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Thursday, January 27, 2011
How All-Big Ten team ranked as recruits

By Adam Rittenberg

I'm following the excellent lead of colleague David Ubben and connecting present to past with this post.

Mikel Leshoure
Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure was an unranked recruit coming out of high school.
As many of you know, I look at most recruiting rankings with skeptical eyes. Sure, a portion of highly rated incoming recruits meet expectations, but many do not. Recruiting matters, but coaching and development matters more, especially in a league like the Big Ten.

National Signing Day is just around the corner, so to get ready, let's take a look at my 2010 All-Big Ten team and how the players ranked as recruits.

I used ESPN Recruiting rankings, which listed several players at different positions coming out of high school. Here's a look at the star grading.

OFFENSE

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan --ESPNU 150 selection, four stars, No. 7 athlete, No. 101 overall player in 2009 class
RB: Mikel Leshoure, Illinois -- Unranked in 2008 class
RB: Edwin Baker, Michigan State -- ESPNU 150 selection, four stars, No. 11 running back, No. 112 overall player in 2009 class
WR: Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State -- Two stars, No. 168 receiver in 2007 class
WR: Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern -- Two stars, No. 187 receiver in 2008 class
TE: Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin -- ESPNU 150 selection, four stars, No. 16 wide receiver, No. 107 overall player in 2006 class
C: David Molk, Michigan -- Three stars, No. 6 center in 2008 class
T: Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin -- Unranked in 2006 class
T: Mike Adams, Ohio State -- ESPNU 150 selection, four stars, No. 8 offensive tackle, No. 88 overall player in 2008 class
G: John Moffitt, Wisconsin -- Unranked in 2006 class
G: Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State -- ESPNU 150 selection, three stars, No. 4 center, No. 131 overall player in 2007 class

DEFENSE

DL: Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue -- Two stars, No. 72 defensive end in 2007 class
DL: J.J. Watt, Wisconsin -- One star, No. 172 defensive end in 2007 class (signed with Central Michigan)
DT: Adrian Clayborn, Iowa -- Four stars, No. 9 inside linebacker in 2006 class
DL: Corey Liuget, Illinois -- Three stars, No. 17 defensive end in 2008 class
LB: Greg Jones, Michigan State -- Two stars, No. 101 defensive end in 2007 class
LB: Martez Wilson, Illinois -- ESPNU 150 selection, five stars, No. 1 defensive end, No. 5 overall player in 2007 class
LB: Brian Rolle, Ohio State -- One star, No. 110 inside linebacker in 2007 class
DB: Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State -- Two stars, No. 73 cornerback in 2006 class
DB: Tyler Sash, Iowa -- Two stars, No. 165 running back in 2007 class
DB: Jermale Hines, Ohio State -- Three stars, No. 9 outside linebacker in 2007 class
DB: Ricardo Allen, Purdue -- Three stars, No. 50 cornerback in 2010 class

SPECIALISTS

K: Derek Dimke, Illinois -- Unranked in 2008 class
P: Aaron Bates, Michigan State -- Unranked in 2007 class
KR: Troy Stoudermire, Minnesota -- Three stars, No. 44 athlete in 2008 class
PR: Keshawn Martin, Michigan State -- Unranked in 2008 class

There certainly were a lot of steals throughout the Big Ten, and Illinois' Leshoure might have been the biggest one of all. Wisconsin did an incredible job of developing players like Carimi, Moffitt and Watt. Although Adams came in with plenty of hype, Ohio State's other selections all exceeded expectations. Michigan State certainly got a lot out of Jones, one of the Big Ten's most productive defenders in recent memory.