The heart of every college football program is recruiting. In the past few years, recruiting has become a more highlighted process as fans have learned to focus on that piece of the game to determine how their teams should perform in the future.
Every coach has a unique pitch that distinguishes his school from the others around him, and this is a look at the best recruiting pitch for each Big Ten school.
Recruiting is a process that has to be loved by the coaches if they want to do it well. When a coach lands at a major program, he has to ensure that bringing in top recruits happens. Here is how the 12 Big Ten coaches reel in their top choices.
The Michigan Wolverines have been playing football since 1879 and have built one of the most storied programs in the country over the past century. The Wolverines have also played in the same stadium since 1927.
The Big House is one of the shrines of college football. Traditions change and disappear frequently in college football, but the Big House is one that will be around as long as the game remains.
There have been 11 national titles, 42 conference titles and three Heismans that have played for Michigan. Selling that tradition is easy—add in the Big House, and recruits have a tough time turning down the Michigan offer.
The Northwestern Wildcats have not traditionally been a strong football program, but in the past decade they have risen from bottom feeder to contender.
Pat Fitzgerald took over the program and has done great things for the program in his time as the head coach. The Wildcats won their first bowl game since the 1940’s this past year, and were in contention for the Big Ten title by midseason.
This is a program that is on the rise. Bringing a recruit to the rising tradition should be relatively easy. At Northwestern, a recruit would receive solid playing time early, exposure to the national stage and would challenge for titles.
The Ohio State Buckeyes don’t need much help pitching the university to recruits, but the addition of Urban Meyer has made it even easier. Pitching the Urban Meyer effect is an easy task with his experience and winning resume.
Last season the Buckeyes finished the year undefeated and would have challenged for a national title had they not been on NCAA sanctions.
As the sanctions disappear, the team will continue to get stronger and will be able to play for titles. The Urban Meyer effect was in place from day one, and with the 2012 season at his back, recruits will be ready to sign on the dotted line.
The Golden Gophers have one of the most unique campuses of any team in the Big Ten. Minnesota has a great reputation and it begins with the on-campus experience. Location is the key piece of the Minnesota pitch.
The university is embedded in the middle of Minneapolis-St. Paul, but it has a rural feel to the campus grounds. Students are living in the city, but within minutes they are away from the problems of a metropolitan area.
Student-athletes receives the best of both worlds while attending Minnesota. There is the warm, small-town feel to the campus, but it is in the middle of a busy metro area that gives them all the major city needs they may have.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are a tradition-filled program in the Big Ten, but since the arrival of Bo Pelini there has been a resurgence for a program that was beginning to slip into mediocrity.
The Cornhuskers have won nine or more games each year, and finished with 10-wins three times since Pelini landed in Lincoln. Pelini coaches winners.
The Cornhuskers have seen the passion of their head coach rub off on his players and lead to the best results in recent memory in Lincoln. Pelini undoubtedly shows his passion in the living rooms of recruits, and likely has them ready to play a game when he walks out the door.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are working on rebuilding their tradition after a devastating blow was dealt to the program by the NCAA just before the 2012 season. Right now this program is still winning, and has the opportunity to rebuild itself from the ground up.
The best pitch for the Nittany Lions right now is to tell recruits how they can become the new tradition for Penn State. The Nittany Lions program has been Joe Paterno—now it is time for this program to be about the players.
This can be a great shift for this program and one that will get top level talent on the sideline. Come make your own tradition and become a name that is remembered forever at one of the most historic programs in the country. Become history in State College.
The easiest school to sell right now in the Big Ten is Wisconsin. There is a new coaching staff that will make the program have an exciting feel, and the Badgers have won two conference titles in a row.
There have been two Big Ten title games and Wisconsin has won them both. Who doesn’t want to be a champion?
Every student-athlete that is vetting possible schools will look for the ability to win right away. Wisconsin is the defending Big Ten champion. That says enough. Play in Madison, win titles.
The Spartans are just a few years removed from their last Big Ten title, but this year’s 7-6 record is not something that leaves a good taste in fans' mouths. They want wins, and so do recruits.
For Mark Dantonio to get top recruits, he has to sell playing time.
The program is searching for consistency on offense and is replacing a number of playmakers on defense. Top talents could walk into the program and become instant stars.
The Indiana Hoosiers are not known for their strong football program, but there have been occasions where some really good players have made their plays in Indiana uniforms.
Any coach on Indiana’s staff would be dumb not to lead with "come be a game-changer." There isn’t a roster full of top talent, so when a star arrives, he can captivate the country—think Antwaan Randle El.
Indiana will struggle to compete for Big Ten titles, but the Hoosiers can provide a platform for a talented athlete to be a super star on a stage by himself. What recruit doesn’t want to be the star of a program from day one?
Iowa is the premier team in the state of Iowa. Pulling in top recruits from in-state is a cake walk for the Hawkeyes' staff as they are selling the one of the best products in the Midwest.
Iowa State is rising steadily, but this program is still the No. 1 for Iowans.
Having the chance to play in the Big Ten and stay home is a major recruiting pitch for local players. As long as Iowa beats the Cyclones more than not, it will own the state and hand-pick its recruits every year.
The Purdue Boilermakers are entering a new era this year with the hiring of Darrell Hazell from Kent State. Hazell took the Golden Flashes to new levels in two years, and the Boilermakers are hoping for the same results.
This is an electric staff that will draw recruits by their passion and energy. It is a new day at Purdue and Hazell will ensure that the recruits understand that it means new opportunities.
Coaching changes can be tough, but they can also be a blessing for recruiting. This change was a blessing. Hazell is a young up-and-comer in the college game and will have the leadership that recruits are drawn to.
New beginnings will bring the talent Hazell needs to win big in the Big Ten.
The Fighting Illini of Illinois are struggling to put a winning product on the field, but there is room for players to come in and help build a winning program. Ron Zook had some success at Illinois so the thought is that Tim Beckman will as well.
Beckman is entering his second season and has a lot to offer incoming recruits. As the team transitions into his system in year two, there will be players that can be brought in to fill specific roles in his schemes.
If Beckman wants to win, he has to sell this program as a winner. Give recruits the opportunity to see that winning seasons are just around the corner, and they will be the final piece to make that happen.