10 Teams That Will Fare Better on 2015 College Football Recruiting Trail
Alright, so the 2014 recruiting cycle is over. Some schools will be celebrating their classes for years to come, while others are excited a new recruiting year has already started.
Looking at the 247Sports recruiting rankings, a couple of programs figure to finish higher in the 2015 recruiting rankings than they did last year. There's a few schools that finished with a great class but are poised to fare even better on the 2015 recruiting trail.
A Pac-12 powerhouse has a new coach who has constructed a great staff of recruiters, while an SEC school has proven it can hold its own in the conference. Plus, an ACC team's head coach has the right recruiting work ethic to pull in a good class in 2015.
All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 58th
Duke hasn't had great success in football over the years, but head coach David Cutcliffe is changing things. The Blue Devils made it to the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year and have the most momentum they've had in years.
The evidence of that momentum is 4-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie attending Duke's Junior Day earlier this year, according to 247Sports. Duke may not land McKenzie, but it's going to fare better on the recruiting trail in 2015.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 19th
UCLA had a great class last year, so it's going to be tough to top that in 2015. However, location is going to help the Bruins try.
California is exceptionally deep with prospects this year, and there are enough elite 2015 recruits in the Golden State for several schools to benefit from. Among them will be UCLA, a program that is coached by a staff of solid recruiters.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 52nd
Head coach Steve Addazio went 7-6 in his first year at Boston College, which proved he is the right man to get the program turned around.
Addazio also is a hard worker on the recruiting trail, as he demands constant communication from his coaches to recruits. He has laid the foundation around the Northeast of opening up more dialogue with high school coaches, which will help the Eagles finish with a good recruiting class.
Don't forget, Addazio and BC got off to a great start during the 2014 recruiting cycle.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 48th
It was expected here that California would be a surprise school during the 2014 recruiting cycle, but that didn't happen. Yet, now it's expected here that 2015 will be a better year on the trail for the Bears.
The state of California has a ton of talent, and the Bears have had successful recruiting classes in years prior. Head coach Sonny Dykes should have a better feel for the recruiting layout around the Golden State this go-around, which should help him improve on his No. 48 recruiting class ranking from last year.
There has to be a good group of players somewhere willing to take advantage of the education Cal offers, along with the early playing time available.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 45th
With James Franklin gone to Penn State, Vanderbilt is now led by Derek Mason. Stanford's former defensive chief is a solid recruiter who has a lot of passion and determination, a lot like Franklin did.
Vanderbilt will never recruit like Alabama, but Mason is too much of a competitor to allow Vandy to finish with the 45th-best class in the nation again.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 41st
Combine the fact he went 8-5 in his first year as head coach with the fact that he's young, hip and looks like Ryan Gosling, and Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury has a chance to become a charming recruiter in Lubbock.
Kingsbury is confident in his abilities as a football coach, which should rub off well on recruits. It wasn't long ago he was in their shoes, so he knows how to relate to players of today. It also helps that his program is in a talent-rich state like Texas.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 39th
Missouri had an incredible turnaround in 2013, making it to the SEC title game after going 5-7 in 2012. Head coach Gary Pinkel has pulled off some recruiting coups in recent years, most notably keeping stud receiver Dorial-Green-Beckham home in 2012.
With the momentum Mizzou now has from proving it can ball with the big boys in the SEC, look for the Tigers to finish better than No. 39 in the 2015 recruiting rankings.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 24th
Sure, Penn State's 2014 class isn't anything to sneeze at, so it's going to be a challenge to top that. However, new head coach James Franklin will have a full year to recruit in Happy Valley, and everyone knows what he's capable of.
Franklin made Vanderbilt a respectable program on the field and on the recruiting trail, which is some kind of miracle. With the facilities, resources and tradition Penn State has, Franklin will make a killing on the trail this year.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 17th
Head coach Charlie Strong isn't going to love the "other" stuff that surrounds the head coaching job at Texas, as he's a football coach who is purely about coaching and game-planning.
However, Strong will love the power that comes with recruiting as the head coach of Texas. With his ability to recruit in the state of Florida, along with the incredible annual rate of talent the Lone Star State produces, Texas will sign a nationally elite class next February.
2014 247Sports recruiting ranking: 11th
USC finishing with the No. 11 class in 2014 is shocking when you think about where the Trojans were in the recruiting rankings during the fall and summer.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his two ace recruiters in offensive coordinator Clay Helton and receivers coach Tee Martin did a fantastic job. The Trojans getting rid of Lane Kiffin has restored a positive view about the program once again for recruits, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the country.
USC is now somewhat of a program on the rise, and the country has already seen what the Trojans are capable of when they have their recruiting mojo.
It could be a historic recruiting year in Troy.
Regarding USC, Woody Wommack of Rivals.com (subscription required) said, "With the albatross of NCAA sanctions essentially behind them, the Trojans appear to be back to recruiting toe-to-toe with the nation's best."