With 10 years now in the ESPN recruiting database, the Big Ten reporting crew is looking back at some of the highs and lows on the trail over the last decade heading into national signing day on Wednesday. Up next: A look back at the first five years.
Best Big Ten class from 2006-2010: Ohio State in 2009
The Buckeyes might have made a bigger splash in the rankings and landed a higher-profile player the previous year when Terrelle Pryor headlined Jim Tressel’s talent bunch. But what Ohio State lacked in flash in 2009, it more than made up for by loading up on future all-conference performers, NFL players and a few guys who would ultimately play pivotal roles in the transition from Tressel and the NCAA investigation to Urban Meyer’s first season.
Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley and Reid Fragel gave the Buckeyes a trio of offensive linemen who would prove invaluable to Meyer when he arrived, as they paved the way for running back Carlos Hyde (who signed initially in 2009 before spending year in military school and actually counting in 2010). Defensive lineman John Simon became one of the most feared pass-rushers and respected leaders in school history, and Zach Boren would left his mark thanks to his versatility by playing on both sides of the ball and filling a significant void at linebacker during his final season with the program.
Ohio State’s run of successful quarterbacks also includes the 2009 class, which included heralded backup Kenny Guiton, who in some ways created the mold of off-the-bench sensation for the Buckeyes. There might be classes with more highly-rated players, including at least one other from Ohio State, but in many ways the 2009 group’s value looks even better in hindsight.
Honorable mentions: 2010 Michigan State (DE William Gholston, LB Max Bullough, WR Tony Lippett); 2009 Michigan (QB Denard Robinson, OT Taylor Lewan, WR Jeremy Gallon); 2006 Penn State (LB Navorro Bowman, DE Aaron Maybin, RB Evan Royster).