The dust has settled on National Signing Day. Have you recovered from the frenzy? Ohio State was the big winner. No surprise. Urban Meyer has loads of momentum and mojo. In fact, he’s three for three when it comes to winning Big Ten recruiting titles. Now, he just needs to win his first on-field championship. That may be coming this fall.
The cool thing about Meyer: He admits recruiting rankings matter to him. Kinda nice to see a coach publicly say that. And know this: No one finishes like the “Urbanator.” He’s the ultimate deal-closer.
Michigan State finished as strong as anyone, pulling a huge late commitment from defensive end Malik McDowell. He was the headliner of a terrific collection of defensive talent in East Lansing. And McDowell’s story is intriguing, as he picked MSU against the wishes of his mom.
Adding to the weirdness is the fact McDowell still hasn’t sent in his letter-of-intent. Oh, boy. Regardless, this is an impressive haul of defensive line talent for the Spartans. In fact, the overall haul is the best of the Mark Dantonio era.
Speaking of recruiting hauls, Minnesota had a nice one, as Jerry Kill netted his best collection of talent yet. The gem of the class is in-state running back Jeff Jones, the top player in the state.
This is a guy Kill and Co., can build around. Word of warning: Jones still needs to earn a test score to gain eligibility. He is rated the No. 7 running back in the nation, according to Rivals.com. No Big Ten school signed a more touted back.
Despite being on the job for less than a month, new Penn State coach James Franklin had a nice class that focused on skill positions on offense, safety and offensive tackle.
In fact, there were four offensive tackles, four wideouts and three safeties. I can’t wait to see what Franklin will do when he gets fully entrenched. The guy is a terrific recruiter and has a great product to sell.
Is the Iowa quarterback spot open? I find any thought of that difficult to believe. But this piece in the Cedar Rapids Gazette makes it sounds like there’s a chance Jake Rudock could have some competition.
Want an idea of what direction the Wisconsin offense is going under Gary Andersen? Look no further than new quarterback signee D.J. Gillins, an athletic signal-caller who can run and pass.
Tom Oates of Madison.com says the idea is to become more athletic and less predictable, giving UW more potential home run hitters and making it hard for defenses to draw a bead on UW based on down-and-distance situations or personnel groupings. In short, Andersen wants an offense that has big-play ability all over the field. I like it.
Not happy where your school is ranked by recruiting services? No worries. Wisconsin has proven over time that they mean little, as time and again they turn three-star (or no star) talent into NFL players.
No one denies the enthusiasm of Illinois coach Tim Beckman. It is impressive. But to take a shot at Northwestern yesterday was a bit bold.
In case you missed it: “We signed four football players out of the state of Chicago, as we call it, and that’s more than the actual team that’s in Chicago signed,” Beckman said. “So we’re proud.”
I’d rather see Beckman speak with actions, not words. After all, his team lost—again—to a NU team last season that was riding a seven-game losing skid.
I’ll leave you with this nice feature on MSU big man Adreian Payne, who has become the ultimate role model.
TWEETS THAT MATTER
Recruiting rankings don't matter to Bo Pelini. "We look at guys… not just what they are now but what they can be 2/3/4 yrs down the road”—
Jon Nyatawa (@JonNyatawa) February 06, 2014
My take: It’s all a matter of fit.
My take: Huskers got whacked at Michigan. Nebraska is 0-7 on the road, the only Big Ten team without a victory away from home.
Terran Petteway held to five points, ending his streak of 17 games in double-figure scoring.—
Brian Rosenthal (@HuskerExtraBR) February 06, 2014
My take: Stifled.
This is going to be an interesting spring and then preseason, because head coach is demanding profound defensive improvement.—
Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) February 06, 2014
My take: He better demand defensive improvement. The unit was horrible too often last season.
Dantonio: Rose Bowl win gave recruits "the stamp of approval" as to what MSU & his staff is doing.—
Chris Solari (@chrissolari) February 05, 2014
My take: No doubt, lots of momentum in East Lansing.
Andersen says 46 of players in Super Bowl were two stars or less coming out of high school.—
Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) February 05, 2014
My take: Nice factoid from Gary Andersen.
Andersen confirms Thomas Hammock is leaving. Made decision after coaching his players this morning. Important to be around them last time.—
Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) February 05, 2014
My take: A good coach who will be missed.
Ferentz said team will have an open practice in Greater Des Moines the second week of April. Details to come.—
Rick Brown (@ByRickBrown) February 05, 2014
My take: Nice to take the show on the road in the spring.
Saw history Wednesday night: First Purdue men's basketball 3OT game ever in Mackey Arena. Despite horrible FT shooting, Boilers survived.—
Jeff Washburn (@JeffWashburnJC) February 06, 2014
My take: Don’t know how a team hits just 9-of-23 free throws and still wins. Amazing. Getting 23 offensive rebounds helped Purdue.
|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.|
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