Blog Entry

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

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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Since: Dec 17, 2009
Posted on: February 5, 2011 9:16 am

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

Please. Stop and think about what Michigan actually NEEDED. People need to get off the "Dee Hart" thing, because what it actually does is demonstrates one of the reasons RR was fired--he paid too much attention to offense. We have running backs at Michigan that RR was barely using. Hoke recruited and signed running backs to Michigan that he WILL use. But we REALLY needed DEFENSIVE players, and that's what Michigan gained. I think if anyone's going to argue any reason why Michigan's recruiting class was a loser, then it's the same reason offered for Penn State--it sucks for Michigan. Michigan needs to get back to being a top 10 class every season and competing with Ohio State and topnotch SEC/ACC/Big 12 schools for recruits, not MAC schools, Minnesota, Indiana and Purdue. 

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2011 10:53 pm

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

Fornelli are you serious....." WHAT THIS CLASS COULD OF BEEN". It would of never survived the style of big 10 play esp when it came to defense.You better check on the recruits Brady came up with quite a class of talent id say!

Since: Mar 12, 2010
Posted on: February 3, 2011 6:03 pm

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

Seriously.... the Wolverines a "loser". Considering everything involved next year could be alright. We kept the offense and got some needed players on D... doesnt are corner come back, woolfork???

Since: Dec 16, 2009
Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:18 pm

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

I am curious to see how Michigan will fare in the trenches on the offensive and defensive side of the ball next season.

Since: Dec 16, 2009
Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:17 pm

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

Maybe, I'm just being a homer, or narrow minded. But, if a program fires it's coach right as recruiting is really heating up, and still manages to draw, what the article describes, a solid recruiting class, how is that necessarily a loser? Now, we'll see if The Wolverines' new coaching staff can make a "solid" class a great one.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2011 4:57 pm

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

Note: I meant Denard  Robinson stayed.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2011 4:55 pm

Big Ten Signing Day: Winners/Losers

But you can't judge this Michigan class based just on the players that are in it, as silly as that sounds. You can have the best class in the country and none of it matters if you allow 60 points. The Wolverines added by subtracting Rodriguez and, more importantly, Greg Robinson. Robinson stayed. The whole damn offense stayed. And they're about to get a whole lot better on defense.

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