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Big Ten Roundup: Recruiter Rankings

This week, 247Sports unveiled its national recruiting rankings and early in the recruiting process a pair of under-the-radar coaches are at the top of the Big Ten conference in Wisconsin’s defensive backs coach Ben Strickland and Iowa’s defensive line coach Reese Morgan.

Recruiting the state of Wisconsin has come smooth for Badgers assistant coach Ben Strickland.

Strickland was named a Top50 recruiter nationally by 247Sports in 2013, and has the luxury of recruiting in-state. Currently ranked as the nation’s No. 4 recruiter overall, Strickland is the primary recruiter for all four in-state pledges in Top247 defensive tackle Craig Evans, along with four-stars in defensive end Conor Sheehy and offensive linemen Jaden Gault and George Panos.

Moving forward, Strickland aims to continue cleaning up in-state in going after defensive end Billy Hirschfield and tight end Gaelin Elmore, his top out-of-state targets include cornerbacks Troy Vincent (primary recruiter) and D’Andre Payne (secondary recruiter).

Ranking ninth nationally according to the 247Composite, Morgan is the primary recruiter for all three Hawkeyes pledges in Top100 offensive tackle Ross Pierschbacher, four-star athlete Jay Scheel and offensive tackle Lucas LeGrand.

As the process continues, Morgan could have more in-state success as tight end/defensive end Matt Nelson and offensive guard Keegan Render are both high on the Hawkeyes.

Looking back at the 2013 rankings, Strickland finished No. 95 overall while Morgan came in at No. 243.

Ohio State Presence

The Buckeyes have two recruiters currently in the Top25 in defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs.

Ranked No. 13 nationally, Fickell is listed as the primary recruiter for Top247 commits in offensive tackle Kyle Trout and linebacker Kyle Berger, and the secondary for defensive lineman Dylan Thompson. Coombs checks in at No. 22 in the country. He made it his mission to go into Detroit and take Top100 cornerback Damon Webb away from Michigan and he went back to Cincinnati where he was a legendary coach at Colerain and scored Top247 athlete Sam Hubbard.

Ohio State assistant Mike Vrabel is off to a strong start recruiting in 2014 and has the Buckeyes in on several more blue-chippers.

Ohio State’s class currently ranks No. 7 nationally in 2014.

In 2013, the Buckeyes brought in the country’s No. 2 recruiting class, and were well represented by three recruiters in the Top10 in Tim Hinton at No. 7, Everett Withers at No. 9 and Tom Herman at No. 10. Defensive line coach Mike Vrabel finished No. 29 proving that Urban Meyer’s staff is stocked full or recruiters.

Vrabel currently sits at No. 36 nationally but could make a huge run as he is the primary for a pair of Top50 targets in five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett and four-star offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, two players the Buckeyes currently lead for. He is also the primary for another Buckeyes lean in in-state Top100 outside linebacker/defensive end Dante Booker.

Michigan Loses A Good One

The Wolverines currently sit at No. 11 nationally with six commits, and the coach responsible for recruiting four of those prospects in former defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is now at Oklahoma.

Montgomery emerged as one of the country's top recruiters in 2013 and kept it rolling in 2014. In ranking No. 3 nationally in this year's class, Montgomery was the primary recruiter for Top247 Michigan commits Mason Cole, Bryan Mone and Michael Ferns, while also playing a secondary role for quarterback Wilton Speight.

Recruiter Ranking Tidbits

-Rounding out the rest of the current Top10 is Michigan State’s Mark Staten coming in at No. 6, Penn State assistant coaches Charles London and Larry Johnson are No. 7 and No. 8, Ohio State’s Stan Drayton ranks No. 9 and Michigan’s Dan Ferrigno currently sits at No. 10.

-While Greg Mattison, Jerry Montgomery and Fred Jackson were named Top50 recruiters by 247Sports in 2013, it was offensive line coach Darrell Funk that scored the highest in the 247Composite, finishing No. 12 overall. In signing arguably the nation’s top offensive line class, Funk was the primary recruiter for Patrick Kugler, Kyle Bosch, Chris Fox and Logan Tuley-Tillman, and the secondary for Dan Samuelson. Montgomery finished No. 13, Jackson finished No. 26 and Mattison at No. 28 respectively.

-The top recruiter statistically for each school in 2013.

Illinois: Alex Golesh; Indiana: Doug Mallory; Iowa: Eric Johnson; Michigan: Darrell Funk; Minnesota: Bill Miller; Nebraska: Rick Kaczenski; Northwestern: Bob Heffner; Ohio State: Tim Hinton; Penn State: Larry Johnson; Purdue: Kevin Sherman; Wisconsin: Ben Strickland.

-For a complete list of 2014 Big Ten recruiting rankings, click here.

-For a complete list of 2013 Big Ten recruiting rankings, click here.

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