National Signing Day Checklist: Big East
A look at the positions of need for each Big East school and what they're doing to fill them in the 2013 recruiting class.
|Louisville fans are hoping Charlie Strong's Florida connections will help land four star linebacker Jermaine Grace. (247Sports.com)|
Fax machines across the country will be busy Wednesday as recruits from all over send in their letters of intent to their new schools. It's the culmination of a lot of work by coaching staffs, as they spend a lot of time travelling the country trying to fill their teams' needs.
With that in mind, let's look at the 10 schools of the Big East, their needs and what their coaches are doing to help fill them in the 2013 recruiting class.
Cincinnati -- Needs: DB, LB, TE. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 68 -- Butch Jones' exit and the arrival of Tommy Tuberville leave Cincinnati with a bit of a makeshift recruiting class in 2013. All but four of Butch Jones' verbal commits have decided to go elsewhere, but Tuberville's staff hit the Southeast, and the JUCO circuit, hard once he was hired by the Bearcats. Four star all purpose back Rodriguez Moore, a JUCO standout from East Mississippi Community College is expected to sign on Wednesday along with outside linebacker Mike Tyson (Hargrave Military Academy) and athlete Tshumbi Johnson (Immokolee, Fla.).
Connecticut -- Needs: TE, WR, LB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 62 -- Paul Pasqualoni is hoping to welcome a sizable class on Wednesday that, while it may lack stars, certainly does not lack consistency. A plethora of three-star talent from up and down the East Coast is highlighted by the likes of 6-3, 205-pound quarterback Tim Boyle (Middletown, Conn.) and outside linebacker Chris Britton (Harrisburg, Pa.) Britton ranks as one of the Top 15 prospects in the state of Pennsylvania, and can hopefully fill the role held down by Sio Moore for the last couple of years in the Huskies' defense. The desperate needs at wide receiver are expected to be addressed with the addition of Dhameer Bradley and Brian Lemelle, with 6-6, 220-pound Jordan Fuchs leading a group of several tight ends in the 2013 class.
Houston -- Needs: DL, LB, WR. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 58 -- Houston has a lot of scholarships to give out in this class, and the Cougars have used them to address basically every area of the field -- even bringing in Ty Cummings, the No. 14 ranked kicker in the 2013 class. The Cougars are planning to load up on the usual skill position players, bringing in wide receivers Jamar Gibson, DeMarcus Ayers and Donald Gage to join Deontay Greenberry -- Houston's first five star recruit in school history. The loss of some depth in the front seven should be addressed with three-star linebacker Caleb Tucker and defensive end Chauntez Jackson.
Louisville -- Needs: DL, S, LB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 46 -- Charlie Strong's Sugar Bowl winning team featured plenty of sophomores, redshirt freshman, and true freshman. That means that Cardinals fans should not panic at the current 16 prospect class. After all, that 16 still ranks as the best in the Big East according to 247Sports now and the Cardinals are still holding out to hear from a pair of Florida four stars. Wide receiver Taj Williams (Tallahassee, Fla.) and outside linebacker Jermaine Grace (Hollywood, Fla.) both have the Cardinals listed in the top three and will make their decision on Wednesday. Adding either, or both, of these prospects would boost the Cardinals class; which already has seven prospects from the Sunshine State.
Memphis -- Needs: QB, DL, LB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 86 -- The Tigers have four JUCO signees already on campus, along with three-star dual threat quarterback Brayden Scott. One of those early enrollees, defensive end Kewan Alfred, was ranked as the No. 8 prospect at his position and could have an immediate impact on a young defensive unit. Second-year coach Justin Fuente will have his hands full moving into the Big East after guiding last year's squad to a 4-8 finish, there is no shortage of athleticism in this year's class.
Rutgers -- Needs: OL, QB, TE. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 51 -- The Scarlet Knights have been able to keep some of the top talent in the state of New Jersey the past few years, and the 2013 class looks ready to add 10 in-state prospects to the roster that features home-bred stars like Savon Huggins and Darius Hamilton. Four star athlete Nadir Barnwell, down the street in Piscataway, headlines the class that heavily features much-needed help on the offensive side of the ball. The Scarlet Knights' stout defense fell short when the offense could not get crucial first downs in recent years, so it is no surprise to see Kyle Flood adding several athletes, wide receivers, and all tailbacks to the mix.
SMU -- Needs: WR, DL, OL. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 60 -- SMU fans are counting on June Jones' ability to develop talent, because many of the players in the 2013 class did not receive any offers from other BCS conference schools. While the Mustangs have been competing with Conference USA in the past, it seems the transition to the Big East has not resulted in a step up on the trail. The defense lost all three starters along the defensive line, which could put more pressure on three star defensive end Spencer Hollie -- one of the highest rated players in the class according to 247Sports. JUCO running back Traylon Shead (Corsicana, Texas) may have the most immediate impact in this class, so it helps that he's already on campus this semester.
Temple -- Needs: LB, WR, RB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 88 -- Matt Rhule has done a decent job holding on to Steve Addazio's recruits, especially considering time missed due to the longer NFL regular season. Four star outside linebacker Buddy Brown remains committed to the Owls despite offers from Mississippi State, Arizona, Arizona State, and others. Rhule was able to add three star linebacker Sharif Finch to a solid linebacking group that includes Brown and Jarred Alwan -- who also had offers from West Virginia and Boston College, where Addazio is currently the head coach -- to hopefully address that need for the coming years. Running back Zaire Williams should have an opportunity to see the field early after both Montel Harris and Matt Brown exhausted their eligibility in 2012.
UCF -- Needs: DL, LB, RB, 247Sports Team Class Rank: 82 -- Three-star running back Micah Reed (Crestview, Fla.) and recent addition Dontravious Wilson (Buford, Ga.) will have an opportunity to compete for carries with Latavius Murray graduated, but the 2013 class is led by a group of (mostly) in-state defensive prospects. With a lot of turnover on that side of the ball, George O'Leary appears to be loading up on depth there instead of capturing some the offensive skill players from the state. One player to keep an eye on from this class is DE/OLB Seyvon Lowry, a three star also holding offers from Ole Miss, West Virginia, and Cincinnati.
USF -- Needs: RB, QB, LB. 247 Sports Team Class Rank: 50 -- Willie Taggart's return to the Tampa Bay area will likely be felt more in the 2014 recruiting cycle, but the former all-state quarterback already has the Bulls on the verge of finishing with one of the best classes in the conference. While Taggert has kept USF in the running for dual threat quarterback Asiantii Woulard and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, holding Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) running back Darius Tice will key factor in building Taggert's offense for the future. There are murmurs that the Bulls could make a late push for local recruits like tight end Travis Johnson or wide receiver Marquez Valdes. As long as they hold down Tice and four star athlete Lamar Robbins -- who is getting a late push from Louisville, the class should be even without a big signing day steal.
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