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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Maryland, Rutgers recruiting for B1G future

By Adam Rittenberg

Wide receiver Taivon Jacobs on Wednesday signed with Maryland instead of Ohio State, the school where he originally committed. But Jacobs will be seeing the Buckeyes quite a bit in the future.

Like his fellow Maryland signees, Jacobs will play most or all of his career in the Big Ten, the league the Terrapins will join in 2014. The same holds true for Rutgers' 2013 recruiting class, as the Scarlet Knights are headed to Big Ten country following the 2013 season. Unless Wednesday's signees see the field this coming fall, they'll all be Big Ten players.

Both Maryland and Rutgers essentially are recruiting for the Big Ten. How did their future home impact their 2013 classes? I reached out to bloggers Heather Dinich (ACC) and Andrea Adelson (Big East/ACC) for some insight.

Dinich on Maryland

The minute Maryland’s move to the Big Ten became official, coach Randy Edsall changed his recruiting philosophy.

"We'll get into Ohio more, get into Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, those areas," Edsall told the Washington Times in November. "I think because of the Big Ten Network, the exposure you're going get might even help us in other areas, and we can go and look at some of the kids and say, "This is what we have to offer.'"

The offer to play in the Big Ten in 2014 might have helped Edsall in his own backyard in 2013.

If you look at Maryland’s current class, it looks like a typical Terps recruiting class – comprised mainly of athletes from the Washington, D.C. and Maryland area. Of the 20 commits in Edsall’s 2013 class, 12 are from D.C. or Maryland – including former Ohio State commit Taivon Jacobs, a Forestville, Md., native who flipped to the Terps earlier today.

The biggest difference in this Big Ten-to-be class is not where they're from, it's where they’re ranked. With five four-star recruits, it's one of Maryland’s best classes in recent years. Whether or not the pending move to the Big Ten played a role that is up to each individual recruit, but Edsall didn’t have to travel far this year to recruit players for the program’s eventual move.

Adelson on Rutgers

Rutgers is going to wind up with the top recruiting class in the Big East once again.

But Rutgers is not recruiting for the Big East anymore. It is recruiting for the Big Ten, where it hopes to begin play in 2014. So the obvious question is whether or not this class has laid a strong enough foundation for the program moving forward. We will not know the answer for quite some time.

What we do know: this is a good class. Not a great class. And certainly not a home-run class, which is what Rutgers got with its Top 25 group in 2012. Several top in-state prospects got away -- only 11 in the class are from New Jersey.

Rutgers lost out on a few guys on Signing Day, too -- three-star linebacker Skai Moore chose South Carolina; New Jersey native Damon Mitchell, a three-star athlete, signed with Arkansas.

But the Scarlet Knights also picked up two ESPN 300 prospects -- quarterback Chris Laviano and athlete Nadir Barnwell, both already enrolled. In all, they got four four-star athletes, slightly fewer than the six who signed in 2012.

Still, Rutgers currently ranks No. 36 in the ESPN Recruiting Nation class rankings. That would place the Scarlet Knights No. 7 in the Big Ten.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said during his Signing Day news conference that the recruiting philosophy this year did not change with the impending move to the Big Ten. The program continues to emphasize recruiting the Northeast and Florida. Of the 22 players signed this year, 21 are from that area.

What changed was having certainty. No more questions about conference stability.

"What the Big Ten does for us is it eliminates questions," Flood said. "Before that, I think we had to answer some questions about what was going to happen in the future. All of those questions have been eliminated. We're going to be playing in the premier athletic and academic conference in all of college sports. We couldn't be more excited about doing that. It has not changed our approach, but what it has done is it has kind of streamlined some of the questions that we have had to answer when you're getting to know a recruit."