11 Burning Questions for the 2014 College Football Recruiting Class
Questions arise about everything in the world, and, yes, that includes college football recruiting. In a society that wants everything now and right away, questions of today have only grown more highly demanded to be answered.
Now, I'm surely positive that the following 11 questions are not the only questions we have in regards to the 2014 college football recruiting class; however, they are among the top burning ones. I also may not have all of the answers, but I'm going to list, ask and try to answer these questions for you, our loyal readers.
As spring moves on and the evaluation period begins, more burning questions have arisen regarding this current 2014 class. Here are 11 of those questions and I urge all of you to answer them and ask more in the comments section!
Let's get started...
11. Who Will Be the Next High Profile Recruit to Commit?
With big-name recruits like Quin Blanding, Jalen Hurd, KC McDermott and Dalvin Cook flipping to Florida, we've seen some top prospects come off the board early.
That begs the question: who's next?
Well, I'll advise you to keep an eye on recruits like Keller Chryst, Raekwon McMillan, Kyle Allen, Tony Brown, Sony Michel and maybe Solomon Thomas. This is the era of the early commitment, so you can expect more big names to make up their minds in the near future.
10. Which New Head Coach Will Finish with the Best Class?
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There were around 30 coaching changes in the FBS this year for college football. I know that's a lot, but there's no time for any of those new coaches to sit back and chalk up full year one as a learning experience on the trail.
Coaches like Butch Jones at Tennessee, Guz Malzahn at Auburn, Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Mark Helfrich at Oregon among several others are coaches to keep an eye on.
My money's on Jones, as he seems to be on a good pace thus far in Knoxville.
9. Is There a Clear-Cut Consensus No. 1 QB in This Class?
Last year, it was accepted that Max Browne and Christian Hackenberg were the two best QB prospects in the country. After them, a talented tier of Shane Morris, Asiantii Woulard, Cooper Bateman and Ryan Burns, Brice Ramsey and Kevin Olson followed.
So far in this cycle, we've yet to see a consensus No. 1 guy emerge and establish himself. QBs like Deshaun Watson, Keller Chryst, David Cornwell, Caleb Henderson, Kyle Allen, Will Grier and a few others have all made their cases.
As of right now, there's not really a guy who's a stone cold lock for No. 1 QB honors.
8. Can Ole Miss Keep Pushing?
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The Rebels had a historic recruiting run last year, but they have many detractors in the fold. A lot of people feel Hugh Freeze and his staff got lucky last year and will fall back down the SEC recruiting pecking order.
With DB coach and ace recruiter Wesley McGriff having bolted for the New Orleans Saints, Freeze lost one of his best recruiting assistants.
However, with Chris Kiffin and Mo Harris still coordinating the recruiting, the Rebels will be back again in 2014 recruiting.
7. Is This Year's OL Class as Good as 2012's OL Class?
Two cycles ago, we had OL prospects like Andrus Peat, D.J. Humphries, Joshua Garnett, Kyle Murphy, Brandon Greene and John Theus all in the same group among many other good OLs.
This year, with Cameron Robinson, David Sharpe, Casey Tucker, Damian Prince, Braden Smith, KC McDermott and Jamarco Jones in the 2014 group, it's a solid year for OLs.
It remains to be seen if this group is as good as 2012's class, but the OL class in 2014 is really growing on me.
6. Is Texas A&M Ready to Be Considered a New Recruiting Juggernaut?
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The Aggies were having a pretty good year on the trail when they fired Mike Sherman two cycles ago, but Kevin Sumlin and his staff have taken the program to another level via recruiting.
They brought in over 30 players last February and the class was a top 10 haul on my board. The Aggies have blasted out of the gate for 2014, earning 10 commitments and having the No. 2 class according to 247Sports.
I think they're here to stay, and another great in 2014 would go a long ways to establishing themselves firmly as a power. Yet a great 2015 class would really entrench the Aggies in the tier of Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, USC, Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Texas.
5. Can USC Rebound?
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Some of you may question me listing USC in that last slide and you all have good reason to. The Trojans got hit hard with the decommitment bug last year and didn't finish with a typical high recruiting ranking.
With Lane Kiffin's seat getting warmer each sunny day in Los Angeles, this is a crucial season and recruiting cycle for the Trojans.
Recruits like Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith, Tyler Lutua and Joe Mixon are must-gets for Kiffin. Either the Trojans come back with a recruiting vengeance in 2014 or continue to regress.
4. & 3. Where Is Da'Shawn Hand Going and How Good Is He?
Hand is the No. 1 player on many people's boards and has an offer from every school in the galaxy. He had a core group, but based on his 247Sports profile, Virginia Tech and Michigan have emerged as leaders.
Hand is from Virginia, so playing for Frank Beamer in front of his friends and family in his native state likely means a lot to him. However, Michigan has made a great impression on him and Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison are two of the better defensive coaches in the country to play for.
I believe he ends up in Blacksburg and the Hokie fans will be doing the "Blacksburg Bounce" early because Hand is a great talent. The 6'5", 247-pounder may not be Jadeveon Clowney, but he's in the class of Mario Edwards, Robert Nkemdiche, Carl Lawson and Noah Spence.
2. Is Leonard Fournette the Best RB Recruit Since Adrian Peterson?
Fournette is good—really, really good. The Louisiana native is over 6'0" tall, nearly 230 pounds and has great speed, hands, strength, vision and good agility.
Adrian Peterson was a phenom coming out of high school, and there's talk that Fournette is in the 2012 NFL MVP's class. I'm on the fence about that claim and it's great for debate.
If you get a chance to watch Fournette play or see some highlights, you be the judge. Fournette has a great chance to be the No. 1 player on my board.
1. Can Texas Hold on to the No. 1 Recruiting Ranking?
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According to 247Sports, the Longhorns hold the No. 1 recruiting class ranking for 2014. Texas always explodes out of the gate and wraps up most of its recruiting before the season begins.
However, year after year, the Longhorns see their recruiting ranking slip due to finishing early and other schools landing top prospects later in the cycle. Sorry to all the good people in Austin, but it appears that will once again happen this go around.
The Longhorns will likely finish in the top 10, but next February they probably won't be boasting the No. 1 class in the country for 2014 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 and Cleveland Browns.