The 2010 Football Recruiting Class

USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern's football success in 2012 was built around an astoundingly successful 2010 recruiting haul

I've been poking around old recruiting rankings for a project about Northwestern's talent level, and I paused to take a look at what happened to some of the recent recruiting classes. The 2010 class stood out in a big way. This was a 17 man class. Rivals gave 16 players 3 stars and the other 2 stars, while Scout gave 11 three star ratings and 6 two stars. Here are the players in that class by recruiting rating (Rivals/Scout), with the positions they were listed as at the time:

3/3

C Brandon Vitabile

QB Trevor Siemian

OLB Chi Chi Ariguzo

QB Kain Colter

DE Chance Carter

RB Adonis Smith

DT Will Hampton

OT Paul Jorgensen

WR Tony Jones

RB/DB Ibraheim Campbell

WR Rashad Lawrence

3/2

CB C.J. Bryant

S/LB Collin Ellis

OT Sean McEvilly

WR/ATH Venric Mark

WR Jimmy Hall

2/2

CB Daniel Jones

So, from that list:

Adonis Smith transferred last year; he is the only player not currently on the roster. Otherwise, that is: both quarterbacks who saw significant PT, the starting running back/returner, 2 starting receivers, the starting center, 3 defensive tackles in the rotation, 2 starting defensive backs, a starting linebacker, the nickel back, a special teams player who saw spot duty on defense, a linebacker who started a few games last year, and an OL backup who got PT as a blocking tight end and is likely to move into the starting lineup next year. 16 players contributed in their third year in the program, including 9 starters, and the 17th transferred out after earning PT in both of his first two years. The 2010 class contributed 2319 of 2932 rushing yards, 25 of 31 rushing touchdowns, 2184 of 2198 passing yards, all 14 passing touchdowns, 953 of 2198 receiving yards, and 6 of 14 receiving touchdowns on offense. On defense, it included the 3rd, 4th, and 9th leading tacklers and contributed 16.5 of 69 TFLs, 5 of 28 sacks, and 4 of 13 interceptions.

While the sheer number of important players from the class is impressive, the success rate is simply astounding. In year 3, more than half the original class earned starting positions; that number could conceivably increase to as many as 13 of 17 players starting in year 4. This is particularly impressive considering that the class has two positions (QB and DT) where not all of its players can start simultaneously. The success of this class goes a long way towards explaining both why Northwestern took a step forward in 2012 and why there is reason to believe the 2013 and 2014 teams can build on that success.

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