Posted on: February 1, 2012 8:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Breaking down who won and who lost in the Big Ten on National Signing Day
WINNER: The Recruiting Machine Known To Mankind As Urban Meyer
Scholarship limits, postseason bans, these things matter not to the one known as Urban Meyer. They will not keep him out of your high school classrooms where he's stealing your recruits. Since the day Meyer first set foot in Columbus as its new Caesar, high schoolers have flocked to the Buckeyes, previous commitments be damned. What was already a solid class was boosted on Wednesday by the addition of offensive lineman Kyle Dodson, who had previously committed to Wisconsin. Then there's the work Meyer did on the defensive line, closing on players like Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt, Se'von Pittman and Adolphus Washington, and it's no wonder this class is ranked third in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. Making matters even scarier for the rest of the Big Ten, Meyer's already locked up two top recruits in the 2013 class. The man -- machine? -- just cannot be stopped.
LOSER: The Bottom Of The Legends And Leaders
Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois and Indiana all managed to finish at the bottom of their respective divisions in 2011, and nothing in their 2012 recruiting classes makes you think any of the four will be climbing the standings anytime soon. Particularly when you compare their classes to the teams above them. Only two 4-star recruits signed with any of them, and both of those players are on their way to Northwestern: defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and defensive tackle Greg Kuhar.
WINNER: Fans Of The Old Big Ten
Remember the long, long ago of the late 20th and early 21st centuries when the Big Ten was dominated by Ohio State and Michigan? Yes, well, it appears those days may be upon us again. While we already went over Ohio State's impressive haul, the work put in at Michigan by Brady Hoke and his staff shouldn't be ignored. The Wolverines put together the fourth ranked class in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25 thanks to signings like offensive lineman Kyle Kalis and defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins. Brady Hoke put a lot of emphasis on the offensive line and the defense in this class, and it could go a long way to ensuring that "Ohio" and "That School Up North" play twice a season for the next few years. For more on Michigan's 2012 class, you can watch Brady Hoke talk about his newest players here.
This isn't a knock on Wisconsin's class, though it is the smallest of any class in the Big Ten with only 12 commits. No, it's more a representation of the fact that Ohio State and Michigan seem to be back on their way to national prominence. The Badgers enjoyed the last few years and the struggles of the Wolverines and Buckeyes, taking advantage of their problems with two straight conference titles and Rose Bowl trips. This isn't to say that the Badgers won't win the Big Ten again anytime soon, but it just got a lot harder to do so.
WINNER: Penn State
You're not used to seeing the term "winner" in relation to Penn State's football program lately, are you? Well, when you consider all that has gone on in Happy Valley over the last six months, combined with the fact the team's new head coach is still busy trying to win a Super Bowl, you have to be impressed with what the Nittany Lions did on Wednesday. No, the 19 players that committed to Penn State won't blow you away as a whole, but it's a class that will ensure there's still talent at Penn State as the program tries to transition to a new era of Nittany Lions football.
LOSER: The Lack Of Attention Paid To Purdue's Class
You're probably confused right now, and I apologize for that. What I'm trying to say here is that while you weren't paying any attention, Purdue and Danny Hope went out and put together a pretty nice class in West Lafayette. Athlete Carlos Carvajal -- all 6 feet and 7 inches of him -- and defensive end Ryan Watson are probably the most intriguing prospects, but from top to bottom, this whole class is pretty solid. Especially considering Purdue's recent troubles on the gridiron. What's more surprising is how this class is spread across the country. While 4 of the 25 signees are from Indiana, the rest come from all four corners of the country, including New York, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Ohio and California. Depending on how quickly these players can contribute, the Boilermakers may catch some people by surprise in the next couple of years.
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Tags: 2012 National Signing Day, Adolphus Washington, Big Ten, Big Ten Winners And Losers, Brady Hoke, Carlos Carvajal, Danny Hope, Greg Kuhar, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Illinois, Indiana, Kyle Dodson, Kyle Kalis, Michigan, Minnesota, National Signing Day, National Signing Day Winners And Losers, Noah Spence, Northwestern, Ohio State, Ondre Pipkins, Penn State, Purdue, Ryan Watson, Se'von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, Urban Meyer, Winners And Losers, Wisconsin
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 10:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Overview: Overall it was a pretty good recruiting season for the Big Ten. There weren't a whole lot of shocking decisions on National Signing Day, though both Ohio State and Iowa were able to pick up some key members of their 2011 class.
Ohio State - Ohio State generally leads the Big Ten in recruiting every season, and 2011's class doesn't seem to be any different. While the Buckeyes had a strong class coming into Wednesday's festivities, getting Curtis Grant to commit during the day put this class over the edge. Grant joins what should be a strong class on defense, where the Buckeyes will look to replace Cam Heyward with guys like Kenny Hayes, Chase Farris and Steve Miller in a few years. Of course, Jim Tressel didn't concentrate solely on defense, as the Bucks picked up quarterback Braxton Miller as the possible successor to Terrelle Pryor in 2012.
Iowa - The Hawkeyes and Kirk Ferentz never seem to put together a jaw-dropping class, yet every year they tend to find themselves ranked in the top 25 classes. This year is no different, as MaxPreps has Iowa at 17, and the Hawkeyes signed 23 players. The final player was DT Darian Cooper, who chose Iowa on Wednesday, and comes from the same school Iowa landed RB Marcus Coker from last season. Kirk Ferentz generally doesn't go for flash as much as he finds players he can mold and fit into his system at Iowa, but you should expect to grow more familiar with names like Rodney Coe, Ray Hamilton, Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh in the next few seasons.
Nebraska - Welcome to the Big Ten, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers had a good class coming into National Signing Day, but added the crown jewel on Wednesday with running back Aaron Green. Green combined with all the beef Bo Pelini is bringing in on the offensive and defensive lines should have his team ready for its new home. Of course, the wild card in all of this is quarterback Bubba Starling. He's the type of player that could make this a great class, but a lot of people seem convinced that Starling will never play a down in Lincoln, as he's expected to be a first round draft pick in the MLB draft this summer.
Penn State - There are plenty of talented players coming to Happy Valley next season. Defensive ends Deion Barnes, Shawn Oakman and QB/DB Bill Belton are strong, athletic players. The problem with Penn State's class this season is its just not up to snuff for Penn State. A 16-member class just isn't what the Nittany Lions are accustomed to, and you really have to wonder how much longer Penn State can afford to stand by Joe Paterno. When two of your best recruiters, Larry Johnson Sr and Tom Bradley, are spending time looking for new jobs instead of working recruits -- which may have cost Penn State Ishaq Williams -- then things need to be fixed. This may be Joe Paterno's last Signing Day at Penn State.
Michigan - Don't get me wrong, Michigan has a nice class. A class that got even better on Wednesday with tight end Chris Barnett, but I'm putting them in the losers section based on what this class could have been. The Wolverines lost a lot of talent after firing Rich Rodriguez, and Brady Hoke just didn't have a chance to keep guys like Dee Hart in Ann Arbor. As a result, a potentially great class can only be considered solid at this point.
Purdue - Listen, nobody was expecting Danny Hope and Purdue to blow the doors off of this class, but while they put together a nice class, it's certainly not the type that will help propel Purdue up from the bottom half of the Big Ten. Plus, anytime you're a school that needs as many athletes as it can get, getting banned from a high school in Florida is probably the worst thing you can do.
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Tags: Aaron Green, Austin Blythe, Big Ten National Signing Day, Bill Belton, Bo Pelini, Bob Bradley, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Bubba Starling, Cam Heyward, Chase Farris, Chris Barnett, Curtis Grant, Danny Hope, Darian Cooper, Dee Hart, Deion Barnes, Iowa, Ishaq Williams, Jim Tressel, Joe Paterno, Jordan Walsh, Kenny Hayes, Kirk Ferentz, Larry Johnson Sr, Marcus Coker, Michigan, National Signing Day, National Signing Day 2011, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Ray Hamilton, Rich Rodriguez, Rodney Coe, Shawn Oakman, Steve Miller, Terrelle Pryor, Video