Big Ten Recruiting Rankings 12-2-12

Submitted by Ace on December 2nd, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Lots of changes in this week's rankings as we have a completely new order to the top four—one you may not like too much—as well as the debut of future B1G members Rutgers and Maryland. Changes since the last rankings:

11-4-12: Purdue picks up Ra-Zahn Howard.
11-13-12: Wisconsin picks up Tyler Foreman.
11-16-12: Illinois picks up Zane Petty.
11-17-12: Illinois picks up Evan Panfil. Nebraska picks up Adam Taylor.
11-18-12: Wisconsin picks up Marcus Ball and Tiquention Coleman.
11-21-12: Parker Cothren decommits from Purdue. Penn State picks up Parker Cothren.
11-25-12: Indiana picks up Darius Latham. Kyle Shortridge decommits from Purdue.
11-29-12: Gareon Conley decommits from Michigan. Minnesota picks up Berkley Edwards.
11-30-12: Minnesota picks up Hendrick Ekpe.
12-1-12: Northwestern picks up Tommy Fuessel.
12-2-12: Illinois picks up Eric Finney and Abens Cajuste. Northwestern picks up Marcus McShepard.

Also added all of the Rutgers and Maryland commits, obviously.

Chart? Chart:

Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings
Rank School # Commits Rivals Avg Scout Avg 24/7 Avg ESPN Avg Avg Avg^ POINTS*
1 Notre Dame 22 3.64 3.82 3.82 3.86 3.78 83.25
2 Michigan 22 3.55 3.82 3.68 3.64 3.67 80.75
3 Illinois 23 2.78 2.70 2.65 2.91 2.76 63.50
4 Ohio State 17 3.65 3.71 3.65 3.76 3.69 62.75
5 Rutgers 20 2.85 2.85 2.80 3.05 2.89 57.75
6 Northwestern 20 2.75 2.85 2.75 2.90 2.81 56.25
7 Nebraska 15 3.27 3.33 3.33 3.20 3.28 49.25
8 Maryland 17 2.82 2.76 3.00 2.94 2.88 49.00
9 Wisconsin 16 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.19 3.05 48.75
10 Iowa 15 3.00 2.80 3.13 3.00 2.98 44.75
11 Michigan State 14 3.07 3.14 3.07 3.35 3.16 44.25
12 Penn State 13 3.08 2.92 3.23 3.23 3.12 40.50
13 Indiana 14 2.93 2.79 2.64 3.00 2.79 39.00
T-14 Purdue 11 2.82 45 2.55 2.91 2.68 29.50
T-14 Minnesota 11 2.73 2.36 2.82 2.82 2.68 29.50

^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.

*The product of number of Commits and Average Average

NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.

On to the full data after the jump.


#1 Notre Dame - 22 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Jaylon Smith LB IN 5 5 5 5
Alex Anzalone LB PA 4 4 4 4
Hunter Bivin OL KY 4 4 4 4
Steven Elmer OL MI 4 4 4 4
Mike Heuerman TE FL 4 4 4 4
Cole Luke CB AZ 4 4 4 4
Mike McGlinchey OL PA 4 4 4 4
Isaac Rochell DE GA 4 4 4 4
Malik Zaire QB OH 4 4 4 4
John Montelus OL MA 4 4 4 3
William Fuller WR PA 4 4 3 3
Torii Hunter Jr. WR TX 4 3 4 4
Doug Randolph LB VA 4 3 4 4
Jamel James RB TX 3 4 4 4
Colin McGovern OL IL 3 4 4 4
Jacob Matuska DE OH 3 4 4 3
James Onwualu WR MN 3 4 3 4
Danny Mattingly TE WA 3 4 3 4
Corey Robinson WR TX 3 4 3 3
Rashad Kinlaw ATH NJ 3 3 4 4
Devin Butler CB DC 3 3 4 4
Michael Deeb LB FL 3 3 3 4

No change for the Irish. Notre Dame ascends to first place due to the decommitment of Gareon Conley.

#2 Michigan - 22 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Shane Morris QB MI 5 5 5 4
Patrick Kugler OL PA 4 5 4 4
Dymonte Thomas S OH 4 5 4 4
Kyle Bosch OL IL 4 4 4 4
Taco Charlton DE OH 4 4 4 4
Chris Fox OL CO 4 4 4 4
Ben Gedeon LB OH 4 4 4 4
Jourdan Lewis CB MI 4 4 4 4
Mike McCray LB OH 4 4 4 4
Henry Poggi DT MD 4 4 4 4
Logan Tuley-Tillman OL IL 4 4 4 4
Wyatt Shallman ATH MI 4 4 4 3
Jake Butt TE OH 4 4 3 4
Ross Douglas CB OH 4 3 4 4
DeVeon Smith RB OH 3 4 4 4
Maurice Hurst Jr. DT MA 3 4 4 3
Jaron Dukes WR OH 3 4 3 4
Khalid Hill TE MI 3 3 3 3
Csont'e York WR MI 3 3 3 3
Channing Stribling CB NC 2 3 3 3
Scott Sypniewski LS IL 2 2 2 2
Da'Mario Jones WR MI NR 3 3 3

Gareon Conley decommits from Michigan. For the first time since these rankings started for the 2013 class, the Wolverines drop from the top spot.

#3 Illinois - 23 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Aaron Bailey QB IL 4 4 4 4
Caleb Day CB OH 4 3 3 3
Darius Mosely CB IL 3 3 3 4
Jarrod Clements DE OH 3 3 3 3
Reon Dawson CB OH 3 3 3 3
Christian DiLauro TE OH 3 3 3 3
Merrick Jackson DT IL 3 3 3 3
Reggie Spearman LB IL 3 3 3 3
Abens Cajuste DT CA 3 3 3 JC
Dillan Cazley CB IL 3 3 2 3
Bryce Douglas DT IL 3 3 2 3
Kendrick Foster RB IL 3 3 2 3
Joshua Jones S MI 3 3 2 3
Darwyn Kelly S DC 3 2 3 3
Dawuane Smoot DE OH 3 2 2 3
Evan Panfil DE IL 3 2 NR 3
Jesse Chadwell OL MI 2 3 3 3
Austin Schmidt OL OH 2 2 2 3
Martize Barr WR IA 2 2 2 JC
Tyler White TE MI 2 3 3 3
Miguel Hermosillo ATH IL NR 2 3 3
Zane Petty S CA NR NR 3 JC
Eric Finney S CA NR NR NR JC

The Illini pick up a trio of California JuCo recruits—DT Abens Cajuste, S Zane Petty, and S Eric Finney—as well as in-state DE Evan Panfil. As a result of sheer class size, Illinois passes Ohio State in the rankings. Yes, Ohio State's class is better. No, I'm not changing the rankings. Remember, this isn't a projection, it's a snapshot, and it's almost a certainty that the rankings will correct themselves come signing day, when they actually matter.

#4 Ohio State - 17 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Jalin Marshall ATH OH 4 5 4 4
Joey Bosa DE FL 4 5 4 4
Eli Woodard CB NJ 4 4 4 5
J.T. Barrett QB TX 4 4 4 4
Marcus Baugh TE CA 4 4 4 4
Cameron Burrows CB OH 4 4 4 4
Michael Hill DT SC 4 4 4 4
Evan Lisle OL OH 4 4 4 4
Billy Price DT OH 4 4 4 4
Ezekiel Elliott RB MO 4 4 4 4
Jayme Thompson S OH 4 4 4 4
Tyquan Lewis DE NC 4 3 4 3
Taivon Jacobs WR MD 3 3 3 4
Darron Lee ATH OH 3 3 3 3
Tracy Sprinkle DE OH 3 3 3 3
Tim Gardner OL IN 3 2 3 3
Johnny Townsend P FL 2 3 2 3

No change for the Buckeyes.

#5 Rutgers - 20 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Nadir Barnwell CB NJ 4 4 4 4
Dorian Miller OL NJ 3 4 3 4
Myles Nash ATH NJ 3 3 3 4
Dontea Ayres RB DE 3 3 3 3
Nick Internicola LB FL 3 3 3 3
Lester Liston LB VA 3 3 3 3
Taylor Marini TE FL 3 3 3 3
Andre Patton WR DE 3 3 3 3
Eric Wiafe DE NJ 3 3 3 2
Delon Stephenson ATH NY 3 3 3 JC
Chris Laviano QB NY 3 3 2 4
Anthony Cioffi S NJ 3 3 2 3
Justin Goodwin RB NJ 3 2 3 3
T.J. Taylor ATH NJ 3 2 3 3
Bryant Gross S FL 3 2 2 3
Sebastian Joseph DE PA 3 2 2 3
Nick Arcidiacono ATH PA 2 3 3 3
John Tsimis WR NJ 2 3 3 3
Josh Klecko DE NJ 2 3 2 3
Kemoko Turay DE NJ 2 2 3 NR

The Scarlet Knights debut at #5 in the rankings on the strength of a deep in-state class.

#6 Northwestern - 20 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Matt Alviti QB IL 4 4 4 4
Tyler Lancaster OL IL 3 3 4 3
Godwin Igwebuike ATH OH 3 3 3 4
Sam Coverdale OL OH 3 3 3 3
Matt Harris WR IL 3 3 3 3
Blake King OL IL 3 3 3 3
Brad North OL TX 3 3 3 3
Kyle Queiro ATH NJ 3 3 3 3
Anthony Walker Jr. LB FL 3 3 3 3
Brett Walsh LB CA 3 3 3 3
Keith Watkins RB OH 3 3 3 3
Eric Joraskie DE PA 3 3 2 3
Warren Miles-Long RB CA 3 3 2 3
Macan Wilson WR TX 3 2 2 3
Jayme Taylor TE TX 2 3 3 3
Xavier Menifield RB CA 2 3 3 3
Raymond Davison DE CA 2 3 NR NR
Tommy Fuessel ATH IL 2 2 2 2
Hunter Miswander K OH 2 2 2 2
Marcus McShepard CB OH NR NR NR NR

The Wildcats land two-star IL ATH Tommy Fuessel and unranked OH CB Marcus McShepard.

#7 Nebraska - 14 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Marcus McWilson S OH 4 4 4 3
Josh Banderas LB NE 4 4 4 4
Marcus Newby LB MD 4 3 4 4
Randy Gregory DE AZ 4 3 4 JC
Johnny Stanton QB CA 3 4 4 4
A.J. Natter DE WI 3 4 3 3
Dan Samuelson OL IN 3 4 3 3
Courtney Love LB OH 3 3 4 4
Jonathan Cook CB AL 3 3 3 3
Nathan Gerry S SD 3 3 3 3
Kevin Gladney WR OH 3 3 3 3
Zach Hannon OL MO 3 3 3 3
Greg Hart TE OH 3 3 3 3
Gabriel Miller LS IN 2 2 2 2

The Huskers flip JuCo AZ DE Randy Gregory from Purdue, passing Iowa and Michigan State in the process.

#8 Maryland - 17 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Derwin Gray OL DC 4 4 4 4
Deon Long WR IA 4 3 4 JC
Andrew Isaacs TE CT 4 3 3 3
Shane Cockerille QB MD 3 3 3 4
Milan Collins S MD 3 3 3 3
Jajuan Dulaney OL GA 3 3 3 3
Moise Larose OL MD 3 3 3 3
Demetri McGill DT VA 3 3 3 3
Kingsley Opara DT FL 3 3 3 3
Jarrett Ross DE DE 3 3 3 3
Cavon Walker LB DC 3 3 3 3
Derrick Hayward LB MD 2 3 3 3
Jalen Brooks LB GA 2 2 3 3
Jermaine Carter LB DC 2 2 3 3
Malik Jones OL MD 2 2 3 2
Elvis Dennah S MD 2 2 2 3
DeAndre Lane ATH MD 2 2 2 2

The Terrapins debut at #8, also in large part due to a strong in-state crop (especially so if you count Washington DC in that category).

#9 Wisconsin - 16 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Chikwe Obasih DE WI 4 3 4 3
Keelon Brookins CB MN 4 3 3 3
Corey Clement RB NJ 3 4 4 4
Tyler Foreman S CA 3 4 4 3
Rob Wheelwright WR OH 3 4 3 3
Garret Dooley LB IL 3 3 3 4
Alec James DE WI 3 3 3 4
Jack Keeler OL IL 3 3 3 4
Sojourn Shelton CB FL 3 3 3 4
Marcus Ball ATH OH 3 3 3 3
Matt Miller OL OH 3 3 3 3
T.J. Watt ATH WI 3 3 3 3
Sam Raridon DT IA 3 3 2 3
Jazz Peavy WR WI 3 2 2 3
Matt Hubley S WI 2 2 2 2
Tiquention Coleman CB GA NR 2 3 JC

The Badgers pick up CA S Tyler Foreman, OH ATH Marcus Ball, and GA JuCo CB/NOTY candidate Tiquention Coleman. Wisconsin passes Iowa and Michigan State to move into ninth on the big board.

#10 Iowa - 15 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Delano Hill S MI 4 3 4 3
Jon Wisnieski TE IA 3 3 3 4
Nathan Bazata DT NE 3 3 3 3
Colin Goebel OL IL 3 3 3 3
Brant Gressel DT OH 3 3 3 3
John Kenny LB IN 3 3 3 3
Derrick Mitchell Jr. S MO 3 3 3 3
Malik Rucker S MN 3 3 3 3
Nic Shimonek QB TX 3 3 3 3
Solomon Warfield S OH 3 3 3 3
Sean Welsh OL OH 3 3 3 3
Derrick Willies WR IL 3 3 3 3
Trevon Young LB IA 3 2 4 3
Ike Boettger TE IA 2 2 3 2
Andre Harris ATH MO 3 2 3 3

No change for the Hawkeyes.

#11 Michigan State - 14 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Jon Reschke LB MI 4 4 4 4
Shane Jones LB OH 4 3 3 4
Dennis Finley OL MI 3 4 3 4
Damion Terry QB PA 3 4 3 4
Darian Hicks CB OH 3 3 4 3
Jalyn Powell S OH 3 3 3 4
Delton Williams ATH PA 3 3 3 4
Demetrius Cooper DE IL 3 3 3 3
Gerald Holmes RB MI 3 3 3 3
R.J. Shelton RB WI 3 3 3 3
Trey Kilgore WR OH 3 3 3 3
Devyn Salmon DT FL 3 3 2 3
Jay Harris WR PA 2 3 3 3
Dylan Chmura TE WI 3 2 2 NR

No change for the Spartans.

#12 Penn State - 13 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Adam Breneman TE PA 4 5 4 4
Christian Hackenberg QB VA 4 4 5 4
Garrett Sickels DE NJ 4 4 4 4
Brendan Mahon OL NJ 4 3 3 4
Andrew Nelson OL PA 3 3 3 4
Richy Anderson RB MD 3 3 3 3
Brandon Bell LB NJ 3 3 3 3
Curtis Cothran DE NJ 3 3 3 3
Neiko Robinson S FL 3 2 3 3
Parker Cothren DE AL 3 2 3 2
Tanner Hartman OL VA 2 2 3 2
Jordan Smith CB DC 2 2 NR 3
Kasey Gaines S GA NR 2 3 3

The Nittany Lions flips AL DE Parker Cothren from Purdue.

#13 Indiana - 14 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Darius Latham DT IN 4 4 4 4
Antonio Allen S IN 4 4 3 4
David Kenney DE IN 4 4 3 4
Rashard Fant ATH GA 4 3 2 4
Danny Friend TE IL 3 3 3 3
Chase Dutra S IN 3 3 3 2
Isaac Griffith WR IN 3 2 3 3
Evan Jansen TE OH 3 2 3 3
Patrick Dougherty DE OH 3 2 2 2
Anthony Young WR OH 2 3 3 3
Jacobi Hunter DT TX 2 3 2 3
Myles Graham RB FL 2 2 NR 2
Jordan Heiderman DT IA NR 2 2 JC
Clyde Newton LB FL NR NR 2 3

The Hoosiers land four-star in-state DL Darius Latham, a former Wisconsin commit. Indiana now has four players ranked as a four-star on at least two sites, which is about four more than anyone expected.

T-#14 Purdue - 13 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Danny Etling QB IN 4 3 3 3
Keyante Green RB GA 3 3 3 4
Austin Logan S FL 3 3 2 3
Johnny Thompson DE GA 3 3 NR 2
Dwayne Johnson OL IL 3 2 3 3
David Yancey RB IN 3 2 3 3
Jake Replogle DE OH 3 2 2 3
John Strauser DE IL 3 2 NR 3
Danny Ezechukwu DE GA 2 3 2 3
Myles Norwood WR TX 2 NR 3 3
Ra-Zahn Howard DT GA NR NR 3 NR

The Boilermakers lose commitments from Kyle Shortridge and Parker Cothren—the latter switching to Penn State—and gain one from GA DT Ra-Zahn Howard.

T-#14 Minnesota - 11 Commits
Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Berkley Edwards RB MI 3 3 3 3
Nate Godwin CB FL 3 3 3 3
Alex Mayes OL TX 3 3 3 3
Owen Salzwedel DE WI 3 3 3 3
Demaris Peppers DT TN 3 2 3 3
Hendrick Ekpe DE TX 3 2 3 2
Eric Carter WR FL 3 2 2 3
Jordan Hinojosa DT KS 3 2 2 JC
Chris Wipson LB MN 2 2 3 3
Chris Streveler QB IL 2 2 3 3
Jalen Myrick CB GA 2 2 3 3

The Gophers pick up MI RB Berkley Edwards and TX DE Hendrick Ekpe. Minnesota moves into a tie for 14th with Purdue, which is almost like not being in last anymore!



December 2nd, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

While I'm still worried that the new schools will only add bottom feeders to the conference, the strength of Rutgers and Maryland in these rankings is really reassuring! Hopefully it'll translate into on the field success. 


December 2nd, 2012 at 11:23 PM ^

I think I read Maryland  would have had like the 4th or 5th best class last year too, marylands problem is randy edsall and the fact that they lost 4 qb's to season ending injury, imagine what michigans season would have looked like if denard got injured before the year started, gardner lasted 4 games, bellomy one and jack kennedy one.  Tough to judge the talent level this year since the defense was playing well early before the offense couldn't do anything.


December 2nd, 2012 at 5:36 PM ^

Thanks for the great work Ace, but can you really say with a straight face that Illinois has a better class than ohio?  Perhaps this will inspire you to devise a rating system that makes more sense than just multiplying recruits times rating averages.  How about something like average stars for a fixed number of recruits like the final Rivals ratings but with a touch more creativity.  Maybe Nate Silver has some ideas...


December 3rd, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

That would put Illinois behind Indiana, which is equally ridiculous as the Illini being ahead of Ohio State.

Again, wait until signing day, the only day these rankings actually matter. I guarantee the Buckeyes will be ahead of Illinois barring the relatively unfathomable; if they aren't, I promise I'll change the formula. Until then, you have all the information you could possibly need right here to rank the teams any way you desire.

turd ferguson

December 2nd, 2012 at 5:27 PM ^

Having Illinois ahead of OSU speaks to the absurdity of this ranking metric.  OSU's recruits are, on average, rated almost a full star ahead of Illinois' recruits.  It's hard to take rankings seriously when you can get that kind of result.

I still like these posts, since they aggregate a lot of information nicely.  The rankings don't even come close to passing a sanity check, though.

(And yes, I read your comment about it.)


December 2nd, 2012 at 5:42 PM ^

No matter what system ACE uses someone will complain.

This system is as transparent and unbiased as possible.  Plus, its not hard to go through and rerank the list in the order you prefer most (average stars etc.).

The problem with recruiting rankings is always big classes vs. small classes- particularly in basketball.  Is a class of 5 three starts better than one with a 5 star and a 4 star?

I like how this system is standardized as consistent.  Always great to see these updates!

turd ferguson

December 2nd, 2012 at 5:59 PM ^

The possibility that someone will complain about every possible ranking system doesn't mean that all ranking systems are equally good.  This one happens to be terrible.  I agree with you that the big class vs. small class thing can be a problem, particularly in basketball.  We're at the point, though, where these classes are pretty full.  OSU already has 17 commits, which you sometimes see as a full class in the Big Ten.  The rankings should make sense now, but they don't.

I've said this before, but I would trust Ace's subjective rankings much more than this ranking algorithm.  I could also think of many objective rankings that would work much better than this (rankings that prefer higher-rated recruits to lower-rated recruits and larger classes to smaller classes but in a way that isn't so crude and distorting).

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter, but when your options are putting out reasonable rankings or unreasonable rankings, I'd opt for reasonable ones.


December 2nd, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

Put another way, there's no way that a class with say, Will Campbell as its only 5 star, is better than a class with Jake Ryan as its highest-ranked recruit.  But we only know that four years later.

As anyone who has Never Forgotten, depth matters in recruiting classes.  That's why you want a QB in every class even though most of the time that will be a dead spot in the rankings.  Sheer size can trump star-ratings and often should, because 5-stars bust and 3-stars blow up.  The more guys you reel in, the better off you are, and the more likely you are to catch Ryan Shazier.

turd ferguson

December 2nd, 2012 at 9:57 PM ^

I think you need to acknowledge opportunity cost.  Every scholarship that's used is one fewer scholarship that could be used somewhere else. 

If "depth" is always a good thing in a recruiting class, then Michigan's class would be better with the addition of me.  That's not true.  I'm a 3'4", 840-lb slot receiver who runs a 6.7 (minute) 40, has only one hand, hates blocking, and coordinates a major point shaving operation.  If Hoke offers me a scholarship, I'll take it, and that will be bad for Michigan.  With the ranking algorithm used here - and I think your logic, taken to the extreme - my committing to Michigan would be treated as a good thing.

Here's another way of thinking about it.  The metric used here (total # of stars) suggests that a recruiting class of 21 four-stars is exactly as good as a class of 28 three-stars.  Do you believe that?  If Michigan were to get 21 four-stars and Ohio State were to get 28 three-stars for each the next few years, I'd be a happy, happy man. 

Depth is a good thing, but it makes more sense to think about depth across recruiting classes than within a single one.


December 2nd, 2012 at 5:41 PM ^

I don't have a problem with the way Ace presents it, here's an alternate ignoring current class size to get a sense of where Rutgers/Maryland stack up:


Adj. Rank  School  Avg Avg^ Majority 4+ Stars
1  Notre Dame 3.78 14
2  Ohio State 3.69 11
3  Michigan 3.67 15
4  Nebraska 3.28 5
5  Michigan State 3.16 1
6  Penn State 3.12 3
7  Wisconsin 3.05 1
8  Iowa 2.98 0
9  Rutgers 2.89 1
10  Maryland 2.88 2
11  Northwestern 2.81 1
12  Indiana 2.79 3
13  Illinois 2.76 1
T-14  Purdue 2.68 0
T-14  Minnesota 2.68 0



December 2nd, 2012 at 6:21 PM ^

After this year I'll probably remove them. For now, we still play them for two more years—meaning at least a few of the players in this class will have an impact against Michigan—plus they're good way to measure how well Michigan is recruiting in the Midwest.

Also, it's free information. You are more than welcome to ignore it.


December 2nd, 2012 at 6:24 PM ^

simply because MSU is now 11th among the "B1G" group.

NATIONAL recruiting!  Coach 'em up Corch Dantonio!!


(I know it is childish, but writing the above made my Sunday just a little bit better.)


December 2nd, 2012 at 7:51 PM ^

The fact that Rutgers has a better class than all but 3 teams in this conference, even going by Ace's metric, speaks to both the weakness of the conference and the relative value of the two teams joining. 

That said, I'm not down with Illinois being that high.  Yes they have more recruits, but nobody would trade OSU's class for Illinois's, and the score differential is just a shadow caused by multiplication, not a qualitative measurement of the two classes.


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:07 PM ^

Recruiting in general seems to be a completely different animal than it was 20 years ago.  I can't say for sure since I'm 33 years old and didn't know much about college football and recruiting before the mid 90's, but I can't imagine what it was like before the internet, popular recruiting rankings, fan sites, social media, etc.  I have to assume that recruiting today and all the technology has given more power to the schools that have more resources.  It has just created a larger gap from the haves and the havenots.  If you look at the history of the B1G only a small percentage of them have had success in the modern era.  It makes me wonder if the Indiana's, Minnesota's, Purdue's, & Northwestern's can ever really compete long term.  I know some make runs for a 5-10 years, but can they sustain success?  I don't know maybe no one can unless you live in a talent rich state like Ohio, FLA, TX, or CA.  I mean the mid-west is already limited in the amount of talent when compared to the east, south, and west.  And, there's only so much talent to go around.  So if UM, OSU, ND, MSU, Neb, and PSU take much of it, what's left for the bottom half of the conference?  They either have to do a lot to develop talent and/or do really well with marketing, filling their stadium, branding their name, etc, and pay for top notch coaches.  I just don't see the lower half of the B1G ever doing all those things that they would likely have to in order to compete long term.  I really think the conference is simply at a disadvantage.  I'm not sure what it was like this pre-internet age (although scholarship changes have also changed things), but I don't see it changing anytime soon and Minnesota returning to a football powerhouse. 


December 3rd, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

but I can't imagine what it was like before the internet, popular recruiting rankings, fan sites, social media, etc.


I have been following recruiting in basketball since the late 1970s and in football since the early 80s. I covered recruiting professionally during the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Before the internet, you would call a coach and introduce yourself and get a prospect's number. You'd talk to the coach about the kid, who was looking at him, etc. You'd be as nice as you possibly could to the coach so he'd take your call in the future.

When you called the kid and told him why you were calling him, invariably you'd have to explain it twice. "Recruiting what? Huh?" The kids would give pretty frank, candid answers because they were unprepared for media questions. Most of the time, you would be the first media member to ever talk to them. 

There weren't very many public pronouncements of verbal commitments. For the really big commitments, there might be a couple of reporters there, but for the most part, you broke commitments by doing a lot of grunt work. 

The colleges in the region that I covered used to have areas where recruits would check in at the start of the visit. You could wander by and look at the list on Thursday or Friday and see who was visiting. I got to know recruiting coordinators and they wouldn't tell me who was committed, but they'd tell me how many commitments they had. I kept a little black notebook with me all the time and usually had 90 percent of the current commitments.

After a visit weekend, you'd call everyone back and see what changed, if anyone committed, etc. 

Does anyone remember the name Damon Jones? He was a big TE from Evanston, IL who was originally committed to NC State. He ended up switching to Michigan. I was in the process of covering an all-american safety who was switching schools when that broke and I managed to get that story as well. 

Jones went to Michigan, showed a LOT of promise, and then (IIRC) set off a pipe bomb in his dorm room. He got thrown out of school and ended up at S. Illinois before getting drafted by the Jaguars and having a nice pro career. 

I'm sure plenty of you remember Tripp Welbourne. He was from Greensboro Page High School (where Haywood Jeffires and Danny Manning also went to school). There was a very nice elderly gentleman at Page who was very influential in determining where the best athletes went to school. He was a big fan of Dick Sheridan at NC State and helped steer a lot of kids that way. Welbourne was one that got away. But the man was very helpful to me in identifying talent and letting me know where the kids were going.

Hang out in the bleachers at basketball and baseball games and you could talk to the coaches, pick their brains, and develop contacts. They'd give you names and numbers to call and you could get the skinny pretty easily. 

I was a Deadhead, so I'd build recruiting trips around the Grateful Dead's spring and fall tours. I'd put together a schedule and my publication (which eventually got bought by Prep Stars) would basically pay for me to go on tour. They'd cover mileage, film costs, and I got a per-interview fee. I'm in North Carolina, so I'd go up to the Tidewater region and get a dozen interviews and tips on kids for next year. Then I'd hit a couple of schools in DC. Then I'd go up to New Jersey and Philadelphia. New Jersey meant Newark, Patterson, Berlin, Princeton (The Hun School), and most importantly...Camden. Occassionally, there would be someone up at the New England prep schools. I went as far as Avon, CT once. 

I'd do the interviews around Grateful Dead shows at the Cap Centre in Landover, MD, the Spectrum in Philly, Madison Square Garden runs in New York City, and the occassional Boston Garden show. In the spring, I'd do basketball and find out who the prospects were in football and hit a couple of shows at the Allman Brothers' run at the Beacon Theater in  March. 

These trips were taking place while I was in college. I was a journalism major, so I would even get class credit a couple of times. My professors were usually pretty understanding since I was actually churning out content that came with bylines. My car was an '88 Honda Accord and I basically lived out of it during these trips. You could fold the backseat down and basically sleep sort of in the trunk, sort of in the backseat.

One of the last times I did this was right before Thanksgiving in 1995. On the way home, I stopped at a rest stop somewhere on I-95 north of Maryland. I was exhausted and needed to catch an hour of sleep. Normally, I'd fall asleep and a cop or sheriff would come along and tell me to get up, stretch my legs, and then move along (you couldn't sleep overnight). This time, I woke up and realized something was different. It was *completely* quiet which was very unusual. I was very sore...meaning I'd slept a lot longer than usual. But it was still dark. 

It turned out that a snow storm had rolled through and dropped a foot of snow on my car. I had to dig my way out to get back on the interstate. 

Anyway....that's how you did it in "olden times."


December 3rd, 2012 at 11:58 AM ^

But you should expand on this and turn it into a diary. Get into the services you offered and such.  Did you do a newsletter to subscribers?  Big signing day edition?  How was it covered in the newspapers?  Did they or things like The Wolverine (paper edition) contact you for reviews?

I think a lot of people around here think following recruiting started in 2003. And while it's around then that there are still records of the past things, guys like you and Tom Lemming have been doing it for a LONG time. Admittedly the the info was harder to find (a commit wasa that last pargraph header blurb at the end of the daily Michigan article in the paper), and not nearly as big or intense, but people did follow it. I remember doing so.

If there's interest, but time is a problem, you could do a series. Lay everything out in one post, then follow it with interesting recruiting trail stories/contacts in follow up chapters. But as I said, I don't know how busy you are. But it would interest me; and I think others.


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:38 PM ^

Big Ten recruiting does not look good at this time. It looks like Nebraska would not even finish in the top 25. Only Michigan and OSU are recruiting at a level that allows national relevance.

I hope this is just a down year or this conference could be ugly for a while.

turd ferguson

December 2nd, 2012 at 9:43 PM ^

I agree with you on this, and if the recruiting sites are correct about the proportion of elite talent coming out of the Southeast, Texas, and California (as opposed to the Midwest and East Coast), the Big Ten has a serious long-term problem. 

If Michigan, OSU, and Notre Dame scrape up whatever talent does come out of this area, the non-UM/OSU part of the conference will be operating with alarmingly little raw talent (especially relative to the SEC).  Combine that with other disadvantages, like the Big Ten's tendency not to oversign or pay dudes, and we have a real issue on our hands.

Moonlight Graham

December 2nd, 2012 at 10:15 PM ^

So it's the Big Two and LIttle Twelve again. At this point, as long as M goes to either the Rose Bowl or makes the Football Four every year ... doesn't a slightly weaker B1G help us do that? Every year if Michigan and Ohio are dominant, one will go to the semifinals and one will go to the Rose Bowl as B1G runner up. Why would we want an equally strong Wisconsin or Nebraska to muck that up? 

Just thinking stream of consciousness here. We seem to be through the looking glass now. Up is down. Wrong is right. Northern Illinois is in the Orange Bowl. 


December 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 PM ^

I think the next month of recruiting has 2 major implications if we do/don't snag Green/Treadwell/McQuay:

1. We have the key cogs to legitimately push for top 5 status in the next few years. Shore up weak roster spots AND add playmakers.

2. Prove UM has returned to elite recruiting status. Being 6-10 in national rankings is OK but problematic if OSU and ND get all the publicity as the hot choice for recruits.

A+ is within reach.


December 2nd, 2012 at 10:50 PM ^

and the little 8 9 10 12 for the foreseeable future. As was pointed out above, nobody else in conference is pulling any classes that say "Nationally Relevant in 3-4 Year"


December 3rd, 2012 at 6:58 AM ^

As hell to see Rutgers and Maryland ahead of MSU, I thought they were recruiting nationally? Granted, they seem to develop players well....but wow, the recruiting numbers outside of us and Ohio become more alarming every week. On a side note.....we need a HELLO post soon, going through withdrawals!


December 3rd, 2012 at 8:27 AM ^

Thanks for all for the work you put into these Ace.  I hope you'll continue to put ND in these rankings in the future.  I think it's important to see where our neighbor is pulling recruits from, regardless of conference affiliation. 


December 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 PM ^

I might do a diary if people are interested. I can summarize most of what I did pretty easily though: I smoked a lot of cigarettes and made a lot of phone calls and pretty much had no life. 

Did I do a newsletter? No, I worked for a magazine that published every other month. We were primarily an east coast publication, but we tried to branch out a little into the midwest. Our big money was in a 900 # that cost $5.00 per call and $1.00 after the first five minutes. They wouldn't let me voice it because I talked too fast (even though I'm southern and have a bit of an accent). 

Yes, we had a big signing day wrap-up. We did breakdowns on each class, top-20 classes, feature pieces (culled from the interviews) on the marquee players, and previews for the next year. We did this for basketball as well.

How was it covered in the papers? It depends. I mentioned a free safety switching schools...I broke that story and it got picked up and run by the big papers in the state at the top of the sports section. I was listed as "contributed to this story." That was a big deal because I was a freshman in college and it was my first big break.

I bought the paper before breakfast and went sprinting out of the dining hall to my academic advisor's office to show him. I had called my mom and dad the night before and told them to be on the lookout and they called my dorm and left a message for me offering their congratulations. That was fun.

Never talked to the Wolverine, but I did share information with those types of publications. If we ran into one another, we'd share notes. This caused a problem a couple of times. There is a guy who works for ESPN now who came onto the scene as I was leaving. He'd always want to know about this guy or that guy...but he never had information to share. I finally told him that he had to start doing his own homework. 

Also...I was a reporter. I worked a beat and made the calls and physically travelled to cover this stuff. I went up and did a ton of work interviewing people once. I came back and filed. I had a bunch of stuff left over, so I transcribed my notes and gave them to a friend who ran a BBS (for you old schoolers). For you kids today, before there were Web browsers, if you got on the Internet, you had to dial into a server and then either telnet to a site (usually military or educational) or you had to call a site directly (a bulletin board service). I gave my transcriptions to my friend who ran the site and a national reporter pulled them and ran them as his own. When I confronted the reporter about this at the halftime of a basketball game, he refused to apologize, claimed that they were out there for anyone to use, and then got my credentials pulled. 

Recruiting info was always a niche thing. My father used to get Street & Smith's and bring them home. He was also a subscriber to a quarterly publication that offered some basketball recruiting information. I was always fascinated with drafts. I was a latchkey kid and faked being sick to stay home alone to watch the NFL draft. ESPN finally put it on television and it happened during the day in the middle of the week. My parents never figured out what I was skipping school for so they just looked the other way. I was a Dolphins fan (living in NC, they were on TV a lot) and invariably HATED who we drafted. "Dan Marino?? We have David Woodley! Why do we need Dan Marino?" I also really got into following minor league baseball. I loved the Red Sox and the Braves and could tell you who all the top prospects in the organization were. Recruiting was a pretty natural thing for me to get into. 

You mentioned Tom Lemming...we never crossed paths. But a guy who has been doing it even longer who was a *tremendous* help to me as a youngster....Bill Buchalter for the Orlando Sentinel. He knows everyone and everything in Florida. And he was always willing to help me out if I needed a rescue. 


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

I just want to see the reaction of someone who has never lived in a world where the Internet didn't exist on pay call information services. I remember those. Can't say I actually called any of them, but there was something fun about how information was dispensed back in the day.


December 3rd, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

You'd call a number and the recording would say, "Hello. You've reached Southern Prep Stars. This is the SEC recruiting update for Dec. 3. It was a big weekend for the Georgia Bulldogs who hosted a number of high profile visitors this weekend. Topping the list is Warner Robbins All American linebacker L'Carpetron McDoogernought. He called the visit an epic event and said, 'Bring on the bitches! Can't wait to be a Dawg' (see what I did there?)"

We tried to put verbals up at the top of the list so people felt like they were getting their money's worth. 

The average update would be 10-15 minutes long. We started doing that in 1991 and it ran until we were bought out in 1997 (I had left by then) and it was easily the most profitable serve we had.

The best part about it...I was working part time for two papers AND the recruiting magazine. They all paid on different schedules. So I got paychecks almost every week. I made around $600 a month. That might not sound like a lot now, but that was twenty years ago, it was while I was a full-time student in college and minimuim wage was still about $3.35 an hour. My parents were paying my tuition. I lived off-campus in a four-bedroom house that I rented with three other guys. My share of the rent and monthly bills was about $200 a month. I pretty much always had money in my pocket. Gas was about $1 a gallon. My car got about 25 mpg. I was getting paid to watch football, talk to players about something I was interested in, take photographs, and write. 

What more could a person want?, glory, fame, and a reasonable grade-point average?