The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each all-conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-Big Ten team.
2012 Offensive All-Big Ten Team as Recruits
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (2011) AC100
Miller was a star in high school and it earned him a spot in the Athlon Consensus 100. He trailed only Florida’s Jeff Driskel as the No. 2-rated quarterback prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. The Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne star was the No. 30-rated player in the nation and was the No. 1-rated player in the state of Ohio. His offer sheet was a who’s who of college powerhouses as Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and many others tried to land the dual-threat. Miller, however, was all Buckeye committing to Ohio State well before his senior season. He was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2009) National Recruit
Ball came to Wisconsin as the 5A Missouri State Player of the Year after rushing for 8,222 yards and 107 touchdowns at Wentzville (Mo.) Timberland. He was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 33 running back in the nation and was a four-star recruit. Ball was the No. 4 player in the state of Missouri by Athlon Sports and the No. 3 player in the Badgers’ 2009 class, and he picked Wisconsin over offers from Missouri, Stanford, Kansas, Northwestern, Iowa State and Indiana.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State (2010)
Rivals missed the boat on the Reynoldsburg (Ohio) Groveport Madison running back. He was a two-star recruit who wasn’t ranked in the Ohio Top 60 or in the national running back rankings either. That said, most coaching staffs missed on the workhorse back as well. He had four offers to play college football and Michigan State was his only BCS scholarship. Marshall, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green were Bell’s other options.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (2009)
Abbrederis was an all-conference performer on the high school level as both a quarterback and cornerback for Wautoma (Wis.) High School. He does not even have a recruiting profile on any of the three major recruiting services (Scout, Rivals, 247). The former walk-on had no star ranking and didn’t have any other FBS offers.
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State (2011)
The sophomore wideout hails from Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s High. He was the No. 24-rated player in the state of Michigan that year and was given three stars by Rivals. His only other offers besides Penn State were Buffalo, Minnesota and Toledo. Should he continue to develop, Robinson should vastly out-perform his recruiting stock.
Kyle Carter, TE, Penn State (2011)
The No. 3-rated player in the state of Delaware in 2011 was this Nittany Lion tight end. From New Castle (Del.) William Penn, Carter was a two-star prospect by Rivals. Bucknell and Delaware were the only other offers on his sheet.
Spencer Long, OL, Nebraska (2009)
A walk-on, Long redshirted during his first year in Lincoln. From Elkhorn (Neb.) High School, coaching staffs and recruiting services alike completely missed on the burly blocker. Long has developed into one of the more consistent performers in the league.
Travis Frederick, OL, Wisconsin (2009)
The massive blocker signed with the Badgers from the appropriately named Big Foot High School in Walworth, Wisc. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals and was ranked as the No. 5 player in the state and the No. 83 offensive tackle in the nation. He held only four offers total with Wisconsin as his only BCS scholarship. Frederick picked UW over Air Force, Navy and North Dakota State.
Ricky Wagner, OL, Wisconsin (2008)
The all-conference blocker was yet another walk-on as a recruit back in 2008. The big blocker came to Madison from West Allis (Wisc.) Nathan Hale and was passed over by coaches and scouts alike. Big Red fans are certainly thankful he showed up on campus five years ago.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (2009) National Recruit
Hailing all the way from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral, Lewan came to Michigan as a highly touted prospect with offers from all over the nation. He wasn’t a top 100 recruit, but was a four-star player who had his pick of schools. He was rated as the No. 194 overall player, the No. 16 offensive tackle and the No. 5 player in the state by Rivals.
Andrew Norwell, OL, Ohio State (2010) AC100
The Buckeyes' top blocker trailed only Texas signee Jordan Hicks in the Athlon Sports Ohio state recruiting rankings. The Cincinnati (Ohio) Anderson product was the No. 4-rated offensive lineman in the nation and the No. 34-rated overall player in the nation. He was a four-star prospect by Rivals and was considered by many as a can’t-miss recruit. Notre Dame, Stanford, Cincinnati, Illinois and others tried to land the blocker to no avail. Norwell committed to Ohio State in February of his junior year.
Related: The Athlon Consensus 100
Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-Big Ten (by Rivals.com):
No. of Players
2012 Defensive All-Big Ten Team as Recruits
Eric Martin, DL, Nebraska (2009)
The Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde prospect was a three-star recruit by Rivals. He got plenty of West Coast love with offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Washington, Washington State and Nevada as well as Nebraska. Martin was listed as a 6-foot-2, 215-pound inside linebacker — the 26th best middle linebacker and the No. 38-rated player in the state.
John Simon, DL, Ohio State (2009) AC100
Much like Norwell, Simon was the No. 2-rated prospect in the state of Ohio for his class. The Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney product trailed only fellow OSU signees Marcus Hall in The Buckeye State rankings. Simon was actually the No. 7-rated defensive tackle prospect and was the No. 48-rated overall player in the AC100.
Jordan Hill, DL, Penn State (2009)
Penn State landed a gem in this Steelton (Pa.) Highspire defensive lineman. He was listed as a two-star strongside defensive end prospect by Rivals. His offer sheet wasn’t long but he had scholarship offers from Rutgers, Pitt and Temple as well as Penn State. He was the No. 39-rated player in The Keystone State.
Kawann Short, DL, Purdue (2008)
The star interior defensive lineman signed with Purdue from East Chicago (Ind.) Central High School. He had no other BCS offers and was a three-star recruit according to Rivals. He was the No. 6-rated player in the state and the No. 57-rated defensive tackle in the nation.
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State (2011) National Recruit
The hard-hitting backer just missed making the AC100 as the No. 111-rated player in the nation in 2011. The Plantation (Fla.) High prospect was the No. 12-rated linebacker recruit in the nation and was given four stars by Rivals. He received offers from every major program in the nation and had his pick of scholarships.
Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State (2008) National Recruit
Not many Pelican State prospects end up signing with Penn State but that is exactly what the Mandeville (La.) High talent did in 2008. Mauti was the No. 8-rated player in the state of Louisiana and the No. 16-rated inside linebacker in the nation. The four-star recruit by Rivals had offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana Tech as well as Penn State. He just missed landing in the AC100.
Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin (2008)
The tackling machine for the Badgers was a 6-foot-2, 195-pound outside linebacker recruit back in 2008. The Ashwaubenon (Wisc.) High product was the No. 6-rated player in the state and was given two stars by Rivals. He picked UW over Air Force, Army, Iowa and Wyoming.
Micah Hyde, DB, Iowa (2009)
Hyde was originally a two-star dual-threat quarterback recruit as ranked by Rivals.com. He had offers from one BCS program (Iowa) and a host of solid MAC schools: Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami-OH, Ohio, Toledo and Eastern Michigan. Hyde signed with Iowa from Fostoria (Ohio) High School.
Daimion Stafford, DB, Nebraska (2011) JUCO
According to Huskers.com, Stafford had scholarship offers from USC and Florida coming out of Norco High School in California. He instead landed at Chaffey (Calif.) College. After two seasons at Chaffey, he became a four-star JUCO prospect with offers from Florida, USC, Iowa State, New Mexico and Nebraska. He was the No. 14-rated junior college recruit in the nation in 2011.
Travis Howard, DB, Ohio State (2008) National Recruit
From notable South Florida Dr. Krop High School in Miami, Howard earned four stars from Rivals in the 2008 class. He was the No. 19-rated cornerback in the nation and the No. 43-rated player in the Sunshine State. He picked the Buckeyes over offers from Florida, Miami, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin.
Bradley Roby, DB, Ohio State (2010)
Signing with the Buckeyes out of Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge from deep in the South, Roby was a three-star wide receiver by Rivals. He was not ranked in the state or at his position in anyway, making his deep offer sheet that much more impressive. He picked Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, South Carolina, West Virginia and many others.