Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan finished last season as the highest-ranked Big Ten teams — all in the top 10 nationally — and only one of those teams is outside the top four in the Big Ten’s recruiting rankings: the 11th-ranked Badgers, who are hanging just ahead of the Gophers.

In national team rankings, Ohio State weighed in at No. 2 and Michigan placed No. 4.

The rest of the conference recruiting rankings offer little surprise. Maryland at No. 4 (using the 247sports composite rankings) is higher than you might have guessed, and the Badgers (11) and Northwestern (10th) are a little lower than expected. The Badgers’ lower ranking is in part because of a small class (a Big Ten-low 16 commits) and only one four-star recruit. Indiana and lowly Purdue are stuck at the bottom.

The Gophers’ Big Ten West rivals Nebraska and Iowa rank fifth and seventh, respectively, in conference rankings. Iowa is the only other team besides Ohio State and Michigan to land a five-star recruit in 6-5 defensive end A.J. Epenesa from Edwardsville, Ill. He had offers from all the big boys, but chose the Hawkeyes because of their work-hard reputation.

Staff reports