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National Recruiting Report | The Door is Open Out West

February 15, 2019

The national recruiting story of the 2019 cycle was Alabama and the rich staying rich. Nick Saban finished with the number one class (again). The Crimson Tide signed nine of my top-50 prospects in the country and a dozen players who are considered composite top-100 prospects.

Yada, yada, yada...they’re not going anywhere any time soon.

Some other recruiting stories didn’t get as much attention because of what Alabama continues to do and with programs like Texas A&M and Oregon bringing in great classes.

A top-five finish shouldn’t be too much of a surprise with this being Jimbo Fisher’s first full class since he arrived in College Station and Mario Cristobal putting together his first full class at Oregon, which finished in the top-10 in the country and first in the Pac-12. The first full class, the year after a coach is hired, is typically great for most new coaches. The football recruiting staff has had time to establish relationships and they have hope to sell, which can sometimes be even better than success in the eyes of recruits.

There were three other coaches in the Pac-12 who were bringing in their first full classes as well. For Kevin Sumlin at Arizona, Herm Edwards at Arizona State, and Chip Kelly at UCLA, things didn’t go nearly as well as it did with Cristobal at Oregon.

Neither Sumlin or Edwards was able to sign a top-20 player in the state of Arizona. ASU was able to sign a blue-chip quarterback in Jayden Daniels‍ from California, but aside from that, the overall talent looks similar to the type of class Todd Graham used to sign when he was there. That’s not exactly what was promised when Edwards was brought on.

Sumlin’s Arizona class was ranked 10th in the conference. Kelly wasn’t much better than that. UCLA finished 8th in the conference. They finished 4th in the previous class, most of which was accumulated by the coaching staff that was there before Kelly was hired.

The Bruins are bringing in only one 4-star recruit, Sean Rhyan‍, and he’s the only one in the class who was ranked as a top-50 prospect in the state of California.

UCLA was selective with their scholarship offers (they only sent out 94) and it seemed to come back and bite them. Then again, ASU and U of A sent out over 200 scholarship offers each to the ‘19 class and it didn’t boost them up. It could be as simple as these three programs not having great recruiters on staff or it could be more than. Whatever it is, the buck stops with the head coach in these situations.

I’m pointing these out not to classify these three as 2019 signing day “losers”, but because their lack of success with those first full classes signals that those states out west are open for business in 2020.

The state of Arizona has nine 4 and 5-star recruits in the class (Notre Dame has offers out to four of them). If ASU and U of A didn’t sign the top players in state in the most recent class, I’m not really loving their chances of cleaning up in-state in ‘20.

UCLA might sign more than one of the top-50 in California in ‘20, but with what they did and USC’s program not in a good place right now, it feels like more programs are going to be able to come in like Oregon did in the last cycle and land some players who normally would have gone to school in Los Angeles.

It’s definitely something to watch for this cycle. Notre Dame is just one program who may be able to take advantage of the recruiting opportunities out west. There are three players from Arizona who are already committed to Ohio State and Michigan. LSU and Oklahoma have picked up commitments from two top players in California as well.

On to other stray thoughts on the national recruiting...

- Willie Taggart didn’t land a splashy first full class at Florida State either. Dan Mullen at Florida ended up bringing a much stronger group led by cornerbacks Kaiir Elam‍ and Chris Steele‍. Steele is another top prospect from California and was a USC commit at one point.

The thing that everyone is talking about with FSU is their dire quarterback situation. They didn’t sign a quarterback for the second consecutive class. ">Not great, Bob.

There’s currently only one scholarship quarterback on their roster. They’re going to have to dive into the transfer portal or sign multiple quarterbacks in the next class to fix this huge hole they put themselves in.

- Not all 4-stars are the same, which is obviously why they rank them, but I do like to count up the number of 4 or 5-star recruits programs are bringing in with a class outside of the normal team rankings we see.

This is a real and not a made up number. Alabama signed 26 4 or 5-star players. They only signed one 3-star prospect in the 2019 class and he’s a kicker. Just like the regular rankings, they finished first in this category.

Besides Bama’s ridiculous haul, Georgia finished second with a combined 20 4 or 5-star recruits in their class. Penn State, which didn’t sign a top-10 class according to the composite rankings, was third with 18. Texas and Florida finished tied for fourth with 17 each.

Notre Dame is tied for fifth with Michigan, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. They all signed 16 in their respective classes.

- This may be something that only interests me, but I’ve been laughing to myself about it all week since I first saw it.

Ole Miss and Stanford finished close to each other in the 2019 team rankings.

Ole Miss offered 405 recruits, which seems certifiably nuts, but SEC gonna SEC.

Stanford offered 78 players scholarships.

College. Football. It’s hard to believe these two teams are competing at the same level.

- This is going to be a weekly feature on ISD every Friday. As the title suggests, the focus will be on national recruiting so it will be more than just Notre Dame and their opponents.

It will be 2020 and a bit of 2021 recruiting from here on out and I’m looking forward to see how it evolves as we go along. I hope everyone enjoys it!

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