Big Ten Signing Day a Tale of Misses
But hey, why rain on the recruitnik parade? After a full day of sitting in front of your computer switching between a Webcast of somebody's fax machine and a press conference held by some player who gets five stars for pass coverage but half a star for last minute hat-swapping, you want to know how those Big Ten teams made out today.
If you place any stock at all in recruiting rankings, it was a pretty "meh" day for the Big Ten. Rivals ranks only Penn State (No. 12) and Michigan (No. 20) among its top 25 classes and says the only five-star recruit in the conference was defensive end Wiliam Gholston, who signed with Michigan State. In fact, the big news in Big Ten recruiting this season appears to be more about who spurned the conference.
The biggest recruiting prizes in Big Ten country this year are bound for California. Southern California, that is. Offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who swore he was seriously considering Iowa. Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and wide receiver Kyle Prater, who had Illinois and Michigan among his choices, will both be headed to play for Lane Kiffin and whoever replaces Kiffin in two years.
Even if Tim Brewster couldn't land Henderson, he and his staff deserve their props for getting two of the state's best recruits, offensive lineman Jimmy Gjere and athlete (wait, aren't all these guys athletes?) Lamonte Edwards.
Not all the top talent opted to leave the region, though. Iowa fans were already glad about landing C.J. Fiedorowicz, considered one of the nation's top tight end prospects. Since every tight end who has started for Kirk Ferentz thus far has made it to the NFL, Fiedorowicz is in good company. Quarterback Devin Gardner should mesh well with Michigan's spread offense. Penn State also signed two solid running backs in Khairi Fortt and Dakota Royer. Ohio State picked up some solid wide receivers, which is good, because they don't have many left.
And then ... um ... well ... let's just say that if you're a Big Ten fan, you'd better hope that your coaching staff is highly skilled at player development, because the early returns on Signing Day are not wonderful. Illinois, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Indiana all failed to impress the experts or land any big steals.
Wait. There is something else to talk about. Danny Hope's second recruiting class at Purdue actually includes three kids from Indiana. Last year's class didn't have any. So, there you go.