College Football Programs Whose Rivals Are Dominating 2014 Recruiting Trail
There's nothing that stings more (aside from a big de-commitment) than being beaten by your rival in the recruiting game. This year, several top programs are feeling that sting.
From a few SEC teams being envious of several others to two Bluegrass State programs going neck and neck, envy is alive and well in college football recruiting. There's even a three-way tussle going on between Notre Dame, USC and UCLA
Also, in regard to the Red River Rivalry, see which of these rivals is playing catch up to the other on the 2014 recruiting trail.
The Georgia Bulldogs have a class of five commitments led by stud RB Sony Michel. Their class is not chopped liver, but 247Sports lists it 27th, while rival Florida is in the top 10.
UGA saw UF finish ahead of it in 2013 recruiting and it must start to beat the rival Gators for recruits or the talent gap may widen. Florida has eight commitments and has its hand in the recruiting pot of many top-tier prospects.
Georgia needs a jolt going into the summer.
Mark Stoops has Kentucky recruiting better than it did under Joker Phillips. UK has sprinted out to seven pledges, including one from QB Drew Barker.
So the Wildcats are feeling pretty good about their 2014 recruiting. However, across the state, rival Louisville has a 14-man class and is coming off an Orange Bowl win over Florida. So Charlie Strong has great momentum on the recruiting trail.
Stoops must keep plugging away and realize that recruiting is a marathon, even though Louisville is closer to the finish line.
Neither Kansas or Kansas State are top notch recruiting schools. They're not perennial Top 25 recruiting programs nor do many elite prospects visit either school.
Yet, Kansas State has scored seven commitments to Kansas' two. Bill Snyder has attacked the trail harder than Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks are looking up to the Wildcats in the recruiting rankings.
Weis will surely add to his class, but will it be too late by then to catch his in-state rival?
So Kiffin and his staff are in solid shape, but that is not going to cut it when compared to rival Notre Dame. The Irish have 10 commitments, eight of whom are 4-star recruits.
So, basically, at this point, Notre Dame's class is twice as talented as USC's.
USC has five pledges, four of which are from 4-star players. UCLA beat the Trojans on the field last season, and Jim Mora has shown he will not be conceding anything to his rivals.
But as far as 2014 recruiting goes, Mora is behind his counterpart Lane Kiffin, as the Bruins coach has only two commitments. Kiffin is a proven recruiter and USC is one of the juggernaut recruiting programs.
So if Mora is not careful, he could see USC go on a run and leave his program in the dust in the 2014 recruiting rankings.
According to 247Sports, Dan Mullen has the worst class in the SEC. To make things sting even more in Starkville, Ole Miss has a top 10 class nationally.
After seeing the Rebels dominate the home stretch of the 2013 cycle, Mississippi State needs a strong 2014 effort. So far, that is not the case. The Rebels are not only pulling away from their Egg Bowl enemies, but also becoming one of the top recruiting teams in the SEC.
Mullen can either sit back and watch Ole Miss continue to take over Mississippi, or he can do something about it.
Oklahoma sits right outside the 247Sports Top 25 rankings. So the Sooners are not on a bad pace and should finish somewhere inside the Top 25.
Before that brings a smile to the faces of all Sooner supporters, it must be noted that rival Texas has a superior class. Not only is the Longhorns' group better, it is ranked No. 1 in the country.
Oklahoma will climb up the rankings like always, but it may not catch its Red River rival.
The Crimson Tide are the envy of every program in the country. So it is surprising that they are on this list. However, they have two rivals with better 2014 classes.
First, LSU has the No. 3 class in the country, as seven of its 10 commitmentsare rated 4-stars or higher. The Tigers have proved to be a fierce on-field and recruiting rival to 'Bama, so they can not be taken lightly.
Next, upstart SEC program and new SEC West rival Texas A&M has the No. 2 class in the country. With the Aggies beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa last year behind a high-powered offense, the defensive-oriented Tide have a formidable new rival.
'Bama has six commitments, five of which are rated 4-stars or higher. It'll be in the thick of things in 2014 recruiting very soon. Until then, LSU and Texas A&M have the recruiting bragging rights.
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.