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Singing Day Report Card

In yesterday’s post I had 29 recruiting battles that were to play out on national signing day. Let’s take a look at where the 29 players wound up.

QB-Jacoby Brissett: Undeclared
QB-Cameron Coffman: Undeclared
QB-Cardale Jones: Ohio St.

RB-Isaiah Crowell: Georgia
RB-Javorious Allen: USC

WR-Nickolas Brassell: Mississippi
WR-Devin Lucien: UCLA

TE-Junior Pomee: USC

OT-Cyrus Kouandjio: Undeclared
OT-Antonio Richardson: Tennessee
OT-Troy Niklas: Notre Dame

OG-Spencer Region: Clemson
OG-Aundrew Walker: USC

DT-Tim Jurnigan: Florida St.
DT-Gabe Wright: Auburn
DT-Christian Heyward: USC
DT-Delvon Simmons: North Carolina
DT-Todd Peat: Nebraska
DT-Elkino Watson: South Florida
DT-Kevin McReynolds: UCLA

DE-Jadeveon Clowney: Undeclared
DE-Jermauria Rasco: LSU
DE-Andre Sturdivant: Toledo

LB-Tony Steward: Clemson
LB-Curtis Grant: Ohio St.
LB-Stephone Anthony: Clemson

ATH-Marqise Lee: USC
ATH-Darius Jennings: Virginia
ATH-Dominique Terrell: Virginia

The two HUGE names still on the list are Clowney & Kouandjio. Kouandjio actually committed to Auburn yesterday but then backed out. It remains unclear as to where he’ll wind up, but I always thought he made more sense to Alabama so maybe that is where he’ll go. Clowney looks to be leaning heavily towards his home state and suit up for South Carolina. I think Brissett winds up at Miami-FL & Coffman stays home to play for Arizona St. A quick look at the numbers from the 29 battles goes like this:

5 – USC
4 – Undeclared
3 – Clemson
2 – Ohio St., UCLA, Virginia
1 – Georgia, Ole Miss, Auburn, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida St., North Carolina, Nebraska, South Florida, LSU, Toledo

Clearly it was a great day for USC. By the way, the reason USC can sign a class this big apparently is because they can defer the scholarship reduction to next year. There is quite a bit of thought that USC will only have a 10-12 man class next season because of all the players they signed this signing period. It’s odd to say the least, but there you have it. According to the recruiting services here are the current #1 ranked classes:

ESPN: Florida St.
RIVALS: Alabama
SCOUT: Auburn

Here is more of a composite top-10 and where each recruiting service had the individual teams:

Florida St.: (ESPN-#1, Rivals-#2, Scout-#2)
Alabama: (ESPN-#2, Rivals-#1, Scout-#7)
Auburn: (ESPN-#3, Rivals-#7, Scout-#1)
USC: (ESPN-#4, Rivals-#4, Scout-#5)
Texas: (ESPN-#5, Rivals-#3, Scout-#4)
Georgia: (ESPN-#6, Rivals-#5, Scout-#6)
Ohio St.: (ESPN-#7, Rivals-#10, Scout-#3)
Clemson: (ESPN-#8, Rivals-#8, Scout-#12)
Notre Dame: (ESPN-#9, Rivals-#9, Scout-#8)
LSU: (ESPN-#10, Rivals-#6, Scout-#9)
Oregon: (ESPN-#14, Rivals-#11, Scout-#10)

Taken as a whole it would seem like the top-10 overall using the 3 rankings would be:

#1-Florida St.
#2-USC
#3-Texas
#4-Alabama
#5-Auburn
#6-Georgia
#7-Ohio St.
#8-Notre Dame
#9-Clemson
#10-LSU

To me the big winners here are Florida St., USC, Georgia, Notre Dame & Clemson. The Seminoles had a solid year winning 10-games, but this is coming after Jimbo Fisher’s 1st season as head coach. It’s amazing what he’s done here with recruiting. It certainly looks like Fisher might get the ‘Noles back to the hey days of Bobby Bowden sooner rather than later. The same goes for USC. In Lane Kiffin’s first year the Trojans went 8-5, but 3 of those losses were by a combined 7 points. The Trojans were dangerously close to an 11-2 season which would have been absurd with the drama surrounding the school. Kiffin is on the road to duplicating what Pete Carroll managed to do in SoCal, except he’s not investing in a circus like atmosphere to do so. Kiffin is all business and I think Southern Cal fans are going to be giddy about what this guy does in Troy.

Mark Richt turned in a big time effort and this is with Georgia coming off a 2-year record of 14-12! The Bulldogs were 10-3 in 2008, but since then have been a .500 squad which is absolutely unacceptable in Athens. Richt has had to turnover his coaching staff quite a bit in recent years and yet here he is with arguably a top-5 class going up against SEC powers such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU, & Florida. With Tennessee, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Arkansas & South Carolina playing well, recruiting the southern part of the country can’t be easy when you are coming off a 14-12 2-year period. Big time kudos to Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs.

Brian Kelly also deserves major credit here. It’s not that Kelly turned in a top-5 recruiting class, but the makeup of the players he was able to snag. One of the big problems with the Charlie Weis era was that Weis brought in some top players, but they were almost ALWAYS offensive players with Mant’t Teo being the exception. Kelly’s 2011 class is a mix of INCREDIBLE defensive talent. According to Rivals, Kelly brought in 3 of the top-11 weakside defensive end prospects including 5-star talent Ishaq Williams. He brought in 2 of the top-3 strongside defensive end prospects. 5-star Stephon Tuitt & 4-star Aaron Lynch. You think 5 defensive ends aren’t enough? Kelly didn’t think so either. He brought in two more huge DE prospects in Tony Springmann (6’6/260lbs) & Brad Carrico (6’6/270lbs). Kelly kept with his huge theme by adding 3-star ILB prospect Jarrett Grace who is 6’4/240lbs. Kelly brought in another 4-star talent in Eilar Hardy to play safety. George Atkinson was another 4-star athlete Kelly brought in who will probably find at home at safety or OLB. Kelly did his homework on the offensive side of the ball too. He brought in a pair of 4-star tackles in Matthew Hegarty & Troy Niklas. Picked up a 4-star WR in Davaris Daniels. Got a 4-star TE in Ben Koyack, and what class at Notre Dame would be completely without a QB? The Irish picked up 4-star dual threat QB Everett Golson to fill the bill. All in all a great class by Kelly, but made impressive because of his ability to rack up massive talent on the defensive side of the ball.

The last big winner is Dabo Swinney & Clemson. Swinney led Clemson to a 9-5 record in 2009 including an ACC Atlantic Division title. However, Clemson lost to Georgia Tech in the ACC championship which dampened expectations. Swinney followed that up with a 6-7 year in 2010 which has his seat warming up. With Rich Rodriguez a free agent & his past ties to Clemson, it’s getting to be a make or break year for Swinney & his Clemson tenure. Bringing in a top-10 recruiting class only has to help the cause, but he’s going to need significant wins, which might not come easily with Florida St. all of a sudden looking like a top-5 program again. Still, a huge move in the right direction.

What about losers in the recruiting battles? Here are a few that stand out to me.

Michigan St.: Sparty is coming off an embarrasing loss to Alabama in a bowl game, but MSU finished the year 11-2 & had just as good a shot as anyone to land in a BCS Bowl. With Mark Dantonio as the HC, I’m not sure the Spartans have to be a top-10 recruiting class to win. Dantonio only needs kids that will work hard & buy into his methods, but Rivals has Michigan St. with the 31st ranked class. Scout has them at #29. ESPN didn’t rank them within the top-25. You’d like to think Michigan St. was a top-25 program. The 11-2 season might be more in play for the 2012 class, but Sparty could recruit a lot better it would seem.

Wisconsin: Maybe this will be a growing trend with the Big 10, but Wisconsin too is coming off an 11-2 season in which they went to the Rose Bowl. Rivals has the Badgers down for the 38th best class in 2011! Scout has them one spot lower at 39th! Like Michigan St., I’m not sure the Badgers have to turn in top-10 classes on a yearly basis, but Wisconsin was a top-10 team for most of the year and some people had them in the top-3 behind Auburn & Oregon. Bret Bielema can’t capitalize on that sort of success? Something seems amiss.

Penn St.: When you think of historically incredible programs, Penn St. always has to be on the list. Where did they manage to rank in the 2011 recruiting class? Rivals has the Lions at #35 while Scout has them at #33. The Lions aren’t coming off a great year in 2010 where they went 7-6, but this was a program that went 11-2 in 2009. Clearly the momentum from that year didn’t pay off at all. A ton of people will credit this to the unstable situation that Joe Paterno brings to the table as HC. A few more season in which PSU goes 7-6 will have western Pennsylvania clamoring for a new head coach. If JoePa lives that long!

Virginia Tech: The Hokies were sort of interesting. In 2009 they went 10-3 and were a top-10 ranked team heading into 2010. They got off to a horrible start losing back-to-back games against Boise St. & James Madison. The fighting Beamers rebounded well winning 11 straight games with a perfect 9-0 record in the ACC including a conference championship win over Florida St. They were beaten badly by Stanford in the Orange Bowl, but this was still an 11-3 squad that was 21-6 the last 2 seasons. Rivals has them at #33. Scout has them at #40. Like Michigan St., or Wisconsin, you’d like to think a program like Virginia Tech is a top-25 program. With a coaching staff that includes Frank Beamer & Bud Foster I know you don’t need much talent, but Va Tech should be getting more.

Other teams I’m always surprised that don’t bring in elite level classes are Arizona St. and Texas A&M. Some usual suspects we typically see ranked highly are Miami-FL, Pittsburgh & Michigan. Because of the coaching changes, you can’t really say they won or lost although I do think Brady Hoke did an excellent job at creating a class almost out of nothing. Rivals ranked Michigan’s class the 21st best in the country while Scout had the Wolverines at #27.

The only thing we are waiting on now is Clowney & Kouandjio!

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February 3, 2011 - Posted by | Recruiting

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