February 03, 2016

Here are the signing day capsules for Big Ten Conference teams:

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ILLINOIS

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Dele Harding, LB, Elkton, Maryland.

Best of the rest: Zarrian Holcombe, TE, Houston; Eli Peters, QB, Jacksonville, Florida, already enrolled; James McCourt, K, Parkland, Florida.

Late addition: Izon Pulley, DL, Olney, Maryland. Cubit expects he will be a defensive end and could play soon.

One that got away: Several players recently de-committed amid the turmoil in the program, among them Tre Johnson, OL, Orlando, Florida, who chose Miami.

How they'll fit in: After playing essentially without tight ends last fall, Illinois signed three players at the position, including Holcombe, one of the top 40 or so in the country. If he can play right away, that could be a big help to the Illini attack. Also important will be the 13 defensive players and whether they can add much-needed depth.

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INDIANA

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Richard Lagow, QB, Plano, Texas. Over the past two seasons, he threw for 4,496 yards and 38 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. He has two years of eligibility left.

Best of the rest: Jonah Morris, athlete, Akron, Ohio. In high school, Morris played receiver and safety and at 6-4, 190 pounds could play either position at Indiana. The Hoosiers must decide where he fits best.

Late addition: Shaun Bonner, TE, Moultrie, Georgia. At 6-3, 250, Bonner is expected to start out as primarily a blocking tight end, with the potential to become an offensive lineman.

One that got away: Jovan Swann, DT, Greenwood, Indiana. The Hoosiers only had two in-state players, and they didn't get Swann, who picked Stanford.

How they'll fit in: Lagow and Thompson should make immediate impacts. But much of this class was recruited to build toward the future.

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IOWA

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Nathan Stanley, QB, Menomonie, Wisconsin. Stanley will likely be the most scrutinized player in this class over the next few years. Stanley shunned his home-state Badgers for Iowa, and at 6-foot-4 he looks like a prototypical pro passer in Iowa's system. It could be years before Stanley sees the field, with Tyler Wiegers set to take over for Beathard in 2017 and second-year freshmen Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook behind him.

Best of the rest: Defensive ends Cedrick Lattimore, a 250-pounder out of Detroit, and Illinois product Romeo McKnight, could be next in line to blossom along Iowa's front. Running back Toks Akinribade had plenty of offers and Alaric Jackson is a 6-foot-7, 285-pound tackle who also played basketball, soccer, baseball and track. Iowa's best linemen have traditionally been multi-sport stars in high school.

Late addition: Alaric Jackson, OL, Detroit. He reportedly turned down a late offer from Michigan.

One that got away: U.S. Army All-American Bowl pick John Raridon of West Des Moines, Iowa, turned down Iowa and Iowa State in favor of Nebraska.

How they'll fit in: Iowa brings back a ton of talent from last season's Big Ten West-winning team and the Hawkeyes usually redshirt most of their freshmen anyway. But Iowa will likely look for a few of them to contribute on special teams.

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MARYLAND

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Terrance Davis, OG, Hyattsville, Maryland

Best of the rest: Tino Ellis, WR, Hyattsville, Maryland, Richard Merritt, OL, Silver Spring, Maryland, Adam McLean, DT, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Late addition: Tyrrell Pigrome, QB, Pinson, Alabama. Pigrome, the Alabama Gatorade State Player of the Year, announced his decision Wednesday.

One that got away: Recruited by former Maryland coach Randy Edsall, standout QB Dwayne Haskins flipped his commitment to Ohio State last month. Returning QB Perry Hills threw 13 INTs compared to eight TD passes in 2015, so getting Pigrome and QB Max Bortenschlager (Indiana) was very important.

How they'll fit in: Many of these players will have an opportunity to play immediately as new coach DJ Durkin looks to put his stamp on the struggling program.

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MICHIGAN

Top 25 class: Yes.

Best in class: DT Rashan Gary chose Michigan over Clemson and Southeastern Conference schools such as Alabama, Mississippi and Auburn. He is the first consensus No. 1 recruit to sign outside of the SEC since 2008, when Terrell Pryor went to Ohio State.

Best of the rest: Devin Asiasi, who played for traditional power De La Salle High School in California, will get a chance to make a lot of plays because coach Jim Harbaugh loves having his quarterbacks throw to tight ends. The 6-4, 265 Asiasi is rated as one of the best players at his position in the country.

Late addition: Elysee Mbem-Bosse, a linebacker from Georgia, was added relatively recently to the class. He will get a chance to play right away because Michigan will lose some linebackers to graduation.

One that got away: Donnie Corley, a wide receiver from Detroit, chose to enroll at Michigan State last month.

How they'll fit in: Even though Gary will be in the spotlight next fall, he will be able to ease into a role with a team that has a lot of depth on the defensive line.

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MICHIGAN STATE

Top 25 class: Yes.

Best in class: Donnie Corley, WR-CB, Detroit

Best of the rest: Josh King, DE, Darien, Ill.

Late addition: Luke Campbell, OL-DL, Lewis Center, Ohio

One that got away: Michael Jordan, OL, Canton, Mich., who signed with Ohio State.

How they'll fit in: The Spartans have to replace QB Connor Cook after last season's run to the national semifinals. Although Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry have been with the program for a while, both are unproven. Michigan State added QB Messiah deWeaver of Huber Heights, Ohio, and Corley could provide immediate help to a receiving corps that loses Aaron Burbridge and Macgarrett Kings from last season's team.

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MINNESOTA

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Carter Coughlin, LB, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Best of the rest: QB Seth Green, Allen, Texas; Tyler Johnson, WR, Minneapolis North HS; Garrison Wright, OL, Butler CC (Kansas); Sam Schlueter, OL, Victoria (Minnesota)/Mayer Lutheran HS; Kamal Martin, LB, Burnsville (Minnesota) HS; Philip Howard, WR, Minneapolis/Robbinsdale Cooper HS; Coney Durr, CB, Geismar (Louisiana) Dutchtown HS; Thomas Barber, LB, Plymouth (Minnesota)/Robbinsdale Armstrong HS; Vincent Calhoun, OL, Southwest Mississippi CC; Merrick Jackson, DL, Iowa Western CC.

Late addition: Mark Williams, QB, Jackson (Alabama) HS.

One that got away: Dedrick Snelson, WR, Pembroke Pines, Fla. Signed with Central Florida.

How they'll fit in: Green will compete with sophomore Demry Croft to be the backup to Mitch Leidner. Calhoun (335 pounds) and Wright (318 pounds) could be in the starting lineup right away. Johnson and Martin are converted QBs marking a focus on athleticism.

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NEBRASKA

Top 25 class: Yes.

Best in class: Lamar Jackson, CB, Elk Grove, California. He's a top-100 national recruit and Nebraska's highest-rated West Coast signee in more than a decade. With Jackson and safety Marquel Dismuke of Calabasas, California, among the five defensive backs in the fold, the Cornhuskers met their needs in the secondary.

Best of the rest: John Raridon, OL, West Des Moines, Iowa. The 6-4, 271-pound guard is the top offensive line recruit and the son of former Nebraska offensive tackle Scott Raridon.

Late addition: Matt Farniok, OT, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Bo Pelini staff started pursuing the 6-foot-5, 319-pounder two years ago and Riley's staff picked up the chase before landing his commitment a week ago.

One that got away: Nebraska thought it had locked up four-star receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick of Waterford, Michigan. That was before Fitzpatrick took a visit to Louisville. He announced he would become a Cardinal on Tuesday. The Huskers are left with two receivers in the class.

How they'll fit in: All eyes will be on QB Patrick O'Brien in spring practice. It would be premature to say he could challenge incumbent Tommy Armstrong, but he's well-positioned to be the No. 2 QB come fall. Raridon and Farniok beef up the offensive line, and Jackson and Dismuke could play right away.

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NORTHWESTERN

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Roderick Campbell Jr., DB, St. Louis.

Best of the rest: Jeremy Larkin, RB, Cincinnati; Riley Lees, WR, Libertyville, Illinois; Bennett Skowronek, WR, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Aidan Smith, QB, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Late additions: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, WR, Minneapolis.

One that got away: Defensive tackle Jovan Swann from Greenwood, Indiana, picked Stanford.

How they'll fit in: With the losses of receivers Miles Shuler and Christian Jones to graduation, Lees, Skowronek and Chiaokhiao-Bowman have the chance to get playing time early.

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OHIO STATE

Top 25 class: Yes.

Best in class: Nick Bosa, DL, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The spitting image of his older brother, former Buckeyes All-American Joey Bosa, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder may step right into the spot vacated by his sibling.

Best of the rest: Austin Mack, WR, Fort Wayne, Indiana. The 6-2, 210-pounder can help fill the void following the loss of Michael Thomas, one of nine Ohio State underclassmen leaving early for the pros.

Late addition: Malcolm Pridgeon, OL, Nassau County (N.Y.) Community College. The 6-8 303-pounder chose Ohio State over Baylor on signing day.

One that got away: Rashan Gary, DT, Paramus, New Jersey. The nation's No. 1 recruit is headed to Michigan, a signing that Wolverines fans will undoubtedly tout as a victory over the Buckeyes as Harbaugh tries to close the talent gap between the bitter enemies.

How they'll fit in: Coach Urban Meyer has already identified Bosa and Jonathon Cooper, a 6-2, 234-pound defensive end from Gahanna, Ohio, as freshmen who will get playing time next season.

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PENN STATE

Top 25 class: Yes.

Best in class: At 5-11, 200 pounds, four-star running back Miles Sanders of Pittsburgh is the key recruit in James Franklin's class.

Best of the rest: Shane Simmons, a 6-4, 221-pounder, could make an immediate impact at defensive end and just might end up giving Sanders a run as the best player in the class.

Late addition: Junior-college DT Brenon Thrift can help replenish reserves on defensive line with Austin Johnson, Anthony Zettel and Tarow Barney moving on and recent decommitments from DTs Karamo Dioubate and Michael Dwumfour.

One that got away: S Andrew Pryts of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, flipped to Stanford on signing day.

How they'll fit in: Penn State had to tread water under Franklin in the waning days of the NCAA sanctions. With a full class and full complement of players available at every position, perhaps Big Ten contention is on the horizon.

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PURDUE

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Terrance Landers, WR, Dayton, Ohio. The 6-foot-4 receiver could give the offense a new dimension in 2016, and if he does the Boilers will finally have a solid nucleus of skill position players.

Best of the rest: Simeon Smiley, DB, Pensacola, Florida. The transition to college is easier for freshmen to make at safety than cornerback and at 6-foot, 195 pounds, Smiley has the build to make an impact.

Late addition: Rob Simmons, DE, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The 6-6, 216-pounder waited until the final week to pick Purdue.

One that got away: Dylan Powell, OL, Hannibal, Missouri. Powell announced three weeks ago he was looking for other options and wound up choosing Stanford.

How they'll fit in: The Boilermakers are losing both starting cornerbacks and may need some of those young DBs on the field in 2016. Barry Larkin and Lorenzo Neal won't be the only junior college players vying for playing time. Jalen Neal, a 6-8, 315-pound offensive lineman, could, too.

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RUTGERS

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: Tylin Oden, QB, Columbia, Tennessee. While starter Chris Laviano and backup Hayden Rettig are returning, Oden has the athleticism to run the power spread offense.

Best of the rest: Trey Sneed, RB, Orange Park, Fla. He had more than 10 scholarship offers including from North Carolina, Wake Forest and Louisville.

Late addition: Ahmed Bah, WR, New York City. He helped Grand Street Campus to a 13-0 record and the school's first-ever New York Public Schools Athletic League State Championship.

One that got away: Patrice Rene, DB. He committed to Rutgers in early August but changed his mind after Kyle Flood was fired. He will attend North Carolina.

How they'll fit in: First-year coach Chris Ash's guiding rule was to find players who fit his program, who had character, intelligence, toughness and would compete. Four are early enrollees and they are already working out. With little depth, a lot of these players should play a role, even if just on special teams.

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WISCONSIN

Top 25 class: No.

Best in class: DL Garrett Rand earned an invite to the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Rand, who had 92 tackles and 15 sacks as a high school senior, would also give a relatively young position group even more depth.

Best of the rest: RB Sam Brodner of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, was one of his state's top players last season. P Anthony Lotti was recruited from Flowery Branch, Georgia and figures to play right away.

Late addition: DBs Caesar Williams and Deron Harrell. Harrell might not join the program until January 2017.

One that got away: Touted running back prospect Antonio Williams dropped his verbal commitment to Wisconsin in October to commit to Ohio State.

How they'll fit in: The sting of losing Williams is eased a bit with the late addition of Brodner, plus the return of Corey Clement to the Wisconsin backfield in 2016. There is depth at the position with Clement joining fellow returnees Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal.

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