With the early signing period come and gone, it's time to take another look at how the Big Ten recruiting battle for the class of 2012 is shaping up.
The latest big shoe to drop was Indianapolis guard Gary Harris's commitment to Michigan State. Sparty won out over Purdue and Indiana. Harris is ranked as the No. 1 shooting guard in his class nationally by ESPN, No. 3 by Rivals and No. 2 by Scout.
Harris adds to an MSU class that already had three four-star recruits in power forwards Matt Costello and Kenny Kaminski and small forward Denzel Valentine. Michigan State is at the top of our rankings.
Big Ten Powerhouse Class of 2012 Rankings1. Michigan State2. Indiana3. Michigan4. Purdue5. Iowa6. Wisconsin7. Minnesota8. Northwestern9. Nebraska10. Penn State11. Illinois12. Ohio State
Joining Hollowell are fellow four-star players Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and Hanner Perea, who will both see early playing time at point guard and power forward, respectively. Perea is an athletic beast and Ferrell will compete with Harris for Indiana's Mr. Basketball award. Ron Patterson and seven-footer Peter Jurkin round out Tom Crean's group.
Michigan takes the third spot with a class that includes Mitch McGary, the No. 3 overall recruit in his class by Rivals, No. 2 overall by ESPN and consensus No. 1 center in the nation. Glenn Robinson III, son of the former Purdue star, has shot up the rankings in the last year. He's a big-time scorer who will join Harris and Ferrell in pursuit of Indiana's Mr. Basketball.
Nick Stauskas, a 6-5 swingman from the east coast, tops off the Wolverines class.
Purdue's class may not have a player on the level of McGary or Harris, but it does have four players who will all be big contributors. The Boilers are our No. 4 class.
A.J. Hammons, a seven-foot center from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia by way of Carmel, Ind. by way of Gary, Ind., was the last signee in October. He joins three other four-star recruits in point guard Ronnie Johnson, power forward Jay Simpson and swingman Rapheal Davis, who could be a tough matchup at the two at 6-5, 200 pounds.
Iowa rolls in at No. 5 in a surprise. The Hawkeyes signed four players, including four-star center Adam Woodbury and four-star point guard Mike Gesell, in August and September. Kyle Meyer will provide some size at 6-10 and guards Anthony Clemmons and Patrick Ingram will add depth.
WIsconsin adds only Sam Dekker, but he could be a good one. The Sheboygan native is the No. 6 small forward as ranked by Scout, No. 7 by ESPN and No. 5 by Rivals. Dekker's stock climbed over the summer, as the 6-8 future Badger had an outstanding AAU season.
Tubby Smith loves to recruit big guys (the Minnesota roster currently boasts seven players 6-7 or taller), and the 2012 incarnation is Charles Buggs. Buggs is a 6-8 power forward who had offers from the SEC and ACC but chose the Gophers. Wally Ellenson, who's father John played at Wisconsin, is the other Minny signee in the seventh best class in the conference.
Northwestern's biggest get is Kale Abrahamson out of Valley High School in Iowa. He's a 6-7 small forward who's a consensus three-star recruit. Swingman Sanjay Lumpkin and center Alex Olah also committed to the Wildcats.
There are five kids in the ninth best recruiting class in the Big Ten at Nebraska. When combined with last year's group, the Huskers could be much-improved in a year or two. Rivals ranks Keith Coleman, Benny Parker and Shavon Shields at three stars. Fahro Alihodzic and Jerran Young have also signed.
Penn State falls in at No. 10, and only because of the lack of signees at the remaining schools. Brandon Taylor is a three-star player according to Rivals, while Akosa Maduegbunam is about as easy to handicap as his name is to pronounce (Mah-do-way-boo-nam).
Illinois adds only Michael Orris out of Crete-Monee High School. Orris is a two-star point guard who's only other interest came from Creighton.
Ohio State signed no players in the class of 2012.