World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon ranked the Big Ten's 2019 recruiting classes.

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1. Michigan

In the same hour, Michigan had an expected departure and a surprise signing.

Star linebacker Devin Bush announced Wednesday that he would skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. He shared his decision shortly after the Wolverines welcomed five-star defensive back Dax Hill to its 20-plus player recruiting class.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Hill committed to play at Alabama after previously planning to attend Michigan. He is the younger brother of Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill.

The Wolverines, whose recruiting class is ranked among the top 10 in the country by 247Sports, appear to have playing time available for their top freshmen next season.

Hill, one of the top players in the country at any position, appears to be talented enough to slide into the starting safety spot vacated by senior Tyree Kinnel.

Michigan also landed two other players — Zach Charbonnet and Chris Hinton — ranked among the nation’s top 50 by 247Sports.

Charbonnet, a 6-1, 222-pound running back from California, and Hinton, a 6-4, 285-pound defensive lineman from Georgia, also seem to have a clear path to earn playing time next fall. 

2. Penn State

The Nittany Lions signed 18 players Wednesday, highlighted by five-star linebacker Brandon Smith from Mineral, Virginia.

Coach James Franklin also signed 16 four-star players, according to the 247Sports composite, in a class that ranks No. 10 in the nation according to the composite. Among the four-stars are three players from Pennsylvania: defensive backs Keaton Ellis and Joey Porter Jr. — the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter — and offensive lineman Anthony Whigan.

3. Ohio State

The Buckeyes signed five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson, five-star defensive end Zach Harrison and five-star offensive lineman Harry Miller to have the No. 12 class in the country according to the 247Sports composite.

4. Nebraska

Nebraska’s first full signing class under second-year coach Scott Frost was highlighted by a group of versatile and speedy prospects to fit the Huskers’ spread offense.

Wandale Robinson, a four-star prospect out of Kentucky, was maybe the biggest prize in the class of 23.

The 5-foot-9, 179-pound Robinson was a late flip. The Huskers also signed Luke McCaffrey, the brother of Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who is listed as a four-star athlete. Darien Chase is another four-star athlete from Washington state, and the Huskers landed Ronald Thompkins, an all-purpose back like Robinson, from Georgia.

Nebraska signed players from 15 states.

5. Purdue

Jeff Brohm stayed at Purdue, and he was rewarded with a top-25 signing class Wednesday.

Brohm, who met with his alma mater, Louisville, about its coaching vacancy last month, decided to stay with the Boilermakers for a third season.

Purdue signed the No. 25 class in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite, with the headliner being George Karlaftis, a four-star defensive end from West Lafayette, Indiana.

6. Wisconsin

Wisconsin might have its next anchor on the offensive line with 6-foot-6 Logan Brown, a five-star prospect out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He’s a headliner for a 19-member recruiting class, which is also highlighted by Graham Mertz, a four-star quarterback out of Overland Park, Kansas. Coach Paul Chyrst is already talking about how Mertz, the Kansas 2018 Gatorade player of the year, has taken a leadership role in the class.

The highly touted Brown could be blocking for him in a year or two. Wisconsin has holes to fill at least at both guard positions with Michael Deiter and Beau Benzchawel leaving after the Pinstripe Bowl as seniors.

7. Iowa

Iowa signed 20 players, headlined by in-state linemen Ezra Miller of Holstein and Tyler Endres of Norwalk.

Miller and Endres were two of Iowa’s four-star signees, joining linebacker Justin Jacobs of Ohio.

The Hawkeyes also signed quarterback Alex Padilla, a two-time first-team all-state pick out of Colorado. 

Iowa signed three tight ends, a position of need with Noah Fant off to the NFL and T.J. Hockenson in position to join him. The Hawkeyes brought in five Iowans, including linebacker Jack Campbell of Cedar Falls.

8. Michigan State

Michigan State signed offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs, a five-star recruit according to 247Sports. He is part of what Mark Dantonio said might be the best class of offensive linemen he’s signed in more than a decade as Michigan State’s coach.

The Spartans announced 20 new additions, a couple of whom are walk-ons.

Michigan State also landed another standout, Julian Barnett, a four-star recruit according to 247Sports. Dantonio says Barnett can play cornerback and receiver.

9. Minnesota

Minnesota assembled a class that’s 33rd in the FBS and eighth in the Big Ten, according to composite rankings by 247Sports.

The NCAA’s early signing period opened Wednesday, with 23 commitments to the Gophers. Last year, 247Sports had Minnesota 38th in the nation and seventh in the conference.

Rashad Cheney is the four-star highlight of a class of six defensive linemen. He had 45 tackles for loss in 15 games for Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Georgia.

Four players from Minnesota will join the program: Eden Prairie quarterback Cole Kramer, Perham defensive lineman Logan Richter, Cretin-Derham Hall wide receiver Peter Udoibok and Owatonna running back Jason Williamson. Udoibok and offensive lineman Tyler Cooper (St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin) are walk-ons.

10. Northwestern

The Wildcats signed 18 players in a class that was No. 46 in the country according to the 247Sports composite.

11. Rutgers 12. Indiana 13. Illinois 14. Maryland

Signee spotlights: Learn about every player in the 2019 Husker football recruiting class

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