Illinois is very much in situation similar to Colorado. Even with dramatic changes on his coaching staff, there still are lingering questions about Ron ZookClick Here to view this Link.'s future and those questions really hurt the Illini in this year's recruiting wars. Illinois is going to finish outside of the top 60 likely and will finish with its lowest ranking in the Big Ten since 2004. Just like that season, Illinois should finish in the No. 8 spot in the conference, a hard pill to swallow for a program that hasn't had problems attracting talent in the past. Much like Colorado, Illinois' biggest problems stem from not keeping the top players at home. Illinois so far has only landed one player in the top 10 in the state and seeing blue-chip recruits like Kyle PraterClick Here to view this Link., C.J. FiedorowiczClick Here to view this Link., Matt MiltonClick Here to view this Link. and others leave the state certainly stings.
The Pitt Panthers fall into this category for one big reason - they lost out on the biggest names in Western Pennsylvania. Linebacker Mike HullClick PittsburghHere to view this Link., quarterback Paul JonesClick PittsburghHere to view this Link. and offensive linemen Thomas RickettsClick PittsburghHere to view this Link. and Miles DieffenbachClick PittsburghHere to view this Link. all bolted the western part of the state. What's worse is that all four committed to in-state rival Penn State with two of them, Ricketts and Dieffenbach, having family ties to Pitt. Pitt did a nice job on some of the lesser names in their area and helped its cause with some talent in New Jersey, but after some nice success the last few years in their neck of the woods, this year was a disappointment.
Rutgers has been one of the most compelling stories the past few years in college football, but the Scarlet Knights failed to grab the attention of the recruits this season, finishing outside of the national top 70. As of Sunday night, Rutgers had 17 commits with only 10 of those ranked as three-star players. There were no four or five-star prospects in the class and the Knights were last in the conference. A lot of the top talent in the state - something Rutgers had turned the program based on - didn't jump on board either. Only one player in the New Jersey top 10 picked the Scarlet Knights.
Yes, there was progress. There is a definite improvement in the type of talent and prospects looking at Wazzu, and the overall numbers indicate as much. The Cougars have already landed 14 three-star prospects - their highest number in the last five years. But still Wazzu is going to finish at the bottom of the conference and outside of the national top 80 unless something changes between now and Wednesday. What's disappointing is Washington State's next closest competitor in conference is Oregon State in the mid 40s, and that is likely going to change as the Beavers should close strong. But what's even more alarming is that the gap from top to bottom in the conference could be widening. If OSU moves into the top 40, that would mean Wazzu finished at least 40 spots away from its closest recruiting competition, and Cal, Stanford, Oregon, UCLA and USC will all land top 25 classes.