Recruiting Report Card: Grading Each 2013 Class in the USA Today Coaches' Poll

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IAugust 15, 2012

Recruiting Report Card: Grading Each 2013 Class in the USA Today Coaches' Poll

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    As we await the releasing of the AP Poll, I wanted to take another look at the USA Today Coaches' Poll and add another recruiting spin to it. Polls affect college football more than any other sport, and there is a trickling affect on the recruiting side of things.

    The Coaches' Poll is one of the pillar ranking systems we have in our sport, and although it has gone through some integrity questions as of late, it still remains a prominent avenue of stacking teams.

    For this wonderful Wednesday's read, I'm going give a 2013 recruiting class grade for each USA Today Coaches' Poll Top 25 team.

    Let's get started, shall we?

25. Auburn

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    The Tigers are enjoying themselves a wonderful year on the trail yet again. They have 17 commitments, and seven are inside the ESPNU 300. The headliner is 5-star LB Reuben Foster, who ranks as the No. 2 prospect on my national board.

    Other notables include DE Carl Lawson, DT Dee Liner, LB Trey Johnson and WR Earnest Robinson. Gene Chizik has recruited well on The Plains, and this year is no different.

    Recruiting Grade: A-

24. Notre Dame

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    The Irish come into the season facing a tough schedule, so they may or may not finish inside the top 25 rankings come the winter. However, there is a great influx of young talent incoming to South Bend, and more speed and athleticism have been added by Brian Kelly.

    This year's class is very solid, and the Irish are lurking around for a top 10 recruiting class finish. The headliner of the 19-man class is OLB Jaylon Smith, who excels at coverage. The Irish boast five elite OL prospects, and 4-star QB Malik Zaire was an Elite 11 finals invite.

    Recruiting Grade: B+

23. Florida

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    The Gators may be without QB Jeff Driskel for a while, so Jacoby Brissett will need to come on quickly. On the recruiting trail, Florida is up to its old ways, as it is on pace for a top-five finish.

    Vernon Hargreaves III is the headliner, as he is the top-ranked CB nationally on my board. Florida has 20 commitments, and 13 are inside the ESPNU 300. Also look out for RB Kelvin Taylor, DT Caleb Brantley and LB Daniel McMillan.

    Recruiting Grade: A

22. Boise State

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    According to, Boise State has just nine commitments, and eight of them are rated at just 3-stars. The Broncos don't get many highly-touted prospects, so recruiting is a bit quirky with their program. Center prospect Andrew Tercek is the headliner.

    Recruiting Grade: C

21. Kansas State

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    Last year was a better one on the field than on the recruiting trail. The Wildcats won 10 games and went to the Cotton Bowl, enjoying a successful season for Bill Snyder, but their 2012 recruiting class was poor.

    This year's recruiting run is not going any better, as shows K-State with just six pledges, and only half are even rated at the 3-star clip. OLB Tanner Wood is the headliner.

    Recruiting Grade: D+

20. Virginia Tech

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    The Hokies will do their usual thing this year: play good football and contend for the ACC. Frank Beamer has done an excellent job with this program, and recruiting has gone well this year.

    Va-Tech has 12 commitments, and the class is led by elite CB prospect Kendall Fuller and OLB Holland Fisher. Look for the Hokies to snatch up some more talented prospects before February comes.

    Recruiting Grade: B

19. Oklahoma State

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    The Pokes are back in to compete again in 2012 sans stud WR Justin Blackmon and QB Brandon Weeden. I have to imagine that Mike Gundy and his staff will still have this team ready to go without last year's superstars.

    Their 2013 recruiting class has 15 commitments and is led by QB Luke Del Rio and shifty WR Ra'Shaad Samples.

    Recruiting Grade: B-

18. Stanford

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    The Cardinal have just seven pledges right now, but this is a quality run, as four prospects are inside the ESPNU 300. Another theme of this class is the prospects come from various parts of the country.

    Class headliner Ryan Burns is a pocket passer from Virginia, while LB peter Kalambayi is from North Carolina. Burns is the best QB Stanford has nabbed since one Andrew Luck.

    Recruiting Grade: B

17. TCU

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    The Horned Frogs are looking to expand their recruiting reach since they are now a Big 12-CS program. I saw some results last cycle, but they have no 4-star prospects this year, says Patrick Morris, a center from Denton, is the top prospect.

    Recruiting Grade: C

16. Nebraska

10 of 25 ranks the Big Red 2013 haul No. 16 in the country. Bo Pelini has 14 commitments, and six are from 4-star recruits.

    QB Johnny Stanton has drawn some Tim Tebow whispers due to his athleticism, size and competitiveness. The DL unit also will get a boost from DE A.J. Natter and DL Christian Lacouture.

    Recruiting Grade: B

15. Texas

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    The Longhorns have been outstanding in 2013 recruiting and haven't even felt much need to leave their state. The class has 14 commitments and 10 ESPNU 300 players. 

    QB Tyrone Swoopes is a dual-threat talent with a high ceiling. OL Darius James is marked to play center, but has LT potential, and OL Jake Raulerson may be the most versatile player in the nation.

    Recruiting Grade: A-

14. Clemson

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    This has been a banner year for the Tigers, as they have the nation's No. 1 player, Robert Nkemdiche, committed. Nkemdiche is a rare talent and will continue the Clemson line of great DEs.

    Other notables in Dabo Swinney's 17-man class are DT Scott Pagano, DE Elijah Daniel, WR DeMarcus Robinson and LB Dorian O'Daniel.

    Recruiting Grade: A

13. Michigan State

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    The Spartans have become a very consistent program under Mark Dantonio and will be in the Big Ten title hunt again this year. Their recruiting isn't always the sexiest, but they get good talent nonetheless. This year, they have 11 commitments and are led by QB Damion Terry and LB Jon Reschke.

    Recruiting Grade: C+

12. Wisconsin

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    Bret Bielema's program has 13 commitments for 2013, and two players have a 4-star rating per DT Darius Latham is a 6'5", 285-pounder with vast potential, and WR Rob Wheelwright is a 6'2", 170-pound perimeter playmaker.

    Recruiting Grade: C

11. West Virginia

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    The Mountaineers will contend for a BCS bowl this year, and Geno Smith will have to lead them there. On the recruiting trail, head coach Dana Holgersen has 13 commitments for 2013. The headliner of the group is thickly-built LB Darrien Howard. 

    Recruiting Grade: C

10. Arkansas

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    The Razorbacks could have easily folded this year on the recruiting trail due to the uncertainty at the head coaching position. Though when they landed Hunter Henry, that told everyone that they were going to recruit as if it were a normal cycle. With 13 commitments, the Hogs are just fine.

    Recruiting Grade: B-

9. South Carolina

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    Steve Spurrier has a class full of 21 commitments and four prospects that are among the ESPNU 300. QB Connor Mitch, LBs Matt Rolin and Larenz Bryant are three players that should become stars in Columbia.

    Recruiting Grade: B+

8. Michigan

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    Michigan is set up to be an elite program for years to come, especially when you base that off their past two recruiting classes. QB Shane Morris leads class of 23 prospects, and 15 of them are ESPNU 300 talents. It would take all day to go through the standouts in this class, so just know that Michigan has a pretty good group here, OK?

    Recruiting Grade: A

7. Florida State

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    The 'Noles have 18 commitments and 12 ESPNU 300 players. They are a bit behind last year's pace and may not make the top 10 rankings in 2013 recruiting, but this is still a good class anyways.

    RB Ryan Green is among the fastest players in America, and E.J. Levenberry is a run stuffing 'backer that is the best out of an incoming group of four. Also, OL Austin Golson is a great position wall-ff blocker.

    Recruiting Grade: B

6. Georgia

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    The Dawgs have been a program resurrected over the past few years, first with getting the dream team then winning 10 straight games in 2011. This year, they are an SEC contender and have a top-10 2013 recruiting class.

    QB Brice Ramsey, DB Shaq Wiggins and ATH Tramel Terry are the headliners for Mark Richt. Sure, Aaron Murray is gone after this year, but there is great talent coming to Athens. 

    Recruiting Grade: A-

5. Oregon

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    Oregon comes into this year looking for revenge on USC, another Pac-12 title and a national title game victory. Chip Kelly flirted with the Buccaneers in the offseason, but has stuck around in Eugene.

    The Ducks have eight pledges, and their class headliners are the RB tandem of Thomas Tyner and Dontre Wilson. Both players have excellent speed and fit Kelly's scheme perfectly. 

    Recruiting Grade: B-

4. Oklahoma

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    Oklahoma is a quiet assassin on the trail, as it isn't flashy, but it quietly finishes around the top 10 recruiting rankings year in and year out. Recently picking up big safety Hatari Byrd from California, Bob Stoops has 13 commits at this points.

    Standouts include RB Keith Ford, QB Cody Thomas and DE D.J. Ward.

    Recruiting Grade: B+

3. USC

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    The Trojans have one of the best classes you'll ever see on paper right now, with QB Max Browne, DT Kenny Bigelow, RB Ty Isaac and many more talented prospects committed. Seventeen out their 18 total pledges are ESPNU 300 members.

    Easy grade to give here.

    Recruiting Grade: A

2. Alabama

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    'Bama is set to defend their title and win the SEC this year. Nick Saban is recruiting like Nick Saban again this year with 18 committed prospects and 13 ESPNU 300 players. 

    TE O.J. Howard is a physical freak, and QB Cooper Bateman has overwhelming arm talent. RBs Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny are good ones, and DE/OLB Jonathan Allen could be another great pass-rusher in Tuscaloosa.

    Recruiting Grade: A

1. LSU

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    With 22 commitments, LSU has a good class for 2013 and is the preseason No. 1 team, according to coaches around the country. OL Ethan Pocic, CB Jeryl Brazil, QB Hayden Rettig and WR Ricky Jefferson are standouts within this group. The Tigers are also in the hunt for several uncommitted elite talents, so stay tuned.

    Recruiting Grade: B+

    Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.