Brohm and his staff scrambling for their quarterback of the future.

Then October rolled around, and Purdue found its guy in post-grad quarterback Ryan Browne. Browne's 5.5 three-star ranking may not turn heads the way that Collins' rating did when he originally pledged to the Boilermakers, but don't be fooled because this kid is a player and has a ton of upside. Browne has the prototypical size, is extremely athletic for a pro-style quarterback and comes in with an extra year of experience after opting to head to Milford Academy in hopes of garnering more recruiting interest than he did out of high school. Browne is a proven winner, having led his high school team to an 8A Florida state championship and then following that with a special post-grad year in which he led Milford to an 8-1 record.

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