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Thursday, February 5, 2009
Big Ten in recruiting scorecard, final rankings

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It's time to recap national signing day for the Big Ten, and let's begin with the recruiting scorecard.

The Big Ten finished seventh nationally among conferences in total commits with 189, likely the result of several smallish classes (Iowa, Northwestern, Indiana) and the scarcity of junior college players. It's interesting to see how few jucos (3) came to the Big Ten compared with some of the other BCS conferences (SEC had 40, Big 12 and Pac-10 both had 29).

As far as ESPNU 150 commits, the Big Ten finished third behind the SEC and ACC with 19 players, with Ohio State and Michigan each landing seven prospects.

Aside from Michigan, the final Scouts Inc. top 25 recruiting rankings weren't kind to the Big Ten.

Ohio State fell five spots to No. 9, the result of cornerback/running back Justin Green switching to Illinois and some questionable lower signees. I would point out, though, that several of Ohio State's recent superstars (James Laurinaitis, Malcolm Jenkins) didn't arrive with many accolades.

Michigan moved up four spots to No. 10 after picking up several key players on signing day, namely wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes and quarterback Denard Robinson. Penn State dropped a spot to No. 16 after a mostly quiet signing day highlighted by the addition of wide receiver Justin Brown.

Both Michigan State and Illinois fell out of the rankings after placing Nos. 21 and 22 on Tuesday. Considering the Spartans had no late decommitments and answered several needs, it was a surprise to see them drop out. Illinois had a wild signing day in which it lost wideout Kraig Appleton, held onto wideout Terry Hawthorne and added Green, but Ron Zook's class doesn't quite match up with the last two years.

Scouts Inc. also graded the Big Ten classes, with both Ohio State and Michigan receiving A-minuses for their classes. Wisconsin might have moved past Minnesota by landing Appleton, though the Gophers' late signing of Michael Carter shouldn't be discounted. Michigan State got a good review for its class, while Purdue, Iowa and Indiana rounded out the bottom.

Ohio State running back Jaamal Berry is among the Top 10 instant-impact prospects selected by Scouts Inc. Berry will compete for the starting running back spot vacated by Chris "Beanie" Wells.