The Main 2013 Recruiting Priority for Each AP Poll Top 25 Team

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IAugust 20, 2012

The Main 2013 Recruiting Priority for Each AP Poll Top 25 Team

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    The second major preseason poll came out Saturday when the preseason AP Top 25 Poll was released. The AP Poll is another major rankings system in college football that has a major influence on the BCS. The USC Trojans were voted to the No. 1 spot, with Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Michigan also receiving first-place votes.

    To put a recruiting spin on the poll, I'm going to give you the one main recruiting priority for each AP Poll Top 25 team. The priority could be getting a commitment from a prized prospect, keeping a committed recruit in the fold, having a good 2012 season or just staying ahead of a rival and anything else in between.

    Come inside and see what is the main 2013 recruiting priority for your favorite program!

25. Louisville

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    Charlie Strong has done a solid job in the Bluegrass State, and the Cardinals will go as far as sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater takes them this year. 

    On the recruiting trail, Strong has only nine commitments, but his class is headlined by QB Kyle Bolin of Lexington. The Cardinals are a hotter program than their rivals of Kentucky, so finishing ahead of them in the recruiting rankings would be a good look.

    Recruiting Priority: Finishing ahead of Kentucky in the final recruiting class rankings

24. Boise State

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    The Broncos are not an unstoppable force on the recruiting trail by any means. They know what level of recruits they can get, and they go after them.

    Chris Petersen and his staff rely on player development, excellent coaching and their schemes to get results on the field with less recruiting talent than other programs. This year's nine-man class is no different.

    Recruiting Priority: Staying who they are as recruiters and sticking to their system

23. Florida

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    The Gators are enjoying an excellent 2013 recruiting cycle. Will Muschamp and his staff are doing a great job of filling needs with great talent while also adding more depth to the UF roster.

    Florida has 18 commitments, led by RB Kelvin Taylor, LB Daniel McMillian and of course CB Vernon Hargreaves III. I think I know who the biggest remaining target is.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing OT Laremy Tunsil

22. Kansas State

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    I was critical of K-State's 2012 recruiting class. The only thing is, its 2013 recruiting class really is not any better, and it needs a spark to jump-start things. K-State has many priorities on the trail, but it'll contend for the Big 12 title this year.

    Recruiting Priority: Having a better class than last year's

21. Stanford

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    Stanford made a late charge on national signing day last year to get itself inside the top 10 of many recruiting rankings lists. This year, the Cardinal have good quality but not much quantity. 

    Their class has only seven pledges, but it has great talents, led by QB Ryan Burns, who's a top-10 QB prospect this year. 

    Recruiting Priority: Adding more quantity but keeping quality overall to their class

20. TCU

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    The Horned Frogs will look to make their initial presence felt in the Big 12 from jump street this year. Gary Patterson and his program want to show everyone they are ready for the big boys.

    On the trail, TCU has 14 commitments, led by OL Patrick Morris. It needs to continue upgrading and expanding its recruiting reach.

    Recruiting Priority: Establishing itself as a consistent contender for high-level prospects and getting DT Justin Manning

19. Oklahoma State

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    The Cowboys are back again this year, and Mike Gundy and Todd Monken will try to keep the offense going sans Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden.

    The Pokes hold commitments from 15 recruits, and Scout.com shows four of them being 4-star recruits. Continuing to add offensive talent is the second-biggest priority.

    Recruiting Priority: Adding more defensive talent to combat Big 12 offenses

18. Ohio State

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    The Buckeyes won't go bowling this year, but they still can play good football to set themselves up for a high ranking next year. Braxton Miller has to show improvement in 2012 as he learns Urban Meyer's system.

    In 2013 recruiting, Ohio State is pace for a top-10 finish with 16 commitments. CBs Eli Woodard and Cam Burrows are the headliners, and getting a top-level safety in this class could ensure OSU has a future lockdown back end.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing safety Vonn Bell

17. Nebraska

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    The Cornhuskers enter 2012 with experience with the Big Ten style of play and should be ready to go. Carl Pelini left for FAU, but the defense should be fired up to ball in Lincoln. 

    Nebraska has a 14-commitment full class, and staying steady on the trail is the aim for this cycle.

    Recruiting Priority: Continuing to establish Cornhusker football to prospects in Big Ten country

16. Virginia Tech

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    The Hokies are still likely on cloud nine after getting a commitment from big-time CB prospect Kendall Fuller. Fuller is the headliner for Frank Beamer's 13-pledge class that also includes OLB Holland Fisher.

    A certain in-state RB would fit in well in this class—a running back that is about 6'0", 225 pounds, and has power and speed.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing RB Derrick Green

15. Texas

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    The Longhorns have enjoyed several recent banner recruiting runs, and 2013 will likely be another. Mack Brown always recruits well, and about 95 percent of his class this year is from Texas.

    Getting WR Ricky Seals-Jones has to be the main priority because 6'5", 230-pound athletic pass-catchers are not growing on trees.

    Recruiting Priority: Re-landing WR/TE Ricky Seals-Jones

14. Clemson

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    Clemson's 17-man recruiting class is headlined by one Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1 prospect in the country. A 6'5", 210-pound DE, Nkemdiche is a monster in the trenches.

    Rumors have swirled like a twister about how solid his commitment is, but Clemson remains confident, and Nkemdiche strikes me as a man of his word. Remember, though, these are verbal, non-binding commitments until NSD comes, and recruits are free to change their minds.

    Recruiting Priority: Keeping Robert Nkemdiche committed

13. Michigan State

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    The Spartans are ranked No. 13 to start the season and once again will be a contender for the Big Ten title. They have 11 commitments this year, headlined by QB Damion Terry and LB Jon Reschke. 

    Recruiting Priority: Filling roster needs

12. Wisconsin

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    The Badgers are led by head coach Bret Bielema, and he's done a great job of maintaining the level of success that Barry Alvarez implemented. Camp Randall will be stoked this fall because this 2012 team, led by RB Montee Ball, is a dark-horse national title contender.

    The 2013 recruiting class isn't sexy, but Bielema is getting players that fit the Wisconsin profile, which has worked time and time again.

    Recruiting Priority: Getting QB Zack Greenlee

11. West Virginia

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    Dana Holgorsen's team will be led by QB Geno Smith, who is a contender for the Heisman and could go high in next year's NFL draft. WVU should be a favorite for the Big 12 title this year, even though it is its first trip in the conference.

    Recruiting is going well, as Holgorsen has 14 commitments from players that are the usual talent level WVU nabs.

    Recruiting Priority: Continuing to establish the WVU brand in Big 12 recruiting country

10. Arkansas

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    John L. Smith is likely a temporary fixture in Fayetteville right now, and that has impacted the Hogs' recruiting efforts. However, they saw a break when they got stud TE Hunter Henry a few weeks ago to give them a 13-man class.

    Recruiting Priority: Selling recruits on stability of the program without a permanent head coach

9. South Carolina

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    The Gamecocks have recruited pretty well under Steve Spurrier, landing Jadeveon Clowney, Alshon Jeffrey and Marcus Lattimore over the years.

    This year, they have 21 commitments, led by LBs Matt Rolin and Larenz Bryant along with QB Connor Mitch. Landing a top-flight RB from Florida would be a nice pickup to succeed Lattimore.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing RB Greg Bryant

8. Michigan

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    Michigan was a surprise team last year, winning 11 games, including a thriller vs. Notre Dame and capping off its season with a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech.

    This year, it opens up with Alabama, so that could be tough. What's not a downer is its 2013 recruiting class, as it is among the elite groups in the country. Led by QB Shane Morris, Michigan has 23 commitments from many great recruits.

    Recruiting Priority: Finishing strong with WR Laquon Treadwell and RB Derrick Green

7. Florida State

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    The Seminoles have a solid mix of talent, youth and experience to make an ACC and national title run this year. Greg Reid not being around will be a big loss, but other young players in the secondary must step up.

    Recruiting is going steadily for Jimbo Fisher, who has a top-15 class in the making. FSU has a few more prospects to land before it wraps up its 2013 run.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing DE Tim Williams

6. Georgia

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    The Dawgs open the season at the No. 6 spot and are also in the top 10 of recruiting rankings. Mark Richt and his staff have gotten a lot of great prospects over the past three cycles, and two elite talents remain out there that UGA definitely wants to add to its 26-man class.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing OT Laremy Tunsil and re-landing RB Derrick Henry

5. Oregon

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    Oregon is known for its tremendous play speed, especially on offense. It scores a ton of points at a frantic pace during games. Right now, it only has eight pledges, and it needs to add more to its class while keeping speed as its theme.

    Recruiting Priority: Continuing to add even more speed to the roster

4. Oklahoma

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    The Sooners will again be a national championship contender led by QB Landry Jones. On the recruiting trail, Oklahoma has just 12 commitments, and the lone top-tier prospect that really remains for it is DT Justin Manning, an athletic 6'2", 275-pounder from Texas.

    Recruiting Priority: Landing DT Justin Manning

3. LSU

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    The Tigers lost the Honey Badger, and he will be missed, but Les Miles has recruited so well over recent years that there is a wealth of young talent waiting in the wings to fill that void. Miles' 2013 class is a top-10/ to top-15 group with 22 commitments from various talented prospects.

    Recruiting Priority: Not letting DE Tim Williams get away

2. Alabama

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    'Bama is both the defending BCS national champion and the defending recruiting champion. It's not a stretch by any means to foresee it winning both titles again this year.

    Nick Saban has 18 commitments, and TE O.J. Howard and QB Cooper Bateman lead the way. The crazy thing is that Alabama remains in consideration for so many elite prospects that those two may not finish as the class headliners.

    Recruiting Priority: Getting WR Robert Foster, OLB Matthew Thomas, OT Laremy Tunsil and DE DeMarcus Walker

1. USC

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    The Trojans are the preseason No. 1 team in the AP Poll and boast a wealth of talent all over the field. Depth and the defensive line may be of concern, but this could be a prime-time year for USC.

    Lane Kiffin is hot on the recruiting trail, as he has the nation's No. 1 class at the moment on my board. Eighteen commitments make up the class, and USC is still limited due to scholarship reductions.

    If the Trojans want to add any more players to their 18-man class, getting savvy with scholarships must become their main priority.

    Recruiting Priority: Keeping their class intact while continuing to use crafty ways to manipulate their roster limitations due to sanctions


    Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams: 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 WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a college football and NFL draft magazine.