When next Wednesday rolls around for National Signing Day, millions of college fans will race to the Internet, newspaper and television to see who their favorite team has signed.
Which team got the top talent? Where did the best running back sign? What teams are going to be competing for the national title in a few years?
It's fun to see if Florida got that kid, the one who is ranked by every publication as the best wide receiver in the nation. But let's digest the signings and in 2010, when the players are seniors and redshirt juniors, we can really see who had the best signing class of 2007.
For every top recruit like Reggie Bush, LaMarr Woodley and Maurice Jones-Drew, there are the Whitney Lewises, Nathaniel Robinsons and Louis Irizarrys. (If you never heard of them, you are not alone, but all were top 40 recruits).
Let's flash back four years to 2003, seeing who CSTV rated as the top 10 recruiting classes and how they stack up now.
1. LSU: Nick Saban isn't the most loved person in Baton Rouge these days, but he was the king in 2003. Five-star recruit Justin Vincent was the cream of the crop and paid dividends immediately, helping the Tigers win the national title. Saban also found himself two very good quarterbacks in JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn.
|Quarterback JaMarcus Russell was the prize of Nick Saban's '03 LSU class. (Getty Images)|
This class compiled a 44-8 record, producing numerous stars, including OL Will Arnold, WR Dwayne Bowe, RB Alley Broussard, DB Jessie Daniels, WR Craig Davis, DB LaRon Landry and K Chris Jackson. Grade: A-
2. Florida: This was long before Urban Meyer, Gators fans. The class that helped Florida claim the national title was brought in by a coach that was run out of town because he couldn't win more than eight games.
Ron Zook signed a quintet five-star recruits, including wide receivers Andre Caldwell and Chad Jackson. He also got the No. 2 rated quarterback that year in Chris Leak, who ended up breaking almost every passing record at Florida.
Other big names on Signing Day included LB Channing Crowder, LB Earl Everett, DB Renaldo Hill, DL Jarvis Moss and DB Reggie Nelson. Grade: A
3. USC: It's hard to believe, but USC has lost only four games since 2003, winning two national titles. Lots of big-name recruits came in during this class, but nobody will ever forget Reggie Bush.
Never mind the controversy surrounding him now, he was the top running back in high school and ended up being the most exciting player in the nation, winning the Heisman before leaving after his junior year.
USC doesn't usually have many disappointing players, but athlete Whitney Lewis was one of them. It wouldn't be so bad, but Lewis was considered one of the top five players in high school and ended up battling academic issues and injuries.
|Dodd's Top '07 Classes|
|6. Notre Dame|
|10. South Carolina|
We'll give Pete Carroll a break considering the list of players he did bring in: OL Sam Baker, DB Darnell Bing, QB John David Booty, DL Sedrick Ellis, OL Ryan Kalil, DB Will Poole, WR Steve Smith and RB Chauncey Washington. Grade: A
4. Oklahoma: Bob Stoops and his staff always end up with an excellent recruiting class, but this one falls a little short. Defensive tackle Lawrence Dampeer and defensive back Tony Cade were the top recruits, but Dampeer bolted to junior college after one season and Cade ended up transferring to UNLV.
Two other recruits -- RB Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech) and QB Tommy Grady (Utah) -- also moved on to other schools.
Oklahoma did have a few bright spots with TE Joe Jon Finley, DB Donte Nicholson, DB Chijioke Onyenegecha, LB Demarrio Pleasant and DL Steven Coleman. Grade: C-
5. Notre Dame: Just like Florida, this class was brought in by a coach who was run out of town, Tyrone Willingham. His 6-6 record cost him his job, but not before he brought in a few of the best players to play for the Golden Domers in the past decade.
DL Victor Abiamiri, QB Brady Quinn, WR Jeff Samardzija, DB Ambrose Wooden and DB Tom Zbikowski headlined a solid recruiting class, while TE John Carlson, OL Ryan Harris and OL John Sullivan ended up being solid players. Grade: B+
6. Miami: First the good: Five-star recruits Devin Hester and tight end Greg Olsen brought high hopes to Miami and both finished with solid careers.
|Kyle Wright's tenure with the Hurricanes has been all wrong. (Getty Images)|
Other players to join Miami were LB Jon Beason, TE Kevin Everett, LB Tavares Gooden, WR Darnell Jenkins, RB Tyrone Moss and DT Bryan Pata. Grade: C-
7. Michigan: The Wolverines had just two five-star recruits -- DB Prescott Burgess and LB LaMarr Woodley -- but a ton of four-star recruits. Burgess moved to OLB and was a solid starter his junior and senior seasons, while Woodley was one of the best LBs in the nation last season.
Many big names that helped Michigan finish 11-2 came to Ann Arbor during this recruiting class: DB Leon Hall, OL Jake Long, OL Adam Kraus, RB Jerome Jackson and K Garrett Rivas. Grade: B
8. Texas: The Longhorns are always in the top 10 of recruiting, and 2003 was no different. Tony Hills Jr. was the top recruit, but the former tight end moved to offensive line during his freshman season. He ended up starting all 12 games at left tackle, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 last season.
Some other key players were some of the best in the Big 12: DL Tim Crowder, DB Michael Griffin, DB Erick Jackson, LB Robert Killebrew, WR Billy Pittman and WR Limas Sweed. Grade: B-
9. Georgia: The Bulldogs landed 25 recruits with RB Kregg Lumpkin and DB Paul Oliver leading the way. Lumpkin has had a solid career, but was never considered one of the top running backs of the SEC. Same goes for Oliver -- a solid defensive back, but nothing outstanding.
Georgia did have some stars that have already started making waves in the NFL: TE Leonard Pope and LB Odell Thurman. Other key players were DB Thomas Flowers, LB Jarvis Jackson, OT Ken Shackleford and RB Danny Ware. Grade: B-
10. North Carolina State: Ouch. There is a bust in every group and this class is it. N.C. State went just 10-14 over the past two seasons, eventually leading to the firing of Chuck Amato.
It all starts with Derek Morris, who was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the country. He originally signed with Ohio State in 2002, but failed to meet academic requirements. He ended up transferring to N.C. State, where he had a handful of starts and a few missed games because of injury before he finally bolted to the NFL after his junior year.
Amato did have one bright spot, signing defensive end Mario Williams, who ended up recording 14.5 sacks and being the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
But for being a top 10 class, it falls way short. WR LaMart Barrett, RB Darrell Blackman, DL Raymond Brooks, LB Martrel Brown, DB Garland Heath, LB Ernest Jones, DB LeRue Rumph, DB Miguel Scott and QB Marcus Stone are all average. Grade: D
Others of note:
Auburn: The Tigers had the 14th best recruiting class, led by running back Brandon Jacobs. With Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams also at Auburn, there wasn't enough carries for Jacobs, who ended up transferring to Southern Illinois.
Ohio State: Jim Tressel didn't have a lot of recruits, but did pick up three high-profile defensive backs: Anthony Gonzalez (moved to WR), Donte Whitner and Ashton Youboty.
Florida State: Not one of the best classes (ranked 17th), but the Seminoles did land the No. 1 player in the country in LB Ernie Sims. He played in every game with the Seminoles, was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and just completed his first season with the Detroit Lions, recording 125 tackles.
California: Ranked just 21st, this class included QB Aaron Rodgers, RB J.J. Arrington and ATH Daymeion Hughes.