Highest Ranked 2014 College Football Recruits Who Won't Play in a AQ Conference

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 28, 2014

Highest Ranked 2014 College Football Recruits Who Won't Play in a AQ Conference

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    The new College Football Playoff system will make it even tougher for small-conference programs to bring in top recruits over automatic-qualifying programs.

    Now, just five conferences will gain automatic bids to the big-six bowls, while the remaining leagues will all fight for one bid between them.

    Still, several programs have been able to attract highly touted recruits, and it appears as though one team could have the upper hand in the fight for that bid going forward.

    We'll take a look at the top 10 recruits who won't be heading to one of the big five conferences. 


    Note: The new 2014 College Football Playoff system recognizes the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC as the five automatic qualifying conference, leaving the AAC out of the new system.

    All player ratings and rankings based on the 247Sports Composite rankings.

10. Isaiah Nacua, DE

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    Committed: BYU

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.1


    A product of prestigious Las Vegas prep school Bishop Gorman High, 3-star Isaiah Nacua will join the heralded BYU defense.

    His brother, Kai Nacua, joined the Cougars in 2013. Together the two are fulfilling the dream of their late father, Lionel. Ray Brewer of the Las Vegas Sun shared the story of the pair.

    Together, they'll help bolster to vaunted BYU defense for years to come.

9. Tyler Harris, QB

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    Committed: Central Florida

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.1


    Central Florida is in need of the next Blake Bortles, and it could have found him in 3-star signal-caller Tyler Harris.

    The No. 24 quarterback in the nation, Harris chose the Knights over Alabama, Mississippi State and several others.

    A Georgia native, Harris is already enrolled in Orlando. At 6'3" and 205 pounds, he has the size to succeed at the next level.

8. Jimmy Bayes, ATH

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    Committed: South Florida

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.4


    Several programs have tried to poach recruits from South Florida's 2014 class, including 3-star athlete/outside linebacker Jimmy Bayes.

    The Immokalee High School product was given offers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia Tech while also attracting attention from several other teams.

    At 6'3" and 190 pounds, Bayes could make a huge impact on the USF defense.

7. Ryeshene Bronson, WR

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    Committed: South Florida

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.5


    South Florida has a strong class but 3-star receiver Ryeshene Bronson might be the most impressive catch.

    The Fort Myers native was once committed to Florida and also drew heavy attention from Alabama and several other top programs.

    His offer list is long and heavy with SEC and ACC suitors, but he chose the Bulls. The only other team remaining on that list is Marshall, which he visited on Jan. 24.

6. Lonnie Johnson, S

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    Committed: Western Michigan

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.6


    Once an Ohio State commitment, Lonnie Johnson took a drastic turn with his recruitment, flipping to Western Michigan in November.

    The 3-star from Gary, Ind. was given offers by several AQ conference programs, including OSU, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

    Johnson projects as either a receiver or a safety at the next level. With Johnson on board, new WMU head coach P.J. Fleck has a strong class in tow, which ranks first in the MAC and 66th in the nation.

5. Kendall Sawyer, CB

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    Committed: South Florida

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.8


    Another South Florida commitment, 3-star cornerback Kendall Sawyer turned down offers from Florida State, Miami (Fla.), West Virginia and several other programs.

    Sawyer is the second-best prospect in USF's 2014 class.

    The Bulls look like they'll have by far the best class in the AAC for this year.

4. Michael Lazarus, ILB

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    Committed: Fresno State

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 87.9


    Linebacker Michael Lazarus has received plenty of attention from AQ programs, but he decided to head to Mountain West Conference contender Fresno State.

    The 3-star boasted offers from Arizona State, Cal, Washington State and Wisconsin, and he also drew attention from several other teams.

    He's the top draw in a Bulldogs class that ranks second in the MWC.

3. Quinton Flowers, QB

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    Committed: South Florida

    247Sports Composite Rating: 3-star, 88.9


    On-again, off-again South Florida commitment Quinton Flowers looks like he'll be sticking with the Bulls.

    A Miami native, Flowers briefly decommitted from USF over the summer, but he has since reaffirmed his pledge.

    The dual-threat quarterback is still being pursued by Florida as a wide receiver or cornerback. However, as Josh Darrow of SFHighSchoolSports.com detailed, he is set on playing quarterback.

    The only other school in the running for Flowers is Marshall, so it appears as though he'll be going non-AQ no matter what.

2. Fred Warner, OLB

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    Committed: BYU

    247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star, 89.2


    Outside linebacker Fred Warner, a 4-star, is committed as the top prospect for BYU's 2014 class.

    He verbally committed to the Cougars in April but has received several Pac-12 offers since then.

    The San Marcos, Calif. native was set to visit USC, but he cancelled that visit and solidified his commitment to BYU, as detailed by Brandon Jones of LoyalCougars.com.

    If he does head to Provo, he'll be expected to be the next Kyle Van Noy.

1. Dylan Sumner-Gardner, S

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    Enrolled: Boise State

    247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star, 96.1


    The only Under Armour All-American and one of just two 4-star recruits on this list, Dylan Sumner-Gardner was a huge recruiting haul for Boise State.

    The Mesquite, Texas native was committed to Texas A&M but flipped his commitment to follow his recruiter, Marcel Yates, to Boise State.

    Yates joined Boise as its new defensive coordinator in December. The No. 7 safety in the nation, Sumner-Gardner ended up choosing the Broncos over an impressive list of offers, including Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame, Texas and the Aggies.