6 Teams Heavily Recruiting 2015 JUCO Prospects
While recruiting at the prep level is the backbone of every college football program, a handful of teams rely on supplementing their roster with potential instant impact players from the JUCO ranks.
Nick Saban has made a habit of scouring the JUCO scene in search of filling an immediate hole, while Bill Snyder at Kansas State University has built his program largely off importing JUCO players and plugging them in right away.
Additionally, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn has found instant success with each of the last two JUCO quarterbacks—2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and current preseason All-SEC selection Nick Marshall—he’s brought to the Plains.
Which programs are actively targeting JUCO prospects in the 2015 cycle?
6. Mississippi State
Top Commit: 4-star WR Donald Gray
With Mississippi having one of the most competitive JUCO leagues in the country, Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are one of the prime beneficiaries of that talent pool due to proximity.
Of their 27 pledges, the Bulldogs landed 4-star wideout Donald Gray and 3-star defensive end Johnathan Calvin out of the JUCO ranks.
Mullen and his staff have also offered 3-star offensive tackle Jamal Danley and appear to be in a good position with the 6’5”, 310-pounder.
With a roster filled with upperclassmen, look for the Bulldogs to continue to be active on the JUCO trail in search of players who can step in and contribute from the moment they arrive on campus.
Top Commit: 5-star RB Jovon Robinson
The Tigers’ last two recruiting classes were highlighted by impact newcomers from the JUCO level. Marshall took the SEC by storm in 2013, and the Tigers are expecting big things from receiver D’haquille Williams and safety Derrick Moncrief this fall.
Malzahn has once again found success on the JUCO recruiting trail for the 2015 class.
The Tigers, who currently have the nation’s No. 9 class, have commits from three of the nation’s top 15 JUCO prospects—including the nation’s top JUCO player in 5-star running back Jovon Robinson.
Corner Tony Bridges and athlete Jason Smith are 4-star talents who are candidates to see the field as soon as they arrive on the Plains next year.
With three elite talents headed to Auburn, the Tigers arguably have the nation’s top collection of JUCO talent assembled in the 2015 cycle.
Top Commit: 3-star OT DeVondre Seymour
Buoyed by some new additions to his staff, Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs have put together a strong class that’s currently ranked No. 3 in the country.
Richt has hit the JUCO circuit and added 3-star offensive tackle DeVondre Seymour and 3-star running back Chris Carson—both of whom played their high school ball in the state of Georgia. Defensive end Quincy Vasser is another 3-star commit who is expected to make his mark as part of a loaded group of defensive linemen headed to Athens.
Additionally, the Bulldogs seem to be in great shape to land 4-star corner Dante Shipman—who will visit Athens for the Bulldogs’ season opener against Clemson this weekend.
Top Commit: 3-star RB Kendall Williams
Rich Rodriguez has often found his niche by recruiting players who fly under the radar and turning them into stars.
The Wildcats have hit the JUCO trail hard, with four of their 22 commitments hailing from JUCO standouts.
The headliner of the group is 3-star running back Kendall Williams, who is ranked as the fifth-best rusher in the 2015 JUCO class.
Williams will be joined in Tucson by Arizona Western College teammates and 3-star running back Dami Ayoola and 3-star safety Paul Magloire. Another intriguing prospect is 3-star defensive back Dane Cruikshank, who offers great size (6’2”, 190 pounds) and versatility to play either corner or safety.
2. South Carolina
Top Commit: 4-star DE Marquavius Lewis
One of the more pleasant surprises thus far in the 2015 cycle is the emergence of Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks.
Spurrier and his staff have put together a class currently rated No. 4 in the nation—thanks in part to a trio of JUCO imports who are all ranked among the nation’s top 25 JUCO recruits.
The Gamecocks also landed 4-star offensive tackle Paris Palmer, who could fight for a starting spot on a line that is losing three starters after this season.
Defensive ends Marquavius Lewis and Dante Sawyer and linebacker Davon Durant will give Gamecocks defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward some experienced talent to work with next season.
Additionally, the Gamecocks are one of a handful of teams that are trying to flip Florida State defensive tackle commitment D.J. Jones.
Top Commit: 3-star WR Cory Butler
Other Commits/Targets: 3-star CB Michael Mathis (commit), 3-star S L.B. Bates (commit), 3-star OL Will Smith (commit), 2-star OL DeLonte Murray (commit), 2-star WR Raeshawn Lee (commit), 2-star OL Jarek Smalley (commit), 2-star DT Jacky Dezir (commit)
For a program that has won just nine games in the last four years, it’s clear that Kansas is in need of players who can make a quick transition to the college level.
The Jayhawks’ top JUCO import in this class is 3-star wideout Cory Butler, who was previously committed to Utah.
Four of the eight JUCO commits will line up in the trenches, either on the offensive or defensive lines.
With a desperate need of a talent injection, no team has hit the JUCO circuit harder in the 2015 cycle than Kansas.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.