Power Ranking Big Ten Football Head Coaches by Recruiting Skills
Being a head coach in the Big Ten is an honor and a privilege. It's a special league that is full of tradition, history and great rivalries.
However, the Big Ten is also a competitive conference, so head coaches must be skilled recruiters. If a coach can't recruit in this league, he and his program are going to get left in the dust by the other 11 schools.
While Ohio State and Michigan remain flagship programs for the Big Ten, other schools have emerged in the conference due to hiring solid recruiting head coaches. Who is the best on the recruiting trail in this league?
12. Darrell Hazell, Purdue
Darrell Hazell hasn't been at Purdue long, as this was his initial season in West Lafayette. Yet, it appears he has a lot of work to do when it comes to the Boilermakers establishing themselves on the recruiting trail.
While Purdue has 18 commitments, 17 of them are 3-star prospects. Hazell will need to go after and acquire better talent in the coming years to move up in these rankings.
11. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Although he's just finishing his second season at Illinois, Tim Beckman has not set the recruiting trail on fire. The Illini are No. 12 in the 2014 247Sports Big Ten recruiting rankings.
Beckman has signed only one 4-star recruit in his past two recruiting classes, plus he has yet to expand Illinois' recruiting profile. The clock may be ticking on Beckman in Champaign.
10. Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Jerry Kill came to Minnesota from Northern Illinois in December of 2010. He's known as a bright offensive mind, but he's struggled to bring in good talent.
Since Kill took over, Minnesota has never finished higher than 11th in the 247Sports Big Ten recruiting rankings. However, Kill appears to be finding his recruiting groove these days, as he has 4-star running back Jeff Jones committed, while also being in the hunt for a few more 4-star recruits.
9. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Kirk Ferentz is one of the most respected coaches in all of football. He's been at Iowa since 1999, and has won two Big Ten titles.
However, the Hawkeyes have never risen to new heights on the recruiting trail. Ferentz doesn't hunt big game often, as it seems he settles on prospects who are in Iowa's tier. His formula has led to a solid amount of winning, but this list is about recruiting.
Iowa is currently 48th in the 247Sports recruiting rankings.
8. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Indiana has never been a football school, and it never will. Men's basketball will always be king in Bloomington, but that hasn't stopped Kevin Wilson from trying.
The results on the field haven't been overwhelming, but Wilson is a better recruiter than many realize.
7. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Due to high academic standards, recruiting at Northwestern can be challenging. However, Pat Fitzgerald appears to have found a way to bring in good talent without sacrificing the program's integrity.
However, this year may be Fitzgerald's best class ever. He has four 4-star prospects in his 2014 class, as cornerback Parrker Westphal, defensive end/tight end Garrett Dickerson, running back Justin Jackson and quarterback Clayton Thorson are all headed to Northwestern.
6. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mark Dantonio has been the head coach at Michigan State since the 2007 season. The Spartans have never been one of the elite recruiting schools under Dantonio's guidance, but they have signed good talent.
Michigan State is No. 5 in the 2014 247Sports Big Ten recruiting rankings. The highest it has finished under Dantonio is No. 4 in 2010. There's a reason why the Spartans contend for Big Ten titles almost every year.
5. Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
After just several weeks on the job in 2013, Gary Andersen signed a solid 20-man class that quietly possessed impressive talent.
This year, he has the No. 27 class in the country, according to the 247Sports recruiting rankings. Andersen has acquired 25 total commitments, with four being 4-star recruits.
He hasn't changed much in Madison, but it appears Andersen is raising the Badgers' recruiting profile.
4. Bo Pelini, Nebraska
It is looking more and more like Bo Pelini will return to Nebraska next season as head coach. Although times have been rough, the Cornhuskers have been a solid recruiting program since he took over in 2008.
3. Bill O'Brien, Penn State
Hired in January of 2012, Bill O'Brien has quickly become one of the best recruiting head coaches in the Big Ten.
What makes his skills even more remarkable is that he has done a great job on the recruiting trail while constantly and simultaneously battling sanctions and whispers about him going back to the NFL.
O'Brien signed the No. 4 class in the Big Ten in 2013, which alone should tell you how exceptional his recruiting skills are. Many said it was a fluke, so all O'Brien has done this year is construct the No. 18 class in the country, per 247Sports' recruiting rankings.
2. Brady Hoke, Michigan
There's no denying how well he's done on the trail—all you have to do is look at the Wolverines' current roster and recruiting class to see for yourself.
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Without question, the head coach in the Big Ten with the best recruiting skills is Urban Meyer. The leader of the Buckeyes is one of the best the game has seen.