Urban Meyer landed an awesome recruiting class for Ohio State. He then made headlines, by pledging to address the Big Ten’s poor recruiting performance with his colleagues. He’s arrogant. He’s also dead right. We don’t see Meyer pointing fingers, mentioning names or presenting a Powerpoint on social media at conference meetings, but someone should.
The Big Ten has fallen behind the SEC. That’s clear. We could point to the national rankings or the demographic shift to the south, but the problem extends deeper. The Big Ten isn’t competing for kids in national recruiting hotbeds, but a bigger problem is they are getting beaten for talented recruits in their own states.
We looked at three Big Ten states within the Big Ten footprint: Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania over the past three years. Some of the numbers are startling.
The Big Ten did not land one of the Rivals’ Top 3 recruits in Illinois, Indiana, or Pennsylvania in the 2013 class. Six of the nine signed with SEC schools.
Discounting Ohio State and Michigan, the number of Big Ten four-star or better recruits from those three states (8) barely eclipses the number signed by the SEC (7).
The past three signing classes produced 67 rivals four or five-star recruits from Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Just 31 (46 percent) signed with the Big Ten.
Notre Dame is in Indiana, though it is still technically a Big Ten state. The Big Ten has gone 1/15 on top three kids out of Indiana since 2009. That one signing was by Ohio State. The last time Purdue or Indiana signed a top three kid in state was in 2005.
Even when second-tier Big Ten teams do well in state, they don’t do that well. Penn State signed 7 out of the 11 four-star Pennsylvania kids in 2010. That’s a nice haul, but they were beaten for three of the top four. The one five-star prospect, Shariff Floyd, signed with Florida.
The Big Ten must expand its recruiting base to compete. Part of that is competing for top kids in Big Ten states.
[Photo via Getty]