College Football

1 Nightmare Recruiting Scenario for Every Top-25 Recruiting Class

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJune 25, 2014

1 Nightmare Recruiting Scenario for Every Top-25 Recruiting Class

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    When it comes to recruiting, every coach in the country has fears and nightmares. Seeing a stud recruit decommit, an archrival landing a coveted target or even striking out on multiple uncommitted prospects are all things coaches are scared of.

    For the schools in the top 25 of the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings, those nightmares are only heightened. While many of them never come true, some actually do unfold in real life.

    Georgia would hate to see its top target sign with Auburn, while losing a stud 4-star running back would be a crushing blow to Miami. Plus, even Alabama has a nightmare recruiting scenario.

25. Maryland: Striking out on All Three Top Targets

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Right now, Maryland has 14 commitments in its class. The top player in the group is 4-star guard E.J. Donahue, who is 6'4" and 290 pounds.

    However, the Terrapins have their eyes set on three more 4-star studs who all hail from not too far from campus. Offensive tackle Isaiah Prince and athlete/quarterback Kai Locksley are from Maryland, while guard Quarvez Boulware is from Washington, D.C.

    The Terps would likely feel defeated if they missed out on all three.

24. Florida: Seeing Byron Cowart Convince CeCe Jefferson to Join Him at Oregon

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    Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

    Florida has three 4-star commitments in its nine-man class. Athletes Marcus Lewis and Derrick Dillon are the headliners for head coach Will Muschamp.

    While Lewis and Dillon are solid prospects, Muschamp has high hopes that 5-star defensive ends Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson stay in their native state and sign with the Gators.

    However, Oregon is a major player for Cowart, according to 247Sports. Seeing Cowart convince Jefferson to bolt the Sunshine State for Eugene was be surreal to Muschamp.

23. Nebraska: 4-Star Cornerback and Headliner Eric Lee Decommits

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    At No. 23 is Nebraska, a program currently holding 10 commitments. Among its top pledges is 4-star cornerback Eric Lee, who hails from Colorado.

    At 6'0" and 175 pounds, Lee has great length and athleticism to hold his own on the perimeter. He is the headliner of the Cornhuskers' class, and losing him would be a significant blow to Big Red's 2015 recruiting efforts.

22. Ohio State: 4-Star Receiver Christian Kirk Signs with Michigan

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    The No. 22 slot is low for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes will continue rising up the rankings as this cycle moves forward. 

    Among the recruits who could help OSU in its quest to move up the board is explosive 4-star receiver Christian Kirk. At 5'11" and 195 pounds, Kirk is a perfect fit to work as a hybrid receiver/running back in the Buckeyes' spread-option attack.

    It's easy to see why they covet Kirk, but the Buckeyes wouldn't believe it if the Arizona native decided to shock the world and sign with archnemesis Michigan.

21. Arkansas: Ole Miss Steals 4-Star TE Will Gragg

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    Danny Johnston/Associated Press

    An in-state prospect for Arkansas, Will Gragg is a talented 4-star tight end with great potential. The 6'4", 245-pounder has the size and strength to work well in the SEC.

    Ole Miss feels the same way, which is why it is all over Gragg, according to 247Sports. While Alabama is in the mix too, losing a battle to the Crimson Tide wouldn't hurt as much for Arkansas as the Rebels stealing Gragg away would.

20. TCU: Not Signing a Single 4-Star Recruit

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    TCU has never been a program that relies on signing 4-star and 5-star prospects every year to compete. However, the Horned Frogs are in the Big 12 now, which should help them get more in the mix with higher rated recruits.

    As things stand right now, TCU has 16 commitments. However, none of them are 4-star prospects. It would be disappointing if head coach Gary Patterson fails to land a 4-star recruit between now and next February.

19. West Virginia: 4-Star Cornerback Jordan Whitehead Signs with Pitt

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    Chris Jackson/Associated Press

    It's no secret West Virginia and Pitt are fierce rivals. That rivalry often spills out onto the recruiting trail, where the two schools fight over many of the same players.

    This year, both schools want 4-star cornerback Jordan Whitehead, who is from Pennsylvania. The 6'0", 180-pounder would help WVU get its defense in order, which is why the Mountaineers' hearts would break if he opted to sign with the Panthers.

18. Northwestern: Losing the Dowell Twins

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    When a school has a chance to get a pair of talented twins to join its program, it jumps at it. Northwestern did just that, as it landed twins David Dowell and Andrew Dowell in April.

    David is a 4-star receiver, while Andrew is a 3-star running back. The Ohio natives figure to make a big impact with the Wildcats, as head coach Pat Fitzgerald has big plans for them.

    Losing them to another school would be a nightmare come true for Northwestern.

17. Texas: Losing out on 4-Star Receiver Ryan Newsome to Oklahoma

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Half of Texas' 10-man recruiting class are 4-star prospects. Head coach Charlie Strong and his staff are doing fine so far, but they're not where they want to be.

    In-state rival Texas A&M is on fire on the recruiting trail, and several programs have made their presence felt in the Lone Star State.

    Things would be worse if Ryan Newsome, a speedy 4-star receiver whom Texas highly covets, elected to sign with rival Oklahoma.

16. Wisconsin: Failing to Add More 4-Star Prospects

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    USA TODAY Sports

    With 15 commitments, Wisconsin has two 4-star commitments right now. Jon Dietzen, an offensive tackle, and tight end David Edwards make up the Badgers' 4-star duo.

    Head coach Gary Andersen surely would not like Edwards and Dietzen to be the only 4-star recruits he lands in 2015 recruiting. Andersen would still love his class next February without another 4-star recruit being added to it, but privately, he would probably be a bit surprised.

15. USC: Losing Rasheem Green and Iman Marshall to UCLA

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Although it only has nine commitments, USC has a great recruiting class in the works. The Trojans have two 5-star commitments in offensive tackle Chuma Edoga and quarterback Ricky Town, plus three other 4-star pledges.

    Among the Trojans' biggest remaining targets are 5-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green and 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall. USC's new-found recruiting momentum would almost cease to exist if the pair of California natives signed with rival UCLA.

14. North Carolina: Striking out on Shy Tuttle and Jalen Dalton

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    USA TODAY Sports

    A sleeping giant of a recruiting school, North Carolina has big aspirations for its 2015 recruiting class. Its group has 15 commitments, but two big in-state targets remain for the Tar Heels.

    The first is 5-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, followed by 4-star defensive end Jalen Dalton. Both recruits are giving a long look to the folks on Chapel Hill, but other programs are also in the hunt.

    It would be crushing for head coach Larry Fedora to strike out on both of them.

13. Miami: 4-Star Running Back Dexter Williams Flips to Florida State

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Led by 4-star running back Dexter WilliamsMiami has a 14-man class that features four 4-star prospects. 

    Williams is a 6'0", 192-pounder who has a good combination of speed and power. He figures to become a star in Coral Gables, as he has the skills to play on every down.

    Miami head coach Al Golden likely has nightmares of Williams flipping to archrival and conference foe Florida State from time to time.

12. Mississippi State: Losing Top Three Uncommitted Targets to Ole Miss

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Ole Miss has emerged as a strong recruiting program in recent years, which has forced rival Mississippi State to step up its recruiting game.

    The Bulldogs have responded well in 2015, as they are No. 12 in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings. With 18 commitments, head coach Dan Mullen has built one of the better classes in the nation.

    However, it would be nightmarish to see coveted 4-star recruits safety Jamal Peters, guard Javon Patterson and defensive tackle Fletcher Adams all opt to be Rebels.

11. LSU: Kevin Toliver II Flips to Auburn

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The headliner for LSU is 5-star cornerback Kevin Toliver II. The Jacksonville native is a big cornerback who is already 6'2" and 185 pounds.

    Toliver remains committed to the Tigers, but 247Sports shows Auburn, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and UCLA as programs who have gotten into his ear. The Tigers must be watched closely here, as they are recruiting at an elite level.

    LSU would hate to see its top recruit flip to a program inside its own division.

10. Georgia: Losing Trent Thompson to Auburn

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Auburn is also in the hunt for 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson, per 247Sports. However, Georgia is the school that appears to covet Thompson the most.

    The Bulldogs are all in for the 6'4", 292-pounder, as he is an ideal fit for their new defensive scheme. Head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt would be mortified to learn Thompson is leaving the Peach State to skip over to Auburn.

    That means UGA would have to deal with him a few times on the field.

9. Florida State: Clemson Signing Tarvarus McFadden and George Campbell

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    USA TODAY Sports

    A national powerhouse, Florida State knows it has to respect conference rival Clemson both on the field and on the recruiting trail.

    The Tigers are annually a thorn in the Seminoles' side each year for recruits, and this year is no different. Florida State would love to sign 5-star defensive back Tarvarus McFadden and 5-star receiver George Campbell, but Clemson is also in the mix for both of them.

    Seeing the Tigers celebrate the commitments of McFadden and Campbell on national signing day would surely irk head coach Jimbo Fisher.

8. Notre Dame: Not Landing Any 5-Star Recruits

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Notre Dame is one of the nation's top destinations for elite talent. It's never surprising to see the Irish sign multiple 5-star prospects in a class, but none are currently committed to play in South Bend.

    Head coach Brian Kelly has established himself as one of the nation's top recruiting head coaches, but he has yet to obtain a 5-star pledge.

    Failing to land at least one commitment from a group that includes defensive end Keisean Lucier-South, linebacker Justin Hilliard, cornerbacks Iman Marshall and Kendall Sheffield, receiver Tyron Johnson and defensive back Tarvarus McFadden would be awfully disappointing.

7. Tennessee: Losing out on Kahlil McKenzie and Torrance Gibson

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Perhaps the two biggest targets for Tennessee right now are 5-star quarterback Torrance Gibson and 5-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie.

    McKenzie's father, Reggie, played in Knoxville, while Gibson has the Volunteers high on his list. McKenzie is down to Tennessee and Arizona, with 247Sports saying a decision will be announced on July 10. 

    Gibson is also high on Auburn. It would be a nightmare on Rocky Top if both studs decided against being Vols.

6. South Carolina: Albert Huggins Chooses Clemson

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    USA TODAY Sports

    South Carolina has 18 commitments, with eight of them being 4-star prospects. Head coach Steve Spurrier has his eye on elite in-state defensive tackle Albert Huggins, who is 6'3" and 279 pounds.

    The 4-star prospect is a quick defensive lineman who can play inside and outside. Being from the Palmetto State, Huggins also has Clemson among his top schools, per 247Sports. It's safe to say The Ol' Ball Coach wouldn't be a fan of losing Huggins to Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.

5. Auburn: Failing to Land Any from the 5-Star Quartet of Uncommitted Targets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    With 16 commitments, Auburn has one of the best classes in the country. However, the Tigers are still in the mix for a number of high-end recruits, which means they could sign the No. 1 class in the nation.

    Among the top targets for the Tigers is a 5-star quartet that consists of defensive tackle Trent Thompson, offensive tackle Martez Ivey, quarterback Torrance Gibson and defensive tackle Daron Payne.

    While Auburn likely will not land all four, it could realistically land three of them. The Tigers would be shocked, however, if they failed to land any of them.

4. Penn State: Anything That Involves Losing James Franklin

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Penn State has the No. 4 class in the country, according to the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings. While the assistant coaches on staff pound the pavement, the key figure for the Nittany Lions' recruiting efforts is head coach James Franklin.

    A charismatic and passionate coach, Franklin knows how to charm and get through to recruits and their families. Any nightmare recruiting scenario that involves Penn State must include Franklin not being in Happy Valley.

3. Clemson: Losing 5-Star Offensive Tackle Mitch Hyatt's Commitment

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Among the reasons why Clemson is No. 3 in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings is because it has a pledge from 5-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt.

    From Georgia, Hyatt is one of the top overall talents in the 2015 class. THe 6'5.5", 271-pounder has great technique, plus he is a solid athlete who figures to develop into a starting left tackle for the Tigers.

    Head coach Dabo Swinney and his coaching staff hustled hard to earn a commitment from Hyatt, so losing him to another school would be a huge blow.

2. Texas A&M: Kyler Murray Changes His Mind

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    USA TODAY Sports

    With 17 commitments, Texas A&M has an outstanding recruiting class. The Aggies recently received a commitment from 5-star receiver Damarkus Lodge, plus they have several other big-time studs.

    However, the heart and soul of the class is 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray. The dual-threat passer is without question the central figure in Texas A&M's recruiting haul, as his presence and influence are a big reason why recruits are drawn to the Aggies.

    It would be a terrifying nightmare for head coach Kevin Sumlin if Murray decommitted, as the class could fall apart. 

    On May 29, Kemah Siverand, a 4-star receiver, told Taylor Hamm of Gigem247, “Honestly, Kyler’s decision did affect mine."

1. Alabama: Nick Saban Shockingly Retires

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The best recruiting class in the country belongs to Alabama, again. A total of 19 players have committed to play for the Crimson Tide, with 14 being 4-star recruits.

    The headliner of the group is 5-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick. 'Bama has a star-studded staff of assistant coaches who are elite recruiters, but the main attraction is head coach Nick Saban.

    A proven winner, Saban is also viewed as a coach who prepares his players to be professionals. A scenario of him abruptly retiring before national signing day sends chills down the spines of everyone in Tuscaloosa.

     

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