National Signing Day’s over, and you’ve likely got your fill of recruiting for about 12 hours.
Signing Day provided us with narratives galore, as is the custom for this American tradition. But which programs walked away losers on National Signing Day, expecting a bigger haul or falling flat on their face? Let’s discuss.
1. USC Trojans
It’s hard to label yourself a loser when damn near half of your class consists of five-star recruits, and when you earn the highest average star rating in Rivals.com history.
But that’s not why they’re a loser. They’re a loser because they’ve managed to fall right out of the top-10 in most national recruiting rankings, thanks to a plethora of decommitments late in the recruiting season. Even worse, USC was poised to bring in the top-ranked class in the country (sanctions be damned) and managed to earn pretty bad publicity en route to their free-fall, mainly in the form of Kylie Fitts being shafted just days before he was set to move in.
And the reason this program is a loser, despite boasting the best class ever assembled while under sanctions, is because they fell behind rival UCLA, the last possible thing that this program needed. With the Bruins owning claim to all the momentum, a winning in the recruiting battleground would have kept UCLA’s rise at bay.
Who knows, though? Perhaps the lack of expectations could lead to a 2011-esque run for Kiffin and the Trojans.
Or it could be the nail in his coffin.
2. Missouri Tigers
It’s difficult to best your SEC comrades under any circumstance, but the Tigers needed to make improvements to prove that they do, indeed, belong in this top-heavy conference.
The Tigers finished last in the conference in recruiting according to nearly every recruiting service on the Internet, and while the class was generally still top-50, that’s nowhere near good enough to put enough talent on the field and compete, week-for-week with the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M and the rest of the national championship-worthy teams.
According to Scout.com, Missouri only received the commitment of four four-star recruits and much of their 20-man class consisted of three-star recruits and recruits rated lower.
Of course, we know how these rankings are, and with good coaching, these rankings become irrelevant. But it hurts to not play with guys who were deemed to be as successful as their SEC rivals.
3. Texas Longhorns
With Texas head coach Mack Brown clearly on the hot seat, a good Signing Day would’ve earned back quite a bit of support and it would’ve given Texas the momentum and talent to find itself back where it should be — atop the Big 12, contending nationally.
The class was very small and though that’s due to the amount of guys that are coming and going — things that are well beyond the scope of simply determining winners and losers on a post on this blog on the Interwebs — there are still serious areas of weakness for these ‘Horns. For one, they didn’t earn the commitment of a stand-out quarterback, something that Texas desperately needs considering it goes back and forth, struggling between Case McCoy and David Ash. The Longhorns also didn’t pick up much at the defensive line either, which puts them in a precarious position defensively.
Of course, this class does have a lot of talent, so perhaps we’re just holding the Horns to a higher standard, or perhaps we’re considering the coaching situation.
Whatever happens, things will play themselves out. And we’ll see how this season plays out for Texas, with all eyes on Mack Brown.
4. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia put together a solid class, but the potential for greatness was missed, and it’ll hurt. (Hey, kind of sounds like the 2012 football season, eh?)
The Bulldogs missed out on Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Derrick Griffin, who went elsewhere. They missed out on quite a few elite recruits but did manage to put together a very deep class.
But again, they didn’t sign any truly elite recruits — no five-star high schoolers were signed, and 17 of their 32-man class were three-star recruits, with 14 earning four stars on Scout.com. They did pick up three top-100 players, but they underperformed given the recruiting battles they were involved in late.
The Bulldogs should be fine, especially given that the program is progressing, but earning fifth-best recruiting class in the SEC should sting.
5. Louisville Cardinals
Louisville doesn’t recruit well generally but this year, they really didn’t recruit well.
Sure, by Big East standards (and perhaps even their own) they did just fine, but a program coming off a massive BCS bowl win against Florida, and on the cusp of a special season which could see QB Teddy Bridgewater vying for a Heisman late in the season, should see better performance than falling out of the top-50 in the national recruiting rankings (according to Scout.com).
They did pick up one of the best wide-outs in the nation in James Quick, a Louisville, KY native, but outside of that, the Cardinals signed just one four-star recruit in a class of 16.
Of course, in 2012, head coach Charlie Strong did more with less, so what’s to say that the program doesn’t convert these three-star recruits into studs?
So many questions, so many vanilla answers. Is it college football season yet?