Power Ranking the Big Ten's 7 Best Recruiters of the BCS Era
The Big Ten is full of tradition and has been one of the most dominant conferences in college football. There have been so many coaches who were skilled recruiters that called this league home, and of course with the BCS coming in 1998, recruiting became even more important.
Some say the conference isn't what it used to be, but new schools in the league like Nebraska and Rutgers will only make things interesting in the coming seasons. Today, as we look back at recruiting in the BCS era, let's quickly run through the top recruiters on the B1G's BCS era.
With the SEC being such a dominant recruiting conference and Florida State, Miami, Texas and Notre Dame and USC all also be juggernauts on the trail, things got a little bit tough for the B1G during the middle BCS years.
However, there were a few coaches who still consistently pulled in good classes.
7. Ron Zook, Illinois
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Zook pulled in two consecutive Top 25 classes in 2007 and 2008. He may not have really turned those classes into much, though he did take the Illini to the Rose Bowl once.
But with talent like Arrelious Benn, Martez Wilson, Mikel LeShoure, Whitney Mercilus, Corey Liuget and A.J. Jenkins all coming to Illinois in that two-year span, that's impressive.
The Illini are not a traditional recruiting power, but Zook's work ethic and passion for recruiting led to signing some good classes. He's one of the top recruiters in the B1G's BCS era.
6. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
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I often say Michigan State is one of the hardest schools to recruit at because the Spartans have to deal with national powers like Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame all in their region.
However, Mark Dantonio has been able to make MSU an adequate recruiting school. Are the Spartans ever going to be sexier then their regional rivals? Probably not.
Yet Dantonio has been able to sign talent like Greg Jones, Jerel Worthy, Chris Norman, Edwin Baker, Blake Treadwell, William Gholston, Lawrence Thomas and Aaron Burbridge in East Lansing since arriving in 2007.
5. Joe Paterno, Penn State
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Joe Pa's exit wasn't as classic and graceful as we all thought it would be, but he still is considered one of the best to ever coach in the college ranks. He was a sharp recruiter in his heyday and proved he still had mojo in his later years.
Players Tamba Hali, Levi Brown, Tony Hunt, Paul Posluszny, Derrick Williams, Justin King, Jared Ordrick, Mo Evans and Silas Redd all were brought in under Paterno's watch in the BCS era.
He wasn't dominant, but Paterno was pretty solid as a recruiter in the BCS era.
4. Brady Hoke, Michigan
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"Hoke-a-Mania" is still relatively new in Ann Arbor, but when you pull in two Top 10 classes within your first three at Michigan, that's going to make headlines.
Brady Hoke was said to be the third or fourth choice on Michigan's list when Rich Rodriguez was fired. However, he's been recruiting like a top dog since he got there.
Michigan is back as one of the best recruiting schools in the country, and Hoke has lured some elite talent to the Big House since arriving in 2011.
3. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
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Meyer is one of the best recruiting head coaches of all time, and the only reason he's not No. 1 on this list is because he's only been coaching at OSU for just one season.
When he got hired during the home stretch of the 2012 cycle, he surged the Buckeyes up the recruiting rankings almost immediately. Meyer closed on Noah Spence, flipped Tommy Schutt and Se'von Pittman from B1G rivals and also convinced Brionte Dunn to stay committed to OSU.
This past season he signed a Top five class that features players like Vonn Bell, Eli Apple, Joey Bosa and Jalin Marshall among a slew of others.
He'll likely be No. 1 on this list in five years.
2. Jim Tressel, Ohio State
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Before Meyer arrived in Columbus, the Buckeyes were used to bringing in very good recruiting classes. Jim Tressel came in the early 2000s and got things moving on the recruiting trail pretty quickly.
Before he resigned in 2011, Tressel brought in about four Top 10 recruiting classes. He got players like Ted Ginn Jr., Beanie Wells, Micheal Brewster, Mike Adams, Donte Whitner, Santonio Holmes and Heisman-winning QB Troy Smith to come to Ohio State.
Tressel may not have ran the program as sternly as one should have, but he still was a great recruiter.
1. Lloyd Carr, Michigan
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I have Carr as the No. 1 recruiter in the B1G's BCS era right now, as he brought in five Top 10 recruiting classes in the BCS era before he retired after the 2007 season.
Carr was responsible for Michigan sining studs like Justin Fargas, LaMarr Woodley, Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Mario Manningham among many other star players. Michigan's recruiting was pretty consistent and among the elite year in and year out under Carr during the BCS era.
A hand's worth of top classes has him at the top of this list.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.