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Signing Day Roundtable

It’s that time again. The Big Ten bloggers’ network has come up with a roundtable to discuss the exploits of signing day. I figured I would participate. Instead of whining about basketball and Robbie Hummel’s back it’s time to whine about football and our poor recruiting class. Special thanks to Zombie Nation for organizing this event.

1. Were you pleased with this year's recruiting class? Where did your team excel? Where did they fall short?

Purdue needed to go in a different direction and we did by cleaning up the leftovers in the state of Florida. I say leftovers because you are rarely going to pry the top players away from Miami, Florida, and Florida State. Getting even anyone marginally good out of Miami-Dade county is impressive because Randy Shannon has a headlock on the talent down there, but fortunately there is so much talent in the state that those three schools can’t possibly take all of it.

This class is long on speed, but short on the star power to make it excel on all the ranking lists. We managed to grab four guys with 4.6 or better speed in the 40. They are guys that can play all over the field. I am very intrigued by quarterback prospect Rob Henry. If Justin Siller struggles and Joey Elliott is not fully recovered from shoulder surgery he could see some immediate playing time. He is mobile and has good mechanics.

2. Name one or two players you want to see get on the field ASAP, and where you think they will fit in.

Running back Al-Terek McBurse was our highest rated recruit and you can bet he will see some time in the backfield with returning senior Jaycen Taylor. It is nice to have Taylor back, but getting a guy back after a torn ACL is always dicey. McBurse is a guy who can contribute immediately at a position where we needed such a player.

We also need to get the tight end involved more in our offense. Kyle Adams was supposed to help with this last year, but he got hurt on the season’s first play and we were missing that element the rest of the season, Incoming freshman Gabe Holmes looks like a solid option there.

3. This one's purely for the sake of argument. Much has been made about the SEC's recruiting 'dominance' over the Big Ten, particularly this year. Either validate that claim, or try to prove it wrong. At least vent a little bit. You know you want to.

You know what, screw the SEC. These things go in cycles. People need to realize this. The SEC is always going to be a tough conference because there are very good football teams down there. That is not going to change, nor will it in the Big 12, Pac 10, or Big Ten. The Big Ten is down right now, but decades of history are not going to go away overnight. We’re not Notre Dame. It’s been far less than 20 years since we were relevant as a conference overall.

4. Going into next year (already), where does your team need to focus its efforts? How about the Big Ten as a whole? What can the conference/your team do better to attract more highly-regarded recruits, or is it even an issue?

Well, we have nowhere to go but up. We finished with the worst rated class in the Big Ten, but we get an immediate chance in the non-conference to make some noise for the conference. The first step is that we have to beat Notre Dame at home. Michigan and Michigan State can help out by beating them. Whether they are having a good year or a bad year it is a name win when you beat them. If they go 0-3 against the Big Ten it makes the conference as a whole look better while causing Irish fans to freak out.

A second thing we can do, and it would probably be even better since they are a better team, is beat Oregon at Autzen Stadium. No one is going to give us a chance in that game, but I am crazy enough to think we have a shot. They lose many key players and we weren’t that far from them last year. Our defense returns enough to give us a chance against them, and offensively I know we can compete with them. Painter didn’t even have a good game when we almost beat them last year, so as long as Siller/Elliott doesn’t turn the ball over I know we have a chance. That would be a huge win for the conference to have one of its weaker teams go in and beat a top 15 team on the road.

I know, I am crazy for thinking that, but I have to stay positive.

One word/number answers...
How many freshmen (in your class) redshirt in 2009?

half

Did you watch live TV coverage on signing day? If not, how many times did you hit 'refresh' on your browser on signing day?

No, and not much

Are you going to your spring game?

Yes