Since Nebraska has moved to the B1G, I thought it would be interesting to look at their recruiting efforts, especially in B1G territory, and how that might affect Michigan and other B1G teams. So, I created two tables: the first table shows which states Nebraska recruits; the other table shows which B1G teams Nebraska successfully recruited against for players in the B1G footprint.
A few caveats before I discuss the tables: I only used Rivals data which provides just general information about recruiting and recruits and likely has some inaccuracies, 2013 recruiting is incomplete, and there are too few years with Nebraska in the B1G and Brady Hoke at Michigan to make truly informed statements about trends in Nebraska recruiting and how that affects Michigan. Also, I did not look at how many players Michigan successfully recruited that Nebraska was also recruiting. I see these tables and discussion as a starting point, not some final, fully supported claim.
|Year||Total #||NE||TX||Other Big 12||OH||Other B1G||Coach|
|2003||19||5||6||2||0||MI 3*, IL 3*||Solich|
|2004||20||5||1||3||0||IL 2*, 2*, MN 4*, 3*||Callahan|
|2010||22||4||5||5||4 *+||IL 4*, MN 3*||Pellini|
|2011||20||4||5||1||3*, 3*||IL 4*||Pellini|
|2012||17||1||2||2||3*, 4*||IL 3*, 4*||Pellini|
|2013||7||1||1||0||3*, 3*+, 4*+||WI 3*||Pellini|
Table 1: Number of NE recruits for B1G and other areas, 2002-2013. Asterisks indicate stars (e.g., 2* is a 2 star player). The plus sign indicates a recruit from Cardinal Mooney HS.
Bo Pelini does seem to be shifting his recruiting focus more towards the upper Midwest, especially Ohio. This shift started before the move from the Big 12 to the B1G, but may be accelerating with the move. Pelini has publicly commented about re-focusing on Texas:
Nebraska is not in a position to ignore Texas recruits, and Nebraska does recruit nationally, including pulling quite a few players from California through the years. But, Pelini also realizes he can’t concede the B1G country to the other B1G teams either, and being a graduate of Cardinal Mooney HS in Youngstown and of OSU has, no doubt, helped him to recruit Ohio. In fact, four of his nine Ohio recruits have come from Cardinal Mooney HS.
Here are a couple of cool maps created by Nebraska newspapers that illustrate the recruiting of Nebraska and other B1G teams, showing where the recruits are coming from:
|2010||Corey Cooper||IL||S||4||*||*||*||*||*||Stanford, FSU|
|Kevin Williams||OH||DT||3||*||*||*||*||*||OR, Stan, WV|
|V. Valentine||IL||DT||3||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||Alabama, OK|
|Courtney Love||OH+||LB||3||*||*||*||*||*||OK, USC, WV,|
|A. J. Natter||WI||DE||3||*||*||*||*||*|
Table 2: Nebraska recruits vs.B1G. The asterisks in each column indicate the schools who offered each player. At the bottom, the total offers are listed (e.g., MSU offered 9 of the Nebraska recruits). Plus signs next to OH indicate players from Cardinal Mooney.
As table 2 illustrates (caveats apply), Nebraska is competing well with schools like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and especially Michigan State for recruits, but not so much against Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. As a matter of fact, Nebraska seems to be quite a problem for MSU, pulling in the kind of players from Ohio and elsewhere in B1G country that State has successfully recruited under Dantonio. It seems like a win-win situation for Michigan: Nebraska, for the most part, is not successfully competing against Michigan for recruits, but it is against MSU, our in-state rival, leaving fewer players for State to pick up.