Around the college sports world:
- Dennis Erickson was hired by Utah as the Cpo-Offensive Coordinator. Erickson, 65, comes out of retirement to help ignite a terrible Utes offense. Terrific hire by Kyle Whittingham.
- I’m sorry, but I’m done with any and everything to do with Joe Paterno-era Penn State. I don’t want to hear anyone else defend him, bash him, whatever. Enough already.
- The Big Ten will play up to 10 conference games starting in 2014. So pretty much never count any Texas/Ohio State-type games anymore, because no one in the Big Ten is going to risk anything with over 80% of their games being conference matchups.
- Hawaii signed a 350-pound tailback. Yes, all of those words are correct.
Last week we talked about the The Life of a Recruitnik and this week we continue that recruiting theme. This week we take a look at who the big winners in football recruiting. Who got those possible transcendent players? Let us proceed.
A surprise to no one, the SEC cleaned up in recruiting this year. The winners of the last seven national titles, the SEC is the most important thing in the world and it showed in recruiting as 2-time defending National Champion Alabama finished with the top class in the nation, signing 25 players that will all leave early and be the first 25 players taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. But it wasn't just Bama.
Florida finished with the No.4 class, LSU No.6, Ole Miss No.7, Auburn No.8, A&M No.11 and Georgia No. 12... In all, 13 of the SEC's 14 schools finished in the top 28 classes nationally. And yes, Ole Miss at No.7 is not a typo. The Rebels landed the top player in the nation (defensive end Robert Nkemdiche) as well as the No.5 ranked player in the nation (wr Laquon Treadwell). Hugh Freeze is a witch and doing things in Oxford, folks. The Aggies capitalized on their Johhny Football hysteria and signed a very good class and Vandy cracked the top 20. See? The most important thing in the world.
It's easy to forget the Buckeyes were undefeated last year because they were on probation, but the high school kids around the nation sure didn't. Urban Meyer killed it this year, getting his future qb in Wichita Falls Rider's JT Barrett, superstar-to-be running back Dontre Wilson from DeSoto and 5 star linebacker Mike Mitchell out of Plano. Not only did Meyer lock up Ohio and the Midwest, but he pulled big-timers from Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, California, North and South Carolina and Mississippi as well as the kids from Texas. Lots of athletes, lots of speed and lots of talent for Meyer, who is restocking the already talent-filled shelves in Columbus.
The Irish have weathered the Manti Te'o storm very well and finished with the No.3 ranked class in the nation; but if you look at average star rating they were No.2 with a 3.92 per man ranking. Like the Buckeyes, the Domers have national reach and got super talent from California, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Virginia. DC, the Northeast, the Midwest (No.3 overall player Jaylon Smith, a de from Fort Wayne) and, of course, Texas. Brian Kelly and his adorable personality got former Texas commit and super tight end Durham Smythe as well as MLB star Torii Hunter's son Torii, Jr., a wide out. I am old enough to remember the media love and national interest from the Irish being really good 20+ years ago. It's starting again.
Jim Mora, Jr won the Pac-12 South and nearly upset the Stanford Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Bruins smacked around USC, 38-28, for their first win over the Trojans since 2006 and won that Divisional Title in the process, avenging a 50-0 loss the year before. Oh, and they did this in Mora's first season in Westwood. Long considered the afterthought in LA to USC, Mora turned this around quickly and it's showing on the recruiting trail: 17 of the 24 commits were 4 star players, including seven offensive linemen and a super dual threat qb out of Florida. They didn't catch USC completely, but the shortened the gap significantly (more on USC next week).
There you go, the big winners from recruiting in 2013. What did I miss? See you next seek for the big losers in recruiting, 2013.
Email Trey here or follow him on Twitter @TreyMcLean