9 Teams That Will Fare Better on 2014 College Football Recruiting Trail
The 2013 recruiting classes have been signed, and rankings of classes have come out nationally and by each conference. You look to see where your favorite program's class was ranked to see how it fared on the recruiting trail, and your mighty school's class is ranked a bit too low for your liking.
For some, that should be a cause for concern, but for the fans of the following nine programs, things should perk up in 2014. This piece is a look at nine teams that may have not had a recruiting triumph in 2013 but will fare better in 2014.
Come inside and see if your program is on the list of teams that will see a boost in recruiting this coming year—or if you should be concerned about your college's recruiting success.
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Charlie Strong is a great recruiter and has pulled some good recruits in for the Cardinals during his tenure, notably Teddy Bridgewater.
Strong is well planted around Florida due to his days recruiting for the Gators. I can't see Louisville pulling in another low-ranked class as it did in 2013. Strong is too persistent a recruiter to let that happen.
Look for the Red Birds to be better in 2014 recruiting.
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The Hogs hired Bret Bielema, who in turned hired Charlie Partridge as one of his ace recruiters. Partridge helped lure Alex Collins from Florida to Fayetteville, and more successes are expected in 2014.
Arkansas didn't have an upper-echelon SEC class in 2013, but that could change this year.
Bielema has moxie, confidence and the resume to recruit well in the SEC. Arkansas probably won't recruit at the clip Alabama and Florida do, but its recruiting should see a positive spike in 2014.
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The Golden State has a ton of skill position talent year in and year out, which should work out well for Sonny Dykes. Cal's new big bear runs a high-octane offense that should have no problem drawing QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs.
Dykes already had a solid finish for Cal in 2013 recruiting, so I think that momentum will carry on in 2014. With Cal's academics, location, nice campus and being in the Pac-12, there aren't a lot of reasons why playing in Berkeley is a bad idea for a recruit.
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Speaking of high-octane offenses, Texas Tech has a new coach who will run one in Lubbock. Kliff Kingsbury has returned to his roots to be the coach of the Red Raiders.
Kingsbury saw Kevin Sumlin recruit at a good rate during his days working for Sumlin at Texas A&M. I think he'll take some of Sumlin's methods and mix them with his own to formulate a solid recruiting plan.
Last year Texas Tech's class was not among the Top 25, but with Kingsbury's confidence and energy that could change in 2014. Getting 2014 QB prospect D.J. Gillins to commit is proof that things are changing in West Texas.
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UK hasn't been a football powerhouse as of late by any means, but enter Mark Stoops to change that. Stoops comes from Florida State and also has connections in Ohio.
His recruiting prowess was on display when he flipped DE Jason Hatcher from USC. Kentucky could be a sleeping giant, and Stoops could be the coach who wakes things up in Lexington.
I would be surprised if Kentucky signed the last-ranked class in the SEC again in 2014.
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It wasn't that Stanford signed a bad class last year; its numbers were just low due to all of the players slated to return to play on The Farm.
David Shaw signed a solid 12-man class, but it was downgraded in many ranking lists because of quantity.
Stanford will probably sign more than 12 players this year, and if they keep their quality, their recruiting class should be ranked higher in 2014 than it was in 2013.
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Tennessee used to be a recruiting juggernaut, and it's not like the Vols can't get back there. Butch Jones is the new leader of the program, and I think he's going to really attack the trail moving forward.
Last year, UT pulled in a solid 29th-ranked class according to the ESPNU rankings. However, the people in Knoxville are used to Top 10 classes, and Jones will aim for that mark.
With a full year to really dive into recruiting for Tennessee, Jones should have one of the better classes this time next year.
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The Wolfpack are another program that I've always viewed as a sleeping giant. They have a good location and sit in a talent-rich region for prospects.
New coach Dave Doeren saw NC State sign the 66th best class in the country in 2013, according to ESPNU's rankings. Doeren only had a few weeks to recruit on his new job.
In 2014 recruiting, I have a hard time forecasting Doeren allowing his program to accept another class ranked that low. He's already big-game hunting with 2014 prospects, most notably DE Lorenzo Featherston.
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Miami makes this list for two major reasons—the first being that it seems like it may not get too big a punishment from the NCAA due to the Nevin Shapiro investigation.
Al Golden seems to be relieved nowadays when he does interviews from what I sense. It feels like Golden thinks things will be fine in Coral Gables, and the lingering cloud over the Miami program is breaking up.
The next reason the 'Canes will top their 2013 class is because they have top-notch recruiters James Coley and Mario Cristobal on staff. Both guys know the Miami area extremely well and really get after it as recruiters.
Look for the U to have another banner year on the trail in 2014.
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.