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Big Ten & Rutgers Recruiting: And those stars mean what?

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Five star recruits. Four star recruits. And everybody else. So what does it mean when a season ends and the talent is evaluated?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure that anyone with an interest in football, particularly college football, has seen this Tweet or a variation of it:

And, of course, those of us who root for teams that tend to get fewer four and five star recruits said, "Yeah!  Stick it, big guys!"  And then went off grumbling that we don't get more four and five star recruits.  Then we also saw this Tweet....and we smiled:

We'll be using Rivals rankings for this study.  Now, I would love to tell you that there were no 4 or 5 star recruits on the B1G First or Second teams. But, alas, I cannot.  Out of the 50 players recognized (24 offense, 26 defense), there was one 5-star.  On offense.  Stefon Diggs from Maryland.  One....from Maryland!  Okay, there were 11 rated as 4-stars, four on offense and seven on D.  On the offense, J.T. Barrett (OSU) and Melvin Gordon (Wis) were both first teamers.  The other two were on the line - see, those big guys up front are important. Both on the second team, Iowa's Austin Blythe and the Buckeyes' Taylor Decker carried 4 stars.  Over on defense, the four stars were from Nebraska (1), Ohio State (3), Penn State (2), and Maryland (1)

Then we get around to the "other guys", the 3, 2, 1, and, yes, even no star recruits.

Do you know Jack Conklin?  He's one of Mark Dantonio's famous "under the radar" players.  A member of the 2012 recruiting class, the Second Team Big Ten tackle had no stars.  No rating within his home state of Michigan and signed with the Spartans in MaySecond team all Big Ten, boys and girls. He is joined by Maryland's kicker Brad Craddock, a first-teamer, as the only zero star recruits on offense.  But there are two of them!

And the Badgers' Kyle Costigan?  A 2-star recruit in 2010.  He's number one at guard for the Big Ten offense.  He and ttfp's Sam Ficken (second team K) were both 2-stars.

Over on defense, there were five one- or two-star recruits. MSU's (again) Trae Waynes, Minnesota's Eric Murray, and Damien Wilson, along with Illinois' punter Justin DuVernois were all two-star recruits out of high school.  The Gophers also found a first team punter in Pete Mortell who had no ranking out of high school. In fact, Mortell isn't listed as a signed recruit by Rivals, although he was ranked as the No. 8 punter in the nation by a kicking camp.

Overall, the numbers aren't as startling as for the Super Bowl starters, but they do say that most of the kids playing ball in the B1G aren't four and five star athletes (surprise!).  And in some cases, the "under the radar" types can - and do - produce with heart, effort, and good coaching.

2014 Big Ten All Conference - 1st & 2nd Team
Offense Number Defense Number
5 * 1 5 * 0
4 * 4 4 * 7
3 * 15 3 * 14
2 * 2 2 * 4
1 or 0 * 2 1 or 0 * 1
Average Stars 2.9 Average Stars 3