National Outlook

February 17, 2017
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Written by Jon Kinne

Even though Signing Day 2017 has come and gone, it is hardly a case of quickly moving on to the Class of 2018. As Notre Dame’s 10 commitments for next year’s class can attest, recruiting the upcoming class began a long time ago.

But many fans don’t fully concentrate on the junior group until Signing Day has past. So here is a breakdown of which programs – other than Notre Dame – have gotten off to a fast start for next year’s recruiting cycle. But these schools must beware as many of their current commits are already looking around. 

Miami

Mark Richt is re-asserting Miami as a recruiting power in the state of Florida. Six of the eight current commitments are from south Florida and the other two commits are from the central part of the state. The headliner is running back Lorenzo Lingard (pictured), a five-star prospect that chose the Canes over all the big boys, including Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, and Alabama. They are also loading up in the defensive backfield with four cornerback commits, including four-stars Josh Jobe and Gilbert Frierson, two players who have been Miami pledges for a long time but whose recruitments may not be over. 

Penn State

The Nittany Lions lead the world with 11 commitments and included in the group is some serious quality. Pass rushing defensive end Micah Parsons is a Top Five overall recruit, though he may not be a complete PSU lock at this time. Another five-star, running back Ricky Slade, is also in the Nittany Lion camp. There are rumblings that ND commit Phil Jurkovec may join a friend at the Penn State spring game. But don’t fear, Penn State has their own top dual-threat quarterback locked up in Justin Fields. Overall, Penn State has eight players that carry a four-star ranking by one service or another.

Florida State

Irish Sports Daily

The name that sticks out on FSU’s commitment list is running back James Cook, the five-star brother former Noles star Dalvin Cook (pictured). But he’s not the only exciting player on that list. Justin Watkins is a dynamic athlete that can play multiple positions and Florida State will have to hold off Florida and Texas all the way until next February. Massive, 6-foot-1, 350-pound defensive tackle Robert Cooper has also added to his extensive list by picking up recent offers from Miami, Alabama, and Notre Dame.

Clemson

For the second year in a row, Clemson will have a small senior class which means they will be limited by numbers on Signing Day. But the champs are off to a good start with a commitment from the top overall prospect, quarterback Trevor Lawrence. And they got Lawrence a receiver in Derion Kendrick from Rock Hill, S.C. They also added two linebackers, including Jake Venables, the son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables. 

The usual suspects like Alabama, USC, and Ohio State are in good position, which is hardly a surprise. But in closing, here is a school that is making some unexpected noise.

Kansas

Yes, Kansas. The football team. The program that hasn’t won more than three games in eight years. That Kansas. They have seven commitments and have hit the state of Louisiana hard, with five of their commits hailing from the Pelican State. Wide receiver Devonta Johnson is a Top 100 player that reports offers from LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, and a slew of other top programs. But he’s going to Lawrence, Kansas and he will be joined by his high school teammate, cornerback Corione Harris. Harris’s offer list is also pretty impressive as it features the likes of LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M.

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