Is Big Ten football set to take a big hit?
If you believe in the power of recruiting rankings, it’s possible.
Rivals.com lists its top recruiting classes for the Class of 2011 and no Big Ten school makes the top 10. The best is Ohio State, which rates No. 11 with a 23-player class that has one 5-star player and nine four-star guys.
Contrast that with Alabama, the No. 1 class. Of its 22 players, three get 5 stars and an impressive 14 get 4 stars. Florida State is No. 2 with two 5-star players and 13 4-star prospects.
The Big Ten’s second-best recruiting class is newcomer Nebraska, which has no 5-star guys but has 11 with 4-star ratings. Michigan comes in at No. 21 with six 4-star players.
That’s it for Big Ten representation in the top-25.
Ratings, of course, don’t guarantee success. And one mediocre recruiting class doesn’t ruin a power conference like the Big Ten. Still, the schools you see with the best recruiting classes every year are consistently the ones you see contending for national championships.
So if this is really a down recruiting year for the Big Ten, and it will take a couple of seasons to determine that, it can’t be repeated. Not if the conference wants to continue challenging for major bowls and national titles.
Where is Indiana in all this? Basically at the bottom of the Big Ten according to the recruiting experts. That’s not surprising given this is the first year in the transition to new coach Kevin Wilson. The first year for almost every new coach is a little rough in recruiting.
No matter. Wilson doesn’t have to land a bunch of top-5 classes (although wouldn’t it be cool if he did), but he does need to sign some high-impact guys in the years ahead to elevate this program to consistent bowl participation.
The Zellers are the first family to have three Indiana Mr. Basketballs with Luke, Tyler and Cody.
Two other sets of brothers have won the award.
Indianapolis Manual’s Tom and Dick VanArsdale shared the award in 1961. They went on to total almost identical numbers during standout careers at Indiana.
Carmel’s Billy and Dave Shepherd won, but in different years. Billy got the honor in 1968. Dave won in 1970.
Indiana’s Jori Davis was a third round draft choice of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. Davis was the 33rd overall pick. She’s the first player under coach Felisha Legette-Jack to be drafted.
Only two other Hoosier women have ever been drafted by the WNBA – Quacy Barnes (the 21st pick by Sacramento in 1998) and Jill Chapman (the 21st pick by Detroit in 2002).
Davis averaged 19.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals this past season. She was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. She finished her career with 1,586 points (eighth in school history). She’s only the sixth player in school history to total more than 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists.
“We are extremely proud and excited for Jori,” Legette-Jack said in a university release. “She has worked so hard and her dream has been realized with her being drafted. It goes to show that people in this state are paying attention to Indiana women’s basketball.”
There is still hope that IU could get some more inside help for next season. Yes, 6-7-, 215-pound Jamari Traylor is still in the mix for the Class of 2011, although according to a blog by Adam Zagoria, he will visit Oklahoma State this weekend, and is set to visit Kansas in the future.
Traylor, who is from IMG Academies, would join Cody Zeller as an inside newcomer next season. Veterans Tom Pritchard, Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco return from the frontcourt.
A strong inside game is crucial if the Hoosiers are to finish with a winning record and return to postseason play next season.