College Football Recruiting: The Worst Class from Every BCS Team in Last 5 Years
Recruiting has it's ups and downs and each team goes through peaks and valleys. As program it's very easy to see a recruiting run where you sign a couple top 25 classes only see the well dry up and you hit a low average in a recruiting cycle.
In this piece, we will look at each BCS team's very worst recruiting class in from 2011-2007. The 2012 class is still too young to gauge a success rate on, so we will omit them from this study. We're not picking on anybody, as every program has a down recruiting year.
Here's the worst one over the past five years for each BCS program.
Boston College: 2009
This was a pretty bad year for the Eagles as Scout.com gave them a ranked of 81st nationally. They signed now 4-star prospects in their 17-man class.
Yet, this class did bring a special player to BC, as a 3-star LB from Ohio named Luke Kuechly signed up to play for the Eagles. All Kuechly did was go on to become perhaps the school's greatest defensive player ever.
2009 also was Clemson's down year, but it wasn't as bad as BC's. Scout.com ranked the Tigers' class 42nd, but the class was small at only 12 commitments.
However, this was the class that brought Tajh Boyd to the program. Boyd has since developed into one Clemson's best QB's in school history.
The Dukies have never been mistaken for a recruiting juggernaut in college football, but things hit a new low in 2010. Scout.com ranked their class an ACC-low 71st nationally.
The Blue Devils signed 20 recruits that year and only eight of them were 3-star prospects. The highest rated prospect was OG Laken Tomlinson.
Florida State: 2007
The 'Noles and bad recruiting simply don't mix at first thought, as FSU has brought some of the most legendary recruiting classes the game has ever seen. For this piece, I'm going with their 2007 class.
The class didn't crack the top 25 and only one recruit was a top 100 level player. The highest rated overall recruit was JC DE Brian Coulter.
Georgia Tech: 2011
Looking at the Yellow Jackets and their recruiting for this read, I found them to be an inconsistent program on he trail. Some classes were solid while others were not so much.
The worst came in 2011, when Scout.com listed them 44th overall in their own rankings. GT brought in 22 commitments and 16 were 3-star prospects.
The Terps live in a region where there is good football talent and they are a program that I feel could be grown into a solid power. The only thing is that their 2011 class probably won't help too much.
Scout.com put Maryland 56th on their list that year. The Terps signed 21 recruits and failed to land a QB that year. Things got better in 2012, as Maryland landed studs in WR Stefon Diggs and RB Wes Brown.
Miami is used to bringing in top recruiting class after top recruiting class. Perhaps that is why fans were a little antsy when 2011 came and saw that their Canes were not in the top 25 recruiting rankings.
Scout.com ranked the class 35th. The best player obviously from this class right now is DE Anthony Chickillo.
North Carolina: 2008
The Tar Heels have long been on my list of schools that are sleeping giants. 2008 was their worst class in the last five years, but the class actually pretty solid.
UNC signed the 30th best recruiting class that year, according to Scout.com. This class wasn't bad, which speaks to the growing momentum the Tar Heels have.
Robert Quinn, Zach Brown and Quinton Coples were in this class.
North Carolina State: 2011
Now, I'm just guessing here, but perhaps one the secondary reasons Debbie Yow chose to replace Tom O'Brien with Dave Doeren was because of O'Brien's 2011 class.
This was the worst group in the ACC that year, per Scout.com. The Wolfpack brought 20 prospects, none were 4-star prospects and the top two rated players were a kicker and punter.
Scout.com ranked the Wahoos' 2010 class No. 66 in the country. They got 18 commitments that year and only one prospect was a 4-star recruit in OL Morgan Moses. Things have changed since then as Mike London has begun to make more noise on the recruiting trail.
Virginia Tech: 2011
The Hokies are a pretty consistent recruiting program that will finish somewhere around the top 20-30 classes each year and work with who they get.
In 2011, they saw a little dip as they assembled what Scout.com ranked as the 39th best class. Frank Beamer will still find a way to squeeze all what he can out of these guys.
Wake Forest: 2011
The Demon Deacons have pretty high academic standards and recruiting is pretty tricky for Jim Grobe. He's a good coach, but Grobe probably will never enjoy much recruiting success at WF. His worst class could be his 2008 group as out of his 18 pledges, only seven were even 3-star recruits.
Iowa State: 2009
The Cyclones have a tough task in recruiting due to their location and conference rivals. That could not have been more evident in 2009, when they landed the 79th best class in the country, shows Scout.com.
ISU convinced 23 players to sign with them, but only six of them were rated at a 3-star clip.
The Jayhawks signed 23 commitments in 2007, and one was even a 4-star prospect in S Patrick Resby. However, Scout.com still ranked this class 78th and stemming from the lack of recent success at KU on the gridiron, this class pretty much wasn't too good.
Kansas State: 2009
The Wildcats have been a program in both Bill Snyder's tenures that seemingly prefer the JC route in recruiting.
They signed six JC prospects in 2009 and still had one of the worst recruiting classes we've seen from a BCS program in recent history.
Scout.com put K-State all the way down at No. 112 in their rankings and this wasn't a celebrated class by any means.
The Sooners are one of the most dominant programs in the country. They have become that through good recruiting and we expect a lot from OU every year.
Their 2007 class is a testament that recruiting rankings don't tell the full story, as out of their 20 commitments in this class players like Ryan Broyles, Travis Lewis and Jamell Flemming came to Norman.
Oklahoma State: 2009
The Pokes had the 45th best class, according to Scout.com, in 2009. Yet, they did score four 4-star prospects. From a rankings perspective, it seems that Mike Gundy signing 11 2-star or lower rated prospects out of 24 commitments is what drug his rankings index down.
The Horned Frogs had a recruiting class that Scout.com ranked at No. 73 in 2007. Their recruiting profile has expanded since their now in the Big 12, so remember this was at a time when TCU was not a BCS program.
The class was mainly made up of 2-star prospects, but it did have a 4-star prospect in WR Jeremy Kerley.
A dominant program, even in their down year Texas still landed a very good class. Scout.com ranked their 2008 class a Texas-low 16th.
Still, they hauled in 20 pledges and 13 of them were 4-star prospects or higher. CB Aaron Williams was the headliner along with OG David Snow and RB Tre Newton was also in this class.
Texas Tech: 2008
In 2008 if Texas was complaining about how hard recruiting was, Texas Tech was probably telling them they'd love to trade places with them, as the Red Raiders brought in the 59th best class to Texas 16th ranked group, per Scout.com.
It wasn't all bad for Mike Leach that year, as he did get Seth Doege in that class. Doege has been a very good QB for the Red Raiders in his career.
West Virginia: 2011
The Mountaineers recruiting can be pretty solid one year and then the next cycle they will be nowhere to be found on the recruiting trail. The 2011 cycle was a case of the latter, as Scout.com ranked the WVU class No. 53.
They signed 22 commitments and 15 of them were 3-star prospects. DB Terrell Chestnut was the class headliner that year.
Cinci hit a hard rock bottom in recruiting in 2007 and on paper, this class wasn't impressive at all. They had 23 commitments which is a good sized class, but only three recruits were even rated 3-stars.
Brian Kelly had a lot of success during his time here and probably with many of these players. Yet, when they arrived on campus their wasn't much excitement from evaluators.
Scout.com ranked the class 80th overall that year.
A good friend of mine is very close to the UConn program and he may not like this slide. However, it must be pointed out that the Huskies didn't do so hot in 2011 recruiting.
A 16-man class, only eight of UConn's pledges that were 3-star recruits. S Wilbert Lee was the highest rated prospect in the bunch that Scout.com ranked 81st nationally.
Louisville's worst recruiting class in the last five years is their 2009 class. The Cardinals got 25 commitments, but not many people were feeling the class overall. Many publications ranked the 25-man class somewhere in the 60's nationally.
Looking at Pitt's recruiting history over the recent years, they've recruited a little better than many people think. They don't have any classes that were ridiculously low ranked and even flirted with the top 25 a few times.
The cycle in 2011 has been their worst thus far, and even that saw them get a 47th ranked class, according to Scout.com.
Rutgers is another team that has been more steady on the trail than initial thought would lead you to believe. Their recent worst class is the class that was ranked 48th by Scout.com in 2010.
Even in that class Scarlet Knights signed 24 players including 6'6" 4-star WR Brandon Coleman. Kyle Flood is the leader of the program and I expect him to be a solid recruiter in Piscataway.
South Florida: 2011
USF has fired Skip Holtz and their next coach will inherit a program that I still feel has a chance to become a winner. Holtz's 2011 class, however, may not offer much help as 11 of those players were rated just 3-star prospects.
Scout.com lists the class as the 60th best in the county for that year.
Easy choice for 'Cuse as their 2009 class was just terrible. Scout.com even ranked it all the way a No. 102 in the country!
Syracuse signed 14 prospects and only two of them were rated even 3-stars. This was once a proud program and sure recruiting may be a little tough in upstate New York, but 102nd ranked recruiting classes just can't happen to any program in a BCS conference.
Temple is a newcomer to the Big East and they'll learn quickly from their 2011 class that their recruiting needs to step up. Scout.com ranked their class that year 100th in the country. Steve Addazio will need to lean on his old Florida connections to pipe better talent to Philly.
The Illini had a good run of recruiting under Ron Zook, but things took a bad turn in 2010. Their class dropped down to 57th that year in the rankings and they only brought in nine players that were rated 3-stars at least.
The highest rated player was 4-star QB Chandler Whitmer. The Illini will get something out of this class but not as much as their top classes when they had Zook.
Scout.com ranked Indiana's 2007 class as the worst in the Big Ten that year. It held a 74th national ranking and 19 commitments were apart of it. Only four prospects were at the 3-star clip and this class unfortunately couldn't break the Hoosiers through the Big Ten's elite doors.
Kirk Ferentz is one of the most respected coaches in the profession and part of that is because he gets guys to come to Iowa that he can mold into solid football players.
Ferentz must have really wanted a fixer-upper type of class in 2009, as Scout.com name Iowa's class at the bottom of the Big Ten.
The transition from one coach to another usually impacts a program pretty tough. Michigan saw this happen when they brought on Brady Hoke, as he tried to piece together his first class.
Hoke did fine, as Big Blue was ranked inside the top 30 classes by many observers. Yet, his 19-man class this year is still Michigan's least captivating recruiting class in recent years on paper.
Michigan State: 2008
Michigan State kind of has it tough as a program, especially on the recruiting trail. They have to deal with three heavyweights in their region of Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame on a regular basis.
A perfect example of how tough things can get for Sparty on the trail is their 2008 class. MSU got 21 signed LOI's but the quality of the group as whole wasn't great and Scout.com ranked it 56th in the country.
The Golden Gophers got 25 players to commit to them that year and only one of them was a 4-star prospect. The class was big, but the quality was less than the quantity and it was considered the worst recruiting class in the conference as well just the 72nd best in the country by Scout.com.
Big Red has switched conferences and is a member of the Big Ten these days. In 2009, they scored the 33rd best recruiting class in the nation, per Scout.com, and that isn't good for Cornhusker standards, on paper that is.
This class featured prospects like QB Taylor Martinez and RB Rex Burkhead. QB Cody Green was the headliner and DE Jason Ankrah wasn't far behind.
The Wildcats have tough academic standards and it unfortunately makes recruiting a little hard for Pat Fitzgerald. However, they do show an ability to get a solid recruiting class every few years.
Just so happens that according to 2008 wasn't one of those years. Northwestern had 20 commitments that year and just eight were 3-star prospects.
Ohio State: 2010
The Buckeyes' class that fits the theme is their 2010 class, but this class was still good. Ohio State is a recruiting juggernaut and even their bad years are very good ones.
Johnathan Hankins was in this class and it was still generally considered one of the top 25 recruiting assemblies in the country that year.
Penn State: 2008
The Nittany Lions' 2008 class had 14 commitments and was ranked 41st by Scout.com. Looking at this class, on paper, I don't get why it was ranked so low.
Michael Zordich, Mike Yancich, Brandon Ware and Mark Wedderburn are some of the players that came from this class.
This was labeled the worst class in the Big Ten by many observers. Purdue isn't a bully on the trail, but they still shouldn't be finishing with a class that lacks no type of spice to it as a group. The top two players in this class of 16 commitments were Akeem Hunt and Robert Kugler.
Notre Dame: 2009
If your worst class in the past five years brings you players like Manti Te'o, Theo Reddick, Tyler Eifert, Zeke Motta, Jake Golic and Shaq Evans then you must be doing something right.
These players came in the Notre Dame's 2009 class, to which upon my research is the lowest rated group the Irish assembled in recent memory.
The Wildcats have some history to their program, but when you have to battle USC, Oregon and Stanford for recruits each cycle then it can be hard.
They found Pac-12 recruiting most challenging in 2011, as Scout.com ranked their 20 commit group 70th nationally and worst in the conference.
Arizona State: 2011
It was a double whammy in the desert in 2011, as ASU wasn't far behind their rivals for bottom honors out west. The Sun Devils had the 64th best class per Scout.com and half of their class were 3-star prospects.
An interesting quirk in this class is that ASU went and got two prospects from Florida in Joe Eason and Stanley Absanon.
Recruiting really started getting inconsistent for Jeff Tedford towards the end at Cal. His 2009 class was a sign of things to come, as the Bears dipped outside the top 30 rankings that year.
With Berkley being a gorgeous place, Cal being a UC school with great academics and good football history a coach can win here.
The Buffs saw Scout.com rank their class No. 57 in their final rankings in 2009. They were still in the Big 12 at this time and the people in Boulder only got 19 commitments that year.
The class did have a 5-star prospect in DE Nick Kasa, but rest of it were 2-star and 3-star prospects that didn't impress many evaluators much that year.
The recruiting cycle of 2009 just wasn't a good for many programs. Oregon felt the sting somewhat, as they signed a class that wasn't as highly touted as they usually get.
Cliff Harris led the group of 26 commitments and some observers didn't want to get fooled by the larger class of commitments Oregon had and maybe downgraded them more than they should have.
Oregon State: 2010
If 2009 was such a down year, then you would think Oregon State's worst 5-year class would come from '09 too, right? Wrong, actually 2010 is they year the Beavs were at their lowest.
Scout.com ranked the class 67th and at the bottom of the the Pac-10. Mike Riley signed 19 players, Sean Mannion included, but people didn't think highly of this class at all.
The Cardinal have a program that boasts an excellent combination of academics and football. Maybe in 2007 they just didn't boast about that combination enough.
Stanford landed what Scout.com ranks as they 43rd best class in the nation that year in 19 commitments. TE Coby Fleener is a notable from this class.
The basketball team will probably always have dibs on campus in Westwood but the football team does have a great history too. Jim Mora is there now and I'm sure they'll likely be no more classes like the bottom 50 type of class 2011 brought.
It wasn't all bad for UCLA though, as Brett Hundley came in this class as did Devin Lucien and Steven Manfro.
The people of Troy are used to bringing in No. 1 recruiting classes, so in a year where they finished 9th according Scout.com, that year was considered a recruiting let down.
A let down that had USC sign only 4 5-star prospects and nine 4-star recruits out of 18 total commitments. Yeah, this was a disappointing class alright.
The Utes are still pretty new to recruiting as a Pac-12 school but actually their worst class in the last five recruiting years was in 2007.
Utah was still apart of the Mountain West and Scout.com ranked their class 66th that year. The Utes signed 24 players during this 2007 cycle, but only two were deemed 4-star worthy.
U-Dub had a down year in 2009 and it was so bad that many regarded their 19 commitments as the worst class of recruits in the Pac-10.
The program was at a crossroads but did strike gold when they got a 3-star QB named Keith Price to sign with them. I don't with Steve Sarkisian and Tosh Lupoi recruiting from Montlake Washington will be bottom feeders on the trail again soon.
Washington State: 2008
Wazzu is another school that I think has it pretty tough in recruiting. They have to fight so many schools for prospects wherever they go and they lack the clout that a USC, Oregon or Stanford has.
In 2008, the other Pac-10 schools really made things tough as the Cougars had the 74th best class in the country per Scout.com.
They signed 26 commitments that year, but only one was a 4-star prospect and out of the other 25, only seven were even 3-star rated players.
This was about the year Nick Saban was just settling in for the Tide and he didn't get a full cycle to get after it. Saban hustled up and got the Tide a top 25 class and even though Rolando McClain and Marquis Maze were in this class, it's still the "worst" class Saban has brought to 'Bama.
If that's even possible to believe. The classes that Alabama has had in during this stretch have been phenomenal.
Arkansas missed the boat in 2007, becuase this was the best year to beat Alabama on the recruiting trail. However, the Hogs settled for a class that was outside the top 30 rankings.
This group wasn't a bad one per se, as Arkansas netted 27 pledges and three prospects were rated 4-stars each. The best of the class came out to be TE David Williams.
Auburn's class that Scout.com ranked 18th in the nation that year, is the worst I could find on the Tigers during this stretch.
Alabama gets a ton of shine, but Auburn has also recruiting at an elite rate too. Their 2008 class was a 28-man haul that helped them win a BCS title in 2010.
Florida is another team that putting a "worst" next to any recruiting class they bring in is a joke in all reality. The Gators recruit well every year and even though their 2011 class was their lowest ranked class for this piece's theme, it still was solid.
The 17-man recruiting class was Will Muschamp's first, so you have to factor in transition when looking for reasons why Scout.com ranked it 26th.
Marcus Roberson, Jacoby Brissett, Jabari Gorman and Jeff Driskel all came from this class.
Now, UGA is a great program that also is an SEC recruiting bully.
I think the 2010 class was the class that saw Mark Richt start to hear some chatter about a leaky fence and how he could hang with the big boys on the trail.
The class was still solid, as it was ranked 21st by Scout.com and gave Athens Alec Ogletree among 18 other commitments.
Kentucky has a huge shadow cast over it's program by the men's basketball team. That will always come first in Lexington but the football team has a chance to grow into a winner.
Before Mark Stoops came on board, way back in 2007 the Wildcats lured the 58th best recruiting class to UK, per Scout.com. They signed 27 prospects and only a third of the class were rated 3-stars.
LSU's classes have all been excellent over this stretch of time and finding a class that was downer was basically impossible.
Looking at Scout.com, they finished ninth in the rankings that year and that was the worst they did.
The class was still outstanding, so don't worry Tiger fans, there's nothing wrong with your 2011 class. It's just the lowest ranking your team has finished with in recent years.
Ole Miss: 2008
The Rebels went out on the trail in 2008 and brought in 31 players to Oxford. For some reason, the class didn't crack the top 25 rankings and I think the high volume of recruits turned some recruiting analysts off in their rankings.
Out of the 31 commitments Ole Miss got, only three were 4-star or higher level prospects.
Mississippi State: 2011
Scout.com ranked MSU's 2011 class No. 45 in 2011 and that is the worst the Bulldogs have done. MSU signed 22 prospects two cycles ago, with 13 being 3-star prospects.
Only two were 4-star players and two prospects were from the JC ranks. The SEC is tough place to recruit and Dan Mullen really witnessed that in 2011.
I'm going all the way back to when Mizzou was in the Big 12 for their worst recruiting class the past five years. Defensive was the theme this year as Missouri locked in 15 commitments from defensive players in their 26-man class.
It still wasn't enough to crack the top 25 rankings and Scout.com even pushed the class all the way down to 39th overall when NSD was over.
South Carolina: 2008
The Gamecocks only had the eighth-best class in the SEC in 2008 and it was ranked 34th overall by Scout.com. They had a class of 22 commitments, but just four players were 4-star prospects.
Steve Spurrier still managed to get a good return from this class, as players like Devin Taylor and Shaq Wilson are members of this group.
South Carolina was spot better than Tennessee still, as the Vols were ranked 35th overall in the recruiting rankings and had the ninth best SEC class (Scout.com).
Tennessee had 18 players commit to them and the thing is, 14 of them were just 3-star prospects. I'm not knocking the 3-star recruit, but Tennessee's classes should be made up of 4-star and 5-star prospects as the majority.
Texas A&M: 2011
The worst the Aggies have done recently was in 2011 when Scout.com ranked their class at No. 30 in the country. They signed 23 players and four were 4-star prospects.
This class wasn't that bad, as some 3-star QB from Texas signed with A&M this year named Johnny Manziel or something like that. In fact, that little known 3-star QB is probably going to win the Heisman this weekend.
Upon doing research for this piece, I found that Vanderbilt had the worst recruiting class in the SEC from 2007-2011. The worst year was 2007 when the Commodores had just the 87th best class in the country.
Scout.com shows a class made up of 14 commitments with only five players being rated even at 3-stars. Obviously James Franklin has changed things, but this 2007 class was rock bottom.
Northern Illinois: 2008
NIU is technically a BCS team this season, as they will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl next month. So I'm going to add them to this piece just for good reason.
2007 is their worst recruiting class as Scout.com ranked their class that year near the national bottom at No. 118. The Huskies signed 13 players and not one recruit was even a 3-star recruit.
It was the worst class in the MAC that year one of the very worst in the country too.
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.