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The relationship that boosted Rutgers' recruiting efforts

Coaches work non-stop to gain any possible edge in recruiting. Playing time, facilities, winning, proximity to home, and even uniforms are often deciding factors for many recruits, but relationships are most commonly the determining factor. 

After a successful first season on the field, Kyle Flood and his staff at Rutgers are benefiting on the recruiting trail from a relationship they had no part in creating.

"I kind of feel like I can go back where I came from, play in front of people that I know and just show the teams in the Big Ten, 'This is what you missed out on,'" linebacker Lester Liston of Grand Blanch, Mich., told the Wall Street Journal. "I think I have a better chance with my stock in the NFL draft coming out of the Big Ten."

"Throughout high school, I was always looked at as a Big Ten back: very powerful, very explosive, with good speed and a hard runner," added running back Dontae Ayres from Salisbury, Md. "When I heard about the Big Ten, I was like, wow. This is exactly what I wanted. I'm a Big Ten back through and through."

No brand is stronger in college football than the SEC - seven straight crystal balls tend to have that affect - but the Big Ten, with its roster full of strong, distinguished state schools, access to large population centers and nation-wide TV network, is a strong silver medalist.

College football recruiting proves that, just like in life, you are who you associate yourself with.

"It was a big deal," said defensive lineman Ali Kassem of Rutgers' Big Ten admittance. "I'm from Cincinnati. That's Big Ten country. My friends play at Big Ten schools. I wanted to play against Ohio State."