Every once in awhile, BTP bring its writers together for a roundtable to discuss some of the things going on in the conference. With college football's signing day upon us, it seemed like a good time to do an evaluation on the Big Ten's 2014 recruiting classes. This will be part 1 of 4 evaluating the classes:
1. Who has the Big Ten's best overall recruiting class in 2014?
Thomas Beindit - To me, the easy choice here is Ohio State. Even accounting for size, it's hard to come up with a class that is better than the one the Buckeyes will be bringing to Columbus next season. Not only do they have guys like D'Angelo Russell that could be stars immediately, but guys like Jae'Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop might even be undervalued (crazy to say considering their rankings). Indiana and Maryland have great classes as well, but even if I would rather have 1 or 2 guys from their class, as soon as you get past the top guys, you have to lean OSU. Their class is stacked.
Drew Hamm - It is a close race between Ohio State and newcomer Maryland for best 2014 recruiting class, but I have to lean towards Maryland. Two of the big needs the Terps have are size down low and a quality backup point guard. The Terps take care of these needs with 7'1" center Trayvon Reed and shifty point guard Melo Trimble, both top-10 talents at their respective positions. SG Dion Wiley and SF Jared Nickens round out the class, who should both contribute to a young and talented Terps team next year.
Jason Dorow - Ohio State has the most talented recruiting class. Keita Bates-Diop, D'Angelo Russell, and Jae'Sean Tate all rank in the top 30 of the ESPN 100. The class does not fill a lot of positions though. Bates-Diop and Tate are both small forwards, and Russell is a shooting guard. Maryland's class is a close second with 7'1" Trayvon Reed and a pair of four-star shooting guards, but the edge goes to OSU. If Matta snags Myles Turner too, they have to be the consensus top class.
Jeremy Michael Haynes - I love Maryland's class. Romelo Trimble and Dion Wiley are tough, physical guards that are going to change the way Maryland plays as soon as they begin practicing with the team and Trayvon Reed will be able to provide a reliable defensive presence in the post for the Terps.
Aaron Yorke - I think Maryland's four-man class is the best because it covers the entire floor. You have a pair of super talented guards in Romelo Trimble and Dion Wiley in addition to the 7'1" center Trayon Reed. Other schools in the conference have incoming classes that are just as big as Maryland's but none are considered to be as talented.
Josh Stern- While Maryland does have a great class, I have to side with the Buckeyes on this one. Lead by McDonald's All American D'Angelo Russell, the Buckeyes bring in three consensus top 100 recruits, all ranging from 6'4-6'7. Thad Matta loves having versatile players who can play anywhere from 2 to 4, and this allows the Buckeyes to continue to bring in top tier players. If they could land Myles Turner, this would undoubtedly be the best class.
2. Who do you think has the Big Ten's best recruiting class for value per scholarship?
Thomas Beindit - I think you can make a stronger case for Indiana here than you could for "overall" class, but I'm still going with Ohio State. James Blackmon, Jr. may be the best recruit in the conference (debatable of course), but it's the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th guys that lean OSU. The Buckeyes have a good hunk of commits, but they're all just so talented this year. Thad Matta really did a great job at making sure he didn't just take recruits to take them.
Drew Hamm - For losing out on a couple of name guys, like Cliff Alexander, Illinois still did a great job of landing a talented two man class. Leron Black and Michael Finke will patrol the paint for the Illini for the foreseeable future and should help Illinois battle back from a brief stint of conference irrelevancy.
Jason Dorow - Maryland found some very valuable pieces in recruiting this year. Trayvon Reed should provide a post presence right away. The Terps kept two of Maryland's top three in-state prep stars home by snagging shooting guards Dion Wiley and Romeo Trimble. All these guys are four-star recruits and can make an impact for Maryland right away.
Jeremy Michael Haynes - This one has to be Maryland. Maryland's 4 commitments for the 2014 class are all 4-star recruits ranked in the top 100 of 247 Sports' composite rankings, a distinction that they share with no other team in the conference. Ohio State and Indiana may have, arguably I may add, notched the signature of a more high-profile recruit but the quality depth in Maryland's class tops both clubs' commitments.
Josh Stern- Maryland is attempting to make a big splash immediately in the B1G, and this class has done just that. While Romeo Trimble and Dion Wiley will make an impact on the perimeter, the most intriguing prospect to me is Trayvon Reed. Reed is 7'1, and Maryland has been known to do an excellent job with big men in recent years (see: Alex Len). If Reed can be a force down low, Maryland could have a great first year and would be prepared to battle for a more physical style of play than the ACC.
Aaron Yorke - I have to say Maryland again because every other school has a lower ranked player coming in that drags down its value per scholarship. The Terps very possibly picked up three future starters in this 2014 class, and that gives them a leg up heading into the Big Ten.
***Remember to check out parts 2-4 coming in the next few days!