Conference slips in national recruiting ranks

Ohio State was the only school to sign a 5-star prospect.

Josh Katzenstein

The Minnesota football teamâÄôs 2011 signing day roster might not look glorious, but on paper, the Gophers arenâÄôt exactly far behind the rest of the Big Ten.

With another national signing day in the books, the conference continued its downward trend of recruiting class rankings while conferences like the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference inked many of the top recruits.

As a group, the Big Ten signed just one five-star recruit, according to Rivals.com (Ohio StateâÄôs Curtis Grant). The SEC led all conferences with 9 five-star recruits, and the ACC grabbed a total of six.

First-year head coach Jerry Kill said he hasnâÄôt had a chance to compare the conference and is solely focused on his own class. The Gophers signed two of the top three Minnesota recruits, but nobody from the state earned better than a three-star ranking.

âÄúI havenâÄôt paid attention to the SEC or what everybody else does,âÄù Kill said. âÄúWeâÄôve got to worry about the University of Minnesota competing in the Big Ten right now, so IâÄôve locked in on what we need to do.âÄù

Competing in the Big Ten down the road might not be as difficult as past seasons since only two teams âÄî Ohio State and newcomer Nebraska âÄî are bringing in a top-20 recruiting class, according to Rivals. Purdue, Indiana and Northwestern are all outside the top-50.

Kill could also benefit from not being the only new coach in the conference. Michigan recently hired Brady Hoke as its new head coach, and Indiana replaced Bill Lynch with Kevin Wilson.