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NSD Preview: Flip watch, predictions for the Big Ten

Dylan Raiola
Dylan Raiola

National Signing Day, the biggest day of the recruiting calendar, is next Wednesday and the drama is building for some of the nation's top recruits. Uncommitted prospects are finalizing their plans while some verbally committed players are wondering if they need to rethink their decisions.

This week we take a closer look at the major storylines and important prospects fans need to be following in each conference. Up next is the Big Ten.

MORE NSD PREVIEWS: Flip watch, predictions for the ACC | SEC



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Who would have ever thought that the program making the biggest waves in the conference leading into the Early Signing Period would be Nebraska? The Huskers didn’t make a bowl game in coach Matt Rhule’s first season and had plenty of questions heading into the offseason.

But now the question isn’t which high-profile players are going to Lincoln but how many?

Nebraska needed to get better at the most important position in sports: quarterback. The team didn’t have a 1,000-yard passer this season which is hard to do in today’s college football. Are the Huskers going to complete the flip of five-star legacy quarterback Dylan Raiola? Is former five-star wide receiver Julian Fleming joining the fold? What other surprises does Rhule have up his sleeve? This could be a wild ride for a fan base that is starving to get back in the national conversation.




Air Noland
Air Noland (Nick Lucero/

The race for the top spot in the conference recruiting rankings is typically a three-team race among Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. This cycle is no different. The three Beasts of the East have dominated the conference once again.

Ohio State has led the pack for much of the cycle. The Buckeyes have a trio of five-stars leading their class. Wide receiver Jeremiah Smith (if he sticks), quarterback Air Noland and defensive end Eddrick Houston are all on the way. It’s another deep and talented group heading to Columbus to play for coach Ryan Day. Half the class is also currently from the Midwest so the Buckeyes are getting back to their roots a bit.

Michigan doesn’t have any five-stars on the commit list but the Wolverines are loaded up in the trenches. That seems to be the way the coach Jim Harbaugh likes it and the results on the field speaks volumes. Michigan might have the best group of offensive linemen committed in the country. Luke Hamilton, Ben Roebuck, Andrew Sprague, Blake Frazier and Jake Guarnera is a fantastic group for Ohio native Jordan Marshall to run behind in the future.

Let’s not forget Penn State in the discussion. James Franklin and his staff have done a nice job and will finish with a top-20 class. Front-seven recruiting is a strength and a pair of big-time linebackers are leading the charge. Pittsburgh native Anthony Speca and Michigan man Kari Jackson are on the way to Happy Valley. Franklin also nabbed Ethan Grunkmeyer, who is likely the most underrated quarterback in the region despite being a four-star.



Smith, the No. 1 prospect in the country, has been committed to Ohio State for a year, but there has been no shortage of speculation in recent months that he could flip before National Signing Day.

Houston is now the top-ranked defensive commit in Ohio State's class following Justin Scott's flip to Miami two weeks ago.

Nolan, who committed to Ohio State in April, earned a fifth star after shining this summer at the Elite 11 Finals.



Dennis was previously committed to Michigan State before coach Mel Tucker was let go. The lineman opened up his recruitment after that and found a home at Illinois. There are several Big Ten programs that are continuing to push for him in hopes of making a late flip.

The four-star athlete from Michigan recently backed off his Boston College pledge to verbally commit to USC. He could be a centerpiece of the Trojans' new defense but could a school closer to home make a late push? Jonathan Smith and Michigan State would make sense.

The dynamic safety has been the jewel of Minnesota’s class since April when he committed. The secret is out on him now and the Gophers are fighting to hold on to him. Keep a close eye on Ohio State here even though Florida State is lurking, too.



Nicholas Marsh
Nicholas Marsh (Nick Lucero/

Ohio State loses two wide receivers: This seems improbable given wide receivers coach Brian Hartline’s track record in Columbus. But the Buckeyes are fighting other teams like crazy to keep Jeremiah Smith and Jeremiah McClellan on their commit list. This has been a rocky time for Ryan Day and I think it continues on signing day.

Minnesota is not done losing players: The Gophers have been hit hard with the decommitment bug lately with top commits. Defensive lineman Jide Abasiri is a high-ceiling player that is now committed to USC. The team also lost offensive tackle Mauricio Hinds. But the big name to watch is Koi Perich. The talented defensive back took a visit last weekend to Ohio State and is scheduled to visit Florida State the final weekend before signing day.

Michigan State finishes with a flurry: New coach Jonathan Smith currently has nine commitments in the 2024 class. That does include hanging onto four-star wide receiver Nicholas Marsh which is a big win. I think the Spartans will be well into double-digits of signees when the dust settles. They’ll be a team to watch in the comprehensive team rankings too because portal help is on the way.