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Ideal Scholarship Offer List

I did a post about Notre Dame’s 2011 recruiting class & their 2012 recruiting class to get an overall sense of how good the athletes are for the Irish in the coming years. I used SEC offers to get a feel if Notre Dame was getting the required elite level athletes to compete for a national championship. The SEC has decided it might win every BCS Championship and the conference is considered to easily be the best conference in all of college football. It is the standard that all conferences & teams will be measured by.

The SEC is certainly the standard, but it got me to thinking about a perfect offer sheet for a potential player. I think if a player got offers from Florida St., Ohio St., Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Stanford, Oregon & USC, then you’d have to think that player is an elite level player even without an offer from an SEC school. When evaluating a player trying to meet the “SEC” requirement, should a player be punished if it has offers from every elite school in the nation except for SEC schools? My thought is no they shouldn’t so be punished as a “non-SEC” athlete if they have a sufficient number of other offers. In that spirit, let’s go through each conference and determine which schools constitute “elite” level status.

ACC (Florida St., Miami-FL, North Carolina)

Obviously Jimbo Fisher is bringing in massive amounts of talent to Tallahassee. As far as recruiting classes are concerned, I wouldn’t be surprised if Florida St. was the most SEC-esque team in the nation not playing in the conference. Everything hasn’t gone exactly to plan for the ‘Noles this season, but there is no question that Fisher has a talent issue.

The Hurricanes are still “THE U” and any type of elite 5-star athlete almost surely has an offer from Miami. One thing to keep in mind with the Hurricanes is that they are based out of the ridiculously talented area of South Florida. I think Al Golden is going to turn that program around and if the Hurricanes hadn’t dropped some games they really shouldn’t have, then Miami-FL could just as easily be undefeated at this point.

North Carolina is the oddity here, but I think Butch Davis is an elite level coach especially when it comes to defensive talent. Whether or not an offensive player has an offer from the Tar Heels is up for debate on how valuable it is, but for whatever reason, North Carolina recruits elite level talent and actually gets some of that talent in Chapel Hill. This is especially true of the defense so having UNC on the offer sheet is important.

BIG TEN (Ohio St., Penn St., Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern)

Ohio St. is down, but make no mistake, the Buckeyes attract elite level talent to play in Columbus. Losing Jim Tressel hurts the momentum for the Buckeyes and it’s fairly clear that Luke Fickell probably won’t be around after this season, but you know that OSU is going to get a pretty big named coach to come into Columbus. If it’s Urban Meyer then you can expect Ohio St. to have top-5 classes on an annual basis. Even without Meyer, anyone who can stabilize the situation is going to bring in elite level athletes & regardless if they don’t bring them in, Ohio St. is going to be offering top talent.

Penn St. is on the list in much the same way North Carolina is on the list. The Nittany Lions have a propensity to bring in gigantic amounts of talent on the defensive side of the football especially at LB. Pennsylvania is a gigantic recruiting area & PSU is right in the heart of it. Penn St. actually attracts a fair amount of elite level talent on offense as well. What sort of hurts Penn St. to a degree is the reputation of the Big 10 in big games which tears down every team in the conference even if that isn’t always the fairest of assessments.

Michigan is just as hyped as Ohio St. in my opinion. Michigan doesn’t lack for elite level talent going into the NFL, and I think this continues under HC Brady Hoke. According to Rivals, Hoke brought in the 21st ranked class in 2011 despite working in a limited capacity. In his first full season as HC, Rivals has Michigan’s 2012 class ranked #2 currently. The Wolverines certainly could use some more 5-star players, but I think that will come over time.

Nebraska is a great program & Bo Pelini wants very much to be a great coach. Nebraska is one of the more storied programs in college football and I think Tom Osbourne showed everyone what could be accomplished in Lincoln. I don’t think it’s ever going to be OK for Nebraska to stock a team with 3-star recruits. The recruitment of Bubba Starling proves this as does recent guys such as Ndamukong Suh, Prince Amukamara, Roy Helu, and Jared Crick.

Northwestern makes the list because HC Pat Fitzgerald has said over and over again that it takes a special kind of player who “gets it” to play at Northwestern. I think Fitzgerald is an absolutely TREMENDOUS head coach and Northwestern is one of the luckiest programs in the nation for that reason alone. I also think academics play a significant role with who receives an offer from Northwestern. An elite level athlete that gets an offer from LSU & USC, but who also gets an offer from Northwestern is probably a truly special individual.

BIG XII (Texas, Oklahoma)

Texas is an easy choice here. First of all there aren’t any teams with more cache in college football than Texas. There are definitely some with as much cache, but no team with more. Mack Brown is an exceptional recruiter as well and the Longhorns are always in the top-5/top-10 in recruiting classes with no team ever having a more talented roster top to bottom than Texas. The Longhorns are always at the forefront of every 5-star athlete it seems and clearly watching Texas on a Saturday will show you just how insanely athletic the Longhorns are. I mentioned before that Florida St. is most likely the closest thing to an “SEC” school other than actual members of the conference. My guess is that Texas would be pretty close, but the Longhorns rarely venture out of their own state as the state of Texas has incredible talent that Mack Brown mines constantly. Texas can win national championships without ever stepping out of their own backyard to grab talent.

Bob Stoops has built a super power in Norman. The Sooners are close to Texas so they get a break there with the geography, but the Sooners have enough name recognition to get the attention of any 5-star athlete they have their sights on. Oklahoma has crazy talent on their roster, and one of the more exciting things about Oklahoma is that they aren’t known for one specific position. The talent is overflowing at every position on the field.

PAC 12 (USC, Oregon, Washington, Stanford)

USC is self-explanatory. If there is a “rock-star” program in college football it’s USC. They are the premiere college football program in the fertile recruiting ground of southern California. UCLA isn’t any good and Los Angeles has no NFL team. It’s an incredibly unique situation made all the better because USC is one of the most storied programs in college football history. In Lane Kiffin’s first season last year the brought in a top-5 recruiting class even with all the penalties left over from the Pete Carroll era. The Trojans bring in the elite of the elite. An offer from USC is the same as an offer from the best SEC school.

If I had to rank the 3 best coaches in college football, I’d go with Nick Saban, Chip Kelly & Brian Kelly in some order. Kids want to play for Chip Kelly and it’s easy to see why. The offense is fantastic and with the backing of Nike, any kid who gets wooed by the Ducks is probably in for the time of their life. The offensive scheme speaks for itself so an offer from Oregon is especially important for offensive skill position players. They could certainly get better recruiting from a defensive standpoint.

I put Washington on here because I think Steve Sarkisian is used to incredible 5-star talent given that he’s coming from USC. I also think Sarkisian could eventually be a coach that turns the Pac 12 on its head as UW becomes the premier team in the Pac 12 North.

Stanford is on here for much the same reason as Northwestern is although Stanford doesn’t have a guy like Pat Fitzgerald. It would have been even more apparent why the Cardinal was listed if Jim Harbaugh would have stayed as HC, but a kid who gets an offer from Stanford is a special kind of athlete with the smarts & ability to be truly special. You get a kid with an offer from LSU, Alabama, USC & Stanford, then you know you’re looking at a winner.

SEC (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi St.)

Everyone but Kentucky & Vanderbilt. I won’t go into team specifics. This is the conference that everyone else is judged against. The athletes here are the best in all of college football.


I suppose you could make an argument for West Virginia because of Dana Holgorsen. I think you could also make a decent case for South Florida because of their recruiting base, but I think in both cases you fall a little bit short. An offer from a Big East school probably has no bearing on whether a player is elite or not.

OTHERS (Notre Dame, Any Ivy League School)

Notre Dame is an obvious choice here. Charlie Weis showed just how elite of an athlete the Irish could go after. Now that Brian Kelly is the HC, that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. Brian Kelly is one of the best coaches in college football if not the best by himself. His record speaks for itself while the history & tradition of Notre Dame is not paralleled by any other program in the nation. Notre Dame should have its pick of 5-star talent in any year and Kelly is slowly making this a reality.

It’s weird but during my research, I’ve noticed that some elite level talent sometimes gets an offer from Harvard! It’s weird really, but I’m putting any Ivy League school here for the same reasons why I would put Stanford or Northwestern. If an athlete has offers from Alabama, Oklahoma & Harvard, then something must be extra special about that particular player.


Here it is:

Florida St.
North Carolina
Ohio St.
Penn St.
South Carolina
Ole Miss
Mississippi St.
Notre Dame

That’s 25 scholarship offers. The perfect offer sheet! Pretty impressive huh?


October 15, 2011 - Posted by | Recruiting


  1. I think I would have Wisky on this list before Northwestern, but I understand what you are staying about NW's coach.

    Comment by BigTimber | October 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. Yeah, Northwestern was purely a play on Pat Fitzgerald and his philosophy on what it means to be a Northwestern football player. He says over & over again that it takes a special kind of player to be a Wildcat and I'm buying into it.

    Northwestern by itself isn't a great turn on for me, but Northwestern combined with offers from Florida St., Alabama & LSU I think show a truly unique talent.

    That same I don't think can be said for Wisconsin. Wisconsin doesn't really get the truly ELITE players although an offensive lineman coming from Wisconsin does seem to be a pretty good fit.

    Wisconsin does an awful lot with what they get which definitely says something about Bret Bielema and Barry Alvarez who came before him, but the Badgers are always going to be a team that gets 2nd tier talent hoping to make the most of it.

    It might sound odd, but the last recruiting class Wisconsin had that was ranked in the top-20 was 2003.

    Comment by College Football Mafia | October 17, 2011 | Reply

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