Winners and Losers of July on the 2014 College Football Recruiting Trail
July was a significant month for news on the 2014 recruiting trail. The Opening took place, a surprise MVP was named at the Elite 11 camp and several top recruits made decisions on where they will be attending college.
Some teams are coming into August with all smiles and a ton of confidence. For other programs, the month couldn't have ended fast enough.
Here are some of college football's biggest winners and losers from the month of July.
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has become a master of the spread-option attack. His scheme is predicated on having a great quarterback to engineer the offense.
Rodriguez struck gold not once, but twice in July at the quarterback position. First, he received a commitment from promising passing prospect Brandon Dawkins, who has good athleticism and arm strength.
Landing Dawkins would have been enough, but Rodriguez then landed former University of Texas quarterback Connor Brewer as a transfer. The Wildcats' quarterback depth chart is now set for several years going forward.
Loser: Notre Dame
Notre Dame landed stud defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes in the 2013 recruiting cycle. The 6'3'', 310-pound Vanderdoes is one of the most physically ready recruits to enter college football in recent memory, as he already has the power needed to play in the trenches as a true freshman.
However, after signing his National Letter of Intent, Vanderdoes decided he did not want to attend Notre Dame, as being closer to his family in California was too important to pass up.
Irish head coach Brian Kelly did not release Vanderdoes from his N.L.I., but Vanderdoes was allowed to enroll at UCLA under the condition that he sits out the 2013 season and loses one year of eligibility.
Vanderdoes' initial appeal to the NCAA to restore his full eligibility was denied, but his second appeal resulted in him being declared eligible to play for the Bruins immediately. Notre Dame not only lost a great prospect, but also its quest to protect the integrity of its N.L.I.'s.
The Tigers are coming into August on a roll. They must be giddy over the thought of possibly landing their best class in school history, which is saying something when one thinks of all of the great talent the program has signed over the years.
Already sitting at No. 12 in the 247Sports team rankings, LSU figures to add several more prominent prospects before the end of this recruiting cycle.
In July, the Tigers found themselves as a main contender for recruits such as running back Leonard Fournette, offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, receiver Speedy Noil, defensive tackle Gerald Willis, safety Laurence Jones, receiver Malachi Dupre and cornerback Tony Brown, per each recruit's 247Sports profile.
All but one (Noil) are 5-star recruits, according the 247Sports composite rankings, and landing just one would elevate LSU up the rankings. The Tigers likely will land multiple players from that list, as all but one hail from Louisiana, so the possibility for a historically great class is in play.
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis has taken a lot of criticism in his career, but no one can knock him for not being honest.
In fact, Weis was so blunt about his team and its 1-11 performance in 2012 that he called it a "pile of crap," according to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com. While Weis may be spot on with his assessment of his program at the moment, it still shed negative light on the Jayhawks.
Weis' comment about his team makes Kansas a loser for July.
Stanford is not just any program. Head coach David Shaw, whose background is on offense, got a June commitment from 4-star quarterback Keller Chryst, according to 247Sports.
Chryst's father, Geep, is the quarterbacks coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and his uncle, Paul, is the head coach at Pitt. He has been coached well, has great mechanics and is a physically impressive passer.
He is the type of player a program builds a recruiting class around. Since Chryst's commitment at the end of June, Stanford has received four commitments: defensive ends Harrison Phillips and Lane Veach, linebacker Jordan Perez and cornerback Denzel Franklin, per Rivals.
In March, Auburn received a commitment from Joshua Casher, a versatile offensive line recruit. Casher has a bright future as a center and was one of the pillar recruits of the Tigers' 2014 class.
However, Casher decided to decommit from Auburn in July. To make matters even worse, Casher is now expected to sign with bitter rival Alabama, according to the staff at 247Sports.
Auburn will be fine going forward, but Casher backing off his pledge did not make July a fun month of recruiting.
Maryland is not necessarily a juggernaut recruiting program. Anytime a national-level recruit pops up in their backyard, the Terps have to worry about a bigger program swooping in and stealing him away from them.
The 2014 recruiting class features cornerback Jalen Tabor and offensive tackle Damian Prince, who are both from nearby Washington D.C. and Maryland, respectively.
Through July, the Terrapins are still among the top contenders for both elite recruits. Tabor has Maryland in his top two, says Brian Dohn of Scout.com (subscription required). Prince also mentioned the Terps as a strong contender in a video interview with Rachel Klein of Scout.com (subscription required).
Florida received a commitment from outside linebacker Christian Miller in February. The South Carolina native is a speedy defender with great range.
However, Miller decommitted from the Gators in May. Florida still pursued him, and Miller confirmed Florida was still being considered in a June report by Chad Simmons of Scout.com. The Gators felt good about their chances, but Miller committed to rival Alabama on July 25th.
Cambell is a big target with fantastic speed, as he will form a lethal combination with 2014 commit Drake Harris. Michigan head coach Brady Hoke used to hear criticism for not being able to land elite receivers, but he will now sign two within the next two recruiting cycles.
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.
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