Posted on: August 23, 2011 6:10 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
When I saw my colleague Jeff Borzello rank the decade's top basketball recruiting classes, I thought it was such a good idea I decided to steal follow his lead and do the same on the football side.
Little did I know what a tough job it was, first sorting through each class and then deciding where to rank each one. It's much easier on the basketball side from a sheer numbers standpoint too, an issue when you're talking about several thousand more players on the football field versus on the court. It's a fun experiment and a good chance to see just how far recruits from each year panned out however.
There's no set formula for determining where each class ranks, it's too hard to compare one class with a great college player like Tim Tebow with one that has several players who developed into great players later in their careers. So, after looking up and down plenty of recruiting lists, are the decade's top recruiting classes by year. Feel free to disagree and complain in the comments.
Top Players: Reggie Bush, Ernie Sims, Greg Olsen, LaMar Woodley, Chris Leak, Steve Smith, Vernon Davis, Dennis Dixon, Michael Griffin, Sedrick Ellis, JaMarcus Russell, LaRon Landy and Sam Baker among others.
The class of 2003 laid the foundation for four national titles at two different schools (LSU and USC). The headliner looking back is Bush who, though his many records have an * next to them, was among the most electrifying players on the field. Leak and Caldwell led Florida to a national title and Dixon was on his way with Oregon until injuring his knee. LSU also grabbed first-round picks JaMarcus Russell, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and LaRon Landry.
Top Players: Terrelle Pryor, DaQuan Bowers, Blaine Gabbert, Julio Jones, Patrick Peterson, Tyron Smith, Marcus Fortson, A.J. Green, Mark Ingram, Terrence Cody, Michael Floyd, Andrew Luck, Jeff Fuller and Corey Liuget among others.
A loaded class at quarterback and wide receiver, 2008 was one of the deepest classes in recent memory and several players are only now wrapping up their college careers. Pryor was the top player coming out of high school and though some people question how he went out, he was nevertheless 31-4 as a starter. It's hard to argue against one of the top NFL prospects in a long time with Luck and Ingram has a Heisman Trophy and national title to his name. With a strong push from some seniors this season, this class could move into the top spot.
Top players: Percy Harvin, Andre Smith, Beanie Wells, Brandon Spikes, Gerald McCoy, Tim Tebow, Matthew Stafford, C.J. Spiller, DeMarco Murray, Jake Locker and Knowshon Moreno among others.
This class is littered with first-round draft picks and big-time college stars. Stafford the top pick in the draft and Harvin helped Tebow win two national championships before both left with plenty of records at Florida. This also was one of the more balanced classes with plenty of talent at multiple positions.
Top players: Eric Berry, Noel Devine, Ryan Mallet, Carlos Dunlap, Marvin Austin, Joe Haden, Dez Bryant, Tyrod Taylor, Rolando McClain, Lee Ziemba, Brian Price, Aaron Hernandez, Steven Garcia, Brian Bulaga and Joe McKnight among others.
Call this the class of misfits for their share of off-the-field issues but there's no denying this was a group of talented players. The top two guys, Jimmy Clausen and McKnight, failed to live up to expectations placed on them but still put together solid careers in college. Price, Austin, Dunlap and others are part of a great defensive line and Berry was one of the top safeties in the last several years.
Top players: Rueben Randle, Russell Shepard, Garrett Gilbert, Matt Barkley, Trent Richardson, Christine Michael, Cliff Harris, Devon Kennard, Vontaze Burfict, Shane Skov, Aaron Murrary, Dre Kirkpatrick, Manti Teo and Alshon Jeffrey among others.
This is still a class that's a work in progress but you can recognize several of these names on all-conference and all-America lists. There's some great running backs in Richardson and Michael among others and Murray and Barkley have been good, young signal-callers. Some elite linebackers in 2009 as well in Teo, Burfict and even Skov at Stanford.
Top players: Derrick Williams, Eugene Monroe, Mark Sanchez, Rey Maualuga, Jonathan Stewart, Darren McFadden, DeSean Jackson, Brian Cushing, Jamal Charles, Malcolm Kelly, Michael Oher, Doug Worthington, Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy and Mario Maningham among others.
Look up and down the top 100 recruiting lists and there were a lot of busts but this year still produced a lot of talent that had success. USC grabbed Sanchez, Cushing and Maualuga among others and they led the Trojans to the best four year winning percentage out this group of recruits (just six losses). Texas also found the winningest Division I quarterback in McCoy and Nebraska got one of the most dominant defensive linemen in years in Suh.
Top players: Vince Young, Haloti Ngata, Marcus Vick, Winston Justice, Tamba Hali, Tony Ugoh, Leonard Washington, Reggie McNeal, Eric Winston, Aaron Ross, Maurice Clarrett, A.J. Hawk and Troy Smith among others.
Not a deep group but a collection of college stars that proved they could beat top teams by themselves. Young is the big name after leading Texas to BCS Championship and upsetting USC in a magical run to the title. Clarrett, Hawk and Smith won a title early on and helped the Buckeyes to years of dominance in the regular season later on.
Top players: Jadeveon Clowney, Curtis Grant, Cyrus Kouandjio, Karlos Williams, Charone Peake, Malcolm Brown, James Wilder, Tony Steward, Stephon Tuitt, Colt Lyerla, Aaron Lynch, Nick O'Leary, Jeff Driskel, Savon Huggins, Ray Drew, Brett Hundley and Jaxon Shipley among others.
The players from the 2011 group haven't taken a snap in college yet but read the fall camp reports and you can see why they're higher than other classes. It wasn't a great year for quarterbacks but there were a ton of defensive linemen that will have an impact early, topped by one of the most dominant players in the country (and athletic freak) in Clowney. Lyerla and O'Leary will play early at tight end and Shipley should have fans in Austin thinking he's a mirror image of his older brother.
Top players: Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn, Calvin Johnson, Early Doucet, Keith Rivers, Chad Henne, Fred Davis, Marshawn Lynch, Zach Miller, Dwayne Jarrett, Glen Dorsey and Michael Bumpus among others.
Peterson burst onto the scene as a freshman and established himself as a top tier running back. Johnson is one of the most athletic wide receivers in the game (some would call him a freak of nature) and he developed in a run-based college offense no less. Doucet and Dorsey had fun in the SEC and Henne was a successful quarterback at Michigan.
Top players: Ronald Powell, Seantrel Henderson, Kennan Allen, Robert Woods, DaRick Rodgers, Marcus Lattimore, Jackson Jeffcoat, Michael Dyer, Jake Heaps, Tony Jefferson, Sharrif Floyd and Jake Matthews among others.
Also a work in progress, were not a ton of impact players outside of Lattimore, Dyer, Heaps and Woods. The two players at the top, Powell and Henderson, have loads of talent but will need battle others to stay on the field. There's time for this group to rise up the list but for now, they're at the bottom.
Tags: A.J. Green, A.J. Hawk, Aaron Hernandez, Aaron Lynch, Aaron Murrary, Aaron Ross, Adrian Peterson, Alshon Jeffrey, Andre Smith, Andrew Luck, Beanie Wells, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Spikes, Brett Hundley, Brian Bulaga, Brian Cushing, Brian Price, C.J. Spiller, Calvin Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Chad Henne, Charone Peake, Chris Leak, Christine Michael, Cliff Harris, Colt Lyerla, Colt McCoy, Corey Liuget, Craig Davis, Curtis Grant, Cyrus Kouandjio, DaQuan Bowers, DaRick Rodgers, Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray, Dennis Dixon, Derrick Williams, DeSean Jackson, Devon Kennard, Dez Bryant, Doug Worthington, Dre Kirkpatrick, Dwayne Bowe, Dwayne Jarrett, Early Doucet, Eric Berry, Eric Winston, Ernie Sims, Eugene Monroe, Florida, Fred Davis, Garrett Gilbert, Gerald McCoy, Glen Dorsey, Greg Olsen, Haloti Ngata, Heisman Trophy, Jackson Jeffcoat, Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Heaps, Jake Locker, Jake Matthews, Jamal Charles, JaMarcus Russell, James Wilder, Jaxon Shipley, Jeff Driskel, Jeff Fuller, Jimmy Clausen, Joe Haden, Joe McKnight, Jonathan Stewart, Julio Jones, Karlos Williams, Keith Rivers, Kennan Allen, Knowshon Moreno, LaMar Woodley, LaRon Landy, Lee Ziemba, Leonard Washington, LSU, Malcolm Brown, Malcolm Kelly, Manti Teo, Marcus Fortson, Marcus Lattimore, Marcus Vick, Mario Maningham, Mark Ingram, Mark Sanchez, Marshawn Lynch, Marvin Austin, Matt Barkley, Matthew Stafford, Maurice Clarrett, Michael Bumpus, Michael Dyer, Michael Floyd, Michael Griffin, Michael Oher, Michigan, Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, Nick O'Leary, Noel Devine, Ohio State, Patrick Peterson, Percy Harvin, Ray Drew, Reggie Bush, Reggie McNeal, Rey Maualuga, Robert Woods, Rolando McClain, Ronald Powell, Rueben Randle, Russell Shepard, Ryan Mallet, Sam Baker, Savon Huggins, Seantrel Henderson, SEC, Sedrick Ellis, Shane Skov, Sharrif Floyd, Stanford, Stephon Tuitt, Steve Smith, Steven Garcia, Tamba Hali, Ted Ginn, Terrelle Pryor, Terrence Cody, Texas, Tim Tebow, Tony Jefferson, Tony Steward, Tony Ugoh, Trent Richardson, Troy Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Tyron Smith, USC, Vernon Davis, Vince Young, Vontaze Burfict, Winston Justice, Zach Miller
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd rolled out his annual Hot Seat Ratings, giving every FBS head coach a grade from 0 (can't be touched) to 5 (it's time to win now). Only one head coach is burning up on the seat with the maximum rating of 5 but there are plenty of others who begin the season feeling some heat. Being on the list puts a lot of the coaches in a tough position on the recruiting trail as they look to turn things around while battling the perception that they won't be there when the recruit steps on campus. Taking a look at several of the coaches on the list, here's how they're doing on the recruiting trail:
Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler
Erickson is in an interesting position. With a team featuring plenty of upperclassmen and what is expected to be a very good defense, the Sun Devils are likely the favorites for the first Pac-12 South title. Erickson has only had one really good season in Tempe and never has been able to break through and grab elite talent on the recruiting trail. He put together a class last year that mostly addressed needs and was solid but not spectacular. The 2012 class could be one of the better ones Arizona State has pulled in recently, getting off to a good start and leading the Pac-12 with 12 commitments. This is an offense-heavy class with plenty of skill players and he recently added quarterback T.J. Millweard, who was committed to Virginia Tech.
Mark Richt, Georgia
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
Top Recruit: Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor
Richt responded to critics and managed to put together what might have been his best recruiting class ever last year. It was a strong year for talent in Georgia and the Bulldogs took advantage, grabbing a "Dream Team" of recruits. The prize was running back Isaiah Crowell, who many think can come in and make an instant impact on offense after the in-state team fought off powers like Alabama and Florida State for his services. The 2012 class hasn't seemed to build off the momentum however, as Georgia has already lost out on some in-state commitments and are behind in others. There's plenty of time for the tide to turn, however, and as Richt proved last year, he can close down the stretch.
Ron Zook, Illinois
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 4
Top Recruit: Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller
Zook is known as a good recruiter and he put together a diverse class last year. It's not a great year for talent in the Midwest and Zook is using the southern ties he had while at Florida to make Illinois active in the South, especially in Georgia. He made a nice pickup with Fuller and with a bit of instability in the Big Ten, could nab a prospect or two that might have gone elsewhere. Zook will ultimately have to win to keep Illinois in the minds of the rising seniors but he's on pace to pull in another solid class this year.
Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Hot Seat Rating: 4.5
2012 Commitments: 0
New Mexico is New Mexico so it will always be tough to get recruits to come, especially in the midst of a 2-22 run under Locksley. But credit to the head coach and his staff, they were able to reach into California, Florida and Maryland among other places to get some talent. Known as a superb recruiter in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, the fact that Locksley got five-star tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to make a visit to the school and keep the Lobos in his final five was quite the accomplishment. The school doesn't have any commitments in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how many wait to see if the hot seat gets too hot for Locksley to stay on it.
Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments: 8
Top Recruit: Running back Warren Ball
Fickell had his fingerprints all over Ohio State's last recruiting class as co-defensive coordinator and was the lead recruiter for one of the Buckeyes' key linebacker commitments, Ryan Shazier from Florida. He is dropped into a very difficult situation however, first following a beloved and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and second, dealing with the looming threat of NCAA sanctions. While he managed to keep the prize of the 2012 class, top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, in the the fold for awhile, he ended up decommitting and now the Buckeyes are seeing the state of Ohio raided by other Big Ten programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State. Fickell is a tried and true Buckeye so he knows how to sell the school, the only question is if he'll be successful at it and that remains to be seen.
Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 3
Top Recruit: Running back Steven Lakalaka
Just about everybody thought UCLA was on the right track when Neuheisel managed to pull in two top 20 classes in 2008 and 2009. Since then however, things have reversed course on the field and off. Last year's class did manage to get two big talents from out-of-state in defenisve tackle Kevin McReynolds and top 100 quarterback Brett Hundley but it was by no means a deep and talented class. While it was going to be small due to scholarship numbers, Neuheisel just didn't seem to be able to close with some players and the Bruins are barely on the map in California this year, taking a back seat to Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and their crosstown rival USC. It's getting close to a make or break year for UCLA and Neuheisel and he can only hope that Hundley is as advertised and can make a difference in the win column this season.
Paul Wulff, Washington State
Hot Seat Rating: 5.0
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Dalen Jones
It's not easy to recruit to the Palouse though Wulff has added some nice pieces over the years, but just can't seem to find enough of them. Wulff reached into Florida and California very well last year and even managed to grab highly regarded offensive lineman Alex Mitchell out of nearby Portland. That said, Wulff is on the hot seat (a very hot seat) and, because it's the hot seat at Washington State, that generally takes the school out of the running for any big time recruits. They've done well all things considered and have extended early scholarships to several California and Florida athletes in hopes of building up an early relationship. It will always be tough for Wulff to recruit and doing so while worried about job security is extra tough.
Tags: Alabama, Alex Mitchell, Arizona State, Big Ten, Brett Hundley, Coaches Hot Seat, Cyrus Kouandjio, Dalen Jones, Dennis Erickson, Florida State, Georgia, Hot Seat, Illinois, Isaiah Crowell, Jonathan Taylor, Kenny Lawler, Kevin McReynolds, Kyle Kalis, Luke Fickell, Mark Richt, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Locksley, NCAA, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio State, Oregon, Pac-12, Pac-12 South, Paul Wulff, recruiting, Rick Neuheisel, Ron Zook, Ryan Shazier, SEC, Steven Lakalaka, T.J. Millweard, TaJarvis Fuller, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, Warren Ball, Washington, Washington State
Posted on: February 20, 2011 11:13 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
We're still digesting the class of 2011 and what better way to look at it than through the lens of two rivals. USC and UCLA have a bitter rivalry but it's been a bit one-sided on the recruiting trail for the last decade. Rick Neuheisel didn't have as many scholarships to hand out for the class of 2011 but in the end, that didn't matter that much.
Tags: Aaron Wallace Jr., Amir Carlisle, Anthony Sarao, Antwaun Woods, Aundrey Walker, BenWysocki, Brandon Tuliaupupu, Brett Hundley, Charles Burks, Christian Heyward, Cody Kessler, Cody Temple, Connor McDermott, Cyrus Hobbi, Dallas Kelley, David Garness, DeVante Wilson, Devin Lucien, George Farmer, Greg Townsend Jr., Isiah Wiley, J.R. Tavai, Jake Brendel, Javorius Allen, Jeremy Galten, Junior Pomee, Kevin McReynolds, Lamar Dawson, Lane Kiffin, Marcus Martin, Marqise Lee, Max Wittek, Mike Orloff, Raymond Nelson, Rick Neuheisel, Ryan Henderson, Ryan Hofmeister, Sam Tai, Stanford, Steve Dillon, Steven Manfro, Torian White, Tre Madden, UCLA, USC, Victor Blackwell, Will Oliver
Posted on: January 29, 2011 10:54 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Less than five days until Signing Day and some recruits still don’t know where they want to go. Should be a fun few weeks coming up as a result.
- Where will Nickolas Brassell go? The talented wide out is currently on a visit to Alabama and will likely choose between the Tide and Ole Miss.
- Former Oklahoma football player John Goodman says that when he was recruited by the Sooners, the recruiting game wasn’t so slimy. Of course, as he mentions, Oklahoma was coming off probation at the time.
- Oklahoma State running back Herschel Sims has an eye-popping highlight reel but beyond the gridiron is where he is really impressive.
- Boston College lost a good linebacker in Graham Stewart, who ended up committing to Florida after an in-home visit from Will Muschamp.
- Good look at players changing their minds during the recruiting process – or as some see it, schools poaching recruits.
- Impressive quarterback Brett Hundley is the foundation for UCLA’s recruiting class.