How does Oregon’s recruiting prowess compare to best of the best in Big Ten?

If there’s one thing that Oregon Duck fans love to brag about, it’s their own team’s ability to recruit. While Eugene hasn’t been a hot spot for top recruits for decades on end like some other top schools in the nation, the Ducks have been able to recruit as well as just about anyone over the past decade.

While there may still be some hard feelings, Oregon fans can thank Willie Taggart and Mario Cristobal for that development.

The torch has been passed to Dan Lanning, who’s done a tremendous job in his couple of years as head coach of the Ducks, putting together a pair of classes that are highly touted. He appears to be well on his way to doing the same in 2024, as well.

The landscape going forward is bound to be different, though, and that could be a good thing for the Ducks. With Oregon making a move to the Big Ten in 2024, its recruiting base is expected to grow with the prominence of the program. No longer will the Ducks be competing with just the USC Trojans for conference supremacy on the trail. No longer will recruits who go to Oregon be forced to accept the fact that their games are on fewer national broadcasts and played late at night on the East Coast. Instead, the Ducks will now become one of the top members in the preeminent conference in the nation. That will have a positive impact.

So when we look at the past recruiting success for Oregon before making the jump to a new conference, how does it compare to their future peers? We know that the Ducks have held the No. 1 recruiting ranking in the Pac-12 for the majority of recent history, but does that hold a candle to what schools like Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State do on the recruiting trail?

In order to find this out, I looked at the following over the past five years of results to get a sense of where things stand:

  • Accumulative Recruiting Scores

  • Average Recruiting Scores Per Year

  • Highest National Ranking

  • Lowest National Ranking

  • Number of 5-star Recruits

I think it gives us a pretty good sense of who the best recruiting powers in the new Big Ten will be going forward.

Take a look at what I found:

Illinois Fighting Illini

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 912.13

Average Class Score: 182.43

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 37th (2019)
Lowest Ranking: 69th (2021)
Average Class Ranking: 58th

Analysis: It doesn’t come as much of a shock that Illinois is at the bottom of the barrel here. Though they cracked the top 50 of the national rankings back in 2019, it is much more common that they find themselves in the high-50s.

Northwestern Wildcats

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 975.87

Average Class Score: 195.17

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 45th (2020)
Lowest Ranking: 61st (2023)
Average Class Ranking: 54th

Analysis: Northwestern gets more recruits than Illinois, but that isn’t saying much. Again, if this team cracks the top 50 of the national rankings, it is considered a good year. That’s not a place that you want to be as a Power 5 program.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 985.09

Average Class Score: 197.02

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 33rd (2022)
Lowest Ranking: 68th (2019)
Average Class Ranking: 51st

Analysis: When it’s good at Rutgers it’s decent — a 33rd finish isn’t too bad — but when it’s bad, it’s pretty terrible.

UCLA Bruins

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,003.26

Average Class Score: 200.65

Total 5-Star Commitments: 1

Highest Ranking: 25th (2023)
Lowest Ranking: 44th (2019)
Average Class Ranking: 30th

Analysis: Big Ten fans might be surprised to see UCLA so low on this list. For Pac-12 fans, it’s not a shock at all. Chip Kelly has never been too big on recruiting, and though he had a nice class in 2023 with 5-star QB Dante Moore, the efforts have largely been mundane in Los Angeles. The disparity between a good and bad year for the Bruins isn’t very big, though.

Indiana Hoosiers

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Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,014.54

Average Class Score: 202.9

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 30th (2022)
Lowest Ranking: 58th (2020)
Average Class Ranking: 44th

Analysis: Contrary to UCLA, a down year at Indiana is much worse than a good year. A top-30 ranking is respectable, but more often than not, the Hoosiers are working hard to crack the top 50.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,021.07

Average Class Score: 204.21

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 39th (2020)
Lowest Ranking: 53rd (2023)
Average Class Ranking: 46th

Analysis: I would have thought that P.J. Fleck had a better recruiting track record than this. Not once in the past five years has he been able to crack the top 30, and he’s much more commonly fighting for a spot in the top 50. That boat seems to be rowing upstream.

Purdue Boilermakers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,022.56

Average Class Score: 204.51

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 25th (2019)
Lowest Ranking: 74th (2021)
Average Class Ranking: 47th

Analysis: Talk about a decent good year, and an abysmal bad year. A 25th finish in the national rankings is very respectable, but finishing 74th is an incredibly tough look. Blame it on COVID, I suppose.

Iowa Hawkeyes

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Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,056.25

Average Class Score: 211.25

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 27th (2021)
Lowest Ranking: 50th (2023)
Average Class Ranking: 29th

Analysis: This ranking feels pretty average for Iowa. Routinely being in the top 30 is not bad at all, but it’s nothing to write home about. Kirk Ferentz continues to tread water.

Washington Huskies

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,080.23

Average Class Score: 216.05

Total 5-Star Commitments: 2

Highest Ranking: 15th (2019)
Lowest Ranking: 59th (2022)
Average Class Ranking: 29th

Analysis: There have been a lot of hits and a lot of misses for Washington in the recruiting world over the past half-decade. They struck oil with a No. 15 class in 2019, but things have slipped a bit since then.

Maryland Terrapins

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Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,084.5

Average Class Score: 217.1

Total 5-Star Commitments: 2

Highest Ranking: 19th (2021)
Lowest Ranking: 41st (2019)
Average Class Ranking: 32nd

Analysis: The Terrapins have done a good job hauling in a pair of 5-star players over the last five years, and they do a decent job of holding their own in the Big Ten recruiting rankings.

Michigan State Spartans

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,087.4

Average Class Score: 217.48

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 22nd (2023)
Lowest Ranking: 46th
Average Class Ranking: 34th

Analysis: There isn’t too much to say about Michigan State’s recruiting efforts. They get a handful of notable players every year, but nothing that will blow you away. A 22nd-place finish in 2023 was positive, but there have been some down years mixed in there as well.

Wisconsin Badgers

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,129.46

Average Class Score: 225.89

Total 5-Star Commitments: 2

Highest Ranking: 16th (2021)
Lowest Ranking: 41st (2022)
Average Class Ranking: 30th

Analysis: I’m excited to see how Luke Fickell changes the recruiting game at Wisconsin. When things are good, the Badgers have shown that they can recruit at a great clip, but things haven’t been great over the past few years on that front.

USC Trojans

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,143.98

Average Class Score: 228.8

Total 5-Star Commitments: 5

Highest Ranking: 6th (2022)
Lowest Ranking: 68th (2020)
Average Class Ranking: 21st

Analysis: This is a good example of numbers not painting the entire picture. The Trojans have an incredibly high ceiling and a very low floor. To be fair, USC’s trajectory is certainly pointing up in the recruiting department, but their five-year average gets tanked by that 68th-place finish in 2020. Let’s be clear about one thing — the Trojans are going to be a recruiting power in the Big Ten under Lincoln Riley. Don’t let these numbers fool you.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,172.16

Average Class Score: 234.43

Total 5-Star Commitments: 0

Highest Ranking: 18th (2019)
Lowest Ranking: 32nd (2022)
Average Class Ranking: 25th

Analysis: Nebraska dines on the power of nostalgia. While the Cornhuskers haven’t been elite in years, they continue to get strong recruiting classes year after year. It will be interesting to see how Matt Rhule changes things.

Penn State Nittany Lions

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Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,302.05

Average Class Score: 260.41

Total 5-Star Commitments: 4

Highest Ranking: 8th (2022)
Lowest Ranking: 20th (2021)
Average Class Ranking: 14th

Analysis: Now we’re getting into the elite tier of recruiting powers in the Big Ten. Penn State can pull down a top-10 class when they want to, and with the coaching that James Franklin has put into place, that can be dangerous. Look out for the Nittany Lions in 2023.

Michigan Wolverines

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Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,331.52

Average Class Score: 266.34

Total 5-Star Commitments: 4

Highest Ranking: 10th (2019)
Lowest Ranking: 20th (2023)
Average Class Ranking: 13th

Analysis: From an outside perspective, I thought Michigan would have higher numbers than this. Don’t get me wrong, an average of 13th in the nation is not bad by any measure, but just one top-10 class in the past five years was surprising to me. That will likely change in the class of 2024, which is off to a strong start.

Oregon Ducks

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,348.35

Average Class Score: 269.67

Total 5-Star Commitments: 6

Highest Ranking: 6th (2021)
Lowest Ranking: 16th (2022)
Average Class Ranking: 10th

Analysis: Here come the Ducks. We all remember the elite Mario Cristobal class from 2021 that ranked No. 6 in the nation, but what’s most impressive is that the lowest class Oregon has had in the past five years was No. 16 in the nation, and that came in Dan Lanning’s first year when he was hired less than 2 months before signing day. The Ducks are working to get another top-10 class in 2024. These numbers prove that Oregon fans should feel confident about being able to hold their own in the Big Ten recruiting world.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Barbara Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

Recruiting Score Over 5-Year Span: 1,481.25

Average Class Score: 296.25

Total 5-Star Commitments: 16

Highest Ranking: 2nd (2021)
Lowest Ranking: 7th (2019)
Average Class Ranking: 4th

Analysis: If the last three teams were part of the “elite tier” of recruiters in the Big Ten, then Ohio State is in the “God Tier.” No class lower than No. 7 since 2019, and a second-place finish in 2021. More impressive than that is the 16 5-star players they’ve brought in during that time period — the next highest on this list is Oregon with six. The Buckeyes recruit as well as anyone in the nation, and if that’s the standard, then everyone else has a lot of catching up to do.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire