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10 Biggest College Football Recruiting Storylines This Spring

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMarch 24, 2014

10 Biggest College Football Recruiting Storylines This Spring

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Spring is here, so that means college football recruiting is moving toward the evaluation period. The 2015 recruiting cycle is not short on interesting storylines, with many interesting topics set to be closely watched this spring.

    A polarizing coach is now recruiting for a powerhouse, while a quarterback he offered as a middle-schooler ponders his next move. A 5-star receiver seems destined to sign with an SEC juggernaut, but a prominent Pac-12 program also badly wants him.

    Plus, it's almost time for the rest of the quarterback dominoes to fall.

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports.
    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Charlie Strong's Recruiting Progress at Texas

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    Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

    It's no secret that new Texas head coach Charlie Strong has big shoes to fill in Austin. Mack Brown was one of the best recruiting head coaches ever, and Strong didn't recruit at an elite level while at Louisville.

    Brown was legendary at wrapping up his recruiting before the end of the summer. If Strong is to follow his predecessor's blueprint, then the spring will be critical for him.

    Strong currently has nine commitments, with 4-star offensive lineman Toby Weathersby leading the group, per 247Sports.

What Little-Known Prospect Will Emerge in the Spring and Rise Up the Rankings?

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    Credit: 247Sports

    It happens every year. The spring brings many camps, combines, showcases and seven-on-seven tournaments, which gives recruits the platform to show off their skills.

    During this period is when a prospect who is not on the radar suddenly emerges and shoots up the rankings. It was Baylor receiver Robbie Rhodes in 2013, while Florida offensive lineman David Sharpe came out of nowhere in the spring of 2014 to finish as a 4-star prospect.

Florida's Efforts to Distance Itself from Its Competition for Top Targets

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Florida has a chance to sign an exceptional recruiting class next February, and it will need to keep putting in good work during this spring.

    The Gators are heavyweight players for elite recruits such as 5-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey, 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, 5-star athlete/receiver George Campbell, 5-star linebacker Jeffery Holland and 5-star defensive end Byron Cowart.

    It will be fascinating to see if Florida can put more distance between itself and its competition for the above-mentioned elite recruits, or if it let its foes gain ground.

How the 5-Star Quarterbacks' Commitments Impact Their Respective Schools

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Josh RosenRicky Town and Jarrett Stidham are all considered 5-star prospects in the 247Sports composite rankings.

    Rosen is headed to UCLA, Town is committed to USC, and Stidham pledged to Texas Tech earlier this month. Landing a 5-star quarterback is always huge for a school, as many other recruits take notice.

    Keep a close eye on how big of a help each quarterback's commitment is to their program's recruiting efforts during the rest of this cycle.

    Rosen's head coach at St. John Bosco in California, Jason Negro, told Edward Lewis of BruinSportsReport.com (subscription required), "His ability to attract other talent to come to UCLA is going to be critical."

Speaking of Quarterbacks, Where Will the Rest of Them End Up?

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Quarterback is the one position that college coaches try to get locked up early in the recruiting process. Most programs take only one in a class, so slots can go in a hurry.

    That's why most quarterbacks are committed to a school by the middle of the summer. This year will be no different, as 5-star quarterback Torrance Gibson and elite 4-star passers such as Brady WhiteKyler Murray, Drew LockBrandon Wimbush and Jake Browning are uncommitted.

    As the dominoes have begun to fall, look for more quarterback commitments to happen this spring.

Florida State Recruiting as Defending Champions

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    The visual of a head coach being seen raising the championship trophy is priceless for recruiting. Recruits want to win, and a program that won the national championship always sees a boost in its recruiting.

    Not that Florida State needs a boost, but it's worth watching how the Seminoles use their new national title to entice prospects to come to Tallahassee. So far, head coach Jimbo Fisher has an eight-man class that is led by 5-star safety Derwin James.

When Will David Sills Officially Decommit from USC?

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    Credit: 247Sports

    USC offered and received a commitment from 3-star quarterback David Sills when he was in middle school.

    However, the head coach who offered him is no longer in Troy, as Lane Kiffin was fired during the 2013 season. New head coach Steve Sarkisian quickly flipped 5-star passer Ricky Town from Alabama, leaving the writing on the wall for Sills.

    While he's still technically a USC commit, it's widely expected Sills will sign elsewhere. In fact, all eight of 247Sports' predictions have him going to Michigan.

    It's only a matter of time before Sills officially backs away from USC, but exactly when is the real mystery.

Can Texas A&M Close the Deal with Christian Kirk Before Others Gain Ground?

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Christian Kirk is a dynamic 5-star receiver from Arizona who is going to be a star. At 5'10" and nearly 200 pounds, Kirk has excellent quickness, speed and playmaking ability.

    A majority of the experts at 247Sports predict Texas A&M will land him. Yet, schools such as USC, Oregon, Ohio State and others are all hunting hard for Kirk.

    Kirk is on pace to graduate early, according to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com (subscription required).

    That means he'll be looking to make a decision soon, which means the Aggies need to seal the deal with him as soon as possible or face the possibility of other schools becoming Kirk's focus.

Georgia's Attempt to Fend off Other Schools for Trent Thompson

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Trent Thompson is the No. 1 prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. At 6'4" and 292 pounds, he is an explosive, gap-penetrating 5-star defensive tackle with good strength.

    The Georgia native recently revealed a top five of Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn and Tennessee to Kipp Adams of 247Sports (subscription required). The Bulldogs are considered the leader, and a debate is brewing on if it's a foregone conclusion that Thompson will wind up in Athens.

    Georgia is going to have to make sure it keeps its lead for the talented Thompson, because it has some serious competition for him.

Lane Kiffin's Progress Recruiting for Alabama

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Lane Kiffin is now the offensive coordinator at Alabama, and the former USC head coach is not the most adored person in the business.

    Kiffin ruffled a lot of feathers around the SEC when he was the head coach at Tennessee. However, he's an excellent recruiter who could be a major asset for an already powerful Crimson Tide recruiting machine.

    A polarizing figure in college football, it's going to be quite interesting to see how Kiffin fares in Tuscaloosa, especially on the recruiting trail. Right now, he only has notched one commitment, according to 247Sports.

     

    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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