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Classes taking shape for Big Ten teams

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

As several Big Ten teams await late decisions from recruits, some others have finalized their 2009 recruiting classes.

Northwestern sent out a news release announcing its 18 signees for the 2009 class. Much like Iowa and some other Big Ten programs, Northwestern signed a small but solid class, featuring offensive lineman Patrick Ward and quarterback Evan Watkins, a contender to start in 2010.

Check out Northwestern's full list of signees. Here are some notes about the Wildcats' class:

  • The breakdown on NU's signees, by position: linebackers (4), defensive line (3), offensive line (3), running backs (2), safeties (2), quarterback (1), superback (1), wide receiver (1) and place-kicker (1).

  • Northwestern added four more student-athletes from Ohio, giving the Wildcats a total of 13 players from the Buckeye state on their current roster, which ranks second behind the 34 from Illinois.

  • The Wildcats signed three more offensive linemen, after bringing in five linemen a year ago. With the loss of just one starter (Keegan Kennedy) from the 2008 offensive line, there should be tremendous competition for spots on next year's two-deep.

  • One of this year's 18 signees is linebacker Damien Proby, who hails from North Las Vegas, Nev. He is the first NU football player from Nevada since defensive end Kurt Lundergreen (Zephyr Cove, Nev.) was on the NU roster from 1986-88.

  • Six of the 18 signees attended one of Northwestern's summer football camps.

Minnesota's class also is all but finalized, according to the live signing day blog on gophersports.com. Here's the official list of Gophers signees, highlighted by the late commitment of cornerback Michael Carter, wide receiver Hayo Carpenter and running back Hasan Lipscomb.

Wisconsin's class also is likely complete, with the official list of signees here.

Illinois' signing list could add another name or two, but the group as it stands right now can be found here.

I'll keep posting updates from the schools when they send out their official lists of signees this afternoon.