February 14, 2007

Rivals.com top 10 Big Ten recruiters

The Big Ten recruiting season was dominated by three teams – Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois.

Ron English, the Rivals.com Big Ten recruiter of the year, helped Michigan sign the top class in the league. Scot Loeffler also came up big for the Wolverines.

Illinois made plenty of nationally this recruiting season, so it's no surprise to see two Illini coaches make the list of the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten.

Big Ten 2007 Recruiter of the Year
Ron English, Michigan

Two words – Donovan Warren. English, Michigan's defensive coordinator, helped lock down one of the biggest recruiting shockers of the year when he pulled the five-star Warren away from USC's back yard. English also landed four-star safety Michael Williams, Zion Babb and Artis Chambers. The Wolverines landed several prospects from California, and the players English signed averaged 3.75 stars. Michigan finished with the nation's No. 12 recruiting class and the top class in the Big Ten largely because of English's great haul.

The rest of the top 10, in alphabetical order
Tim Beckman, Ohio State

Ohio State didn't have many scholarships to offer, so it was important for the Buckeyes sign quality players. Beckman, Ohio State's cornerback coach, signed five players that were all ranked as four-star players on defense. Rivals100 defensive back Eugene Clifford played at Cincinnati Colerain, a school that usually sends its best players to Michigan. Beckman also went to Florida to pull in monster linebacker Brian Rolle of Immokalee. Throw in Solomon Thomas, Nate Oliver and Jermale Hines, and Beckman definitely ranks among the best in the Big Ten.
Tom Bradley, Penn State

Bradley, Penn State's defensive coordinator and secondary coach, makes the list this season after landing four players that averaged 3.5 stars. The headliners for Bradley were four-star defensive back Nick Sukay and four-star offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski. Three-star receivers Jon Ditto and Derek Moye were also big additions. Penn State definitely needed to stockpile talent at the receiver spot, and Bradley helped make that happen this season.
Adam Cushing, Northwestern

Cushing, the running backs coach for the Wildcats, was responsible for signees with an average star rating of 2.83. Cushing did a nice job in Ohio, landing four of the Wildcats' biggest recruits in the class – running back Jordan Mabin, offensive lineman Ben Burkett, defensive end Vincent Browne and defensive back David Arnold. Mabin, Browne and Arnold have the potential to be superstars early for the Wildcats. Cushing also dipped into Pennsylvania to grab quarterback Dan Persa.
Mike Locksley, Illinois

The Illini produced its best recruiting class in years, and Locksley's efforts were a big reason for that. Illinois' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Locksley signed five players with an average star rating of 3.6. He pulled in five-star receiver Arrelious Benn out of Washington, D.C., and he was also able to lock up Nathan Bussey, Anthony Morris, Ian Thomas and assisted on Craig Wilson. Locksley is a repeat selection as one of Rivals.com's top 25 recruiters in the nation. He helped the Illini land the No. 17 class in the country.
Scot Loeffler, Michigan

Loeffler did something few people do – pull the top player out of Texas. Loeffler lured Ryan Mallett away from Mack Brown, Bob Stoops and Dennis Franchione. Landing the rocket-armed quarterback from Texarkana, Texas, is enough to merit putting Loeffler on the top 10 list for Big Ten recruiters. When you add Rivals100 receiver Toney Clemons to Loeffler's résumé, his spot on this list is definitely justified. Loeffler did only land two players, but it was a great pair. Loeffler's pledges averaged 4.5 stars and were key in helping the Wolverines land the top class in the Big Ten.
Eric Johnson, Iowa

Johnson, the Hawkeyes' recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, is considered one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the Big Ten region. He was considered the Hawkeyes' ace recruiter, and lured quality players from Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota. Johnson was the lead recruiter in helping the Hawkeyes sign quarterback Marvin McNutt out of Missouri, tight end Christian Ballard out of Kansas and defensive end Broderick Binns out of Minnesota. Johnson averaged 3.33 stars for his three commitments, but he also played a big role as the recruiting coordinator. Iowa finished with the nation's No. 27 class.
Henry Mason, Wisconsin

Mason, the Badgers' receivers coach, pulled in six players this season with an average star rating of 3.5. He did a nice job locally, and was the key recruiter for Rivals100 running back John Clay. Mason also pulled in four-star receiver Nick Toon, the son of former NFL great Al Toon. Mason dipped into Ohio and pulled out Kyle Jefferson and Otis Merrill. He also went to Michigan to land James Stallons, a very talented quarterback.
Reggie Mitchell, Illinois

Mitchell - Illinois' recruiting coordinator - did a wonderful job and rivaled Locksley as the top recruiter on the Illini staff. Mitchell, Illinois' assistant head coach and running backs coach, landed five-star defensive end Martez Wilson out of Chicago Simeon. He also went to California to sign blue-chip junior college running back Daniel Dufrene. Back in Chicago, the additions of Darius Purcell and Marcus Thomas were also big. Mitchell averaged 3.25 stars per signing and helped the Illini finish with the nation's No. 17 class.
Dan Roushar, Michigan State

Making a transition to a new school is never easy. Making a transition to a new school a little more than a month before Signing Day is extremely difficult. Despite the circumstances, Roushar signed several quality recruits. Roushar pulled in three-star running back Andre Anderson out of Barrington, Ill. Anderson had been previously committed to Minnesota. Roushar also was able to land fast-rising offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. out of Chicago. While his signees only averaged 2.67 stars, Roushar put his stamp on this Michigan State class.

-- Recruiters profiles by Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Jeremy Crabtree.

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