Winners and Losers from the Recruiting Trail for the Month of July

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJuly 31, 2014

Winners and Losers from the Recruiting Trail for the Month of July

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    July is over, which also signals another month of college football recruiting has concluded. Although July Fourth is a great day of celebration, several schools had fireworks go off at other various times of the month.

    Other programs are happy to see August has arrived, as they took some lumps on the recruiting trail in July. Clemson and USC scored a few key commitments, while Northwestern and Notre Dame saw key prospects opt against joining them.

    Plus, July was a big month of recruiting news for Ohio State.

Winner: Miami

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    Miami picked up five commitments in July, but the biggest pledge without question came from 4-star running back Jordan Scarlett.

    A top-tier prospect, Scarlett is a big-time runner who has a great combination of strength and speed. The 5'11", 210-pounder gave an early commitment to Florida Atlantic late last year, but he backed off that pledge several weeks ago.

    Scarlett is the undisputed headliner of the Hurricanes' 2015 class.

Loser: Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame did get two commitments in July, including one from 4-star pass-catcher Miles Boykin. However, losing out on 4-star quarterback Travis Waller to Oregon will sting.

    The California dual-threat passer announced for the Ducks on July 1. After losing the pledge of 5-star quarterback Blake Barnett to Alabama, the Irish made Waller a big priority.

    However, head coach Brian Kelly couldn't reel him in and now could very well not sign a quarterback in this class. 

Winner: Clemson

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    Clemson is enjoying a fantastic 2015 recruiting cycle, as the Tigers' class is No. 3 in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings.

    The team got a pair of boosts in July when 4-star athlete Ray-Ray McCloud III and 4-star defensive lineman Austin Bryant announced they would play at Clemson. Head coach Dabo Swinney must be smiling ear to ear, as this could shape up to be his best recruiting class at Clemson.

Winner: Florida State

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    Another ACC team that July was kind to is Florida State. The defending national champions secured four commitments during the month, and all of them were from 4-star recruits.

    Things got started on July 20 when 4-star JUCO defensive tackle D.J. Jones committed to the Seminoles, which was two days before 4-star offensive tackle Abdul Bello announced he was headed to Tallahassee.

    However, the big day was July 31. That is when the 'Noles landed both 4-star quarterback Deondre Francois and 4-star athlete Kai Locksley

    Sure, head coach Jimbo Fisher lost 4-star receiver and Tallahassee native John Burt to Texas, but July wasn't bad at all for him and his program. 

Loser: Northwestern

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    Northwestern has a solid recruiting class in the works, as its group is No. 29 in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings

    However, head coach Pat Fitzgerald's recruiting efforts took a one-two combination on the chin in July. The Wildcats saw the Dowell twins decommit and re-open their recruitment. David Dowell, a 4-star safety, and 4-star running back Andrew Dowell are twin brothers from Ohio who would shock a lot of people if they didn't sign with the same school.

    Northwestern thought it would indeed be that school, but the talented Dowells are now thinking otherwise.

Winner: Tennessee

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    Tennessee head coach Butch Jones got four commitments in July. He's surely happy to have recruits such as 3-star defensive tackle Chance Hall, 3-star cornerback Darrell Miller and 3-star defensive end Marques Ford in the fold.

    However, the commitment that has to fire up Jones the most is 5-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie. At 6'4" and 341 pounds, McKenzie has rare size, quickness, strength and agility. He could be special and dominant in Knoxville.

Winner: USC

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    July was also a big month of recruiting for USC. The Trojans added five new players to their 2015 recruiting class, including two 4-star recruits in cornerback Isaiah Langley and receiver Desean Holmes.

    Perhaps the most intriguing commitment was from emerging 3-star dual-threat quarterback Sam Darnold on July 18.

    Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff also picked up a pledge from 4-star 2016 linebacker Daelin Hayes on July 26. 

Winner: Ohio State

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    Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will welcome 3-star tight end Josh Moore and 3-star defensive end Joshua Alabi with much enthusiasm to his program.

    However, Meyer is probably a little more excited about the news he got on July 2. That is when 5-star linebacker Justin Hilliard and 4-star defensive end Jashon Cornell both committed to Ohio State.

    Hilliard is an athletic linebacker who is 6'2" and 230 pounds, while Cornell can play defensive end and defensive tackle at 6'4" and 260 pounds. 

    The Buckeyes did lose out on 4-star athlete Jerome Baker to Florida, but they also are back to being major players for 5-star athlete/quarterback Torrance Gibson

    Gibson told the following to Marc Givler of (subscription required) on July 25: "A lot of Ohio State fans are going to be happy when I update (his list of top schools). I don't want to release it yet but Ohio State fans are going to be really happy." 

Loser: Florida

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    Florida got a commitment from 4-star athlete Jerome Baker in July, but not all news was good for the Gators during the month.

    Marcus Lewis, a 4-star defensive back, decommitted from UF on July 28. Another top target, 4-star athlete Ray-Ray McCloud III, committed to Clemson on the same day Lewis left the Gators' recruiting class.

    Plus, 5-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey, perhaps Florida's No. 1 target, now has Auburn as a "co-leader" with Florida, according to Wesley Sinor of 

Winner: Alabama

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    Alabama saw two of its commitments in quarterback Blake Barnett and receiver Calvin Ridley get bumped up to 5-star status in July.

    The Crimson Tide also picked up three new pledges, and all of them are 4-star recruits. Guard Brandon Kennedy committed to 'Bama on July 18, while 4-star safety Ronnie Harrison pledged on July 29.

    Alabama also took 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw from SEC rival Georgia on July 31. With 21 commitments, head coach Nick Saban has the No. 1 class in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings


    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.