With National Signing Day 2013 in the rear-view mirror, we sit down to look back at 2012 and forward into the future -- all at the same time. Below you can find the teams from the final AP Top 25 poll, with a summary of how the 2013 recruiting class shook out. Many of the players listed below will not see significant action until 2014 or 2015. But if a Top 25 team cannot pull Top 25 talent, the pressure is on the coaching staff to turn them into winners.
|2012-13 Final AP Top 25 on National Signing Day|
|AP Finish||Team||How They Fared|
Best Prospects: ILB Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala.), WR Robert Foster (Monaca, Pa.), OLB Jonathan Allen (Ashburn, Va.), OT A'Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas)
Needs Filled? Needs? The back-to-back national champions just reloaded with the best recruiting class in the country, pulling four- and five-star talent from everywhere on the map. The chatter now is not if they filled needs, but how all these stars will see the field.
Best Prospects: RB Thomas Tyner (Beaverton, Ore.), ATH Tyree Robinson (San Diego), OLB Tyrell Robinson (San Diego), WR Darren Carrington (San Diego)
Needs Filled? New coach Mark Helfrich had the advantage of knowing most of the key prospects in this class and avoided losing the commitment of the speedsters at the top of the class. The Robinson twins and Tyner headline the group, which has a little bit of everything on the field.
Best Prospects: S Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga.), WR Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio), OT Evan Lisle (Dayton, Ohio), DE Joey Bosa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Needs Filled? Urban Meyer revisited his old stomping grounds in the Southeast to get Bell and Bosa, while two of the top cornerbacks in the class -- Eli Apple and Cameron Burrows -- are already on campus in Columbus. There is a lot of athleticism and diversity across the board, with players who could end up filling lots of different roles for the Buckeyes.
Best Prospects: OLB Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind.), DT Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif.), OT Hunter Bivin (Owensboro, Ky.), S Max Redfield
Needs Filled? Smith and Vanderdoes represent the next wave of defensive stars for the Irish, but Hunter Bivin, Mike McGlinchey, and Steven Elmer (already enrolled) are just a few of the offensive linemen where Brian Kelly stocked up in the 2013 class.
Best Prospects: QB Brice Ramsey (Kingland, Ga.), WR Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C.), LB Leonard Floyd (Chatham, Va.), S Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga.)
Needs Filled? A 32-player class has the ability to fill plenty of needs, and the fact that Richt was able to get 13 of them enrolled for this semester means they will be on their way to contributing for the Bulldogs in 2013 or 2014. The size lacks some of the (five) star power of years past, but there are at least three four-star players for every position of need.
Best Prospects: WR Ricky Seals-Jones (Sealy, Texas), DT Isaiah Golden (Carthage, Texas), WR JuQuay Williams (Fork Union, Va.), WR Laquvionte Gonzalez (Cedar Hill, Texas)
Needs Filled? Kevin Sumlin pulled 32 recruits in his first full cycle, and the 2013 class falls in line with the strengths and needs of the Aggies' style. Wide receivers and defensive backs account for 12 of the 32 players in the Class of 2013, a suggestion that Texas A&M will continue to pressure SEC defenses with fast scoring and high-octane offenses.
Best Prospects: QB Ryan Burns (Ashburn, Va.), Peter Kalambayi (Matthews, N.C.), TE Eric Cotton (Nampa, Idaho), WR Francis Owusu (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Needs Filled? David Shaw's battle cry on Wednesday was "quality not quantity." The Cardinal only signed 12 players, but that was mostly due to an unusually small amount of available scholarships. Player by player, it is a strong class, but this was not the eyebrow-raising class of 2012 by any means.
Best Prospects: LB Larenz Bryant (Charlotte, N.C.), DT Kelsey Griffin (Hoschton, Ga.), RB David Williams (Philadelphia), QB Connor Mich (Raleigh, N.C.)
Needs Filled? Steve Spurrier does not believe in the "rah-rah" of National Signing Day, and we have the same attitude about this solid Gamecocks class -- which is loaded with respected talent from in-state as well as Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. No reason to pop Champagne over one recruit, but it is not a step back for the surging Gamecocks.
Best Prospects: CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla.), RB Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, Fla.), OLB Alex Anzalone (Reading, Pa.), S Marcel Harris (Orlando, Fla.)
Needs Filled? It was a quiet signing day for the Gators, who already have seven of their better recruits on campus this semester. Wednesday's commitment from Jay-nard Bostwick was key for adding depth on the defensive line, always a need in the SEC.
Best Prospects: OLB Matthew Thomas (Miami), CB Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn.), RB Ryan Green (St. Petersburg, Fla.), DE DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Needs Filled? Despite losing six assistant coaches in a five-week span, Jimbo Fisher and his new staff were able to put together a 22-player class that still finished in the top 10 nationally. Ramsey and Walker were the late additions, while Fisher pulled much of the grunt work himself to keep Matthew Thomas from following James Coley to Miami. The front seven -- which lost seven starters/key contributors from 2012 -- received the most attention and should be set moving forward.
Best Prospects: CB MacKensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla.), OG Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C.), LB Dorian O'Daniel (Olney, Md.), RB Tyshon Dye (Elberton, Ga.)
Needs Filled? Clemson has not had a cornerback prospect with the potential of Alexander in a while, and his arrival could lead to a new era in Clemson's pass defense. Offensive guard Tyrone Crowder is thought to be one of the most physical offensive linemen in the Carolinas, while Tyshon Dye is one of the nation's best running backs. Missing out on Robert Nkemdiche and Montravius Adams hurt, but Dabo Swinney feels like he could get just as much from Ebenezer Ogundeko, an early enrollee at defensive end.
Best Prospects: QB Jake Waters (Council Bluffs, Iowa), LB Nick Ramirez (Lees Summit, Mo.), DE Devon Nash (Council Bluffs, Iowa), DE Tanner Wood (Conway Springs, Kan.)
Needs Filled? The Class of 2013 features a few JUCO prospects -- standard issue for Kansas State, at this point -- and some top prospects in the states of Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Unfortunately, those areas of the country are not producing talent that earns top-50 recruiting rankings, but Wildcats fans are not looking to be in the rankings in February. They would much rather be there between September and January.
Best Prospects: WR James Quick (Louisville, Ky.), QB Kyle Bollin (Lexington, Ky.), De'Asian Richardson (Jacksonville, Fla.), ATH Chucky Williams (Miami)
Needs Filled? The 16-player class is small but has enough quality to rank at the top of the Big East. Charlie Strong pulled more recruits from Florida (seven) than any other state, and the Cardinals fans hope that those three-stars develop into four- and five-star talent. While their class ranks as one of the best in the Big East, it is middle of the pack in the ACC.
Best Prospects: CB Tre'Davious White (Shreveport, La.), DT Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C.), DE Frank Herron (Memphis, Tenn.), OT Ethan Pocic (Lemont, Ill.)
Needs Filled? The Bayou Bengals missed on Robert Nkemdiche, but a four-star-heavy class of 28 signees has Les Miles excited about the next few years of LSU football. The defensive line and defensive backfield will get a fresh crop of impressive talent, hopefully living up to the NFL caliber in recent years at those positions. Not a lot of running backs or wide receivers, but plenty of beef in the trenches in Baton Rouge.
Best Prospects: RB Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas), WR Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla.), S Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif.), QB Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas)
Needs Filled? Bob Stoops signed a balanced class but was able to pick up some key signees for arguably one of the most important positions in the Big 12: the defensive backfield. Ford and Thomas are big commits out of the Lone Star State and should have the opportunity to lead the offense in a few short years.
Best Prospects: OLB Braden Harris (Gunnison, Utah), CB Marwin Evans (Highland, Kan.), WR Ronald Butler (San Pablo, Calif.)
Needs Filled? Utah State is not expected to be breaking through the Top 25 of recruiting rankings, but one of the reasons that they have been competitive in December is former head coach Gary Andersen, now head coach at Wisconsin. Matt Wells will have the challenge of developing this class as the Aggies move into the Mountain West.
Best Prospects: C Tyler Lancaster (Plainfield, Ill.), QB Matt Alviti (Park Ridge, Ill.), Sam Coverdale (Chagrin Falls, Ohio), OT Blake King (Minooka, Ill.)
Needs Filled? The Wildcats' top-rated recruits in the class mostly fall on the offensive line, which is never a bad spot to build with Pat Fitzgerald's emphasis on toughness and the Wildcats' recent strength running the ball. The class is lacking in defensive stars, but it wasn't because of losing any prospects on National Signing Day.
Best Prospects: OLB Gabe Perez (Placentia, Calif.), WR Kendal Keys (La Mesa, Calif.), OLB Tanner Vallejo (Grass Valley, Calif.), OLB Durrant Miles (South Jordan, Utah)
Needs Filled? The Broncos beefed up their front seven with the 2013 class, which also includes four early enrollees from the JUCO ranks. Petersen continued the annual tradition of pulling the highest-rated three stars from California with plans to develop them into the next giant killers at Boise State.
Best Prospects: OG Darius James (Harker Heights, Texas), OT Kent Perkins (Dallas), OT Desmond Harrison (San Pablo, Calif.), ATH Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas)
Needs Filled? No need to panic just yet, but the Longhorns' class does not quite match the characteristics of the usual Signing Day dominance. James is the only prospect receiving five-star status, but 11 others are solid four stars at areas of need for Mack Brown. The most important area addressed in this class is the offensive line, with five players signed that graded out at a 90 or higher according to 247Sports.com.
Best Prospects: CB Steven Nelson (Visalia, Calif.), RB Damien Haskins (New Boston, Texas), DT Edwin Delva (Lancaster, Calif.), OT Sean Harlow (San Clemente, Calif.)
Needs Filled? The Beavers finished with a class that ranks in the middle of the Pac-12 and only contains one four star in the eyes of 247Sports. Luckily, coach Mike Riley was able to spread around the scholarship offers to his 24 signees to make sure that nearly every position was addressed. The class will not blow you away, but overachieving has been Oregon State's calling card in recent years and appears to be heading into the future as well.
San Jose State
Best Prospects: DE Garrett Guanella (Santa Rose J.C.), S Brandon Monroe (Loomis, Calif.), ATH Tyler Winston (Antelope, Calif.), WR Thomas Tucker (Long Beach, Calif.)
Needs Filled? All of the momentum from San Jose State's 11-win season and bowl victory appeared to dissipate when Mike MacIntyre left, and the Trojans were left with a recruiting class that features only four three-star players (according to 247Sports.com).
Best Prospects: RB Jordan Huff (Mobile, Ala.), OLB Robert Jones (Opa Locka, Fla.), WR Mycial Allen (Detroit), WR Blake Holer (Streamwood, Ill.)
Needs Filled? Like San Jose State, Northern Illinois was unable to capitalize on recent success and took a hit from the coaching transition. The Huskies finished with only 14 players in the class, ranking No. 12 in the MAC according to 247Sports.com. The skill positions highlight the draw, but new coach Rod Carey will have his hands full trying to bounce back in 2014.
Best Prospects: OLB Zach Cunningham (Pinson, Ala.), LB Nigel Bowden (Macon, Ga.), DE Landon Stokes (Orlando, Fla.), TE Mitch Parsons (Parker, Colo.)
Needs Filled? Our own Jerry Hinnen pointed out the Commodores could use some help up front against the rush. The stars along the defensive line and at linebacker should help improve those areas, and James Franklin likely already has his next quarterback on campus now with Johnathon McCrary.
Best Prospects: RB Derrick Green (Richmond, Va.), QB Shane Morris (Warren, Mich.), OG David Dawson (Detroit), S Dymonte Thomas (Alliance, Ohio)
Needs Filled? The Wolverines are clearly moving more in the direction of a pro-style offense, loading up on offensive linemen and getting Derrick Green, one of the best running backs in the nation. Star safety Dymonte Thomas is one of six signees already on campus, as Hoke's 27-player class should indicate a strong future for Big Blue.
Best Prospects: DE Randy Gregory (Yuma, Ariz.), OLB Marcus Newby (Gaithersburg, Md.), RB Terrell Newby (West Hills, Calif.), LB Josh Banderas (Lincoln, Neb.)
Needs Filled? The Cornhuskers were not buzzing on National Signing Day, but Bo Pelini is very satisfied with his 2013 recruiting class. Nebraska was able to address most of the positions of need with solid four-star prospects and had a good idea of how the class was shaping up well in advance of Wednesday. Quiet, predictable signing days are always a coach's favorite.
For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Chip Patterson on Twitter here: @cnpatterson3.