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Three Big Ten coaches make top recruiters' list

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

ESPN Scout's Inc.'s JC Shurburtt recently ranked the nation's 25 best recruiters and three Big Ten assistants made the rundown. No major surprises with any of these three picks, who have helped their teams bring in top-rated classes.

Here's Shurburtt's thoughts on each coach:

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell

The Buckeyes have a geographic advantage, being located in a top-five talent-producing state. Still, it takes an excellent recruiting staff to corral all of that talent and to also spot recruit nationally. Several, including those who are close to the Ohio State program, believe Fickell, the team's co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, is the best at doing just that. In this recruiting cycle, Fickell has three of the 12 committed recruits.

Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson

One of the top East Coast recruiters, Johnson owns the state of Maryland. Since 2006, he has had 16 players from the state either signed or committed. What's even more impressive, in recent years Johnson has shown the ability to recruit other states as well, including Virginia, New York and New Jersey. Locking up that region is important for Joe Paterno's program.

Illinois assistant head coach/running backs coach Reggie Mitchell

After Mike Locksley took the New Mexico job, Mitchell assumed the role of top recruiter for one of the top recruiting head coaches in America, Ron Zook. Mitchell is the assistant head coach and also coordinates the recruiting effort for the Illini. Since Zook and Mitchell have been in Champaign, Illinois has become a major factor for most of the state's top talent and also is competitive with top prospects nationally.

Three solid choices here. Fickell consistently lands top national recruits, while both Johnson (Maryland) and Mitchell (Chicago) recruit specific areas extremely well.

A few Big Ten coaches could wind up in future rankings, including Michigan State running backs coach Dan Enos, Minnesota defensive line coach Tim Cross and Michigan quarterbacks coach Rod Smith and secondary coach Tony Dews.