Big Ten: Best closers 09
September, 8, 2009
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The games have finally started in the Big Ten, but recruiting season never ends. Like every league, the Big Ten boasts its share of ace recruiters, but only a select few are adept at getting top prospects to say yes.
Here's a look at the Big Ten's top closers in recruiting:
1. Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson -- Johnson is the biggest reason why Penn State always reloads on defense and has elevated its overall recruiting since 2008. He can get pretty much whomever he wants from Maryland, and his commitments include current linebacker Navorro Bowman, former wide receiver Derrick Williams and former defensive end Aaron Maybin, the first pick from the Big Ten in the 2009 NFL draft.
2. Illinois head coach Ron Zook -- He might not always get the best out of his players (read: Saturday's game against Missouri), but Zook always brings in top talent. Illinois' inconsistent history hasn't stopped Zook from landing loads of elite prospects, especially from Chicago and Washington D.C. Losing top assistant Mike Locksley certainly stings, but Zook will continue to get after it on the recruiting trail.
3. Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell -- A head coach in the near future, Fickell has helped Ohio State consistently bring in top 5 recruiting classes. He lured top defensive prospects Corey Brown and Dorian Bell in the 2009 class and has landed several current defensive starters, including safety Kurt Coleman and defensive end Thaddeus Gibson. Fickell's youth and energy helps him stand out on a staff of good recruiters.
4. Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez -- Despite a 3-9 season in 2008, Rodriguez still brought in a top 15 recruiting class in February and got off to a quick start for 2010, landing commitments from standout quarterback Devin Gardner and others. Rodriguez's style might not be for everyone, including some of Lloyd Carr's recruits, but he connects with a certain type of player and should have Michigan back near the top of the Big Ten soon.
5. Michigan State running backs coach Dan Enos -- Enos has reestablished Michigan State as a recruiting force in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, plucking prospects like Edwin Baker and Fred Smith from the Motown area. Mark Dantonio wants to build his program primarily with local and regional talent, and Enos is leading the charge in Michigan's largest city.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
10:13 4th Qtr North Carolina State 34 UCF 20 Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State