#AskLoogs: Penn State's future

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Possibly yes, but it may not be for a couple of years. In order for Penn State to have a chance at top-10 classes again, it needs to get back up to a full complement of scholarships. It’s a complete numbers game. We’ve had Penn State ranked in each of the last two classes even with scholarship restrictions, which is a reflection of the state of the program Bill O’Brien left for James Franklin. The good news is that the 2013 class will actually be able to compete for a conference championship and be eligible for bowl games if they redshirted. The current class is in even better shape, which should help Franklin in his cause because there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train.

Big Ten lunchtime links

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
National Signing Day is just five days away, so this is now in my head. Don't judge me.

Thompson tops Ultimate recruiters

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30

The Ultimate ESPN 300 recruiter power rankings is a look at which assistant coaches have done the best on the recruiting trail from 2006 through 2013. Beyond looking at how many four- or five-star recruits were landed in that period, the rankings take into account how well those players performed once they arrived on campus.

Current head coaches weren't considered, which eliminates many great recruiters. Producing the list was a challenge, as compelling cases can be made for a number of other coaches.

1. Lance Thompson

Current school: Linebackers coach, Alabama
2006-2013 positions: Defensive coordinator, UCF (2004-2006); linebackers coach, Alabama (2007-2008); linebackers coach, Tennessee (2009-2011)
Top recruit 2006-2013: Julio Jones
What he's done: Looking for a way to describe Thompson's success on the trail? Just ask one of the best players he landed. "He is the best recruiter ever," A.J. McCarron said in 2008 after picking Alabama. The job Thompson did with the 2008 class helped set the table for Alabama's national title runs, and it included household names like Jones, Mark Barron, Robert Lester and McCarron. In 2009, he signed D.J. Fluker and Trent Richardson, both first-round NFL draft picks. While at Tennessee, he was able to land all-SEC selections Christian Harris and Ja'Waun James, before returning to Alabama to land highly touted recruits Jonathan Allen, Robert Foster and Da'Shawn Hand in the 2013 and 2014 classes.

Penn State lands three-star DB 

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
Penn State flipped yet another former Vanderbilt commit on Thursday. Defensive back Amani Oruwariye (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) committed to the Nittany Lions, giving Penn State 24 commits in the 2014 class.

Oruwariye took a visit to Happy Valley this past weekend and decided Penn State was his new home. The three-star corner became the sixth prospect to flip from the Commodores to the Nittany Lions.

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Big Ten Thursday chat wrap

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
Today's Big Ten chat got a little testy at times, but we all made it through. Thanks again for your questions and participation. If you missed out, check out the full transcript.

To the highlights:

SK from NJ: Rutgers fan here, wondering what we should expect from Philip Nelson?

Adam Ritenberg: He's a guy who came to Minnesota with a lot of attention, showed some decent mobility at times this season but wasn't accurate enough. He didn't have a great receiving corps by any means, but his accuracy numbers down the stretch were a bit troubling. I'm interested to see how he develops under new Rutgers OC Ralph Friedgen.

Marty from The Tundra: Hey Adam! I was just curious what your takes are on which school has the overall coaching advantage? Dantonio and staff at MSU? Urban Meyer's staff at OSU or even Franklin's at Penn State or something else?

Adam Rittenberg: Meyer is still the only Big Ten coach who has won a national title (two, in fact), so I give him the nod over Dantonio, who has certainly made up ground. Ohio State's overall staff gets an edge against MSU's, although the Spartans have the best assistant of the bunch in Pat Narduzzi. Franklin and his staff are excellent recruiters, but they need to show they can win against the best Big Ten teams before I put them in the Meyer/Dantonio category. Vanderbilt made historic strides under Franklin but beat up on the bottom of the SEC.

[+] EnlargePat Narduzzi
AP Photo/Al GoldisMichigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is too good and he will get his chance to be a head coach before long.
Glenn from FL: Are you surprised Narduzzi is still coaching at MSU? It seems a lot of guys can't wait to get a head coaching job. Is he not being offered or is he turning offers down? Or does he prefer being a coordinator? It is much easier than being the head coach.

Adam Rittenberg: He had an opportunity at Connecticut that wasn't very good, in my opinion, and chose to remain at MSU. He interviewed for the Louisville job, but Petrino always was the target there. He had a good shot at Cincinnati last year before Tuberville suddenly became available. So it's a matter of time, in my view. Pat is brutally honest and maybe not as polished as some head coaches, but he has matured in recent years and seems ready to lead a program. I'd be surprised if he's still coordinating MSU's defense in two years.

Armond from Toledo: Why is everyone excited about OSU's 2 defensive coaching staff hires? It seems like people are excited like we just hired the Seahawks' DC. Michigan's OC hire was something to be excited about. These two guys have me skeptical.

Adam Rittenberg: Expand on that thought, Armond. Why does Nussmeier excite you more than Johnson and Ash? Because he came from Alabama? A lot of coordinators could have success with Alabama's personnel. Larry Johnson has been an exceptional defensive line coach for more than a decade. Chris Ash is a rising star who specializes in defensive back play, where Ohio State struggled so much a year ago. Nussmeier is a good hire, too, but I don't understand your concern about Johnson and Ash.

Jim from Chicago: If the B1G ten doesn't end up with an undefeated team, chances they have a representative in the play off next year?

Adam Rittenberg: Jim, we addressed this a bit earlier. It all depends on what happens elsewhere, but I don't see too many 1-loss Big Ten teams making the playoff. Michigan State certainly could. Perhaps Ohio State or Wisconsin another team that racks up some impressive wins despite one setback. It would need to be a close loss, ideally early in the season, for a Big Ten team to overcome and still reach the playoff.

Thanks again for the questions. Let's do it again soon.

Big Ten lunch links

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
Anybody up for a little fish fry?
  • Former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons is apparently not facing charges for the incident that seems to have led to his expulsion from the school.
  • The Wolverines have seen some of their recruiting momentum slip away. Could Michigan State capitalize on that given its strong finish on the field last season?
  • Ohio State has found itself a new president, and he was a popular guy with at least one coach during his stint at UC-Irvine.
  • The Buckeyes are keeping their current athletic director around for a while, and Doug Lesmerises takes a look at the contract extension signed by Gene Smith.
  • Former Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson has picked his next school, and he'll be staying in the Big Ten as he heads to Rutgers.
  • Should likely defensive coordinator Joe Rossi be judged for the performance of the Scarlet Knights in the bowl game against Notre Dame?
  • Iowa has fired an athletic department employee over missing funds from ticket sales on the Hawkeye Express.
  • Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst has been on the job for a year, and he's crammed plenty into that relatively short timeframe.
  • Penn State's new passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach knows better players can make for better coaches, and Ricky Rahne is set to work with another talented signal caller in Christian Hackenberg.
  • A Madison-based company landed Russell Wilson for his first solo Super Bowl commercial, and it struck gold when the former Wisconsin quarterback actually led Seattle to the NFL championship game.

Big Ten chat: Today at noon ET

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
It has been an interesting week of news in the Big Ten, from the Northwestern players seeking union representation to Ohio State coaches being stranded on a snowy Atlanta highway to quarterback Philip Nelson transferring from Minnesota to Rutgers. Have thoughts on these and other topics? You've come to the right place.

The Big Ten chat takes place today at noon ET. I'll be there. Will you?


Moving Day For Maryland And Rutgers
It's moving day for Maryland and Rutgers. Adam Rittenberg takes a look at how -- and why -- the two schools are making a move to the Big Ten.