Today's links: Writers assess Signing Day

Welcome to Signing Day 2013! It’s the day every coach fills every need in a recruiting class that’s loaded with promising prospects with big futures. Smiles abound and big dreams are encouraged. So, let’s begin Wednesday’s links there. How did Ohio State’s highly ranked recruiting class come together? Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tells you right here.

One thing of note about this decorated group is it came from across the nation, headed by stud linebacker Mike Mitchell and running back Dontre Wilson who both are from Texas. Urban Meyer cast a wide net in assembling another boffo class. Be afraid, Big Ten. Be very afraid.

***

Good news, Michigan fans: Brady Hoke’s recruiting is on par with previous national champions, says Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.

Meinke says the past seven national champions all have something in common: Each featured at least two recruiting classes in the previous four years that ranked among the top seven nationally, according to Rivals. And Michigan appears to be on the verge of joining that club. So, put two and two together, and you have Wolverine fans salivating.

Now, not all news from Ann Arbor was terrific today, as running back Fitz Toussaint will miss spring drills recovering from a leg injury. But he’s expected to make a full recovery by the fall—and that’s all that really matters.

***

Wisconsin scored a big coup in landing JC quarterback Tanner McEvoy. The Badgers, who beat out Florida for his signature, have the services of McEvoy for three years after he began his career at South Carolina before transferring to a JC. The kid could be very special.

***

Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette offers a detailed look at the Iowa signing class.

As Nebraska fans wait for the final letters-of-intent to roll in, Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald assessed the Cornhusker class of recruitsOh, it’s a nice-looking haul for a Nebraska program that continues to build toward big things under Bo Pelini.

***

Lansing State Journal writers break down the Michigan State class in this video. The recruit who could have the quickest impact? Delton Williams.

***

Don’t wanna put a damper on your Signing Day party, but you should read this piece from David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News on the fallacy and burden of ratings on recruits.

What rankles Jones the most? The false sense of importance 17-year-olds acquire from being highly rated in the first place. And that can have consequences once they encounter both teammates and opponents with greater diligence and conviction.

***

Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette looks back at Illinois’ top signee each year dating back to 2003. Back in 2006, Juice Williams was rated the Illini’s top “get,” ahead of such future national quarterbacking luminaries as Sam Bradford and Colin Kaepernick.

***

This isn’t recruiting oriented but still is interesting. Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal-Courier obtained the salaries for Darrell Hazell’s new staff. He had $2.1 million to spend to assemble the staff, which still needs a defensive line coach and special teams/ tight ends coach.

The top-paid assistants are offensive coordinator John Shoop ($400K) and defensive coordinator Greg Hudson ($395K). Carmin says the highest-paid member of Danny Hope’s staff was offensive coordinator Gary Nord ($275,000). Defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar earned $250,000.

***

Amid all this football talk, there was a big hoop game played last night, with Ohio State falling in overtime at Michigan. It was one of the top games of the Big Ten season thus far. Hope you saw it. And Big Ten Nation still wonders if a flagrant foul should have been called late on Aaron Craft after he clubbed Glenn Robinson III—and if Craft was fouled on his last shot. Fascinating.

***

Michigan State is in the mix for the Big Ten title. Up next, a visit from Minnesota tonight. This is a shot for the Spartans to avenge that loss at Minnesota on New Year’s Eve. Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe will need a big game for the Gophers tonight. But he isn’t getting enough touches, so says Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. And he needs to score when he does touch the ball.

Fuller points out that Mbakwe hasn’t scored in double figures for three straight games while shooting 7 for 16 from the field. Also, he is shooting 52 percent from the free-throw line in Big Ten play.

***

Wisconsin has a big game vs. Iowa tonight, but don’t mention the Badgers’ three-game losing skid to the Hawkeyes.

It would help Wisconsin tonight if Mike Bruesewitz can play well through a bothersome right leg that hasn’t been right all season.

The Badgers will need Bruesewitz’s defensive effort vs. an offensively talented Hawkeye squad. An Iowa win would greatly enhance their sagging NCAA dreams. But we all know how difficult it is to win in the Kohl Center.

***

Nebraska coach Tim Miles has posted a “help wanted” sign, as he searches for big men. Join the club, coach. Who doesn’t want/need a big man? I mean, a GOOD big man.

Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald says the two biggest departures size-wise at season’s end will be 6-10, 234-pound forward Brandon Ubel, who has started 79 games, and 6-11, 340-pound center Andre Almeida with 20 starts. Nebraska currently has just two scholarship players for next year taller than 6-7.

***

Illinois coach John Groce has a simple message for his team: Play defense, or take a seat. Brandon Paul has felt the wrath of Groce, not starting the Wisconsin game because of his spotty defense. And Paul may not start vs. Indiana on Thursday, given his defensive effort vs. the Badgers.

***

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Yes, it seems like every coach fills every need.

My take: More proof of why the finish to the hoop season is gonna be great!

My take: No rest for the weary gotta push ahead. Incredible.

My take: Yes, but you know there will be an upset along the way.

My take: Ah, young people say fun things.

My take: What you say is true, but we know it doesn’t always work that way.

My take: I think Pete is correct, but it’s gonna be tough.

My take: Yes, Fax machines seem so 1980s.

My take: Chambers will get Penn State on track soon. He has too many good recruiting connections in the East.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.

Find out more about:

4 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (4 Comments)
Glenn on 2/6/2013 @ 1:56pm EDT Said:

IU had their best recruiting class ever and not one mention of them here…pathetic..

    BTN.com staff on 2/6/2013 @ 2:00pm EDT Said:

    Glenn, this was a first pass at the headlines from very early this morning. We’re covering ALLL of the teams on today’s TV show and will have more video posted here later.

Glenn on 2/6/2013 @ 2:09pm EDT Said:

thanks…I know they are not know for their football but Wilson is building something pretty good there and the recruiting class was better than a bunch of other Big 10 schools!

joe on 2/6/2013 @ 5:41pm EDT Said:

Wait… IU has a football team?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Have a question for BTN Customer Service? Please e-mail us here