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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Gauging post-sanctions success -- Leaders

By Josh Moyer

Bill O'Brien needed to make a strong recruiting push after July 23, once the sanctions hit, and he hasn't disappointed.

The Nittany Lions have grabbed 10 commits since that time, the second-most in the conference, and have seen an ideal mix of quantity and quality. They've earned pledges from one four-star commit, six three-star recruits and a trio of two-star prospects.

NittanyNation takes a look at how that stacks up against the Leaders Division.

Illinois
Number of commits: 26
Commits since July 24: 10
Key post-July 23 commits: OLB Reggie Spearman (3 stars), WR Marchie Murdock (3 stars), S Darwyn Kelly (3 stars)
Synopsis: There's a lot of problems with the Illini, so Tim Beckman was forced to sign five junior college players to infuse some much-needed talent into the team. Call it a Band-Aid, but Illinois is still ranked No. 40 in the nation -- but that ranking probably won't last when signing day rolls around. Still, Illinois boasts as many commits since July 23 as PSU, but it's clear the Lions have had the higher quality recruits and a better five months.

Indiana
Number of commits: 19
Commits since July 24: 15
Key post-July 23 commits: ATH Rashard Fant (4 stars), DT Darius Latham (4 stars), DE David Kenney III (4 stars)
Synopsis: Surprisingly enough, no Big Ten team has done better in the last five months than the Hoosiers. They had just four commits when July 23 rolled around, but they came on late and persuaded 15 prospects to pledge -- including a quartet of four-star recruits. They have the No. 39 recruiting class in the nation and, yes, Indiana actually has done better than PSU since the sanctions. Then again, it has done better than every other Big Ten team. Kevin Wilson might just be a coach on the rise.

Ohio State
Number of commits: 19
Commits since July 24: 4
Key post-July 23 commits: CB Gareon Conley (4 stars), DT Donovan Munger (4 stars), DE Tyquan Lewis (3 stars)
Synopsis: The Buckeyes boast the No. 5 class in the nation, and 13 of their 19 commits are in the ESPN 300. Ohio State has had its pick of in-state recruits, and most committed between February and April. They really didn't need to go after recruits following July 23, but two of their four commits during that span are in the ESPN 300.

Purdue
Number of commits: 13
Commits since July 24: 7
Key post-July 23 commits: RB Keyante Green (4 stars), ATH Leroy Clark (4 stars), OT Dwayne Johnson (3 stars)
Synopsis: The Boilermakers have grabbed five overall commits from defensive linemen, but they're not in great position. Both before -- and after -- July 23, Purdue hasn't fared all that well. It did pick up two players in the ESPN 300 since August, but PSU definitely has done a better job than Purdue since the sanctions.

Wisconsin
Number of commits: 18
Commits since July 24: 8
Key post-July 23 commits: RB Corey Clement (4 stars), DE Alec James (4 stars), CB Sojourn Shelton (4 stars)
Synopsis: It remains to be seen if the Badgers can maintain those 18 commitments and their No. 32 recruiting ranking, but they're in good position right now. Initially, Wisconsin was looking to sign only about 13 prospects -- which explains the flurry of recruiting activity after July -- but they've grabbed some quality recruits. In terms of quality, the Badgers probably have had the edge over PSU since July. At least for now.