9 College Football Teams That Dominate JUCO Recruiting
Though Alabama, Florida, USC, Texas, Florida State and Ohio State are the clear front-runners in the race to pull in top-rated high school football talent, which teams do you think are the best of the best in the world of JUCO transfers?
Indeed, while the who’s who of high school recruiting is a pretty clear picture, wouldn’t it be interesting to see which programs rule the world of luring in top-tier junior and community college athletes?
The following slideshow tackles this task for your pleasure, and pinpoints nine college football teams that dominate JUCO recruiting.
These are the programs that, over the last four recruiting seasons (2010-13), have had the most success at pulling in guys from the JUCO level.
If you’re thinking this is all a fairly frivolous discussion, let’s not forget that back in 2010 Auburn signed QB Cam Newton from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
And we all know how that worked out for the Tigers…
Historical JUCO rankings and star ratings used in this presentation come via the Rivals.com JUCO Top 50 listings from 2010-13, while high school recruiting rankings come from the Rivals.com team rankings from 2010-13.
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K-State has averaged a team ranking of No. 63 from 2010-13 in terms of recruiting high school athletes.
This number is the second-lowest in the Big 12, only narrowly edging Iowa State, which has an average ranking of No. 64. This somewhat amazing fact makes the Wildcats' 21-5 run since 2011 all the more impressive and their 2012 Big 12 title nothing short of shocking.
Seriously, how does a team that gets outgunned at recruiting, the lifeblood of college sport, by everyone, including Kansas, win the Big 12?
Well, at least a small part of this can be explained by K-State’s wins since 2010 in terms of JUCO transfers.
Overall, the Wildcats have lured in seven guys since 2010 whose names can be found in the Rivals.com JUCO Top 50 rankings.
This number ties K-State at No. 5 in total top-50 ranked transfers in the past four recruiting hauls.
Though Clark ultimately opted to play for D-II Central Oklahoma due to a lack of credit hours, Davis finished his senior season in 2012 with 54 tackles (39 solo), 11.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and four forced fumbles.
The balance of K-State’s top-tier JUCO transfers since 2010 is formed by a group of five 3-star rated guys including DT Javonta Boyd who transferred in from Butler County C.C. in El Dorado, Kan. in 2010 and DE Meshak Williams who transferred from Hutchinson C.C. in Hutchinson, Kan. in 2011.
Boyd finished his senior season in 2012 with 22 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, two sacks, a blocked kick and a forced fumble while Williams racked up 45 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, one blocked kick and three forced fumbles last season.
Suddenly you get the picture of how K-State managed a No. 28 national ranking in scoring defense in 2012.
Coming down the pipe in 2013 is 3-star rated QB Jake Waters (Iowa Western C.C. in Council Bluffs, Iowa) who should rival Daniel Sams to replace Collin Klein for the starting job this fall.
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The Bulldogs are one of the teams on our list that has been successful recruiting both high school athletes and JUCO guys.
Georgia has averaged a lofty No. 11 average ranking in high school recruiting since 2010 and it’s also been successful at drawing in five JUCO guys with a top 50 ranking during the same time period.
Even more impressive is the fact that of the five JUCO signees, three have come with 4-star ratings.
The 4-star honor roll begins with DB Jakar Hamilton who came from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. in 2010. Though Hamilton recorded 27 total tackles and a pick in 2010, he transferred to South Carolina State for the 2012 season.
Next up was DT Johnathan Jenkins, who transferred in from Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinson, Miss. in 2011. Jenkins played NG for two seasons at Georgia and finished out his career in 2012 with 50 total tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack, 10 QB hurries and a blocked kick.
Last and most recently, is WR Jonathon Rump who will transfer in for the 2013 season from Holmes C.C. in Goodman, Miss. Rump ranks No. 9 overall among 2013’s group of JUCO transfers and is the No. 2 ranked receiver.
The balance of Georgia’s five top-tier JUCO transfers since 2010 comes in the form of two 3-star guys, both a part of the class of 2013.
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Though Arizona State has recruited better from the high school ranks than K-State, it hasn’t managed to pump out wins at the same level.
The Sun Devils' average recruiting rank since 2010 from the high school ranks is a very respectable No. 40, a number that is enhanced by the eight top-ranked JUCO guys they’ve lured in during the same time period.
Arizona State’s eight JUCO wins over the past four recruiting seasons give it a tie for the No. 4 slot nationally in total transfers rated in the Rivals.com JUCO Top 50.
Of these eight transfers, the Sun Devils have managed an impressive split of four 4-stars and four 3-stars.
The 4-star list since 2010 begins with OL Brice Schwab who came in from Palomar C.C. in San Marcos, Calif. in 2010. After serving as an on-again, off-again starter 2010, Schwab redshirted in 2011 and then started every game as a senior in 2012 at RT.
Also coming on board in 2010 was WR George Bell from Southwestern C.C. in Chula Vista, Calif. Bell saw limited action as both a junior in 2010 and a senior in 2011 and finished his career with 295 receiving yards and a single TD.
After not bringing in any JUCO talent in 2011, Arizona State hauled in RB Marion Grice in 2012, who was the No. 5 overall rated player that year. After redshirting in 2011, Grice rushed for 679 yards and 11 TDs and tacked on an additional 425 yards and eight scores as a receiver as a junior in 2012.
In 2013 the Sun Devils managed to sign DE Marcus Hardison from Dodge City C.C. in Dodge City, Kan. who was No. 14 overall in the Rivals.com JUCO Top 50 and No. 3 among DEs.
All four of the 3-star rated transfers that Arizona State has lured in have have been brought in over the last two seasons.
Highlights from the recent 3-star wins include LB Steffon Martin from Arizona Western C.C. in Yuma, Ariz. who redshirted in 2011 and then racked up 27 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and a single sack as a junior in 2012.
You have to figure that given the right coaching staff, and Todd Graham and company are perhaps the answer Fork fans have been looking for, Arizona State is on the cusp of being back on the national radar.
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After scoring what Rivals.com had as the No. 7 recruiting class from the high school ranks in 2013, Ole Miss is suddenly the belle of the talent-attracting ball.
Beyond the big huge haul that was 2013 for the Rebels, Ole Miss has steadily pulled in JUCO talent since 2010. But this is a number that has actually fallen off since Hugh Freeze took over in 2012.
The Rebels scored a whopping three 4-star JUCO transfers in 2010, hooked five 3-star guys in 2011, lured in a single 3-star in 2012 and then brought in one 4-star guy in 2013.
Overall, that gives Ole Miss 10 top-tier JUCO guys since 2010, a number that is second only to Utah who we’ll discuss later in this presentation.
The three 4-star guys from 2010 include ATH Randall Mackey from East Mississippi C.C. in Scooba, Miss., DE Wayne Dorsey from Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinson Miss. and DB Damien Jackson also from Gulf Coast C.C.
After redshirting in 2010, Mackey played in nine games as a QB for Ole Miss as a junior in 2011 with mixed results and then gained 691 total yards and scored two TDs as both a rusher and receiver in 2012.
Dorsey finished up his career as a senior at Ole Miss in 2011 with 22 total tackles, five tackles for a loss, three sacks, a forced fumble and a pick.
Finally, Jackson, who started all 12 games as a senior in 2011, racked up one pick, 64 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and one sack as a safety.
The most recent 4-star rated JUCO signee came via the class of 2013 with the No. 2 overall rated guy, DT Lavon Hooks from Northeast Mississippi C.C. in Booneville, Miss.
Highlights from among the six 3-star transfers since 2010 for Ole Miss include DE Gilbert Pena from ASA in Brooklyn NY who signed on in 2011. Pena accumulated 34 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks as a senior in 2012.
Also from the JUCO class of 2011 was DT Uriah Grant, a transfer from Fullerton C.C. in Fullerton, Calif. who racked up 29 total tackles, seven tackles for a loss and five sacks as a senior in 2012.
The class of 2012 consisted solely of 3-star rated QB Bo Wallace from East Mississippi, C.C. in Scooba, Miss., who served as the starting QB for last season’s Ole Miss team that went 7-6.
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The undisputed best recruiting program in the land, Alabama’s ability to attract top-ranked JUCO talent does nothing but amp up its No. 2 average recruiting ranking since 2010.
The Tide have managed to attract seven 3- and 4-star rated JUCO transfers in the past four recruiting periods.
Alabama’s big JUCO scores include DB DeQuan Menzie who came via Copiah-Lincoln C.C. in Wesson, Miss. in 2010. Menzie immediately became a solid contributor who finished his senior season in 2011 with one pick for a TD, 41 total tackles, four tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
The 2011 season witnessed three 4-star JUCO transfers for the Tide including No. 2 overall rated DT Jesse Williams from Arizona Western C.C. in Yuma, Ariz., OL Aaron Douglas also from Arizona Western C.C. and DE Quinton Dial from East Mississippi C.C. in Scooba, Miss.
Williams became a solid contributor for Alabama and cranked out 37 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and one blocked kick as a senior in 2012.
Tragically, Aaron Douglas passed away from accidental “multiple drug toxicity” in May of 2011.
Quinton Dial, like Williams, became a crucial cog in the Tide’s defensive machine, pumping out 21 total tackles, five tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and four QB hurries as a senior in 2012.
Alabama’s final 4-star transfer, DB Travell Dixon who came from Eastern Arizona J.C. in Thatcher, Ariz. in 2012, ultimately transferred to Washington where he sat out last season and is due to be back in action in 2013.
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In what comes as at least a bit of surprise, Utah has managed to pull in more top-tier JUCO talent than anyone since 2010.
The Ute’s overall total of 11 top-50 JUCO signees ranks No. 1 nationally. Their five 4-star recruits ties them for No. 2 nationally behind Nebraska and Tennessee, which both have seven 4-star guys since 2010.
You have to figure that at some point Utah’s proficiency in the JUCO ranks, combined with its No. 35 average ranking in high school recruiting since 2010, will equal a more acceptable level of Pac-12 victories.
Impressively, the Utes have managed at least one 4-star JUCO transfer every year since 2010 including a 2012 haul that included two 4-stars.
Utah’s 4-star wins include OL John Cullen from Fullerton C.C. in Fullerton, Calif. in 2010, DB Keith McGill from Cerritos C.C. in Norwalk, Calif. in 2011, RB Kelvin York also from Fullerton C.C., DT Visesio Salt from Mt. San Antonio C.C. in Walnut, Calif. in 2012 and finally WR Andre Lewis from Diablo Valley C.C. in Pleasant Hill, Calif. in 2013.
As far as the impact of these individuals, OL Cullen started from 2010-11 at Utah and was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the NY Jets in 2012. DB McGill saw limited playing action with the Utes from 2011-12.
Meanwhile, of the guys who came in prior to last season, RB York rushed for 273 yards and three scores as a junior in 2012 and DT Salt, who had originally committed to Florida, didn’t post any stats in 2012.
Notable contributions from Utah’s six 3-star rated JUCO transfers since 2010 include DE Star Lotulelei who came via Snow College in Ephraim, Utah in 2010. Lotulelei was a standout DT at Utah, registering 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior in 2012.
Also on the 3-star honor roll for Utah is RB John White, who came via Los Angeles Harbor C.C. in Wilmington, Calif. in 2011 and rushed for 2,561 yards and 23 TDs over two seasons.
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When you look back at Tennessee’s underwhelming results since 2010 it’s at least mildly intriguing that they’ve still been able to recruit so effectively.
Well, according to Rivals.com, the Vols have hauled in classes that have ranked No. 9, No. 13, No. 19 and No. 20 from 2010 to 2013 respectively.
When you throw in the fact that Tennessee has managed to attract eight top-ranked JUCO recruits during the same time period, it’s easy to argue that it’s yet another program just waiting for the right coach to come along and light the fuse.
What’s really impressive about the Volunteers’ JUCO success since 2010 is the fact that a full seven of their eight top-rated transfers came with a 4-star rating.
This is a number that gives Tennessee a tie with Nebraska for the most 4-stars among JUCO transfers in the past four recruiting seasons.
In 2011 Tennessee brought in No. 5 overall rated S Byron Moore from Los Angeles Harbor C.C. in Wilmington, Calif., No. 9 overall rated DT Maurice Couch from Garden City C.C. from Garden City, Kan. and No. 16 overall rated ATH Izauea Lanier from East Mississippi C.C. in Scooba, Miss.
Finally, in 2012 the Vols signed the No. 4 overall rated player in WR Cordarrelle Patterson from Hutchinson C.C. in Hutchinson, Kan., along with No. 6 overall rated DT Daniel McCullers from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga.
In terms of how all these big-time signees actually did once they hit the field at Tennessee: DT John Brown didn’t qualify academically and never played for the Vols while DB Dave Clark was declared ineligible and went on to become a solid corner for Louisiana Tech from 2011-12.
Safety Byron Moore made a successful transition upwards and as a junior in 2012 kicked in five INTs (one for a TD), registered 86 total tackles, two tackles for a loss and four broken-up passes.
DT Maurice Couch also has done well with the Vols contributing 75 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks over his sophomore and junior seasons in 2011-12. ATH Izauea Lanier spent a single season with the Vols (2011) as a DB with 48 total tackles in 12 games before being declared ineligible for 2012.
From the class of 2012 WR Cordarrelle Patterson contributed 1,858 yards of total offense and 10 TDs as a rusher, receiver and return specialist last season. DT Daniel McCullers reeled off 39 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one blocked kick and a single sack as a junior in 2012.
Tennessee’s sole 3-star JUCO transfer in the last four recruiting seasons, DE Darrington Senitmore who transferred in from Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinston, Miss. in 2012, had a solid junior season featuring 18 total tackles, five tackles for a loss, four sacks and six QB hurries.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that in 2013, Tennessee, under new coach Butch Jones, failed to sign a single JUCO transfer ranked among the Rivals.com top 50.
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The program tied with Tennessee for the most 4-star JUCO recruits since 2010, Nebraska has continued to roll under coach Bo Pelini while the Vols' JUCO fortunes seem to be waning.
The Huskers hold an impressive average recruiting rank of No. 19 since 2010 and on top of that have reeled in nine total top-rated JUCO guys in the same time period.
Featured among the seven 4-star transfers are LB Lavonte David from Fort Scott C.C. in Fort Scott, Kan., OL Jermarcus Hardrick also from Fort Scott C.C. and TE Chase Harper from Navarro J.C. in Corsicana, Texas; all from the class of 2010.
Of this trio David went on to a stellar career at Nebraska which was capped off with a senior season in 2011 that included two picks, 133 total tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Hardrick became a solid starter on the Huskers O-line in 2010 and 2011 while Harper failed to qualify academically and though he never hit the field for Nebraska, he eventually played two seasons at Texas State.
In 2011, the Huskers signed 4-star DB Daimion Stafford from Chaffey C.C. in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. who wound up being a stud, racking up four INTs, 176 total tackles, six tackles for a loss and 17 broken-up passes in two years at Nebraska.
Of this duo, Anderson saw limited action last season playing in three games and accumulating four total tackles while Seisay appeared in 12 games and made seven tackles.
A name to watch for from the JUCO class of 2013 is 4-star rated DE Randy Gregory who transfers into Nebraska from Arizona Western C.C. in Yuma, Ariz.
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Though Auburn’s notable from a JUCO transfer standpoint for bringing in eight top-rated signees since 2010, it is also credited for sealing the deal with one of the only two 5-star athletes who have come from the JUCO ranks during that same time period.
That’s right, other than 5-star stud and game-changer QB Cam Newton who transferred into Auburn from Blinn C.C. in Brenham, Texas in 2010, the only other guy earning five stars in the JUCO ranks is WR Deon Long, who signed with Maryland in 2013 from Iowa Western C.C. in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Other than nabbing Newton, Auburn’s other big-time scores in 2010 were OL Roszell Gayden, a 4-star guy from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., 4-star TE Brandon Mosley from Coffeyville C.C. in Coffeyville, Kan. and 4-star DE Joel Bonomolo from Fullerton C.C. in Fullerton, Calif.
As for Mosley, he moved to OL and enjoyed two stellar seasons at Auburn from 2010 to 2011.
After taking two years off from pilfering the JUCO ranks, it's good news for Auburn fans everywhere that the Tigers are back on the radar in 2013 with two 4-star and two 3-star rated guys set to transfer in.
Names to keep in mind moving forward are 4-star DT Ben Bradley from Hutchinson C.C. in Hutchinson, Kan., 4-star RB Cameron Artis-Payne from Allan Hancock C.C. in Santa Maria, Calif., 3-star OL Devonte Danzey also from Hutchison C.C. and 3-star QB Nick Marshall from Garden City C.C. in Garden City, Kan.
Given the upswing in JUCO transfers, a 2013 recruiting class that Rivals.com had at No. 8 (the Tigers have averaged a No. 7 ranking since 2010) and a new coaching staff, perhaps 2013 is a new beginning for Auburn.