Prospect summer camps bring big-time commitments, and this weekend has been no exception. The surprise isn’t that top tier recruits are announcing their intended collegiate destinations, but rather to where they gave their commitments.
No recruit is a bigger verbal pledge — literally and figuratively — than Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith High defensive tackle Andrew Brown.
The top-ranked prospect at his position and seventh overall in the nation is a rare, important coup for Mike London’s Virginia Cavaliers. London came to Charlottesville in 2010 with a trend to reverse. The conference rival Virginia Tech Hokies dominate the commonwealth’s recruiting scene.
Virginia is flush with elite prep talent. To wit, two of the nation’s top recruits in the 2014 signing class are Brown and No. 1 defensive end, Da’Shawn Hand.
Hand is moving out-of-commonwealth, recently announcing his top three suitors: the Florida Gators, Michigan Wolverines and — go figure — the Alabama Crimson Tide. With Hand removing Virginia Tech from contention, the commitment of Brown gives Virginia bragging rights in the next recruiting period.
For now, anyway. There are still seven long, arduous months before recruits put pen-to-paper and make their verbal commitments official. However, recent trends bode well for London. While decommitments are highly publicized, they are rare.
Plus the 2014 class is, thus far, breaking the mold. Current rankings at Rivals.com have such unusual top 20 entrants as Rutgers and Baylor. Dave Doeren has yet to even coach a game for the NC State Wolfpack, yet has landed a pair of four-star commitments en route to the No. 16 rating.
No new coach’s early recruiting efforts have impressed more than those of Kentucky Wildcats leader Mark Stoops, whose current class is second overall according to Rivals.com.
The value of recruiting classes that are not just talented, but also headline-generating is evident to coaching staffs seeking to build or rebuild programs. Stanford is one of the best examples.
Before Jim Harbaugh and his staff came there, Stanford was a Pac-10 bottom feeder. The Cardinal’s position in the conference standings was reflected in its recruiting rankings. A decade ago, Stanford signed the Pac’s lowest rated recruiting class.
Ten years later under the guidance of David Shaw, Stanford is a regular recruiting winner and on pace to have the Pac-12’s premier signing class. Local quarterback prospect Keller Chryst gave Stanford his pledge at the weekend’s Elite 11 camp. Chryst promises to continue the Cardinal’s winning ways, which have included three consecutive BCS bowl appearances.