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Monday, January 18, 2010
Will the Big Ten land a top 25 recruit?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Regular readers of this blog know that I typically treat recruiting rankings with a raised eyebrow. I've seen too many can't-miss prospects flame out and too many nobodies become stars.

The Big Ten also features several of the country's best player development programs, so success in this league isn't always tied to highly rated recruits.

That said, it's somewhat surprising to review the latest ESPNU 150 list and see none of the top 30 prospects headed to Big Ten teams. In fact, you need to scroll all the way to No. 42 to find a Big Ten commit (defensive end William Gholston, Michigan State).

Last year's recruiting wasn't much different, as the Big Ten had only one top top 25 recruit (Ohio State RB Jaamal Berry) and three top 50 prospects -- Berry, Ohio State LB Dorian Bell and Michigan DE/LB Craig Roh -- in the ESPNU 150.

As National Signing Day approaches, it's safe to wonder whether the Big Ten can land a big name.

Penn State seemed to have a decent shot at landing running back Marcus Lattimore (No. 19 in the ESPNU 15), especially with Joe Paterno preparing for a home visit, but the South Carolina native dropped the Nittany Lions from his final choices.

The good news for the Big Ten is two top 10 prospects remain uncommitted, and both live in Big Ten territory. Linebacker Jordan Hicks (No. 4 overall) from West Chester, Ohio, is deciding between Ohio State, Florida and Texas. Ohio State is also in the mix for offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson from St. Paul, Minn. Henderson, ranked No. 8 in the ESPNU 150, also is considering Florida, USC, Notre Dame, Miami and Big Ten members Iowa and Minnesota.

Hicks and Henderson would be huge boosts to Big Ten teams, and it'll be important to keep at least one close to home.