Rivals.com top recruiters: Big Ten

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Tom HermanClick RIVALS.COM BIG TEN RECRUITER OF THE YEAR Here to view this Link., Ohio StateClick RIVALS.COM BIG TEN RECRUITER OF THE YEAR Here to view this Link.
Buzz: Outside of Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska, all of which finished in the top 20 nationally, the Big Ten had a lackluster recruiting season. There were, however, several impressive individual recruiting performances, making the title of the Big Ten's best recruiter hotly contested. The job that Herman, Ohio State's offensive coordinator, did by going to Texas and grabbing three of the state's top 20-ranked prospects, including five-star linebacker Mike Mitchell -- Texas' No. 1 ranked prospect -- gets the nod as this year's most impressive feat. While Mitchell was a monumental pull, convincing Rivals100 running back Dontre Wilson to leave his Oregon commitment, spurn the in-state Longhorns and come to Columbus to play slot receiver was more impressive. Add four-star quarterback J.T. Barrett to his total, and even though Herman did not get to pad his stats with in-state pickups, his was the Big Ten's best in 2013.
Jon Fabris, Indiana
Buzz: In 2013, Indiana signed its best class in the modern era of recruiting, grabbing four four-star prospects and finishing sixth among Big Ten teams. Head coach Kevin Wilson and his staff sold three four-star prospects on staying in their home state and playing for the Hoosiers, but the fourth four-star -- athlete Rashard Fant -- came from the state of Georgia and picked the Hoosiers after being recruited to Bloomington by Fabris. Fending off big-name programs for in-state talent was impressive, but going into SEC country and grabbing a four-star kid away from Florida State, Ole Miss and Kentucky is on another level. Fabris was responsible for keeping four-star defensive end David Kenney in the class until National Signing Day and added three-stars Noel Padmore, Kristopher Smith and Maurice Swain to the Hoosiers roster.
Alex Golesh, Illinois
Buzz: One of the keys to being a successful Big Ten recruiting team is having success in the state of Ohio, by far the largest talent-producing state in the region. Golesh, who came to Illinois from Toledo with head coach Tim Beckman and serves as the Illini's recruiting coordinator, definitely knows how to recruit the state of Illinois. He did it with great success in 2013. Among the five prospects he took from the Buckeye State was four-star athlete Caleb Day, whose stock rose even after he committed to the Illini. Three-star defensive tackle Jarrod Clements from Dayton-area power Trotwood-Madison was another big pickup in 2013, and defensive end Dawuane Smoot from Groveport Madison is an explosive pass rusher.
Thomas Hammock, Wisconsin
Buzz: There were several coaches who overcame severe obstacles during the 2013 recruiting process, and one of those was Hammock. Wisconsin's recruiting coordinator under Bret Bielema, Hammock stayed in Madison after Bielema bolted to Arkansas. He guided the Badgers commitments through the transition, losing only a couple of players from a class that was ranked 23rd nationally when Bielema left. Hammock was personally responsible for landing Wisconsin's biggest individual pick-up of the class, four-star running back Corey Clement out of New Jersey. Other wins on Hammock's résumé included three-star offensive tackle Jack Keeler, three-star offensive guard Matt Miller and three-star wide receiver Rob Wheelwright.
Fred Jackson, Michigan
Buzz: A 20-plus-year member of the Michigan coaching staff, Jackson has been leaned on heavily by head coach Brady Hoke in the last two classes. Jackson recruits the all-important Detroit area for the Wolverines, and he grabbed four-stars Jourdan Lewis, David Dawson, Delano Hill and Wyatt Shallman from the region in 2013. What Jackson will receive the most accolades for in this recruiting cycle, however, was convincing the nation's No. 1 running back, Derrick Green of Richmond, Va., to sign with the Wolverines over offers from programs across the country. Jackson was the lead recruiter on Green, and he will be his position coach when the five-star back arrives in Ann Arbor.
Larry Johnson, Penn State
Buzz: Johnson's reputation as a top recruiter has long been established, taking home National Recruiter of the Year honors in 2006. However, Johnson has never had to face the obstacles he did during the 2013 recruiting cycle. The Nittany Lions had the makings of a strong class going early in Bill O'Brien's first year on the job when the NCAA handed down unprecedented sanctions against the program that included a postseason ban. Some prospects vacated their Penn State commitments, but many stayed, including Rivals100 tight end Adam Breneman and four-star defensive end Garrett Sickels, who were brought in by Johnson. In total, the 14-year Penn State assistant had a hand in recruiting eight of the Nittany Lions' 17 signees.
Rick Kaczenski, Nebraska
Buzz: Kaczenski played a major role in helping Nebraska retool its defensive line with six additions in the 2013 class, but his most impressive performance was done in bringing Rivals250 running back Adam Taylor to Lincoln from Katy, Texas. Kaczenski beat out Florida State and LSU to land Taylor's commitment in November, then held off other programs as the four-star back's stock continued to rise. On the defensive line, Kaczenski flipped end Dimarya Mixon from Missouri the weekend before signing day and brought in tackles Kevin Maurice and Maliek Collins, as well as ends Randy Gregory and Ernest Suttles.
Greg Mattison, Michigan
Buzz: The Baltimore Ravens' former defensive coordinator, Mattison has been Brady Hoke's ace recruiter since he compiled his staff two years ago. Mattison continued to flex his recruiting muscle in 2013, pitching in on six of the Wolverines' commitments. Ohio is a key recruiting territory for the Wolverines, and Mattison was responsible for pulling four-star cornerback Ross Douglas, four-star linebacker Ben Gedeon and four-star safety Dymonte Thomas from the Buckeye State. He then did work on the East Coast, landing three-star Massachusetts defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr. and fending off Alabama late to hang on to Rivals100 defensive tackle Henry Poggi.
Mike Vrabel, Ohio State
Buzz: Herman's closest competition for Big Ten Recruiter of the Year may have come from his own staff. Vrabel is the Buckeyes defensive line coach and was responsible for bringing in a six-man defensive line class that included four four-star prospects. Vrabel went into South Florida and plucked the fourth-best strongside defensive end in the country, Joey Bosa. He went into South Carolina to grab Rivals250 defensive tackle Michael Hill and North Carolina to grab four-star defensive end Tyquan Lewis. He added three-stars Donovan Munger and Tracy Sprinkle in-state. Vrabel was also responsible for flipping cornerback Gareon Conley from Michigan.
Everett Withers, Ohio State
Buzz: Ohio State's 2013 class held the top spot in the national team rankings briefly on National Signing Day after five-star Rossville (Ga.) Ridgeland safety Vonn Bell announced he was signing with the Buckeyes. Withers was responsible for outdueling Alabama and Tennessee to get Bell to Columbus. That was far from his only impressive pick-up in the Southeast, however. Withers bested Florida and Tennessee for Rivals250 linebacker Trey Johnson and flipped four-star safety Jayme Thompson from West Virginia.
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