<
>

Ohio still key recruiting ground in Big Ten

The Omaha World-Herald published a pretty impressive look at Big Ten recruiting and where the players come from over the weekend.

The story by Dirk Chatelain examined the roster numbers from 2002-2011 and found that Ohio sent 414 scholarship recruits to Big Ten schools during that time, with Illinois a distant second at 259. Ohio State got 61 percent of its recruits from in state en route to winning six straight conference titles.

That's no huge surprise, given what a talent gold mine Ohio has been and what a battleground state it has often proved to be. New Michigan coach Brady Hoke has made some inroads into the Buckeye State on his way to a sterling first recruiting class. Nebraska, which is coached by Ohio native Bo Pelini, wants to recruit the state hard now that it's in the Big Ten, too.

The question is whether Ohio can keep producing enough talent for the league while the population shifts more to the Sun Belt areas of the country.

"It has happened in parts of western Pennsylvania," Chatelain writes. "What if Ohio is next? What happens to the Big Ten?

"Someday Ohio State and Michigan may have to worry. Not yet. Not when a town of 45,000 (Warren) is still sending 16 players to Big Ten schools every decade, and four to the NFL. Not when one-third of Jim Tressel's recruits grew up within 80 miles of Cleveland.

"In the past decade, the Buckeyes signed more kids (17) from one Cleveland high school -- Glenville -- than from California, Texas, Illinois and Indiana combined.

"In Ohio, the forces of tradition are stronger than economic evolution."

If nothing else, make sure to check out the cool map feature that goes along with the story, showing exactly where the Big Ten recruits have come from.

And if you want more current recruiting info, click on this story from ESPN Recruiting's Jared Shanker. He breaks down every Big Ten team's current class, looking at what players have committed and what prospects each school is still pursuing.