TSM College Football Recruiting Spectacular
By Matt Toal
Feb 5, 2006, 08:00
readers, I am Matt Toal. With these columns Iím going to attempt to entertain
you and inform you. My writing will mainly focus on sports but there will be
music, wrestling, movies and all sorts of other stuff tossed in there when the
Now that the awkward introduction is out of the way, letís get down to
business. The hottest story in sports right now not named Superbowl XL is
College Football recruiting. I consider myself a bit of a recruiting
aficionado, so this is always a fun time for me.
National Signing Day is one of the biggest days of the year for College
Football fans, because it is the day when all the endless message board
discussion about whoís going where ends and the future stars of football sign
their name on their Letter Of Intent to go to the school they have chosen.
For those unfamiliar with the process, recruits are ranked on a star system by
various scouts after tons of film study and meetings with the players, with
one-star prospects ranked lowest and five-star prospects being the best. After
all the recruits are signed, the schools are ranked on the strength of their
class based on how many recruits of each star ranking they got, and total
recruiting points. So, without further adieu, itís time to find out the winners
and losers of the 2005-2006 recruiting war.
The Top 10 Classes
The Good: For the 4th straight season, Pete Carroll has
hauled in the #1 class in the nation. He didnít let the crushing Rose Bowl loss
to Texas stop him from racking up
an impressive class that included an amazing seven players and thirteen . USC in total brought in no recruit less than . With the losses
of Reggie Bush and Lendale White, the Trojans came to the table with a major
need for help at the Running back position. They got just that with Stafon
Johnson, Kenny Ashley, Emmanuel Moody and CJ Gable all committing. Stafon
Johnson at 6-0 200 lbs is the perfect combination of size and speed, and will
challenge for the starting job from day 1. Gable is currently listed as an
Athlete and can play both offense and defense, so it will be interesting to see
what Pete Carroll does with him. USC brought in major secondary help with safeties Taylor
Mays and Antwine Perez, as well as corner Shareece Wright. They continued their Wide
Receiver dominance by bringing in David Ausburry, Travon Patterson, Vidal
Hazelton and Jamere Holland.
The Bad: There is a little bit of controversy surrounding
Hazelton. He had signed the letter of intent to attend USC, but his father
refused to sign, and a player needs the signature of a guardian for it to be
official. Hazeltonís father Dexter has been trying to push him into committing
to Penn State
for about a month now, but it never materialized. According to latest reports,
Hazelton will fly home to New York
to discuss his future with his father this weekend. For now heís still listed
until a USC commit until I hear otherwise.
With a class like this, itís safe to assume that the USC ďdynastyĒ isnít over,
and may just be getting started.
Total Signings: 24 - 7 ,
13 , 4
Top Players: Taylor Mays, S/WR (). Stafon Johnson, RB (). Vidal
Hazelton, WR ()
The Good: Urban Meyerís first season as the head ball coach in
FloridaFlorida back on top. Urban Meyer brought in five , including southpaw Tim Tebow, the nationís #1 ranked dual-threat QB. Tebow
should be able to provide the type of scrambling ability and instincts that
Chris Leak wasnít able to last year. Of course, for every great QB you need a
great WR, and Meyer found just that with Percy Harvin, the nationís #1 ranked
prospect. Harvin is a 5í11Ē 188 pound WR who is just simply a burner, he runs a
4.35 in the 40 yard dash and is expected to contribute immediately within
Meyerís offense. was seen as a disappointment by some fans, mainly because of a
stinging loss to former Gator legend Steve Spurrier. His recruiting class,
however, is far from a disappointment. Meyer compiled what was the nationís top
class for much of the year, until USCís strong final push on Wednesday to
squeeze into the top spot. Nevertheless, this is a class that will put
Bad: Florida took a huge hit
on signing way when hometown boy C.J. Spiller shocked everyone by choosing
Clemson over Florida. The battle
for Spiller came down to USC, Florida
and Clemson, and after USC received a commitment from Stafon Johnson, Spiller
eliminated USC and it was thought to be a lock that heíd attend Florida.
The Gators did pick up a good back in Mon Williams, but Spiller, who was
the 4th rated back in this class with a sub 4.4 in the 40 yard dash
would have been able to challenge for the starting job immediately.
After a somewhat rocky first season in Gainesville,
this is exactly the kind of class Meyer needed to calm the storm.
Total Signings: 27 Ė 5 ,
16 , 5 , 1
Top Players: Percy Harvin, WR (), Tim Tebow, QB (), Brandon Spikes, LB ()
The Good: With the loss of DJ Shockley, Mark Richt knew he needed a
Quarterback in this class, and he got one with the #2 ranked pro style QB in
the nation, Matthew Stafford, whom they plucked right out of Texas. Stafford
provides all the physical tools and intangibles you want in a Quarterback, and
will be given every opportunity to nab the starting job from day 1. Richt also
picked up a commit from a top ranked
Safety in Reshad Jones and the 4th
ranked Defensive End in the country in Brandon Wood.
could have used some help up front at Defensive Tackle. They picked up a few
in Ricardo Crawford, Geno Atkins and Michael Lemon, but no real stud nose
tackle. In the SEC, you can never have enough of them They picked up a good RB
in Knowshon Moreno but missed out on #2 ranked Stafon Johnson, who chose USC
over Georgia on
the day before signing day.
This was a great class for Mark Richt, and is even made more impressive by the
fact that Mark Richt was able to hold onto commitments after a very
disappointing Sugar Bowl loss to West Virginia.
Total Signings: 27 - 3 , 12 , 12
Top Players: QB Matthew Stafford (), DE Brandon Wood (), S Reshad Jones
The Good: This may be the most well rounded class any school got.
Charlie Weis carried over the momentum and hype he gained in the regular season
to the off-season to pull in a very good class for the Fighting Irish. He
cleaned up where it matters most, up front. He got the best Offensive Line
class in the nation, and it was headed by getting mammoth 6-8 Offensive Tackle
Sam Young, from Ft. Lauderdale,
FL. Young is the top ranked tackle in the country and should anchor the Notre
Dame line for the next 4 years. Add to that O-Linemen Matt Carufel, Dan Wenger,
Chris Stewart, Eric Olsen and Bartley Webb. Needless to say, whatever QB gets
to play behind that line in the future is going to have a pretty clean jersey.
Weisí specialty is offense, and he loaded up at a few key skill positions, by
RB James Aldridge,
Tight End Konrad Reuland and
Quarterback Zach Fraser.
Bad: Weis would have liked to get a blue chipper at Wide Receiver. They got
a few solid
receivers but nobody that really jumps out at you. With Maurice Stovall
entering the NFL and Jeff Samardzija entering his senior year, they could have
definitely used a big time receiver in this class. That is a position Charlie
Weis will be recruiting heavily next year. ND also missed out on top QB
prospect Mitch Mustian, although the blow is softened by the commitment of Zach
Fraser and possible 2007 commitment of Jimmy Clausen, itís never fun to lose
out on a talent like Mustian.
Weis cleaned up along the O-Line and got his QB and RB of the future. This was
an excellent first year for Charlie Weis and staff.
Total Signings: 27 - 3 ,
9 , 14 , 1
Top Players: OT Sam Young (), RB James Aldridge (), TE Konrad Reuland ()
The Good: Les Miles pulled in an excellent class this year for LSU, but
the late commitment of RB Keiland Williams was really the icing on the cake.
With Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent being Seniorís next season, Williams
will get a year to watch and then in 2007 should be LSUís next great Running
Back. LSU picked up one of the top Defensive Tackles in the nation in Al Woods,
a huge body in the middle who is also versatile enough to play on the offensive
line if the need arises. Charles Deas is another big physical DT that LSU was
able to grab. He should team up with Woods to form a wall on that defensive
line for the next 4 years. They also shored up the Cornerback spot by getting Jai Eugene. He
has all the physical tools to become a lockdown corner on the College level.
Miles made some great pickups along the O-line by getting players Steven
Singleton, Matt Allen and Zhamal Thomas.
Bad: While LSU got a couple of great players at defensive tackle, they
werenít able to find the same type of talent at the defensive end spot. They
did pick up a couple of solid ends, but there is no true dominant pass rusher
in the class that will strike fear into opposing offenses.
LSU continues its recruiting excellence with another superb haul, there isnít
really anything major that you can complain about in this class.
Total Signings: 25 - 3 ,
11 , 11
Top Players: RB Keiland Williams (), DT Al Woods (), CB Jai Eugene ()
The Good: One of the main concerns for Texas
was getting a Quarterback to replace Vince Young, and the ĎHorns brought in two
great ones. Sherrod Harris and Jevan Snead are both dual threat QBís who are expected
to compete for the starting job right away. While both are listed as dual
threat QBís, Harris is much more cut from the Vince Young mold. Heís an
exceptional athlete who runs a 4.45 in the 40. Heís only an average passer at
this point in his career though, and is going to have to greatly improve his accuracy
if he wants to beat out Snead. Jevan Snead is a dual threat but not quite the
athletic freak that Harris is, Snead compares more favorably to someone like
Alex Smith. Heís much farther along as a passer than Harris and that will no
doubt help him in the spring. Where Mack Brown really did his finest work this
year was defense, where he brought in the nationís #1 ranked Defensive End
Eddie Brown, the #1 ranked Inside Linebacker in Sergio Kindle.
Bad: All but 2 Texas recruits
are from Texas. Now, that isnít
necessarily a terrible thing considering the type of talent in the state of Texas,
but unlike Pete Carroll and Urban Meyer, Mack Brown wasnít able to go out of
state and get any big time players. Itís especially disappointing considering Texas
did win the Rose Bowl, but still failed to turn that victory into a recruiting
tool to pluck some blue chippers out of other states.
As the much overused saying goes, ďdefense wins championshipsĒ. If that quote
holds true, expect to see Texas
on top for the foreseeable future.
Total Signings: 25 Ė 2 ,
11 , 12 ,
Top Players: Eddie Jones, DE (), Sergio Kindle, LB (), JíMarcus Webb, OL ()
The Good: Joe Paterno is officially back. After brushing off the
doubters last year and delivering a BCS victory to the Nittany Lion faithful,
Paterno has brought in another great recruiting class. The gems of the class
offensive guard Antonio Logan-El and defensive back A.J. Wallace. Logan-El is a
versatile player who can play any spot on the o-line, he originally committed
to Maryland as a junior but then
re-opened his commitment, Penn State
then got in the mix and it was all over. A.J Wallace is considered a top 3
Cornerback by most scouts. After the bevy of Wide Receivers that Penn State got
in last years class, you wouldnít think they needed anymore, but Joe Pa still
managed to nab
Chris Bell, who has great size and should contribute right away. Throwing him
the ball in the future might be Pat Devlin, the 5th rated pro-style
Quarterback in the nation. He will get the chance to duke it out with 2004
prized recruit Anthony Morelli for the starting job.
Bad: Penn State
missed out on Hargrave Military
Academy 5-star teammates WR Vidal
Hazelton and RB Keiland Williams. Both decisions came down to the wire,
Hazelton between USC and PSU, and Williams between USC, LSU and PSU. Hazelton
ultimately chose USC, and Williams on Friday chose LSU. Although with the
commitment of Chris Bell, and the WR class PSU brought in last season, Hazelton
isnít nearly as big a loss as Williams is. With Tony Hunt and Austin Scott
entering their senior seasons, the Nittany Lions could have really used a stud
RB to take over next year. They did get commits from a couple of solid backs, but Keiland
would have been the prize of their class.
Paterno delivered for the Nittany Lion faithful this year. He brought in top
players at key positions and this team is set to return to prominence for the
Total Signings: 24,- 2 ,
12 , 8 , 1
Top Players: OG Antonio Logan-El (), CB A.J. Wallace (), QB Pat Devlin
The Good: The Sooners were surprisingly average last season, although
they did close out strong with a Holiday Bowl victory over Oregon.
Bob Stoops hit the recruiting trail hard this year and has brought in a class
that should bring OU back to the top of the heap. Headlining the class is DT
Gerald McCoy, he is the #1 rated Defensive Tackle in the nation. Iíve always said Tackle is
the most important position on the defense, because if you have a dominating
line that can occupy blockers, everything else behind them will fall into
place. McCoy does just that. His stock shot up after looking like a man among
boys in the Army All-American game, heís been described as a ďbigger Tommie HarrisĒ
and should dominate from day 1. The Sooners got a huge pickup in Running back
DeMarco Murray out of Las Vegas.
Heís a 6 ft 180 lb all-purpose back who has drawn comparisons to Reggie Bush.
Even if he doesnít live up to THAT kind of hype, he should still provide an
excellent 1-2 punch with Adrian Peterson, and eventually take over the job when
Peterson goes to the NFL. They also picked up a stud receiver in the 6-5, 200
lb Adron Tennell
Bad: Thereís nothing major to really frown upon here, as this was a well
rounded class brought in by Bob Stoops. Oklahoma
has built quite a tradition of great Linebacker play though, and I was a little
disappointed in the Linebackers they brought in this year. They brought in a
Ďbacker in Chris Patterson, and a couple of , but nobody that really jumps out at
Overall: Bob Stoops is one of the best recruiters in the nation, and even
though this class may not rank up there with some of his previous ones, it is
still one that just about any school would be proud to have.
Total Signings: 28, - 2 ,
11 , 10 , 5
Top Players: DT Gerald McCoy (), RB DeMarco Murray (), TE Jermaine Gresham ()
The Good: Tommy Tuberville went out and got talent where it matters
most, in the trenches. Top ranked Defensive Tackles Greg Smith and Bart Eddins
were huge pickups for Tuberville, but he wasnít done there. He went out and got DEís Bryant Miller and Raven Gray. Auburn
is going to bet set along the D-Line for the foreseeable future with a haul
like that. They didnít forget the other side of the line though, AuburnAuburn
also addressed the Quarterback position by picking up Neil Caudle, and getting
a few targets for him to throw to in the 6-3 Chris Slaughter and 6-2 Tim
Hawthorne. made sure to take care of the hogs up front by getting commits from offensive lineman Lee Tilley and Jemarcus Ricks.
Bad: Even with the great defensive line talent brought in, they still could
have used some help in the secondary, as Auburn
failed to bring in any top flight Cornerbacks for the second straight year.
Mario Fannan is a good athlete who could end up on offense or defense, and if
he ends up on defense he should end up being a solid corner, but they could
have used a little more help here.
When you bring in that kind of talent up front, itís hard to complain. Expect
to see more of the same from Auburn
with this recruiting class; smash-mouth football all day long.
Total Signings: 25 - 1,
14 , 7 , 3
Top Players: DT Greg Smith (), DT Bart Eddins (), QB Neil Caudle ()
The Good: Despite the fact that rumblings calling for Lloyd Carrís
resignation in Ann Arbor are
beginning to surface, he was still able to pull down a very good recruiting
class for the Wolverines. Carr only used 19 scholarships this year, but he put
them to good use. The big coup was Stephen Schilling, the 2nd ranked
offensive guard in the nation out of Bellevue, Washington.
He is the type of player that can anchor an offensive line for you. Joining him
on that line will be another top flight lineman, Center Justin Boren. Despite being
stacked at Running back with Michael Hart and last seasonís top Running back
recruit Kevin Grady, Lloyd Carr was still able to convince two more RBís to don the
Maize and Blue in Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown. On defense they grabbed the
#2 ranked Inside Linebacker in the country in Brandon Graham; a hometown boy
from Detroit, Michigan
Jonas Mouton out of Venice, California.
Bad: Michigan is known for
having great Wide Receivers, and they were in on many of the top WRís from this
yearís class but didnít manage to grab any of them. They got some good ones
last year though, so that does make up for it a bit. They picked up a great DT in Adam
Patterson but could have used some help at Defensive End, where the best they
could get was
Overall: Quality of Quantity works for Michigan
as Lloyd Carr hauls in another great class, just edging out Ohio
State and Florida
State for my #10 spot.
Total Signings: 19 - 2 ,
9 , 7 , 1
Top Players: OL Stephen Schilling (), LB Brandon Graham (), S Jonas Mouton
Where The Top 10 Went
Percy Harvin, WR, 6'1" 190 - Florida
2.) Mitch Mustain, CB, 6'2" 190 - Arkansas
3.) Chris Wells, RB, 6'1" 225 - Ohio State
4.) Myron Rolle, CB, 6'2" 215 - Florida State
5.) Taylor Mays, ATH, 6'3" 220 - USC
6.) Eddie Jones, DE, 6'3" 240 - Texas
7.) Gerald McCoy, DT, 6'4" 305 - Oklahoma
8.) Sergio Kindle, LB, 6'4" 225 - Texas
9.) Anwtine Perez, S, 6'1" 200 - USC
10.) Sam Young, OT, 6'8" 305 - Notre Dame
The Top 10 for
1.) Jimmy Clausen, QB - 6-3, 200, Westlake
2.) Josh Oglesby, OT - 6-7, 315, Milwaukee
(Wis.) St. Francis
3.) Noel Devine, RB - 5-8, 175, North Fort Myers (Fla.)
North Fort Myers
4.) Chris Galippo, LB - 6-3, 232, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite *verbal committment to USC*
5.) Ben Martin, DE - 6-5, 220, Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle
6.) Lee Ziemba, OL - 6-7, 295, Rogers (Ark.) Rogers
7.) Eric Berry, DB - 6-0, 180, Atlanta (Ga.) Creekside
8.) Deonte Thompson, WR - 6-0, 180, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central
9.) John Brown, DT - 6-2, 290, Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland
10.) Mark Tyler, LB/RB - 6-0, 215, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
And that's that. If you have any questions/comments about this, or about your school, shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]
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