NCF Nation: recruiting

Arizona has quickly developed a reputation for recruiting innovation -- and fun -- with a series of YouTube videos this offseason.

SportsNation

What is your favorite video the Arizona football program has produced this offseason?

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    51%
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    13%
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    10%
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    26%

Discuss (Total votes: 923)

It has produced four videos that have combined for more than 400,000 views on YouTube since the first one was released in March. While the videos are primarily to help the program's recruiting efforts, they have doubled as way to keep Arizona fans -- and those throughout college football -- entertained during the wait for the regular season.

Today, we're asking which #OnToTheNextOne production this offseason has been your favorite.

And the nominees are:

Arizona Fast #TheNewNormal

The newest installment, released this week, emphasizes that Arizona football does "everything fast."

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Hard Edge

It's High Noon in Old Tucson, where you can meet the coaching staff in a trailer for the 2014 season.

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Hard Edge II

Another 2014 trailer in Old Tucson that features some of the Wildcats' most high-profile players, including some that have departed for the NFL.

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Arizona Speed

Coach Rich Rodriguez spoofs the movie "Speed," in a way to come out against the proposed 10-second rule.

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Big Ten coaches have been arguably the most vocal among their profession in opposing a series of new NCAA rules that would greatly deregulate recruiting.

The coaches, along with the league athletic directors, issued a formal request last month for the NCAA to table those new rules until further discussion could be had. The NCAA did in fact halt two proposals which would have allowed schools to send unlimited printed materials to prospects and would have allowed staff members other than head coaches or assistants to perform recruiting duties.

That wasn't enough for Big Ten coaches, who voted unanimously on March 12 to tell their ADs and presidents to override another controversial rule: the one allowing unlimited contact with prospects in areas like phone calls and text messages.

Well, the NCAA received the necessary 75 votes to override that proposal, known as 13-3, on Wednesday. That means the rule on unlimited contact will now be subject to a review by the Division I board of directors at its May 2 meeting. The board will also review the other proposals on printed materials and non-coach recruiting.

The 18-member board, which is made up of college presidents, can vote to kill or amend the proposals. Or it could send them to an online vote of all Division I members, where they would need a 62.5 percent majority vote.

ESPN.com colleague Mitch Sherman writes that Wednesday's override vote helped quiet a growing storm over the proposals:
It was all part of NCAA president Mark Emmert's plan to focus on rules that make a difference -- to allow enforcement staff to stop counting phone calls.

Just one problem: College coaches need the NCAA to save them from each other. If restrictions in recruiting are removed, you can bet some coach will go too far. And then, everyone's gotta follow.

Hey, if it's within the rules …

Welcome to the world of recruiting excess, featuring a new arms race in which even the richest programs wonder aloud how much is too much.

The NCAA, in passing the proposals, displayed a tone-deaf understanding of its membership.

And now, that membership has spoken.

The NCAA, tone-deaf? What a surprise. At least these much-criticized proposals are getting more review. And if the Big Ten coaches get their way, they'll die a quick death.
The Big Ten coaches and athletic directors last month asked the NCAA to reconsider three proposals that would deregulate elements of football recruiting.

They got two-thirds of their wish last week, as the NCAA's Rules Working Group recommended that the Division I Board of Directors suspend and modify the legislation at its May 2 meeting in Indianapolis. The recommendations called for additional study and discussion about:
  • Proposal 11-2, which would eliminate the requirement that only a head coach or assistant coach can perform the functions of a recruiting coordinator. The result of this has been teams hiring player personnel/scouting types in bunches
  • Proposal 13-5-A, which would have eliminated restrictions on printed materials sent to prospects. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said last month of the proposal, "Could you imagine what's going to be rolling into kids' driveways? Fatheads and magnets -- it's nonsense. ... I don't agree with that at all."

But no action was taken on arguably the most contentious proposal, 13-3, which would remove numerical limitations and modes of recruiting communication from college coaches to prospects, including text messaging.

The Big Ten coaches still want 13-3 to be tabled for further discussion. The coaches held a teleconference Tuesday and unanimously voted to recommend to their athletic directors and presidents to submit override votes if no action is taken.

"We're very thankful that the NCAA has reconsidered two of the three propositions that we made a statement regarding," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, who chairs the Big Ten coaches' group, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "But we still feel strongly that 13-3 should be tabled also. We look forward to working with the NCAA in finding great solutions to not only the recruiting process, but also to make the great game of college football and the experience for our student-athletes even better."

The board must review any proposal that receives 75 override votes, and if 125 override votes are received by March 20, the legislation would be suspended pending a vote of members. The new legislation would go into effect Aug. 1 unless the board suspends it in May.

The coaches mainly want to be involved in the discussion, which they haven't been to this point. Although the Big Ten coaches have been the most vocal about this, coaches from other leagues feel similarly. It would be surprising if additional action isn't taken on 13-3.

Recruiting has Tide, Irish in 2013 title mix

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
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Getty ImagesNick Saban and Brian Kelly have Alabama and Notre Dame primed for another run in 2013.

Before the season, the Alabama Crimson Tide were one of the favorites to play in the BCS National Championship. The Tide were ranked second in both the Associated Press and coaches’ preseason top 25 polls. However, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were a surprise participant. The Irish were unranked in the AP preseason top 25 and 24th by the coaches.

The Tide rolled the Irish 42-14 to capture their third consensus national title in four seasons. Despite the loss, the trip to the title game marked a return to prominence for one of the country’s most storied programs. Looking ahead, what are the chances one or both teams reach Pasadena for next year’s BCS National Championship?

Alabama has proven it has staying power, but the Tide will lose at least two members of their offensive line in highly decorated center Barrett Jones and left guard Chance Warmack.

Right tackle D.J. Fluker could also leave early for the NFL, as could running back Eddie Lacy and cornerback Dee Milliner. However, quarterback AJ McCarron returns, as do freshmen T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper.

As for Notre Dame, the Irish’s biggest personnel losses will be linebacker Manti Te'o on defense and tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Theo Riddick on offense. Te’o won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Eifert captured the Mackey Award as the country’s top tight end, while Riddick led the team in yards from scrimmage (1,244).

Like Bama, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback also returns, Everett Golson. Although the defense loses Te’o, eight other starters return, including defensive end Stephon Tuitt and nose tackle Louis Nix III. Tuitt led the Irish with 12 sacks and was just 1.5 shy of the school’s single-season record set by Justin Tuck in 2003.

One reason these schools enjoyed success in 2012? Recruiting. Alabama and Notre Dame have brought in top-10 recruiting classes each of the previous two years and this year’s classes are no different. The Irish currently have the top-ranked recruiting class, while the Tide’s is third according to ESPN Recruiting Nation.

Notre Dame’s defense, which was exposed a bit by Alabama, has help on the way in outside linebackers Jaylon Smith (No. 2-ranked OLB) and Alex Anzalone (No. 5). Greg Bryant, the second-ranked running back, has also committed.

As for the Tide, the rich get richer as Robert Foster, the nation’s No. 2 receiver, will join a corps that already includes the aforementioned Cooper. With the players returning and the new pieces on the way, don’t be surprised if both teams make another title run next season.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

January, 4, 2013
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Now that bowls are over, the next big date on the college football calendar is signing day.

With that in mind, it's time to take a look at where each Big Ten team stands in its recruiting efforts with less than five weeks to go before high school prospects can sign their official letters of intent.

Illinois

Current commitments: 26
Spotlight: The Illini need all the skill position talent they can find, and junior college Martize Barr seems to fit that bill. The 6-foot wide receiver is one of five juco transfers who have already signed with Illinois as Tim Beckman looks to plug roster holes. He started his career at New Mexico before transferring to Iowa Western, which won the juco national title.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Indiana

Current commitments: 19
Spotlight: Kevin Wilson and his staff have gotten some nice pickups on the recruiting trail and maybe none better than ESPN 150 prospect Rashard Fant. The 5-10, 165-pound athlete committed before ever stepping foot in Bloomington. He projects as a defensive back but has been told he could possibly play at least some snaps on offense.
ESPN 150 commitments: 1
ESPN 300 commitments: 2

Iowa

Current commitments: 18
Spotlight: This season showed that the Hawkeyes need some more playmaking ability at the receiver positions. They could get some immediate help there from junior-college transfer Damond Powell. He's only 5-foot-11 and didn't have a ton of high-profile offers, but he reportedly runs a 4.4 40 and averaged 30 yards per catch last season. Iowa could use both those things.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Michigan

Current commitments: 24
Spotlight: David Dawson -- the nation's No. 1 offensive guard, according to ESPN.com -- violated Brady Hoke's no-visit rule for Michigan commits when he took a trip to Florida earlier this fall. But the Wolverines didn't give up on him, and Dawson re-committed last month. He's one of three players from Detroit's Cass Tech who have given their pledge to play in Ann Arbor.
ESPN 150 commitments: 10
ESPN 300 commitments: 14

Michigan State

Current commitments: 15
Spotlight: Quarterback Damion Terry is ranked as the No. 13 dual threat signal caller in the country and could give the Spartans' offense a different look in the future. He led his team to a Class AAA Pennsylvania state title, along with fellow Michigan State commit Delton Williams.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 2

Minnesota

Current commitments: 14
Spotlight: It's no secret that the Gophers could use some help at the skill positions, and maybe receiver Nate Andrews can offer some assistance. The Fairhope, Ala., prospect is sticking by his commitment to Jerry Kill despite some late offers from Tennessee and Alabama, two schools that Minnesota doesn't often beat out for players from down South.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Nebraska

Current commitments: 17
Spotlight: The Huskers did more than just play in the Capital One Bowl while in Orlando. They also picked up a wide receiver from Mickey Mouse country in Dominic Walker, who is their highest-ranked high school recruit, according to ESPN.com rankings. Walker is 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds and was also recruited by Florida, Georgia and Florida State, among many others.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 3

Northwestern

Current commitments: 20
Spotlight: Four-star athlete Godwin Igwebuike is a headline writer's nightmare but someone who could be in the news a lot. He played running back in high school and could move to safety for the Wildcats. He was heavily pursued by Nebraska, Wisconsin and many others.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 1

Ohio State

Current commitments: 19
Spotlight: Eli Apple, who is ESPN.com's No. 3 ranked safety and No. 6 overall prospect, was known as Eli Woodard when he originally committed to the Buckeyes. He announced he had changed his name last month to honor his stepfather, who has helped raise him since he was 2. Ohio State is pursuing another top safety in Georgia prospect Vonn Bell.
ESPN 150 commitments: 8
ESPN 300 commitments: 13

Penn State

Current commitments: 18
Spotlight: Tyler Ferguson, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior college transfer, gives the Nittany Lions some much-needed depth at the quarterback position. The pocket passer can help push Steven Bench and possibly provide a bridge to the future should Penn State decide to redshirt top quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg.
ESPN 150 commitments: 2
ESPN 300 commitments: 3

Purdue

Current commitments: 13
Spotlight: Purdue's running back depth chart was thin this year, so Keyante Green's commitment this summer was important. Green originally was a UCLA pledge, but the Georgia native apparently wanted some earlier playing time. New coach Darrell Hazell knows how to use running backs; Kent State had two 1,000-yard rushers this season.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 2

Wisconsin

Current commitments: 18
Spotlight: New Jersey running back Corey Clement (No. 169) is ranked just outside the ESPN 150 and is the No. 17 rated running back in the class. He also had offers from Nebraska and Notre Dame. Clement has already said he wants to break Montee Ball's records someday.
ESPN 150 commitments: 0
ESPN 300 commitments: 1

The 2013 ESPN 150 -- our list of the top high school rising seniors in the country (now with less U!) -- was unveiled this afternoon. And the Big Ten's hand prints are all over the list, which you can find in its entirety here. (You can read more about the class, including spotlights on Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg and Ohio State recruit Cam Burrows, here).

Twenty players from the list have already committed to Big Ten schools. So of the 77 players who have committed, the Big Ten claims more than a quarter of them. The Big Ten only signed 12 players from the 2012 ESPN 150 list.

Michigan is responsible for the biggest portion of that haul. The Wolverines -- who have 17 total commitments for the '13 class -- boast 11 ESPN 150 prospects in their corner so far.

That's easily the most of any school in the country. Texas and Florida are next with seven ESPN 150 commits each, followed by Alabama and Georgia with six. Alabama had the top class in the country this year with 13 ESPN 150 signees. Michigan has a chance to compete for the top class ranking next year if this current group holds together and gets a few more notable additions. Brady Hoke and his staff have done an excellent job of locking up early pledges.

Ohio State is doing well, too. The Buckeyes currently have five ESPN 150 commits for Urban Meyer, including three in the top 55 of the list.

But the league school with the highest-ranked prospect so far is Penn State. Let's take a look at the players from the list who are currently committed to a Big Ten team:

No. 11: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

No. 12: Eli Woodard, CB, Ohio State

No. 21: Cam Burrows, CB, Ohio State

No. 37: Shane Morris, QB, Michigan

No. 39: Adam Breneman, TE, Penn State

No. 55: Jalin Marshall, ATH, Ohio State

No. 63: Gareon Conley, CB, Michigan

No. 75: Mike McCray II, OLB, Michigan

No. 92: David Dawson, OG, Michigan

No. 97: Logan Tuley-Tillman, OT, Michigan

No. 98: Dymonte Thomas, ATH, Michigan

No. 105: Chris Fox, OT, Michigan

No. 107: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

No. 112: Kyle Bosch, OG, Michigan

No. 113: Matt Alviti, QB, Northwestern

No. 115: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

No. 121: Patrick Kugler, OG, Michigan

No. 123: Greg Webb, DT, Penn State

No. 127: Marcus Baugh, TE, Ohio State

No. 142: Evan Lisle, OT, Ohio State

Here is where we issue the requisite word of caution, as these are only verbal commitments and it's a long way until signing day next February. Things can change a lot between now and then, and star rankings do not always predict college success. But clearly the Big Ten is doing a good job competing for the nation's highest-ranked prospects during this recruiting cycle.

Video: Signing day buzz

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
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In the last RecruitingNation 411 prior to national signing day, our host of recruiting experts from around the country share all of the latest information on what the top uncommitted recruits are thinking and where they might end up.

Recruiting Nation's updated ESPNU 150

October, 20, 2011
10/20/11
12:43
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Check out the updating recruiting information:

ESPNU 150: Who is the No. 1 player in the class of 2012 and where has he committed to play college ball at?

Positional breakdown of updated ESPNU 150 Insider

Top uncommitted prospects in the ESPNU 150 Insider

Updating the ESPNU 150 including features on three big movers

Updated Class Rankings Insider
Tags:

recruiting

The newest ESPNU 150 -- ESPN.com's list of the top 150 high school prospects for the Class of 2012 -- was released on Wednesday. More than half the nation's top recruits on this list are still uncommitted, and even those who have pledged their services to a school can change their mind before February. But here's a look at the ESPNU 150 players who have already committed to a Big Ten school:

No. 68: Terry Richardson, CB: Committed to Michigan

No.97: Jarron Jones, OT: Committed to Penn State

No. 117: Royce Jenkins-Stone, OLB: Committed to Michigan

No. 139: Michael Rose, ILB: Committed to Nebraska

No. 140: Kyle Kalis, OT: Committed to Ohio State

Our recruiting folks also have a list of players who just missed the cut, and they include linebacker Joe Bolden and tight end Devin Funchess, both Michigan commitments. Brady Hoke is off to an excellent start in his first full recruiting season for the Wolverines, and his ability to attract elite defenders has to make his fan base smile.

Many people are going to be watching Ohio State's recruitment this year to see if the Buckeyes' off-the-field troubles and lack of a permanent head coach hurt their efforts to sign top prospects.

There is plenty of time for the Big Ten to rack up more blue-chippers off this list; for example, the No. 4-ranked player (defensive end Noah Spence) is considering Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan.

Look for ESPN.com's early 2012 class rankings in a few days.
DESTIN, Fla. -- Auburn might be in a rebuilding year on The Plains, but that isn't pushing many top prospects away.

Since Saturday, the Tigers have grabbed three verbal commitments, with two being members of the ESPNU 150 Watch List. Auburn now has eight verbal commitments in its 2012 recruiting class.

Auburn got things started with the commitment from Parker, Colo., Chaparral offensive tackle Shane Callahan, who committed at Auburn's Big Cat recruiting weekend. The ESPNU 150 Watch List member stands 6-foot-5, 280 pounds and also had offers from Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Utah and Washington.

Here's what Callahan told The Birmingham News about his commitment to Auburn: "I knew awhile back. I knew I should make the decision now. I'm ready. It's where I want to be.

"I'm excited to be a part of the family."

ESPN recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg also caught up with Callahan and Monday commit Darius Philon, who is a defensive tackle from Pichard, Ala.

Miami Beach, Fla., Senior athlete Ricardo Louis committed Tuesday. Louis is a member of the ESPNU 150 Watch List as well.

Here's what the 6-foot-1, 200-pound athlete, who had about 20 offers, told ESPN recruiting analyst Corey Long about his decision to pick the Tigers: "Auburn is just the right place for me, it's the type of atmosphere that I believe will bring the best out in me. Coach [Trooper] Taylor is like a family member to be honest and being around the rest of the recruits and seeing everything, I'm proud to call myself an Auburn Tiger."
Saw this little nugget from Bruce Feldman in his blog and figured I would pass it on to you:

The TCU Horned Frogs have five ESPNU watch-list verbals so far, while the entire Big East has two.

Is it any coincidence TCU is doing well in recruiting as it enters the Big East for the 2012 season? Coach Gary Patterson has said the ability to sell recruits on being in an automatic qualifying conference would be a plus, and that is playing out. Consider TCU signed one player from the ESPNU 150 as part of the 2011 class. Now granted, the watch list has more than 150 players, but this is signficant nonetheless.

Here are the players TCU already has verbal commitments from for 2012:

Defensive end Devonte Fields

Tight end Griffin Gilbert

Defensive tackle Joey Hunt

Running back Daje Johnson

Quarterback Tyler Matthews

There are only two other non-AQ teams with commitments on the watch list: Running back Robert Lewis is committed to SMU and quarterback Zach Lindsay is committed to BYU. Remember, commitments are non-binding until recruits sign their national letter of intent next February.
Signing day is just about over now, and here are a few more recaps:

Rutgers finalized a class of 24 signees, which included five mid-year enrollees. It was a really nice haul for Greg Schiano, headlined by top New Jersey talent Savon Huggins. He's the top-rated recruit in the Big East this year and should really help the running game. A late pickup of offensive lineman Kaleb Wright helps that cause as well.

The Scarlet Knights also pulled in highly regarded defensive lineman Marquise Wright and did an excellent job of keeping several of the top in-state players home. Schiano has built a solid foundation with the past couple of classes and needs to capitalize on it with a conference championship soon.

Here is the full Rutgers 2011 class.

New Pitt coach Todd Graham announced his first class, with 20 players joining the Panthers. That includes four players from Oklahoma and Texas, which might become a new recruiting area for the program given Graham's ties there.

Considering where Pitt's class was when Graham took over, it seems like he did a good job in assembling these 20 players. But time will tell if they were just scholarship-fillers or true contributors. Graham did lure Lafayette Pitts back into the fold late, but struck out on McKeesport (Pa.) standouts Branden Jackson and Delvin Simmons.

Here's a link to Pitt's full class.

South Florida inked 21 players on Wednesday, with the big surprise being defensive tackle Elkino Watson from Miami. Not surprisingly, 16 of the 21 players are from the state of Florida. Everything besides Watson went pretty much according to projections. The Bulls' class is a little light on star power, but Skip Holtz says he is bringing in players who are good fits for his system.

Here is USF's 2011 class.

Finally, Butch Jones added a bunch of talent to Cincinnati in his efforts to rebuild this program after a 4-8 debut season. The Bearcats signed 24 players and brought in six more as preferred walk-ons. That includes eight players from Ohio and seven from Florida. Their top-ranked recruit is running back Jameel Poteat, who was once committed to Pitt.

"The exciting aspect regarding this class is that many competed for championships throughout their high school careers and understand the expectations that surround the Cincinnati football program,” Jones said.

Here is Cincinnati's full class.
Here's the continuation of our review of the 2007 Big East recruiting classes. Read Part I here.

Rutgers

2007 signees: 22

Stars (2): OL Anthony Davis, S Joe Lefeged

Contributors (11): LB Manny Abreu, OL Desmond Stapleton, RB Joe Martinek, RB Mason Robinson, RB Jourdan Brooks (transferred), OL Caleb Ruch, OL Desmond Wynn, DE Alex Silvestro, DE Jonathan Freeny, K San San Te, DL Justin Francis

Where are they now? (9): OL Richard Muldrow, DE Jameil Farrington, WR Robinson Alexis, OL Edwin Alvarez, CB Al-Majid Hutchins, OL Keith Newell, DT Wayne Thomas, TE Fabian Ruiz, DE Al-Ghaffar Lane

South Florida

2007 signees: 28

Stars (4): DT Terrell McClain, C Sampson Genus, WR Dontavia Bogan, LB Tyrone McKenzie (juco)

Contributors (10): RB Mike Ford (dismissed), DE Patrick Hampton, DL Keith McCaskill, FB Richard Kelly, OL Jeremiah Warren, DB Quenton Washington, DL Claude Davis (went to junior college first), WR Patrick Richardson, CB Tyson Butler, LB Donte Spires

Where are they now? (14): QB Alton Voss, OT Thomas Edenfield, LB Calvin Sutton, WR Josh Bellamy (went to junior college then Louisville), DT Kyle Dampier, DE David Fonua, RB Rickey Anderson, DT Corian Garrison, OT Lawrence McCoy, TE Kavenski McGee, TE Mike McGowan, WR Darren Powe, S Charlton Sinclair, ATH Carlton Hill

Syracuse

2007 signees: 27

Stars (1): LB Doug Hogue

Contributors (14): DT Bud Tribbey, S Max Suter, DB Da'Mon Merkerson, TE Cody Catalina, S Ryan Gillum, TE Nick Provo, WR Van Chew, DB Mike Holmes, P Rob Long, DB Kevyn Scott, DL Ollie Haney, LB Mike Mele (transferred), S Randy McKinnon, DE Chad Battles

Where are they now? (12): WR Andrey Baskin, RB Jamere Knox, QB David LeGree, S Jovan Miller, QB Chaz Cervino, DE Lou Falzone, DE Lamar Middleton, LB Jermaine Pierce, DE Darnell Pratt, DE Zary Stewart, OT Josh White, CB Ryan Howard.

West Virginia

2007 signees: 27

Stars (5): RB Noel Devine, RB Jock Sanders, CB Brandon Hogan, DE Julian Miller, CB Keith Tandy

Contributors (8): LB Pat Lazear, S Sidney Glover, DB Eain Smith, S Ellis Lankster, TE Will Johnson, WR Bradley Starks, OT Donnie Barclay, OT Chad Snodgrass

Where are they now? (15): QB Charlie Russell, DT Asa Chapman, WR Andrew Harris, S Evan Rodriguez, DT Junius Lewis, S Vance Harris, LB Derek Knight, WR Charles Matthews, WR Tarus McKinely, S Kendall Washington, OT Gino Gradkowski, CB P.J. Shirdan, LB Archie Sims, CB Tony Wood, RB Terrence Kerns.

Thoughts

Using these numbers -- and again, this is far from an exact science -- teams got contributors or stars from about 60 percent of their recruiting classes. The highest batting averages in the 2007 class for that came from UConn (69 percent) and Pitt (68 percent). UConn and West Virginia got the highest number of star players by my definition, and four years later those two teams were the top teams in the Big East. Several of those who were classified as contributors didn't finish their careers or had minimal impact on the field.

Even the best classes had several misses, and the top players were not always the highest-rated recruits. More food for thought as we approach signing day.
The folks over at ESPN Recruiting have been working hard not only putting together all the latest news as we head toward Signing Day on Wednesday, but also taking a look back through the years at hits and misses.

Generally the ESPN rankings for teams and players feature mostly automatic qualifying conference teams. But in the class of 2007, there were several notable non-AQ players highlighted.

In its feature on hit and miss players from the class of 2007, ESPN Recruiting mentioned running back Antwain Easterling of Southern Miss as a bust:

Easterling rushed for more than 2,800 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a senior for Miami Northwestern. He was ranked No. 23 overall and as the fifth best running back in the country, but played in only two games for the Golden Eagles before being suspended indefinitely in 2008 for violating team rules and never returning to the program.


Several others were a part of the ESPNU Top 150 players of that signing class, aside from Easterling. Here is an update on them. A few ended up transferring in to non-AQ schools, so I included them here as well.

64. D'Angelo McCray, DT (Jacksonville, Fla./Andrew Jackson)

McCray redshirted at Illinois in 2007, before transferring to Eastern Illinois. After playing in 2008 for Eastern Illinois, he transferred to Coffeyville Community College in 2009 and then transferred to Memphis in 2010, totaling six tackles.

No. 110 Kamar Aiken, WR (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna)

In 2007, he set UCF freshman receiving records for catches, yards and touchdowns. As a sophomore, he was second on the team in catches and yards. In 2009, he lead the Knights in receiving yards, average yards per catch and receiving touchdowns. Aiken caught 32 passes for 486 yards and two touchdowns in 2010. For his career, he has 121 catches, 1,924 yards and 17 touchdowns.

132. Sidell Corley Jr., DE (Mobile, Ala./McGill Toolen)

After redshirting in 2007, he played in two games in 2008 and transferred to Troy in 2009. He recorded 22 tackles combined in 2009 and 2010 while playing with a benign tumor on the pituitary gland at the base of his brain.

143. Derrius Bell, CB (Arlington, Texas/Hillcrest)

After playing in nine games as a true freshman at SMU, he started 11 game in 2008 and recorded 53 tackles. In 2009, he saw action in only two games. After multiple concussions, he followed his doctor's orders and quit football in 2010.

TCU is tops among non-AQ schools in recruiting for the Class of 2011, according to the latest ESPN Recruiting rankings.

Billy Tucker says OLB Deryck Gildon and QB Dominic Merka headline the class. Of Gildon, Tucker writes, "He's a four-star, top-10 linebacker who should help TCU's future defense stay stingy."

Utah is ranked No. 2, followed by Houston, UCF and BYU. For Utah, it seems the move to the Pac-10 is paying off. Tucker writes, "The Utes are putting together one of their better classes under coach Kyle Whittingham, and selling future Pac-10 play to recruits appears to be paying dividends. Utah already has 17 commits in its well-balanced class."

You can find the rest of the top 8 here.

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