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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Best Big Ten recruiters

By Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren


Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

Michigan and Ohio State both sit in the top 10 recruiting rankings this year after each landed top 10 classes in 2013 -- the Buckeyes were third, while the Wolverines were sixth.

That's why it should come as no surprise that the two schools have the top four recruiters in the Big Ten Conference for the Class of 2014 so far.

Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten and why they deserve such high praise:

1. Mike Vrabel, Ohio State

At this point, Vrabel is running away with the top honor after landing ESPN 300 stars Dante Booker Jr. (Akron, St. Vincent-St. Mary) and his teammate Parris Campbell Jr. Vrabel nabbed Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) and was part of a dual effort in grabbing Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle). He has also picked up commitments from four-star seniors Lonnie Johnson (Gary, Ind./West Side) and Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic). By the way, the former NFL All-Pro has a foot in the door in 2015 with a commitment from ESPN Junior 300 standout Eric Glover-Williams (Canton, Ohio/McKinley).

2. Greg Mattison, Michigan

Had Jerry Montgomery still been at Michigan instead of Oklahoma, this spot would be reserved for him. Montgomery helped secure plenty of top commitments for Michigan, but Mattison was involved as well. Mattison had his hand in recruiting most of the defensive prospects, including Jared Wangler (Warren, Mich./De La Salle), Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) and the biggest target on the board, Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge).

3. Ed Warinner, Ohio State

Along with helping Vrabel land Jones, Warinner gave a boost to the trenches with a commitment from another ESPN 300 offensive lineman in Demetrius Knox (Ft. Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal). The veteran offensive line coach also has an eye for speed and landed commitments from four-star athletes Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus) and Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII).

4. Jeff Hecklinski, Michigan

Roy Manning soon will be in this spot, as he is starting to take over as the young, energetic recruiter that Montgomery used to be for Michigan. For now, it's Hecklinski, who has been involved with a ton of commitments for Michigan. The Wolverines tend to use the buddy system when recruiting, so it's never just one coach on a prospect. Hecklinski helped land ESPN 300 commitments Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and quarterback Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate).

5. Matt MacPherson, Northwestern

The Wildcats recruiting coordinator has helped Northwestern to the No. 30 ranked class in the ESPN rankings. MacPherson has had his hand in recruiting ESPN 300 quarterback Clayton Thorson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North), four-stars Justin Jackson (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North) and Dareian Watkins (Galion, Ohio/Galion), as well as Auston Anderson (Plano, Texas/Plano West), Nathan Hall (Sylvania, Ohio/Southview) and Noah Westerfield (Frisco, Texas/Wakeland).

5. Ben Strickland, Wisconsin

The Badgers' class is at 16, and Strickland accounts for almost 40 percent of it. The big fish is ESPN 300 star Jaden Gault (Monona, Wis./Monona Grove). He also landed four-star senior Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie), Billy Hirschfeld (Hartland, Wisc./Arrowhead), Conor Sheehy (Milwaukee/Marquette University), Dominic Cizauskas (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwonago) and George Panos (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead).

7. Ron Vanderlinden, Penn State

He made a big splash in April by grabbing four-star standout and ESPN 300 wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del./Middletown) and has had a hand in landing four-star outside linebacker Troy Reeder (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) as well as Daquan Worley (Coatesville, Pa./Coatesville) and Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville).

8. Kerry Coombs, Ohio State

Coombs grabbed his biggest target in ESPN 300 cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) and picked up a commitment from four-star wide receiver Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis/Cathedral). He also helped the Buckeyes get Sam Hubbard (Cincinnati/Moeller) and Sean Nuernberger (Buckner, Ky./Oldham County).

9. Larry Johnson, Penn State

Four-star recruit Troy Vincent Jr. (Baltimore/Gilman) is his biggest commit to date. Johnson also has picked up pledges from Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md./Dr. Henry A. Wise), Nick Scott (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax), Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville) and Mark Allen (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic).

10. Mike Tressel, Michigan State

The Spartans' recruiting class isn't done yet, but Tressel has been a big part of the 2014 efforts, landing Deon Drake Jr. (Detroit/Cass Tech), Chris Frey Jr. (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), Robert Bowers (Columbus, Ohio/Walnut Ridge), Jake Hartbarger (Whitehouse, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) and Byron Bullough (Traverse City, Mich./St. Francis).