7 College Football Programs Poised for a Big 2014 Recruiting Year
Every program starts off a recruiting year with high hopes. It's a time of great excitement, anticipation, optimism and confidence.
And some schools have more reasons than others to believe that recruiting will go well for them.
For this 2014 cycle, I see seven programs who appear to be poised for a big recruiting year.
Whether it's due to a coaching staff that is restructured, available talent in their backyards or just stand to make a big recruiting comeback, these seven programs all have good signs pointing to a banner year on the trail.
Some schools on this list are already recruiting powerhouse programs but they figure to have an even better year on the trail by their standards.
Here are seven programs who look to be poised for a big recruiting year in 2014.
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The Hurricanes are in the middle of going back and forth with the NCAA regarding the Nevin Shapiro scandal and investigation.
The feeling I get around Coral Gables is that Miami could escape several serious penalties due to the sloppiness of the NCAA's investigation.
Another reason why Miami's 2014 recruiting year could be a big one is it's new offensive coordinator James Coley.
Al Golden pried Coley from rival Florida State and the new offensive chief in the 305 is known as one of the best recruiters in the country.
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Now, you're probably thinking "why is 'Bama on a list like this? They always have a big recruiting year."
And even though Nick Saban's recruiting coordinator Mike Groh has jumped to the NFL, Saban made a shrewd hire earlier this month in bringing Mario Cristobal to Tuscaloosa.
Cristobal will coach the offensive line for the Tide, but he's also a dynamic recruiter. Teaming a recruiter like Cristobal up with the juggernaut that is Alabama recruiting will be prove to be an amazing combination.
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The Wildcats probably aren't going to pull in a top-five recruiting class in 2014, but look for the standard of recruiting to be raised this year in Lexington.
Mark Stoops has Ohio connections and experience recruited in the South. Plus Neal Brown has hit the trail in Texas before.
I just have a good feeling about what Stoops and his staff can do at UK and it'll start paying off in 2014 recruiting.
By Kentucky's recruiting standards, that is.
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Speaking of the Blue Grass State, it's time that we see Charlie Strong bring a top 25 class to Louisville.
While he is a good recruiter, Strong hasn't landed a class that has ranked in the top 25 during his stay as the lead Cardinal.
Strong needs to do it this year while Louisville has the momentum to pull it off.
They're fresh off a BCS bowl win over Florida, QB Teddy Bridgewater's 2013 Heisman campaign will bring much attention to the program and they're moving to the ACC soon.
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The way the 2013 cycle finished up can't be the new norm for recruiting at USC under Lane Kiffin, can it?
I just can't see a passionate recruiter like Kiffin not coming back with a vengeance to make up for the bad taste in the Trojans' mouths.
Look for USC, with it's revamped coaching staff, to attack the trail extremely hard in 2014 recruiting.
Plus they may have a few extra scholarships to offer due to not filling up the 2013 class.
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With players like Jalen Hurd, Josh Malone and Todd Kelly Jr. in Tennessee this year—plus Drew Barker in nearby Kentucky—there's good talent around the area for Butch Jones in the 2014 cycle.
Plus, it's about time that the Vols go back to their old ways of bringing in good recruiting classes, isn't it?
Jones and his staff are solid recruiters, Tennessee is one of top programs in the country and Jones' connections in Ohio and around the Midwest from his Cincinnati days should really help in recruiting.
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Experience can be such a crucial and critical asset for anyone, especially in sports. The experience of playing Alabama will really help Brian Kelly and his staff both on the field and in recruiting.
Kelly more than likely saw the size and strength difference Alabama had over the Irish during pregame warm ups. The way the Tide were able to move the Irish out of the way during the game had to open Kelly's eyes.
Look for Notre Dame to recruit bigger and stronger players—especially in the trenches.
The Irish are going to be contenders for BCS bowls and playoff games for several years to come and will therefor run across another SEC team.
They should be ready then thanks to a big year of recruiting in 2013 and 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.