The great thing about ranking recruiting classes is that even though it really is pointless, it is hard to resist doing anyway. The true impact of a recruiting class cannot be felt for a couple of years. After all, every student athlete who signed with a college program on National Signing Day has not played a single down at the college level. It remains to be seen just how many of these “can’t miss” recruits will in fact be duds and which two or three star players will turn out to be impact players.
Everything varies by program of course and certain players will perform better in one coaches system than another. Taking that all in consideration I decided to rank the ten schools I felt had the best National Signing Day. If I remember I will revisit this in four years to see how that all turned out (odds are I will forget so I’ll leave it up to you to remind me in January of 2015). I wrote a full column on this top ten ranking this morning on Examiner.com but I’ll highlight my list here and leave you to comment here (or there) on my ranking and tell me who I have too high or too low.
1. Florida State – Fisher raised eyebrows a year ago by bringing in a terrific recruiting class that caught many by surprise. A year later Fisher’s methods appear to have the kept up the momentum but remember that Florida State had what were considered outstanding recruiting classes between 2004 and 2006 and the Seminoles failed to compete for a national title. Can Fisher get these two recruiting classes to live up to the hype?
2. Auburn – Gene Chizik has something working for him at Auburn as if the recent BCS championship was not enough evidence. Presuming Kouandjio sticks with the Tigers Chizik has put together a roster that has potential to make a run for another championship in a couple years. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier was a significant piece of Auburn’s Class of 2011 group. Frazier, out of Arkansas and a pair of talented running backs will add depth behind Michael Dyer in the backfield. Auburn may take a few steps backward in 2011 on the field, but look for the Tigers to be a contender in 2012 and 2013 if this class lives up to the potential.
3. USC – Don’t sleep on the Trojans. Lane Kiffin once again worked his magic by selling the football program on some big name recruits despite being on probation. Kiffin, showing his strong ability to recruit, received letters of intent from 25 players while the school has yet to be stripped of scholarships. The highlight of the class may be five-star wide receiver Greg Farmer, a 6′-3″ 210 pound talent that can run 100-yards in a reported 10.5 seconds.
4. Alabama - The Tide could move up if Cyrus Kouandjio backs off of his nationally televised commitment to rival Auburn. Imagine the fuel that woudl add to this rivalry, as if it needed any.
5. Texas - Business as usual for Texas, who had all of their expected letters of intent in before lunch time.
6. Georgia – ESPN hyped this class as “The Dream Team” but until Mark Richt defeats Croatia 117-85 for the Gold Medal I think we can avoid using this term, although Georgia excelled with in-state recruiting.
7. Clemson – This is the surprise class of the year. Props to head coach Dabo Swinney for an excellent job this year.
8. Ohio State – When was the last time the Buckeyes didn’t have the top recruiting class in the Big Ten? Seriously.
9. Notre Dame – Notre Dame always seems to have some nice recruiting classes but could things be different now with Brian Kelly in charge? That is the question.
10. LSU – Les Miles is on to something. This could be a sleeping giant down in Baton Rouge.