Best College Football Recruiting Classes from Outside the BCS Conferences
When it comes to National Signing Day, the main focus will be on big-name BCS schools such as Alabama, Ohio State, Texas, Florida State and LSU, but that doesn't mean that some of the top teams outside of the BCS conferences aren't putting together some great recruiting classes as well.
Here's a look at five teams that don't belong to a BCS conference that are putting together some very strong 2012 recruiting classes.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame may technically be a college football independent, but the Irish have all the resources of a BCS school, and then some.
Brian Kelly has used those resources to his full capability during his time in South Bend, as he's done a terrific job on the recruiting trail with the Irish.
This year's class could be Kelly's best yet, as he's already got three of the top prospects in the 2012 class—QB Gunner Kiel, DT Sheldon Day and CB Tee Shepard—on campus.
Those three look like they're just the start of what is shaping up to be one of the top classes in the country.
If highly-touted recruits like WR Deontay Greenberry (Washington Union HS, California), RB William Mahone (Austintown Fitch HS, Ohio), S Elijah Shumate (Don Bosco Prep HS, New Jersey) and DT Jarron Jones (Aquinas Institute, New York) all sign with Notre Dame, the Irish are going to add a huge infusion of great young talent to their team for 2012.
Boise State Broncos
Many people have the wrong perception of Boise State, and think that Broncos are still winning without great players.
However, just because Chris Petersen isn't bringing top 10-rated recruiting classes on an annual basis, that certainly doesn't mean that he isn't winning some key battles on the recruiting trail.
All you have to do is look at some of the great players and coveted pro prospects that Boise State has churned out in recent years to see that this program is definitely filled with talent. Sure, the coaches do a great job coaching the players up and utilizing them to perfection, but they also do a great job of spotting under-the-radar recruits.
This year, Boise State once again went digging in California to find some diamonds in the rough, but they also went into places like Texas and Florida to pick up key recruits such as LB Ben Weaver (Klein HS, Texas) and QB Nick Patti (Dr. Phillips HS, Florida).
Weaver and Patti are two of the biggest names of the 2012 crop, but players like S Chris Santini (Leland HS, California), OG Travis Averill (Servite HS, California) and DE Demarcus Lawrence (Butler CC, Kansas) all look like they have bright futures as well.
BYU's first season of independence certainly had a few bumps in the road, but when it was all said and done, the Cougars finished 10-3.
They've managed to carry over that success to the recruiting trail as coach Bronco Mendenhall is in the process of building a solid 2012 class.
Mendenhall has a commitment from one of the top quarterback recruits in the country, Tanner Mangum, a great-looking prospect out of Idaho's Eagle High School.
Mangum isn't the only player that Mendenhall should be excited about, though, as current commits such as DE Troy Hinds (Davis HS, Utah), LB Butch Pau'u (Servite HS, California) and WR Josh Weeks (Show Low HS, Arizona) will all have the chance to contribute early in their careers.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Coach Larry Fedora may have moved on to North Carolina, but that hasn't stopped Southern Miss from making the most of the momentum that the Golden Eagles built up by beating Houston in the Conference USA championship game.
The Golden Eagles have used that victory to sell some key recruits on the future in Hattiesburg.
The star of the 2012 class is QB Anthony Alford, who is rated as a 4-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN, but Southern Miss also has commitments from other potential impact players such as S Derrick Moncrief (Prattville HS, Alabama), WR D.J. Thompson (Pearl CC, Mississippi) and DT Dalvin Craft (Escambia County HS, Alabama).
Steve Addazio opted for more quantity than quality with Temple's 2012 recruiting class, but it's a strategy that could definitely end up paying off, as many of the 31 current commitments he has should add key depth to the lineup and solidify a few glaring position holes.
That's not to say that Addazio is just bringing in a bunch of mediocre recruits to fill space, though, because that's certainly not the case.
Prospects like RB Montrell Dobbs (Milford Academy, Connecticut), S Stephaun Marshall (Montclair HS, New Jersey) and LB Raysean Richardson (Fork Union MA, Virginia) all fill some key needs and have the type of talent to play early for the Owls.