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Monday, June 9, 2014
Top Big Ten recruiters

By Jeremy Crabtree

Want to dominate on the recruiting trail in Big Ten territory? You better be long in experience because the conference’s best have lengthy track records that often stretch for more than a decade. These rankings are dominated by three Ohio State assistants, which might explain why the Buckeyes always manage to reel in plenty of ESPN 300 prospects.

1. Larry Johnson
Assistant head coach/defensive line coach, Ohio State
What he’s done
: Johnson made a name for himself as one of the best recruiters in the country for 18 years at Penn State, and there just isn’t enough room to list his recruiting conquests over the years. Now that he’s recruiting at Ohio State, expect more of the same -- maybe even more success with the ability to recruit to the Buckeye brand.

2. Mark Staten
Recruiting coordinator/offensive line coach, Michigan State
What he’s done
: Staten’s name at No. 2 is going to surprise a lot of folks because he doesn’t always land big-name, five-star recruits, but few recruiters are respected by their peers more than Staten. As Michigan State’s recruiting coordinator, Staten has played a critical role in the Spartans’ success over the past seven seasons.

3. Mike Locksley
Offensive coordinator, Maryland
What he’s done
: For almost 20 years now, Locksley has been recruiting the East Coast -- especially the Washington, D.C., area -- better than any other coach out there. He’s had tremendous success while at Maryland, Florida and Illinois and is back with the Terps. He now has the Big Ten move to entice recruits with, as well.

4. Ed Warinner
Offensive line coach, Ohio State
What he’s done
: Few work harder than Warinner on the recruiting trail. Maybe that’s because he knows how to recruit with nontraditional powers after previous stops at Akron, Army, Air Force, Kansas and Illinois. After working at Notre Dame and now Ohio State, he’s used that work ethic to become one of the nation’s elite.

5. Kerry Coombs
Cornerbacks coach, Ohio State
What he’s done
: As the head coach at Colerain High School in Cincinnati for 16 years, Coombs saw what it took to be a good recruiter and applied that experience to the Bearcats' staff when he was hired at Cincinnati in 2007. Seven years later, he’s become one of the Big Ten’s best recruiters.

Honorable mention: Tim Beck, Nebraska; Adam Cushing, Northwestern; Stan Drayton, Ohio State; John Garrison, Nebraska; William Inge, Indiana; Curt Mallory, Michigan; Greg Mattison, Michigan; Reese Morgan, Iowa; Sean Spencer, Penn State; Ben Strickland, Wisconsin.