The Buckeyes have held the No. 1 spot in the team rankings since they debuted in
July. Ohio State has a nearly 900-point lead heading into the final days
before Signing Day. Considering a five-star player is worth approximately 300
points and a four-star player is worth approximately 200 points, Ohio State's
lead is large, but not completely insurmountable.
There are several teams in the SEC worth keeping an eye on. Should the stars
align for Alabama, LSU, Florida, or Georgia, there's a chance that one of the
SEC powers could catch up to the Buckeyes.
USC is lurking at the No. 5 spot with only 18 commitments. The Trojans might not
have enough scholarships this year to push for the No. 1 overall spot.
Of course, Ohio State might not be done recruiting either. A late commitment
from offensive tackle Marcus Hall extended the
lead this week, and should the Buckeyes
ink five-star wide receiver Marlon Brown, Ohio State will all but lock up the No. 1 spot. As it is, they're going to
be tough to catch on Signing Day.
More drama at No. 1?
While Wednesday is known nationwide as National Signing Day, it's actually just
the first day of the signing period for college football. After months and
sometimes years of recruiting, nearly all prospects will put pen to paper on
Wednesday. Last year's No. 1 overall prospect, Terrelle Pryor, waited until March
19 before signing his letter of intent.
This year's No. 1 overall, Bryce Brown, appears to be following a similar path.
Despite being "committed" to Miami for almost a full year, the Brown
entourage hasn't yet decided when and with whom they will sign scholarship
Miami still appears to be the odds on favorite, but teams like Clemson, Oregon,
Missouri, and Kansas State, USC, Tennessee and Auburn are still in the running.
Is *insert name here* worth the hype?
Lost in the hoopla of recruiting, is that most of these players are still 17 and
18 year old kids who will be mentally, physically and emotionally immature
compared to their teammates when they arrive on campus. The vast majority
of these players will arrive on campus and find themselves surrounded by
last year's must-have all-americans.
Expectations heaped on these players are so outsized that a sophomore
quarterback that threw for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns last season is
being labeled as a bust by anyone rooting against Notre Dame.
How did the new coaches in the SEC make out?
The SEC's annual coaching carousel claimed the two longest standing coaches this
season. Tennessee's Phil Fulmer was sacked after 17 years, and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville briefly had tenure in the SEC before being dismissed at Auburn.
Florida's offensive coordinator Dan Mullen took over at Mississippi State after
Sylvester Croom was asked to step aside. Mark Richt at Georgia now has tenure
in the SEC having taken the head coaching job before the 2001 season.
|Gene Chizik has hit the recruiting trail hard as Auburn's new leader. (Getty Images)|
While most recruiting headlines are made by what player teams get a commitment
from, new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin made early headlines by turning away
five-star quarterback Tajh Boyd, who ended up committing to Clemson last week.
While that move raised some eyebrows around the country, there's no denying the
star power in the Vols' class. At 3.59 stars per recruit, the Tennessee
class ranks eighth in the country.
Auburn's hire of Gene Chizik from Iowa State was met with mixed reactions, but a
solid round of assistant coach hiring has helped calm the storm on the Plains
and ignite the recruiting talk. Bolstered by two five-star junior college
players and a highly ranked quarterback, Auburn's class has climbed as high as
No. 15 in January and could still move up. Auburn and Tennessee seem to be in a
fight for running back David Oku, who is currently committed to the Vols.
While the season didn't turn out the way he had hoped, Croom had done
a good job of recruiting in-state at Mississippi State. Dan Mullen found a solid
foundation when he arrived, and the excitement of the spread attack coming to
Starkville helped the Bulldogs secure a commitment from four-star wide
receiver Chad Bumpis.
Does the slipper still fit Cinderella?
The two biggest recruiting surprises on the year have to be No. 2 North Carolina and
No. 11 Stanford.
|Five-star linebacker Shayne Skov is a big catch for Stanford. (Scout.com)|
Butch Davis and the Tar Heels have done a terrific job of securing commitments
from the state's top players, including Scout's No. 1 defensive end Donte Moss.
With 29 commitments and counting, North Carolina could have a freshman class
impact similar to what the Miami Hurricanes saw in 2008.
Stanford has consistently stayed in the top 15 of the team rankings all year.
The Cardinal's highest rated player, five-star linebacker Shayne Skov, was also
its first commitment of the year. Stanford has remained highly ranked by
continuing to add top recruits later in the process like four-star fullback
Tyler Gafney who committed to Stanford last week.
Are there cracks in USC's armor?
USC hasn't so much "recruited" the last several years as they've
"selected" players. It's hard to say that the No. 5 team in the
country averaging a leading four-stars per player is showing signs of
vulnerability, but teams have been able to chip away at USC this year.
It was inevitable that USC would face stronger local competition from Rick Neuheisel and UCLA, and that premise was evident when the Bruins plucked the
nation's No. 1 tight end, Morrell Presley, off of the Trojan commitment list.
Committed prospects such as No. 1 linebacker Vontaze Burfict, four-star wide
receivers Randall Carroll and Ashlon Jeffrey continued to take official visits
It's a testament to the level of USC's successful recruiting in the past that in
the same column I could mention the Trojans as a possible No. 1 ranking -- and the
Trojans showing signs of vulnerability.