2016 Big Ten Recruiting: Top Targets, Surprising Classes, & Biggest Disappointments

The Big Ten has emerged as perhaps the premier conference in college football, and they're making major waves on the recruiting trail as a result. Here are the top recruits that could impact that Big Ten race last year, along with the conference's best, most surprising, and most disappointing recruiting classes:

Rashan Gary, DT - Paramus, NJ

The 6'4", 290-pounder has been the player of this class for a while because of his elite size, strength, and athleticism (4.74 40-yard dash). Nick Saban and Alabama have been pursuing Gary for some time, but he's widely expected to commit to Michigan. His former coach, Chris Partiridge, is the new director of recruiting operations and former teammates Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty are already in Ann Arbor. Adding him could give Michigan the No. 1 overall recruiting class in the country.

Lavert Hil, CB - Detroit, MI

Hill committed to Penn State earlier in his recruitment, but decommitted in November - though PSU is still very much in the hunt to land him. However, two of his former teammates have already committed to Michigan State and his brother, Delano Hill, is a safety at Michigan. Both Michigan and Michigan are making extremely hard pushes to land Hill, and it seems to be down to both of them on Signing Day. Expect him to sign with the Wolverines.

WR Sam Bruce - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Bruce has been committed to Miami since July 2014, but all signs seems to be pointing to him flipping and committing to the Buckeyes on Signing Day. A source told 247sports that Bruce, who's from Fort Lauderdale, won't be signing with any in-state schools, meaning that all signs are that he'll head to Ohio State. That being said, Miami, Florida, and Flordia State are all still heavily recruiting him, and he has an official visit scheduled to Miami on Jan. 29. The Buckeyes are looking for help at the wide receiver position, so he'd see a lot of immediate playing time if he signs with the Buckeyes.

ATH Jordan Fuller - Westwood, NJ

Ohio State has been the favorite to land Fuller for a long time now, and they were finally able to get him on campus for an official visit two weekends ago. Though he's listed as an athlete, the Buckeyes are recruiting Fuller to be a defensive back, something Ohio State needs with just two cornerbacks currently committed in this class. However, Fuller will made an official visit to Michigan last weekend, and the Wolverines are making a strong push late to sign him. 

Recruiting Class That Will Surprise: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska has been sitting in the middle of the Big Ten recruiting rankings all season, but a late surge could push them up No. 3 behind Michigan and Ohio State. Head coach Mike Riley and the Cornhuskers announced three commitments last week and are expected to land two four-star targets - wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick and athlete Lamar Jackson - early next week.

They are also firmly in the mix for three-star offensive tackle Matt Farniok, three-star safety Isaiah Simmons, and and three-star tight end Chase Allen on Sunday. Fitzpatrick and Jackson will be enough to make this class a successful one, and adding any number of the three-star prospects would be a huge bonus.

Most Disappointing Class: Penn State Nittany Lions

Head coach James Franklin is known as a great recruiter and looked poised to bring in a top 15 class this year, but an alarming number of decommitments over the past month has them tumbling way down the ranks. To make matters worse, four-star linebacker Brandon Ferns, who was expected to commit to the Nittany Lions, cancelled his official visit to Happy Valley last weekend and four-star safety Damar Hamlin will likely commit to Pitt over PSU. Franklin is going to need to make a huge push late to avoid a very disappointing class for Penn State.

Best Class: Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes were already going to have a top class, but commitments from three four-star prospects (QB Dwayne Haskins, WR Binjimen Victory, LB Keandre Jones) give the the No. 1 class in the country. All three of the commits above are in the top 100 of 247Sports' overall player rankings for the Class of 2016 -- giving Ohio State seven overall Top-100 talents.

The Buckeyes are still in on a host of top recruits who'll be announcing their decisions between now and National Signing Day on February 3rd. A couple more marquee gets could be enough for OSU to hold off all challengers for the #1 overall class spot, but there's still several top programs lurking on the big board - including Michigan. That being said, no one can match the Buckeyes right now.

Back to the Big Ten Newsfeed

Related Topics: Michigan Wolverines Football, College Football, James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions Football, NCAA Football, Big Ten Football, Mike Riley, Jim Harbaugh, Rashan Gary, Nebraska Cornhuskers Football, Lavert Hill, Michigan State Spartans Football, Jordan Fuller, Urban Meyer, Sam Bruce, Ohio State Buckeyes Football