Another month, another instance of the Buckeyes and Wolverines keeping their stranglehold on the Big Ten's recruiting. Ohio State and Michigan should dominate the conference after bringing in an overwhelming amount of top talent.
Ohio State and Michigan combined to sign 31 of the Big Ten's 54 prospects rated four- or five-stars in 2012. That number increased to 38 of 61 in 2013. The trend continues in 2014 with the pair currently holding commitments from 19 of the conference's 33 prospects holding a rating of four- or five-stars.
One way to demonstrate this is with an all-conference recruiting team.
The format is simple. Using the 247 Sports Composite of the four major recruiting rankings (Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 247), we'll assemble the top team using the following positions: one QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, 5 OL, 5 DL, 4 LB, 5 DB.
Welcome: WR Curtis Samuel (Ohio State), WR Saeed Blacknall (Rutgers), OT Kyle Trout (Ohio State), DE Jesse Aniebonam (Maryland)
|Northwestern, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Michigan and Maryland were close to making the list with their respective quarterback commitments.|
|Michael O'Connor||Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy||4||Penn State|
|O'Connor is a 6'4, 225-pound pocket passer who has blossomed at the IMG Academy. He played in Tennessee after moving from Canada before going to the IMG Academy.|
|Can Minnesota and Northwestern hold on to the top running back spots in the B1G?|
|Jeff Jones||Minneapolis (Minn.) Washburn||4||Minnesota|
|Jones has excellent agility and moves well for a six-foot back.|
|Justin Jackson||Carol Stream (Ill.) Glenbard North||4||Northwestern|
|Jackson is an all-purpose back with the ability to take any touch for a score.|
|There is no shortage of good receivers in the Big Ten so the race for the top spots was tough.|
|Drake Harris||Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian||4||Michigan|
|Harris is one of the five best receivers in the country and has excellent potential as a big-play threat. The 6'4 wideout is also a nice red zone target.|
|Curtis Samuel||Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall||4||Ohio State|
|Samuel is a tremendous, electric athlete capable of hitting a big play at any time.|
|Saeed Blacknall||Englishtown (N.J.) Manalapan||4||Rutgers|
|Blacknall is a tough, physical target.|
|Ian Bunting||Hinsdale (Ill.) Central||4||Michigan|
|Bunting is a solid tight end recruit who should become a better blocker as he adds strength to his 6'6, 210-pound frame.|
|These five are the five highest-rated offensive linemen, regardless of position (tackle, guard or center).|
|Jamarco Jones||Chicago (Ill.) De La Salle||4||Ohio State|
|Jones is one of the best offensive tackles in the country.|
|Demetrius Knox||Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal||4||Ohio State|
|Knox is one of the most tenacious guards in the country.|
|Mason Cole||Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake||4||Michigan|
|Cole is an athletic 6'4, 280-pound guard. He could also play tackle in some systems, particularly if he keeps growing.|
|Jaden Gault||Madison (Wis.) Monona Grove||4||Wisconsin|
|It's always nice to have a 6'7, 285-pound tackle who can move playing in your backyard.|
|Kyle Trout||Lancaster (Ohio)||4||Ohio State|
|Trout is an athletic, big-bodied tackle and an early commit to the Buckeyes.|
|These are the four highest-rated defensive linemen, be they ends or tackles.|
|Jalyn Holmes||Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor||4||Ohio State|
|Holmes is one of the most dangerous defensive ends in the nation.|
|Bryan Mone||Salt Lake City (Utah) Highland||4||Michigan|
|Mone is a massive defensive tackle at 6'4 and 338 pounds with good athleticism relative to his size. He should contribute immediately for the Wolverines.|
|Jesse Aniebonam||Olney (MD) Good Counsel||4||Maryland|
|Aniebonam offers an excellent combination of quickness and power.|
|Lawrence Marshall||Southfield (Mich.)||4||Michigan|
|Marshall is the prototypical edge rusher at 6'3 and 225 pounds.|
|As usual, the Big Ten is loaded with linebackers.|
|Dante Booker||Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St.Mary||4||Ohio State|
|Booker is an exceptional prospect with great length at 6'4 and 210 pounds.|
|Kyle Berger||Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius||4||Ohio State|
|Berger is a very good linebacker prospect, with a promising 6'3, 215-pound build.|
|Michael Ferns||St. Clairsville (Ohio)||4||Michigan|
|The 6'3, 235-pound Ferns is the traditional thumper at middle linebacker.|
|Sam Hubbard||Cincinnati (Ohio) Archbishop Moeller||4||Ohio State|
|Hubbard is listed as an athlete by some recruiting services, but he's a linebacker at Ohio State.|
|With teams playing more nickel and dime defense, it was appropriate to include five defensive backs. One has to figure that the Big Ten will land more talented defensive backs in the coming months.|
|Jabrill Peppers||Paramus (N.J.) Catholic||5||Michigan|
|Peppers is a 6'1, 200-pound ridiculous athlete who could excel at receiver, running back, corner or safety -- and in the return game. For Michigan, he plans to be a cornerback.|
|Damon Webb||Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech||4||Ohio State|
|Webb is an excellent corner with solid technique and a motor that doesn't quit. He is relentless and has enough size at 5'11 and 180 pounds.|
|Kiy Hester||Wayne (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional||4||Rutgers|
|Hester is a versatile safety who will support the run well.|
|Troy Vincent||Rockville (Md.) Gilman||3||Penn State|
|An NFL legacy, Vincent is an excellent get for Penn State at corner.|
|Marcus Allen||Upper Marlboro (Md.) Dr. Henry Wise||3||Penn State|
|Allen can cover, but he is also a big hitter at 6'1, 180 pounds.|
*Note: Every effort was made to slot players at the positions they'll be playing in college.
Do Michigan and Ohio State dominate the conference? Yes.
The pair's representation is greater than any pair in any other conference. The Buckeyes and Wolverines have 16 of the top 25 players and most of the best prospects are committed to them. Nine other prospects are committed to schools other than the two, however, as the table below shows.
Is that a good thing? Will that trend continue? Will teams like Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan State and Iowa land a representative on the squad? Let us know in the comments section -- and stay tuned -- because this team will be updated monthly until National Signing Day 2014.