Big Ten: Jacoby Brissett

Valentine's Day is about love, but it's also about heartbreak.

Every Big Ten team has felt a little heartbreak from time to time, whether it's a coach leaving for another position, a recruit choosing another college destination or key players veering off track.

Here are some heartbreakers for Big Ten squads:

1. Ohio State's Tat 5: Quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four of his teammates broke some Buckeye fans' hearts by selling memorabilia, including Big Ten championship rings and Gold Pants, for cash and tattoos. The "Tat 5" helped themselves with their Sugar Bowl performances and their pledge to return for their senior seasons, but their absence for the first part of the 2011 season could sting.

2. Brent Pease, Jerry Montgomery, Corey Raymond and Jemal Singleton: All four assistants joined Kevin Wilson's new staff at Indiana but soon bolted for other jobs. Montgomery (Michigan) and Raymond (Nebraska) left for other posts within the Big Ten. Ouch.

3. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Adam Robinson: Iowa's all-time leading receiver and top running back the past two seasons both missed the Insight Bowl following December arrests. DJK, who had an extremely productive career in Iowa City, is trying to restore his rep before the NFL draft. Robinson wants another chance at Iowa but right now it looks like a long shot.

4. Tate Forcier: After an encouraging season on the field, the Michigan backup quarterback was ruled academically ineligible right before the Gator Bowl. It proved to be the end for Forcier, who last week transferred to Miami.

5. Jacoby Brissett: Wisconsin held a scholarship spot for the quarterback recruit, but he didn't even have the Badgers in his final two choices (Miami and Florida). Brissett ended up signing with the Gators.

Big Ten lunch links

February, 7, 2011
Hope you're enjoying your Super Bowl hangover.

Big Ten lunch links

February, 4, 2011
Have a great weekend.

Wisconsin recruiting analysis

February, 3, 2011

The class

Recruits: 20 (all high school seniors, one player enrolled early)

Top prospects: A.J. Jordan is a four-star prospect ranked by ESPN Recruiting as the nation's No. 40 receiver. The Badgers snared another talented running back in Melvin Gordon, who looks to follow in the footsteps of standout freshmen like James White and P.J. Hill. Defensive end Jesse Hayes and linebacker Jake Keefer should provide depth on defense.

Needs met: The Badgers will lose a lot in the secondary after 2011, and they addressed the area by signing five defensive backs. They also bolstered their pass-catching/blocking spots with two wide receivers and four tight ends. The absence of a quarterback in this class could hurt Wisconsin if Jacoby Brissett decides to sign elsewhere.

Analysis: Although Wisconsin didn't make a huge splash toward the end of the recruiting cycle, it brings in a decent class that addresses areas like the secondary. The Badgers collected some solid in-state prospects including Gordon, who originally committed to Iowa. It's fair to have expected a little more from Wisconsin after a Rose Bowl appearance, but Bret Bielema and his staff have shown they can develop players very well.

ESPN Recruiting grade: C+
Wisconsin's 2011 recruiting class is now official as the Badgers signed 20 scholarship players and eight walk-ons Wednesday.

Bret Bielema's class includes nine scholarship players from within the state. All eight walk-ons hail from Wisconsin.

There are 11 offensive players and nine defensive players.

Here's the position breakdown:

DL: 2
TE: 4
OL: 2
DB: 3
LB: 4
RB: 1
WR: 4

Some notes:
  • Wisconsin is truly a haven for tight ends. I don't have time to review every FBS recruiting class, but I'd be stunned if there's another that includes four tight ends.
  • Linebacker Derek Watt is the younger brother of former Badgers star defensive end J.J. Watt. The younger Watt originally committed to Northwestern before making the switch.
  • The Badgers' recruiting might not be done yet as they're holding two open scholarships for 2011, one that presumably would go to quarterback Jacoby Brissett if he picks UW.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema announced the arrival of 20 new scholarship players Wednesday, but the team's recruiting might not be done yet.

The Badgers have two open scholarships for 2011, and one will go to quarterback Jacoby Brissett if he decides to attend the school. Brissett will announce his college choice Friday. He's deciding between Wisconsin, Miami and Washington, and most of the buzz suggests he's leaning toward the U.

Wisconsin current class doesn't include a scholarship quarterback, and the team certainly could use one. The 6-4, 220-pound Brissett is a three-star recruit and rates as the nation's No. 25 quarterback according to ESPN Recruiting.

Big Ten lunch links

January, 31, 2011
All the news that fits I link.

Big Ten recruiting Q&A: Part II

January, 27, 2011
We're a few hours closer to National Signing Day, and here's the second half of my interview with Scouts Inc. recruiting coordinator Craig Haubert.

Also check out Part I.

What about teams like Wisconsin and Iowa? Are there geographical ceilings for them or can they reach the level where Nebraska is right now? What's a fair barometer?

Craig Haubert: It's harder for them because there's only so much they can do in state and they always do well in state. But they always find ways to produce because they find guys who fit their system. Wisconsin's in an interesting situation. Here's a team that you would think has a ceiling, and I don't know if they'll ever be to a level of what a Michigan or an Ohio State or an a Penn State can be, but they've got a chance to close [this year's class] pretty decently. They're down in Alabama [recruiting] Spencer Region, who's got an [ESPN 150] card. They remain in the mix for the two kids out of Florida, quarterback Jacoby Brissett and [linebacker] Curt Maggitt. They've got a good shot at Region. Wisconsin is a program that's doing well, they went to a Rose Bowl, so they've got a chance here in the next year or two, if they keep winning, to push that ceiling higher. If they can land one of those kids out of Florida and go to Alabama and land a guard, now they've got some small inroads into places that maybe Wisconsin didn't have. So they can push the ceiling.

Iowa has proved it before. You go back to 2005, they landed a big class. They were all over it down the stretch landing guys. Here they are in the hunt for Cyrus Kouandjio. I don't think they're going to get him, but here's a guy who's a top 5 player in the country and they've remained in his top schools throughout.

Those are two programs, I think they do have ceilings. It would be hard for them to ever get to a point where they maybe consistently recruit as well as Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State potentially can, but Iowa has proved before that it can have classes and flashes where it exceeds expectations, and Wisconsin's starting to get to that point. They can put together runs where they can get some of those classes that are top 15, top 20.

What have you seen so far from the Big Ten's other two new coaches, Kevin Wilson at Indiana and Jerry Kill at Minnesota?

CH: The buzz around Wilson's been real good. Indiana is one of those jobs where expectations need to be tempered, but I also think it's a program that shouldn't be nearly as bad as it has been. There's no reason for Indiana to make bowl appearances as frequently as Vanderbilt. So some new energy, a guy who's come in from a big-time program having a lot of success, he's bringing some winning ways. It's just a matter of getting the guys. As we've been looking at the rankings and preparing for signing day, they're a team people are really excited about, because it's a great class for Indiana. But when push comes to shove, right now they're still staring down the barrel of finishing last. What does that say when a class that has people excited can still finish 12th? I don't know what the fix is, but they've got to get to a point where they've got to start beating Purdue for guys and start beating Illinois for guys and make the small steps uphill. Of all the Big Ten teams, he's got the biggest challenge.

You go to Minnesota, they didn't win, but [Tim] Brewster didn't recruit badly. Jerry Kill's coming into a situation where he's very familiar with the Midwest and won at a school [Northern Illinois] where it's a little tougher to win. He's heading into a situation that's a little more favorable than the situation at Indiana. There's slightly more momentum there on the recruiting trail. Plus, they've got a new stadium to sell. Minnesota under Brewster was very active in Texas and those types of places. I would expect Jerry Kill to have a little bit more success, at least in the initial going, than Wilson would at Indiana.

Of those bottom-rated four -- Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Northwestern -- which program is the closest to boosting its profile in recruiting?

CH: Right now, Northwestern is the one doing the best. I would put them at the top right now, but there's no reason any of those other three can't get there. The energy that Pat Fitzgerald is bringing, they're in the best position of those four schools to start to move more in the middle of the pack than the bottom of the pack.