National Signing Day 2012: Grading Recruiting Classes for Most Popular Teams
National signing day is over and done with, so we have a pretty good idea of what the future of these teams look like. Sure, there are still a few valuable prospects out there that are still uncommitted, but for the most part, teams' overall recruiting classes aren't going to change that much.
In this article we will be grading the more popular teams' overall class. Now, if your team isn't included, it doesn't necessarily mean it's not a popular team, they're just not on a national level. After all, not too many teams are on the same level as a Notre Dame or Michigan. Although I'm sure San Jose State has a lovely fanbase out in San Jose, California.
Here are the overall recruiting grades for the more popular teams in college football.
Notre Dame: B
I give Notre Dame a B for their overall class. Sure, it may not be exactly what this program is used to, but they did pick up the No. 1 overall quarterback in Gunner Kiel, who could become the starter as early as this year if things don't work out. Cornerback Tee Shepard is also huge as the secondary is such a big need this off-season, along with two solid safeties with Elijah Shumate leading the pack.
Michigan doesn't exactly have a lot of flashy players in this recruiting class, but they have a ton of productive players at positions you need to win. Solid players on the offensive line like Kyle Kalis, defensive line like Ondre Pipkins and the secondary in Terry Richardson.
This class doesn't include a flashy wide receiver or a 5-star quarterback, but adding depth on the line and picking up great linebackers like Royce Jenkins-Stone is priceless.
Alabama has arguably the top recruiting class in the country. And what I like about it is, of course they landed several top defensive players like Landon Collins, Reggie Ragland and Dillon Lee. But they also added several key offensive weapons as well. Wide receiver Cyrus Jones and running back T.J. Yeldon are going to be huge for this team moving forward.
Hard to argue with the depth in this class.
Ohio State: A
Ohio State absolutely loaded up on the defensive line by adding players like Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt and Adolphus Washington. A team that struggled to rush the quarterback last season and only had 23 sacks, should have no problem moving forward. Adding a powerful running back like Brionte Dunn doesn't hurt either.
The Buckeyes are officially in good hands with Urban Meyer running the show.
Picking up offensive tackle Avery Young at the last minute really improved this class for the Tigers. Although there is a lot of offensive firepower in this class, the recruit that I like the most is Zeke Pike. He's a 6'6", 225 pound quarterback, with great arm strength and throws an accurate football. I think he'll end up being the steal of this class and could lead Auburn back to an SEC championship when he's given the opportunity.
Overall solid class.
We all expect the LSU Tigers to have a great recruiting class and this class is exactly that. Sure, it includes top players like John Thomas, Kwon Alexander and Derrick Raymond. But what I really don't like about this class is the fact that the Tigers have missed out on the top three players from Louisiana. Great overall class, but I expect more from championship caliber teams like the Tigers.
You have to consider the fact that the Trojans have limited scholarships and they're still able to put together one of the top classes of the year. What makes USC a powerhouse in the Pac-12 is the fact they're able to recruit well on the defensive side of the ball. This class is no different as they land linebacker Scott Starr and two safeties Gerald Bowman and Nelson Agholor.
Now that USC is no longer on probation, it's safe to say this team is back and ready to once again take over college football.
How do you not give the Hurricanes an A? This is a team that's in the middle of an NCAA scandal and yet they land the second-most prospects of any team with a total of 33. This team is loaded with depth as they've picked up three quarterbacks, six wide receivers and seven defensive linemen. Cornerback Tracy Howard is the prized pick up in this class and he'll have the opportunity to start right away for this team.
The Hurricanes may still face punishments from the NCAA, but they'll have a talented team ready to overcome whatever is given to them.
Randy Chambers is a B/R Featured Columnist that covers College Football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or Randy.Chambers7@yahoo.com