We found a Sports Illustrated article from 1996 with some interesting comments from Gerry DiNardo. We can only imagine what a sobering experience it was when he came to Indiana and had to start recruiting by a different set of rules after spending 5 years at LSU.
If you remember, he was the coach that led the charge in 2000 to get the Big 10 to approve a rules change to allow Big 10 schools to sign an additional 3 players over the 25 per recruiting season limit, provided the coach could prove that he had room for 3 in his previous class.
"There are 28 new Tigers, although some of them will not qualify academically (which will keep LSU within the NCAA one-year maximum of 25 new scholarships) and many will never contribute. 'It's a fact that only about a third of the guys you sign will end up starting, because if you get it going, you sign someone the following year that's better,' DiNardo said. 'There will be injuries, transfers, failures. There always are.'"
DiNardo is right about the fact that once a coach get going and has some success he should be able to start landing better talent, and eventually these coaches are faced with a dilemma, sign as many of these better players as legally possible under the 25/85 rule and by exploiting the oversigning loophole of cutting guys between signing day and august or simply take what your roster budget will allow.
DiNardo was at Indiana for three years and those were the 3 highest years in terms of recruits. Despite signing a larger number of players, DiNardo was never able to put it together. Indiana never won more than 3 games in a single year during his time and he was fired.
We find this extremely interesting. One of the main things oversigning enables is for a coach to completely gut an existing roster and get his guys in faster; most of the time this is when you will see the most abuse of oversigning. There have been several coaches who have coached other places (Ron Zook, DiNardo, Saban, Rodriguez, etc) that were all somewhat successful (ranging from NC caliber success to mediocre success) in other conferences (which obviously have different recruiting rules), yet failed to get it done in the Big 10. Meanwhile, coaches that have had longer tenures in the Big 10 such as Lloyd Carr, Jim Tressel, and Joe Paterno, and all who were accustom to the Big 10 recruiting rules, have won National Championships and were (in Carr's case) or continue to be very successful (in Tressel and Paterno's case). Our point here is that most new head coaches coming into the Big 10 are going to struggle if they have to come in and wade through 3-4 years of recruiting to get their guys in, instead of gutting the roster in 2-3 years by oversigning. This is not to diminish the actual coaching these guys do - some coaches are much better recruiters than they are coaches - but there is definitely something to all of this.
Here is a look at his numbers while at Indiana (2003, 2004, and 2005); kind of interesting that Indiana's numbers leveled out some after he left.
Indiana Recruiting Numbers 2002 - 2010
The article is actually a great read. Check it out.