Every Top 25 Team's Best Recruiting Sales Pitch to Their Top 2015 Target

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJuly 16, 2014

Every Top 25 Team's Best Recruiting Sales Pitch to Their Top 2015 Target

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A great deal of recruiting boils down to what exactly is a team's sales pitch to a recruit. Some programs tell a prospect all he wants to hear to get him to come to their school, while others take a more honest approach.

    No matter what the sales pitch is, every program in the final AP Top 25 poll from last season has something they're trying to sell their top 2015 recruiting target on.

    Auburn is selling a 5-star defensive tackle on the chance to join a family-oriented program. Clemson is pitching a 5-star receiver on the idea of joining his close friend in college, while Baylor is trying to convince a 5-star linebacker to stay in his state and be the cornerstone of its defense.

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

25. Washington

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Top Target: Joseph Wicker, DT

    Sales Pitch: Get out of Los Angeles and come here to focus on getting better as a player and getting a degree.

    A 4-star defensive tackle from California, Joseph Wicker is a wanted man in Seattle. Washington would love for him to bring his 6'4", 255-pound frame to U-Dub to become a star in the Pac-12.

    The Huskies have to be selling Wicker on a combination of potential early playing time, while getting out of the Los Angeles area to focus solely on football and academics.


24. Vanderbilt

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Top Target: Canton Kaumatule, DL

    Sales Pitch: Even though we're far from home, we're in the SEC and you will play immediately. We also offer a fantastic academic experience.

    Vanderbilt got a recent commitment from 4-star linebacker and top target Josh Smith, so its next top-tier uncommitted prospect is Canton Kaumatule.

    The 4-star defensive end is from Hawaii, but Vandy must pitch him on the fact he can play early in Nashville, while competing in the mighty SEC. It also doesn't hurt that Vanderbilt has a terrific academic reputation.

23. Duke

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Top Target: Rashad Roundtree, S

    Sales Pitch: We've wanted you for years. This isn't the Duke program of old. We're building something special here. Aside from getting a wonderful degree, we believe you will be a pillar for our program going forward.

    Duke has been on 4-star safety Rashad Roundtree basically from the start. The Georgia native is a talented safety who works with good athleticism and instincts at 6'1" and 195 pounds.

    While the Blue Devils face an uphill battle for him, they're likely pitching an upstart feel to their program to go along with the combination of early playing time and great academics.

22. Wisconsin

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Top Target: Osa Masina, LB

    Sales Pitch: Our program is led by a defensive-minded head coach who runs a scheme perfect for your skills. 

    Wisconsin is still in the sweepstakes for Osa Masina, a 4-star linebacker from Utah. At 6'4" and 230 pounds, Masina likely fits best as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

    The Badgers run their fair share of 3-4 alignments under head coach Gary Andersen, which makes Masina a prime fit for their scheme.

21. Arizona State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Top Target: Christian Kirk, WR

    Sales Pitch: This is home for you. Your family and friends can see you play. Plus, we run an offense that you can definitely excel in right off the bat.

    While it is going to be hard for Arizona State to keep 4-star receiver Christian Kirk home, he is the prime prospect for the Sun Devils.

    Head coach Todd Graham must make sure Kirk knows the environment in Tempe is not as foreign to Kirk as it would be at his other options. Early playing time must also be mentioned, and it's not like ASU runs the ball every down.

20. Notre Dame

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Top Target: Keisean Lucier-South, DE

    Sales Pitch: Our tradition is among the best in sports. We provide a great academic experience, fantastic long-term exposure and our defensive scheme will be great for you.

    Notre Dame would love to sign 5-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South, as the California native would be able to play some outside linebacker when the Irish line up in a 3-4 alignment.

    Head coach Brian Kelly also is surely selling him on Notre Dame's mystique, history and tradition. The Irish also offer a great degree, as well as endless connections after football.

19. USC

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Iman Marshall, CB

    Sales Pitch: We're on our way back to glory, and we plan for you to play a pivotal role in helping us get there. You'll be right at home, plus you could come in and play right away. Finally, our NFL pedigree is well known.

    Iman Marshall is a 5-star cornerback who may be the best player at his position in the country. He has ideal size at 6'1" and 190 pounds, plus he's a physical corner with outstanding instincts.

    He plays a position of need for the Trojans, who have an upstart disposition these days. Marshall could help his local school return to glory before leaving for the NFL.

18. Texas A&M

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Top Target: Kendall Sheffield, CB

    Sales Pitch: We need help on defense, and you figure to play here immediately. No other school can offer you the chance to play inside your state and play in the SEC.

    Texas A&M has a ton of talent in its program, but the Aggies need help on defense. That's where 5-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield comes into play.

    Texas A&M can not only sell the Texas native on early playing time, but it also can pitch him the idea of balling in the SEC while still living in the Lone Star State.

17. Oklahoma State

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    Top Target: Carlos Strickland, WR

    Sales Pitch: We run one of the most receiver-friendly offenses in the game today. You'll catch a ton of balls here, plus you will not be too far from home.

    Hailing from Dallas, 4-star receiver Carlos Strickland has fantastic size at 6'5" and 194 pounds. Oklahoma State operates a pass-heavy spread offense, where a talented receiver like the Texas native could put up exceptional numbers.

    The pitch of heading just a few hours north of Dallas to catch a ton of passes in Stillwater has to intrigue Strickland.

16. UCLA

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Top Target: Keisean Lucier-South, DE/OLB

    Sales Pitch: Stay in Los Angeles, we'll make you better than Anthony Barr.

    UCLA's top overall target was 5-star quarterback Josh Rosen, but he's already sold on the Bruins. Next is 5-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South, who is from the Los Angeles area.

    Lucier-South has a ton of similarities to former defensive end Anthony Barr, and the Minnesota Vikings' 2014 first-round pick is surely part of UCLA's sales pitch to the prep pass-rusher. 

15. Louisville

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Top Target: Josh Wariboko, OL

    Sales Pitch: Head coach Bobby Petrino is one of the best play-callers in the game. Playing for him will help prepare you for the NFL, plus you could compete for a starting role immediately.

    A former Oklahoma pledge, Josh Wariboko is a 4-star offensive lineman who is 6'3.5" and 319 pounds. Louisville has head coach Bobby Petrino back at the helm and his offensive intelligence is among the best in the sport.

    Wariboko would play in a system that helps prepare him for the NFL, plus he could be the team's most talented blocker by the end of his freshman season.

14. LSU

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    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    Top Target: Tarvarus McFadden, DB

    Sales Pitch: We groom defensive backs like you to become first-round NFL draft picks. If you want to face the best competition, you'll sign with us to play in the SEC in front of a sea of intense fans.

    At 6'3" and 198 pounds, 5-star prospect Tarvarus McFadden looks more like a linebacker than a cornerback on the hoof. The Florida native can also play safety at a high level.

    LSU has had a great recent run of defensive backs who have gone on to have NFL success. Players like Arizona Cardinals defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu initially come to mind. 

    Selling McFadden on being groomed like they were, along with LSU's laid-back atmosphere are just the beginning of a great sales pitch the Tigers can make to the Florida native.

13. Baylor

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Top Target: Malik Jefferson, LB

    Sales Pitch: We're a program on the rise that is just about 1.5 hours away from you. You could come here and immediately become stalwart for our defense and our program.

    Baylor, like many schools, has the hots for 5-star linebacker Malik Jefferson. The Texas native is an athletic marvel who also plays with tremendous awareness and instincts.

    The Bears are not known for their defensive prowess, so selling Jefferson on coming there could be tough. However, they're not far from his home in Mesquite, plus head coach Art Briles is just getting started in Waco.

12. Ohio State

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Josh Sweat, DE

    Sales Pitch: We win here. You're a great fit for our hybrid defensive scheme, you'll be coached well and we'll get you to the NFL.

    At 6'4.5" and 240 pounds, 5-star defensive end Josh Sweat has a bright future. His athleticism and quickness are rare for his position, which is why many schools are after him.

    Ohio State must mention the fact that it is led by a proven winner in head coach Urban Meyer, to go along with its rich history as a program. The Buckeyes likely would use Sweat in a similar role as current defensive end Noah Spence, which the Virginia native is a nice fit for.

11. Stanford

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Canton Kaumatule, DL

    Sales Pitch: Come play with your brother, and be on a defense that best suits your skills. We win often, plus our academic reputation is as good as any in the country.

    A Hawaii native, 4-star defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule is the younger brother of Stanford tight end Luke Kaumatule. Family ties likely are being mentioned at a frequent rate by the Cardinal's coaches, along with the fact they run a 3-4 scheme Kaumatule is a perfect fit for as a defensive end.

    It also is a help that Stanford has fantastic academics.

10. UCF

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: George Campbell, WR

    Sales Pitch: Your close friend is here, and he's also a quarterback. You two could lead us to glory early in your careers, plus we're not far from home.

    It's a long shot, but UCF is trying to convince 5-star receiver George Campbell to sign up to be a Knight. Campbell is friends with current quarterback Pete DiNovo, per Ryan Bass of Knights247.

    Campbell likely would be an immediate starter at UCF, as the Knights will lose several receivers after this fall.

    Campbell told the following to Bass on May 7: 

    "I see what they're doing. They're on a roll. It's an up-and-coming program."

9. Oregon

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Byron Cowart, DE

    Sales Pitch: We play an exciting brand of football in a loud stadium. Our facilities are exceptional, plus Nike's presence around our program can award you prominent long-term connections.

    A 5-star defensive end, Byron Cowart is a Florida native who Oregon is trying to pry out of the Sunshine State. It will not be an easy task, but the Ducks have a shot.

    Selling Cowart on the chance to get away from home to head west to a campus with remarkable facilities is part of Oregon's pitch. They also play in a stadium that's hard for opposing teams to play in, and their brand of football is based on speed.

8. Clemson

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: George Campbell, WR

    Sales Pitch: We run an offense that throws the ball often, plus your friend is already here waiting on you. Our program resides in a small town that is supported by family-oriented people who'll help you grow as a player and person.

    George Campbell is close with incoming Clemson receiver Artavis Scott, per Mike Singer of InsidetheGators.com (subscription required).

    The Tigers have to be pitching the idea of Campbell forming a fierce tandem with Scott, with quarterback Deshaun Watson tossing them the ball. Head coach Dabo Swinney is also likely selling the 5-star Florida receiver on the family feel of his program and community.

7. Alabama

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Daron Payne, DL

    Sales Pitch: Stay in-state where you belong. We win all the time, and you'll be prepared for the NFL in all facets of our program.

    While Auburn poses a threat, Alabama is hunting 5-star defensive lineman Daron Payne hard. Payne's powerful 6'2", 348-pound frame is a perfect fit to play nose tackle or end in the Crimson Tide's base 3-4 scheme.

    Alabama is viewed by many as an NFL factory, plus it has won three national championships under head coach Nick Saban. There's not much selling 'Bama has to do.

6. Oklahoma

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Jalin Barnett, OL 

    Sales Pitch: We're your in-state school you grew up watching win. Our history of winning, along with stability will put you in the best position to succeed.

    Jalin Barnett is a 4-star guard who deserves an extra star by his name. The 6'4", 315-pounder is dominant at the point of attack, and he'd bring more power and strength to Oklahoma's offensive front.

    Head coach Bob Stoops is a stable coach who has won often in Norman. Stability and the in-state card are likely playing a big role in Stoops' pitch to Barnett. 

5. Missouri

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Terry Beckner Jr., DL

    Sales Pitch: We're on the rise in the SEC, where you'll face NFL-caliber competition. Plus, we're not far from home.

    Missouri is all in for 5-star defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr.. A part of the Tigers' pitch to the Illinois native has to center around their SEC membership. Another big piece also should feature Mizzou's solid trend of producing defensive linemen for the NFL.

    From East St. Louis, Beckner is still somewhat of a local prospect for head coach Gary Pinkel.

4. South Carolina

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Albert Huggins, DL

    Sales Pitch: If you desire to play in the SEC, we can give you that while also keeping you inside your own state. We've won a lot of games here, plus we know how important it is to develop defensive linemen.

    At 6'3" and 279 pounds, Albert Huggins is a 4-star defensive lineman who can play end and tackle. The Palmetto State native is wanted badly in Columbia by South Carolina.

    The Gamecocks' ability to offer Huggins a chance to become a star in the SEC inside his home state can not be offered by anyone else.

3. Michigan State

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top Target: Brian Cole, ATH

    Sales Pitch: We need more speed and playmaking ability on offense. You can provide that for us immediately while doing so in front of all of your family and friends.

    From Saginaw, 4-star athlete Brian Cole is one of the top players in the state of Michigan. At 6'2" and 190 pounds, he can make dazzling plays as a running back or receiver.

    Michigan State plays a tough and physical brand of football, but the Spartans could use more speed and electricity on offense. Pitching Cole on his ability to provide a jolt for an in-state school has to be the main part of their plan.

2. Auburn

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Top target: Trent Thompson, DT

    Sales Pitch: We're on our way to taking over the SEC all around, and you could be the player that gets us there. Early playing time is available, plus our program and community make up one big family.

    Auburn is hot after 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson. The 6'4", 292-pound Georgia native is likely being sold on the family atmosphere at Auburn, along with the chance to be the face of the program's push to become the "it" team in the SEC.

    Defensive line coach Rodney Garner is one of the best in the business, plus Auburn is fresh off an appearance in the national championship game.

1. Florida State

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Top Target: Josh Sweat, DE

    Sales Pitch: We just won the first of what is going to be many national championships under our head coach. Our roster is loaded with talent, plus we'll get you to the NFL.

    Josh Sweat may be the closest thing to Jadeveon Clowney since Clowney himself. The Virginia native is an excellent prospect who still has a ton of potential.

    Florida State has done a solid job through the years of putting defensive linemen into the NFL. The Seminoles are set to win big for the next several years, and Sweat would be among their top players going forward.

    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.