The Top 11 Storylines of 2013 College Football Recruiting
Storylines are what we as the public are about. They're why we take interest in things and why we follow them so closely. College football recruiting has an abundance of storylines every year that have us captivated and drawn in from the start to national signing day.
For this read, let's take a look at the year so far and the top storylines. In fact, let's zero in and look at the top 11 storylines of this wonder 2013 recruiting cycle. These are the top staples of our memory that will be embedded years from now when we look back and think about this recruiting year.
11. The Return of Notre Dame
The Irish have returned to national prominence both on the field and on the recruiting trail. The Irish have shot to play for and win the BCS national title and also have a top 5-10 recruiting class in the works.
It's safe to say that Notre Dame football is back!
10. The Trend of Early Commitments Continues
In the old days, recruits wouldn't make decisions until December and January at the earliest. Today they are making decisions in December and January of their junior seasons.
Early commitments is a heavy theme in today's recruiting, and this 2013 did its fair share of it. Players like Shane Morris, Reuben Foster and Kenny Bigelow where committed before the middle of the junior seasons came.
Then all spring we saw commit after commit take place. National signing day will generally be more of a confirmation day than much of any major decisions.
9. Pitt Possibly Landing Two More 5-Star Recruits
Last year Pitt went through a coaching change, but still held onto 5-star RB commit Rushel Shell. This year Paul Chryst and his staff are in the middle of serious recruiting battles for two more 5-star prospects.
There is a good chance that the Panthers, usually a middle-of-the-pack recruiting program at best, may land WR Robert Foster and OT Dorian Johnson. That's huge news for Pitt and not something that happens every year.
8. Elite Defensive Talent at the Top of the Board
The defensive talent in this year's class is frankly remarkable.
Out of the top 15 prospects in the ESPNU 150, 12 are defensive recruits. The top two players on my board are defenders, and the overall talent in this class of players that can combat these high scoring offenses should be noted.
7. Non-BCS Teams Grabbing Prospects
Tulane, Hawaii, Fresno State and Texas State all are schools that you wouldn't think a high-level prospect would commit to. Yet, a storyline in this 2013 recruiting year is that all four schools have a highly-touted commit.
Tulane has a pledge from OG Chris Taylor, Fresno State got QB Zach Greenlee to commit, Hawaii has QB Aaron Zwahlen coming to work with Norm Chow and WR Brice Gunter is headed to Texas State.
All four prospects have been members of the ESPNU 300 at some point.
6. Other Little Guys Doing Well Too
Each year in recruiting we see schools like USC, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Michigan, LSU, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan and Notre Dame all dominate.
They get most of the recruiting headlines and attention from our coverage. This year, a good storyline is seeing schools like Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Baylor and Oklahoma State have good recruiting success.
5. Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley Both Being on the Hot Seat
SEC recruiting can get fierce, nasty and overwhelming in a hurry even when a school's head coach is safe and stable. Imagine what happens when there is just the slightest rumor that the coach could get fired?
That is what Auburn and Tennessee are dealing with right now, as Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley may not be back with the Tigers and Vols, respectively. This definitely has been a big ongoing storyline in 2013 recruiting.
4. Reuben Foster's Recruitment
Foster is the top LB in the country and the No. 2 prospect overall on my board.
He committed to Alabama as a junior, but the summer before his senior year, he called a press conference and announced he was de-committing from the Tide and pledging to Auburn.
Now with Gene Chizik facing some uncertainty on The Plains, Foster could again be ready to bolt from another recruiting class. Georgia seems to be waiting to catch him should he jump ship.
3. USC's Recruiting Success Despite a Scholarship Limits & Disappointing Season
The Trojans were once the preseason No. 1 team in the country and opened this year with a blow out over Hawaii that had people buzzing. Today, as it stands, USC is a three loss team that probably won't be playing in any BCS bowl.
The Trojans also still are dealing with scholarship limitations and can only sign about 18 players this year. Right now, they have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, per my rankings and ESPNU's.
2. Penn State's Sanctions
The sanctions and punishment laid upon the Nittany Lions' football program is practically a death blow. The severity of all of this list will last a very long time, and it will take awhile for Penn State to recover.
Just the very fact that Bill O'Brien has gotten 12 recruits to commit to Penn State is a mini-miracle.
A remarkable five of those recruits are 4-star prospects according to ESPNU, and QB Christian Hackenberg and TE Adam Breneman may be the best in the country at their positions.
That is frankly amazing.
1. Robert Nkemdiche's Recruitment
Nkemdiche is the top player and prospect in the 2013 class, and he is the No. 1 storyline this year. He gave an early commitment to Clemson this spring, and immediately speculation began about when he would de-commit.
Nkemdiche routinely stated he was solid to Clemson all summer and for a good portion of the season. Then he de-committed and now the story is where is he going?
Ole Miss seems to be the favorite because that is where his family prefers. Yet Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Georgia will all make strong pitches to land him.
His recruitment is the No.1 storyline 2013 recruiting.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 (formerly 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.