National Signing Day 2014: Team-by-Team Preview and Predictions

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

National Signing Day 2014: Team-by-Team Preview and Predictions

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    "It's almost here!"

    The above phrase has been said with varying degrees of excitement, exasperation and exhaustion by college coaches leading up to Wednesday's national signing day, the culmination of all of the hard work that goes into putting together the 2014 recruiting class.

    Though who signs on Wednesday won't necessarily make or break what happens for each of the major college programs during the 2014 season, it does set the foundation for future success.

    Many top-tier recruits have yet to make their college plans public, but based on who has committed (or, in some cases, already enrolled) and who is the favorite to land these remaining standouts, there's enough information to put together a comprehensive preview of Wednesday's signing day.

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 1

    Key to the class: Cameron Robinson, OT

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Robinson is one of five 5-star players Alabama has commitments from, two of which (including Robinson) are already on campus. The Crimson Tide have a bevy of linemen on both sides of the ball to keep those areas fully stocked yet again, while cornerback Marlon Humphrey will keep Alabama's secondary among the nation's best.

Arizona Wildcats

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 29

    Key to the class: Nick Wilson, RB

    Biggest need: Linebacker

    Overall analysis: Arizona has a chance to fill its two big openings at linebacker with true freshmen, with 4-star high school teammates Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware both having a chance to play right away. Nick Wilson should be in the mix to replace the departed Ka'Deem Carey, while athlete Cameron Denson could start at receiver or cornerback.

Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 22

    Key to the class: Eric Lauderdale, WR

    Biggest need: Quarterback

    Overall analysis: ASU plans to sign two passers in this class in preparation for Taylor Kelly's graduation, but for right now, the Sun Devils are adding several targets in 4-star receivers Lauderdale, Jalen Harvey and Tyler Whiley. Connor Humphreys and Tashon Smallwood, both 4-star prospects, will help on the defensive line.

Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 31

    Key to the class: Bijhon Jackson, DT

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Razorbacks went heavy on offensive linemen to try to shore up the SEC's worst offense, with 4-star prospects Brian Wallace and Frank Ragnow leading the way. Rafe Peavey, a 3-star pro-style quarterback who is already in school, might get a shot to play right away if he impresses during spring ball.

Auburn Tigers

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 7

    Key to the class: Derrick Moncrief, S

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: Auburn went heavy on the defense, going after (and getting) top players in the secondary, at linebacker and on the defensive line. The need to have a strong defense to complement the offense was essential, and guys like junior college stud Moncrief and 5-star inside backer Tre' Williams should help that mission. If fellow 5-star linebacker Rashaan Evans also comes along, watch out for the Tigers on that side of the ball.

Baylor Bears

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 24

    Key to the class: KD Cannon, WR

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Baylor's recruiting approach was twofold, going after speed at the skill positions and strength in the middle of its defense. Cannon, a 5-star wideout, is one of eight Lone Star State receivers, tight ends or athletes the Bears are bringing to Waco, while the defensive commitments will keep that unit flying all over the field.

Boston College Eagles

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    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 48

    Key to the class: Harold Landry, DE

    Biggest need: Front seven

    Overall analysis: Boston College lost a ton from this past year's team on both sides of the ball. There are some replacements already on the roster on offense, but the defense will look to Landry and linebacker Connor Strachan to help right away.

BYU Cougars

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 71

    Key to the class: Fred Warner, LB

    Biggest need: Linebacker

    Overall analysis: Warner is the lone 4-star commit in the Cougars' class, and he could be inserted into the middle of that defense very quickly. Defensive ends Zac Dawe and Isaiah Nacua should also help soon, while tight end Matt Bushman is a strong candidate to play in the fall.

California Golden Bears

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 46

    Key to the class: Devante Downs, OLB

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: Twelve of the Golden Bears' commits or signees are on defense, an area that probably needs a few classes' worth of players to get where Sonny Dykes wants it. Downs and fellow linebacker Chandler Leniu will have a shot at contributing right away, as will wide receiver Erik Brown, Cal's only 4-star recruit.

Clemson Tigers

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 15

    Key to the class: Deshaun Watson, QB

    Biggest need: Wide receiver

    Overall analysis: The Tigers picked up four 4-star receivers, with three (Artavis Scott, Kyrin Priester and Demarre Kitt) already in school and another (Trevion Thompson) set to sign on Wednesday. Linebackers Chris Register and Korie Rogers can help hold down the middle, but Clemson didn't get any significant secondary help.

Colorado Buffaloes

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 74

    Key to the class: Shay Fields, WR

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: The recent commitment of Fields, who had originally pledged to go to USC, is a huge get for the Buffaloes' rebuilding process. Five defensive backs are also part of the recruiting class, while a potential passing standout is there in 3-star pro-style quarterback Cade Apsay.

Duke Blue Devils

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 59

    Key to the class: Alonzo Saxton, CB

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Duke's surprising run to the ACC title game didn't boost recruiting much, as the Blue Devils failed to land any players above three stars. Their best prospect is Saxton, but he's only rated 672nd by 247Sports and he committed nearly a year ago. Pro-style quarterback Nico Pierre, a 3-star prospect, could be valuable in the future. 

Florida Gators

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 10

    Key to the class: Gerald Willis, DT

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Gators picked up seven offensive linemen, including four that are already in school, but only one commit (David Sharpe) rates at four stars. Florida has been active as of late in getting players to flip from other schools, most notably 5-star cornerback Jalen Tabor from Arizona and 4-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley from Penn State.

Florida State Seminoles

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 5

    Key to the class: Dalvin Cook, RB

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Florida State reloads at most of the key positions, picking up big names at linebacker, defensive tackle and receiver. Cook, a 5-star commit who's already in school, could play right away. And the Seminoles are likely to land 5-star receiver Ermon Lane, which would give Jameis Winston another great deep threat.

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 8

    Key to the class: Sony Michel, RB

    Biggest need: Running back

    Overall analysis: Mark Richt landed two 5-star rushers in Michel and Nick Chubb, ensuring the continued success of Georgia's run game. The Bulldogs also picked up four 4-star defenders, highlighted by linemen Keyon Brown and Lamont Gaillard. If Georgia can land at least one of its remaining targets—cornerback Wesley Green or, preferably, 5-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter—then this class will go down as one of Richt's best.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 57

    Key to the class: Stepheny Durham, CB

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: The Yellow Jackets pulled in two other 3-star corners to go with Durham, but some other athletes could be used to help the secondary. Georgia Tech also landed several offensive linemen to keep the option game running smoothly.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 68

    Key to the class: Jihad Ward, DT

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Ward is part of a slew of defensive players the Fighting Illini are hoping can fix that side of the ball. Illinois also has several receivers already enrolled, including junior college transfer Tyrin Stone-Davis, whose brother Tyree is part of the class as a cornerback.

Indiana Hoosiers

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 47

    Key to the class: Dominique Booth, WR

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Linebacker Tegray Scales, defensive tackle Michael Barwick and end Nick Carovillano, all 3-star prospects, represent the best the Hoosiers could do to help their woeful defense. Most of the better recruits were again on offense, led by the 4-star Booth.

Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 50

    Key to the class: Jay Scheel, ATH

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Iowa's nice turnaround season didn't translate into a big recruiting class, though there are solid pickups. Scheel is 6'1" and would make a nice offensive addition, while pro-style quarterback Tyler Wiegers is an intriguing prospect. There are several defensive recruits who could contribute early, including junior college defensive end Torey Hendrick.

Iowa State Cyclones

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    Chris Jackson/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 53

    Key to the class: Allen Lazard, WR

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Lazard committed just days after the Cyclones finished out a rough 3-9 season, and he could be a great weapon for new offensive coordinator Mark Mangino to utilize. The defense needs the most help, though, and junior college transfers Devron Moore at safety, Gabe Luna at defensive end and Jordan Harris at linebacker should aid in that cause.

Kansas Jayhawks

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 54

    Key to the class: Traevohn Wrench, RB

    Biggest need: Running back

    Overall analysis: Wrench, Kansas' lone 4-star recruit, has a chance to be the every-down guy, something the offense desperately needs to provide some consistency. Defensive recruits were also plentiful for the Jayhawks, who have a pair of junior college cornerbacks already enrolled, while outside linebacker Kyron Watson could make an instant impact.

Kansas State Wildcats

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    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 45

    Key to the class: Terrell Clinkscales, DT

    Biggest need: Defense

    Overall analysis: K-State is going with its usual blend of upper-tier junior college recruits and middle-of-the-road high school prospects. Clinkscales and linebacker D'Vonta Derricott highlight the former, while the latter's top commits include a trio of players (linebacker Elijah Lee, running back Dalvin Warmack and safety Kaleb Prewett) from the same school in Blue Springs, Mo.

Kentucky Wildcats

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 20

    Key to the class: Matt Elam, DT

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Elam, who came on board last week, is the latest pickup for the nation's most surprising recruiting class. The Wildcats were 2-10 last season, but Mark Stoops has managed to snag a half-dozen 4-star recruits and plenty of solid 3-star prospects. That includes out-of-state recruits like safety Darius West and receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass of Ohio and defensive end Denzel Ware of Florida.

Louisville Cardinals

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    Class rank: No. 44

    Key to the class: Reggie Bonnafon, QB

    Biggest need: Running back

    Overall analysis: Louisville's 2014 class took some hits after Charlie Strong left for Texas, most notably with the loss of 4-star defensive tackle Poona Ford. New (old) coach Bobby Petrino still has some solid defensive commitments, such as 3-star defensive backs De'Eric Culver and Michael Johnson, and 6'4" receiver Desean Blair has the size to make an instant impact.

LSU Tigers

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 4

    Key to the class: Leonard Fournette, RB

    Biggest need: Running back

    Overall analysis: Fournette, the top overall prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings, is the cherry on top of another stellar recruiting class that once again will be implemented early thanks to LSU's many early NFL departures. The defense gets especially replenished, with linebacker Clifton Garrett and safety Jamal Adams, both 5-star recruits, joining 4-star defensive ends Deondre Clark and Davon Godchaux.

Maryland Terrapins

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 51

    Key to the class: Derwin Gray, OT

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Gray was at a prep school this past season and is already in school, which will help Maryland's offensive line get prepared for Big Ten football. Defensive end Jesse Aniebonam and athlete Juwann Winfree will be helpful in the transition from the ACC as well.

Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes

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    Class rank: No. 11

    Key to the class: Chad Thomas, DE

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Thomas, a 5-star recruit from Miami, should anchor the Hurricanes' defensive line for quite a while. He'll be joined there at some point by 4-star defensive tackle Anthony Moten and 3-star end Demetrius Jackson. As usual, the Hurricanes adeptly mined the fertile south Florida landscape, though 4-star pro-style quarterback Brad Kaaya is a California recruit.

Michigan Wolverines

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 16

    Key to the class: Jabrill Peppers, ATH

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Peppers is the centerpiece of this class, and the promise he brings to Ann Arbor is getting fan expectations to rise once again. But beyond him, the Wolverines' recruits include solid pickups on the offensive and defensive line as well as at receiver. That position includes two 4-star players (Freddy Canteen and Drake Harris) who are already in school.

Michigan State Spartans

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 35

    Key to the class: Montae Nicholson, S

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Spartans add three offensive linemen, but only one, center Brian Allen, is a 4-star, and that's the one place they don't need immediate help. Nicholson will fit in nicely with MSU's solid secondary, while running backs Vayante Copeland and Madre London have futures in the backfield.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 62

    Key to the class: Connor Mayes, C

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Gophers' offense was sluggish for most of the year and nonexistent down the stretch, with the line struggling all season. Mayes will help fix that in the middle, one of three linemen recruits. Dual-threat quarterback Dimonic McKinzy is already in school, while 3-star receiver Melvin Holland Jr. brings some nice size (6'3", 210 lbs) to the outside.

Mississippi Rebels

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 13

    Key to the class: Roderick Taylor, OG

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Ole Miss has put together back-to-back stellar classes, and though this one doesn't include the top overall recruit like in 2013, it's still very solid. Taylor highlights a group that includes the four best prospects from Mississippi, including 4-star receiver Markell Pack.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 36

    Key to the class: Jamoral Graham, ATH

    Biggest need: Athleticism

    Overall analysis: Mississippi State's 2014 class isn't nearly as solid as the year before, and it took a big hit on the in-state recruiting front. The Bulldogs' top commit from its home turf is Graham, who is considered the sixth-best player from Mississippi. But he and fellow 4-star athlete Gerri Green will give MSU some flexibility as to where they can be used.

Missouri Tigers

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    Tim Sharp/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 37

    Key to the class: Brandon Lee, OLB

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Mizzou is set to sign a large class, but only two are on the defensive line. Rather than immediate need, the Tigers went for long-term talent in the form of linebacker Brandon Lee, cornerback Raymond Wingo and a possible heir apparent to Dorial Green-Beckham at wide receiver in 6'3" Nate Brown, all 4-star prospects.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 34

    Key to the class: Tanner Farmer, OG

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Cornhuskers need to revamp their offensive line, and this class helps that. Farmer and fellow 4-star lineman Nick Gates will get a chance to be involved right away, while 3-star defensive tackles Joe Keels and Peyton Newell provide some reinforcements for that unit.

North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 27

    Key to the class: Elijah Hood, RB

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Hood was headed to Notre Dame until the Tar Heels swooped in last August and grabbed the top in-state prospect, and he's already in school. Carolina also landed several solid offensive line recruits as well as help for the secondary and linebacking corps.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 33

    Key to the class: Kentavius Street, DE

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Street, a 4-star prospect, is one of at least a dozen defensive recruits the Wolfpack might look at for instant help for a woeful unit. NC State may also turn quickly to 4-star pro-style quarterback recruit Jalan McClendon.

Northwestern Wildcats

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    David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 42

    Key to the class: Justin Jackson, APB

    Biggest need: Running back

    Overall analysis: Jackson is one of a handful of potential ball-carriers that highlight a solid, if not flashy recruiting class. Auston Anderson, Solomon Vault and Nathan Hall should also get chances to contribute on offense, while the defensive commits include 4-star prospects Parrker Westphal at cornerback and Garrett Dickerson at end.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 9

    Key to the class: Nyles Morgan, ILB

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: The Fighting Irish have pledges from a pair of 4-star defensive linemen, but rather than go big there, they pushed hard to keep stockpiling offensive linemen and receivers. Justin Brent, a 4-star wideout prospect, is already on campus, while top defensive recruit Morgan may very well slide into the season-opening lineup.

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 2

    Key to the class: Raekwon McMillan, ILB

    Biggest need: Linebacker

    Overall analysis: The Buckeyes loaded up on defensive players, including McMillan, fellow linebacker Dante Booker and 4-star corners Marshon Lattimore and Damon Webb. And like most years, Ohio State dominated its home turf, landing the top five players from Ohio.

Oklahoma Sooners

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 18

    Key to the class: Joe Mixon, APB

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Getting Mixon out of California and away from the likes of Florida State and UCLA was huge for the Sooners' future, though the 5-star prospect should see time right away. Oklahoma also loaded up on receivers, grabbing three of the 4-star variety, but went the 3- and 2-star route for future help on the offensive line.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 25

    Key to the class: Gyasi Akem, OLB

    Biggest need: Linebacker

    Overall analysis: Akem, a 4-star recruit, has a chance to step in right away on the Cowboys' defense. The rest of the class looks to be for more long-range needs, though 4-star receiver Keenen Brown has the size (6'2", 205 lbs) that could be helpful early on. Pro-style quarterback Mason Rudolph has the look of a solid pickup for the future.

Oregon Ducks

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    Don Ryan/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 19

    Key to the class: Tui Talia, DE

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Talia, a junior college standout, has already signed and should make an instant impact on the line. Oregon's remaining commitments include plenty of speed, with receiver Jalen Brown, cornerback Arrion Springs and all-purpose back Tony James highlighting that list. If 5-star wideout John "JuJu" Smith picks Oregon, as Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue has predicted, that will boost the class even more.

Oregon State Beavers

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 61

    Key to the class: Kalani Vakameilalo, DT

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Oregon State's defense was horrible last year, so the improvements start up front with Vakameilalo, the top-rated player from Hawaii whom Washington is still trying to swipe. Datrin Guyton's size (6'3") would be a nice addition to the receiving corps, while a pair of pro-style passers could be part of the Beavers' future.

Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 21

    Key to the class: Saeed Blacknall, WR

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: James Franklin has been hard at work padding Penn State's recruiting class with late free agents as well as decommits, getting Blacknall away from Rutgers, safety Koa Farmer from California and defensive end Lloyd Tubman from Franklin's former school, Vanderbilt. The class is solid at receiver, on the offensive line and in the secondary.

Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

    Class rank: No. 41

    Key to the class: Adonis Jennings, WR

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Panthers picked up 4-star prospect Alex Bookser and two other solid offensive linemen, which should help shore up a weak spot on the team. Jennings could be the real steal, though, if his 6'3" frame helps draw double-teams off of standout receiver Tyler Boyd.

Purdue Boilermakers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 66

    Key to the class: Gelen Robinson, DE

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Robinson and fellow end JaWhaun Bentley will give Purdue some nice pass-pressure help, but the five offensive linemen in the class will have the chance to have the most impact. Timothy Cason II and Cedric Dale can help shore up the secondary.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 55

    Key to the class: Justin Nelson, LB

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Rutgers doesn't have the personnel in place to compete in the Big Ten, so it might need to turn to recruits early. That would include Nelson, who, at No. 501, is the Scarlet Knights' highest-ranked prospect.

South Carolina Gamecocks

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 23

    Key to the class: Dante Sawyer, DE

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: The Gamecocks have 4-star junior college defensive tackle Abu Lamin in school already, while the recruiting class features two defensive ends and another tackle to help shore up the front line. Bryson Allen-Williams, a 4-star linebacker, was a solid pickup, though if South Carolina can also grab uncommitted 4-star cornerback Chris Lammons, that will add further defensive punch. The top offensive recruit is wideout Shaq Davidson.

Stanford Cardinal

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 14

    Key to the class: Keller Chryst, QB

    Biggest need: Stanford

    Overall analysis: Chryst, a 6'4" pro-style passer who chose the Cardinal back in June, should be the heir apparent to Kevin Hogan. Stanford also got the top tight end prospect in the nation, Dalton Schultz, and three 4-star defensive players.

Syracuse Orange

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    Heather Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 52

    Key to the class: K.J. Williams, ATH

    Biggest need: Wide receiver

    Overall analysis: Syracuse had a very underrated defense that brings a lot back, while the offense showed late improvement under quarterback Terrel Hunt. Williams, a 4-star prospect, could be the receiving weapon Hunt and the Orange need to break through in the ACC.

TCU Horned Frogs

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 43

    Key to the class: Foster Sawyer, QB

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: Sawyer is one of two quarterbacks the Horned Frogs are bringing in, along with Grayson Muehlstein. But it will really be up to whether blockers like Ty Barrett, Ryan Griswold and Austin Schlottmann can help fix a depleted offensive line.

Tennessee Volunteers

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 6

    Key to the class: Josh Malone, WR

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Volunteers' class includes 34 players, which will mean some grayshirting is going to be required to squeeze everyone in. Fourteen of them are already on campus, including receivers Josh Malone and Von Pearson and athlete Jalen Hurd, all 4-star recruits. Three offensive lineman are already enrolled as well, while the commitments include the recent pledge of 4-star all-purpose back Derrell Scott.

Texas Longhorns

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 12

    Key to the class: Derick Roberson, DE

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: Roberson, a 4-star recruit, has been committed to the Longhorns for 18 months, sticking around after Mack Brown was replaced by Charlie Strong. Strong has been working hard since getting the job, but he has only 4-star linebacker Edwin Freeman and 3-star guard Alex Anderson to show for it.

Texas A&M Aggies

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    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 3

    Key to the class: Myles Garrett, DE

    Biggest need: Quarterback

    Overall analysis: Johnny Manziel's early departure was expected, which is why A&M made sure to lock in the nation's top passing recruit in 5-star Kyle Allen. He's already enrolled, as is 5-star wideout Speedy Noil and four others, including two 4-star offensive linemen. But the commitment of end Garrett, the No. 2 overall prospect, was the Aggies' biggest get.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

    Class rank: No. 38

    Key to the class: Patrick Mahomes, QB

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: Texas Tech has no 4-star commitments, but 3-star defensive backs Nigel Bethel and Payton Hendrix are still solid pickups. Pro-style quarterback Mahomes could be in the mix come the fall due to the Red Raiders' thin passing roster, while 5'11" receiver Ian Sadler could be the next Wes Welker with the right development.

UCLA Bruins

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 17

    Key to the class: Zach Whitley, ILB

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: The Pac-12 remains a passing league, so UCLA's commitments from Adarius Pickett and Jaleel Wadood will help deal with that defensively, while athletes Austin Roberts and Nathan Starks and wideout Alex Van Dyke could all help the Bruins score their own points through the air. Pulling Whitley out of Texas was a great get, especially when he committed after visiting Alabama.

USC Trojans

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    David Cleveland/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 28

    Key to the class: Bryce Dixon, TE

    Biggest need: Overall depth

    Overall analysis: USC's recruiting restrictions will end after this class is signed, but this final limited batch still has some bright spots. Offensive linemen Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao have a chance to get into the rotation early, while Dixon and receiver Rahshead Johnson have solid potential. The Trojans appear to be the front-runner for the top remaining uncommitted prospect, 5-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson.

Utah Utes

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 56

    Key to the class: Jackson Barton, OT

    Biggest need: Wide receiver

    Overall analysis: The Utes loaded up on pass-catchers, getting commitments from five wideouts along with two other athletes who could play receiver. The class also includes a passer in Donovan Isom, a 3-star pro-style quarterback from Louisiana.

Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Class rank: No. 69

    Key to the class: Emmanuel Smith, S

    Biggest need: Offensive line

    Overall analysis: The Monday commitment of 3-star offensive tackle Andrew Mike helped reverse a trend that saw several recruits jump ship after James Franklin left for Penn State. Smith, a 4-star recruit, and 3-star athlete Dallas Rivers have stuck with the Commodores.

Virginia Cavaliers

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    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Class rank: No. 32

    Key to the class: Andrew Brown, DT

    Biggest need: Defense

    Overall analysis: Brown and safety Quin Blanding, both 5-star recruits, give the Cavaliers hope for the future despite a 2-10 season in 2013. A lot will be expected of those two right away, because the recruiting class doesn't have much more beyond them, other than maybe 4-star athlete Jamil Kamara.

Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 26

    Key to the class: Holland Fisher, S

    Biggest need: Defense

    Overall analysis: Fisher was a key piece of the Hokies' 2013 recruiting class, and after a year in prep school, he should be able to play right away. Tech also picked up some solid running back prospects, while a pair of quarterbacks (4-star dual-threat Travon McMillian and 3-star pro-style Chris Durkin) should provide some intrigue at that position.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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    Class rank: No. 58

    Key to the class: Zeek Rodney, DT

    Biggest need: Running back

    Overall analysis: Rodney, the Demon Deacons' top prospect, recently committed after originally pledging to Syracuse, while defensive end Rashawn Shaw was snatched away from Louisville. The battle is still uphill for Wake, but new coach Dave Clawson is already making strides.

Washington Huskies

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 49

    Key to the class: K.J. Carta-Samuels, QB

    Biggest need: Quarterback

    Overall analysis: Chris Petersen has picked up more than a dozen commitments since the beginning of January, working overtime to fill in his class after taking the job in December. Carta-Samuels was a key result of that work, but if the Huskies can land 4-star athlete Budda Baker, he'd become the centerpiece.

Washington State Cougars

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    Dean Hare/Associated Press

    Class rank: No. 60

    Key to the class: Barry Ware, WR

    Biggest need: Defensive back

    Overall analysis: The Cougars have commits from a bevy of speedy guys who could be used in the pass-happy offense or to shore up the porous secondary. Besides Ware, other 3-star athletes, all-purpose backs or receivers include California products Zaire Andre, Calvin Green and Kevin Griffin.

West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Class rank: No. 39

    Key to the class: William Crest, QB

    Biggest need: Quarterback

    Overall analysis: Crest is only a 3-star prospect, but he may be the key to getting the Mountaineers back on track on offense. Possible targets in his class to throw to include athlete Dravon Henry and diminutive receiver Lamar Parker, as well as already-enrolled 6'3" wideout Ricky Rogers.

Wisconsin Badgers

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    Class rank: No. 30

    Key to the class: Craig Evans, DT

    Biggest need: Defensive line

    Overall analysis: The Badgers' top-rated recruit is 4-star offensive tackle Jaden Gault, who's already enrolled. He tops a list of in-state prospects Wisconsin held on to, getting commitments from the five best, including Evans and defensive end Conor Sheehy. And D.J. Gillins, a 4-star dual-threat quarterback, could be a playmaker.