Power Ranking the Best Offensive Recruiting Classes of the Past Decade

Jason Figueiredo@sportschatterCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2011

Power Ranking the Best Offensive Recruiting Classes of the Past Decade

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    EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 24:  Tailback Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans looks on during a game against the Oregon Ducks on September 24, 2005 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. USC defeated Oregon 45-13.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    College football recruiting is a timeless art in which some coaches and programs excel, while other schools are forced to sift through the best of what's left.

    It is hardly a coincidence that the same schools rank close to the top in recruiting year in and year out. The USCs and Floridas of the world tend to have their choice of practically every five-star athlete on the board, building on the theory that these schools don't rebuild, but rather reload.

    Five-star recruits can show up on campus in various shapes, size, and positions, but the ones that tend to get the most press are those scoring the points on the offensive side of the ball.

    While fans tend to drool over the offensive playmakers the most, five-star offensive linemen also play their part in improving a program, and can make a huge difference whether an offense succeeds or stumbles.

    Let's take a look at the Top 10 offensive recruiting classes over the past 10 years and see which classes were head and shoulders above the rest.

10. USC – 2008

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 1:  Blake Ayles #89 of the USC Trojans lines up against the Washington Huskies on November 1, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 56-0.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 4

    Two offensive tackles (Tyron Smith and Matt Kalil), a tight end (Blake Ayles), and a wide receiver (D.J Shoemate) were all five-star recruits that topped USC’s class in 2008.

    Although these players were highly touted coming out of high school, they have yet to make a huge impact on a deep program like USC. Even so, four five-star recruits is better than most teams have come close to achieving, and this was probably one of USC’s weaker offensive classes.

9. Miami (FL) – 2002

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    CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 13:  Devin Hester #4 of the Miami Hurricanes carries the ball on a kickoff return as Jon Thompson #58 of the Virginia Cavaliers defends during the first half of the game on November 13, 2004 at David A. Harrison III Field at
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 4

    For those youngsters out there, Miami was one of the prominent recruiting programs in the 1990s, and this 2002 recruiting class was probably its last hurrah.

    Even this recruiting class did not pan out to be what scouts had predicted. Five-star wide receivers Ryan Moore and Akieem Jolla were thought to be sure things, but were anything but that. While Moore played all four years at Miami, Jolla eventually transferred to New Mexico State.

    The two other top offensive recruits that year were tight ends, Eric Winston and Curtis Justus. Winston would switch positions to offensive line, and has made a decent career with the Houston Texans at that spot. Justus fizzled out, only staying on Miami’s roster until his sophomore season.

    Although he was recruited as a cornerback, Devin Hester was also part of this class, and his offensive skills would be showcased during his time in Miami.

8. Oklahoma – 2010

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Blake Bell #10 the Oklahoma Sooners makes a gesture before the Sooners take on the Connecticut Huskies in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Pho
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 4

    Last year, Oklahoma had one of their best offensive recruiting classes in recent memory.

    Leading their recruit class was five-star quarterback Blake Bell. His quick release parlayed with his size and running ability has people in Oklahoma excited for the day that he takes over the reins of the offense from Landry Jones.

    Also involved in the Sooners' 2010 recruit class was running back Brennan Clay (who carried the ball 36 times for 127 yards as a freshman) and two potential-filled wide receivers in Kenny Stills and Justin McCay.  

7. Florida – 2006

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    NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators stands on the field during the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats at the Louisana Superdome on January 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/G
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 4

    Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow topped the names of offensive five-star recruits for Florida in 2006.

    Both players would leave unbelievable marks on the program before they were done in Gainesville, and are now moving forward to promising NFL careers.

    Rounding out Florida’s offensive five-star class in 2006 were wide receiver Jarred Fayson (who would eventually transfer to Illinois) and offensive lineman Carl Johnson (who will enter the NFL draft in the spring). 

6. USC – 2003

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 04:  Running back Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans carries the football past Aaron Harris #2 of the Texas Longhorns before fumbling the ball on the play in the second quarter during the BCS National Championship Rose Bowl Game on J
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 3

    Despite only signing three five-star recruits in 2003, this USC recruiting class jumps up the ladder thanks to Reggie Bush and Lendall White (who Scout.com considered to be four-star material).

    Although many people might not have known about those budding stars at the time, it would not take long before these two players quickly became household names.

    Also recruited in 2003 by USC were five-star quarterback John David Booty and wide receivers Steve Smith and Whitney Lewis. While Smith and Booty would start several games for the Trojans before they left for the pros, Lewis was something of a bust despite his five-star rating. 

5. USC – 2010

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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Robert Woods #13 of the USC Trojans runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 4

    Just last year, USC put together an offensive recruiting class that made almost every school across the nation envious.

    Robert Woods topped USC’s 2010 class and made an immediate impact last season, catching 65 passes for 792 yards and scoring six touchdowns.

    Five-star running back Dillon Baxter also made a splash in his freshman season at USC, rushing the ball 59 times for 252 yards.

    Wide receiver Kyle Prater and tight end Xavier Grimble were also considered five-star recruits in 2010 and are anxiously waiting for their turn on the USC roster.  

4. Florida – 2007

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Cameron Newton of the Florida Gators breaks a tackle during a  game against the FAU Owls at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 17, 2007 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 4

    Florida’s 2007 recruiting class boasted 10 overall five-star athletes, but probably the most notable name of the class was four-star recruit Cameron Newton. Although Newton would leave Florida, his offensive talent is undoubtedly the most remarkable when compared to the other offensive stars on the Gators recruiting list.

    Among the five-star recruits in this year were tight end Aaron Hernandez (currently playing for the New England Patriots), offensive guard James Wilson (expected to be a top-10 lineman taken in the 2012 NFL draft), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (led all Gators with 38 catches in 2010), and running back Chris Rainey.  

3. Florida State – 2002

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    TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 05:  Running back Lorenzo Booker #28 of the Florida State Seminoles avoids a tackle against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 5, 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State defeated Miami 10-7.  (Photo
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 5

    Florida State landed the most five-star prospects during the 2002 recruiting season, with the majority of the stars coming of the offensive side of the ball.

    Running back Lorenzo Booker led the recruit class and performed the best for the Seminoles out of these prospects, rushing for 2,056 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. Booker was eventually drafted by the Miami Dolphins and currently resides on the Minnesota Vikings roster.

    Other outstanding high school stars that Florida State landed that year were wide receivers Dishon Platt, Chauncey Stovall, and Chris Davis, and tight end Lonnie Davis. Neither would ever truly reach their five-star potential.    

2. Ohio State – 2008

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the football as he avoids a tackle by Isaac Madison #6 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first quarter during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on Janua
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 5

    Terrelle Pryor was considered by practically every scout in the nation to be the No. 1 quarterback coming out of high school in 2008, and Ohio State used everything in its power to land the heavily sought after recruit.

    Besides Pryor, the Buckeyes also gathered three five-star offensive line players (Michael Brewster, Mike Adams, and J.B. Shaugarts) to protect their quarterback of the future and also provided him with a solid weapon in wide receiver DeVier Posey.  

1. USC – 2007

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Joe McKnight #4 of the USC Trojans celebrates his touchdown against the Stanford Cardinals during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Ge
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Number of 5-Star Offensive Recruits (according to Scout.com): 5

    In 2007, USC landed 10 five-star recruits, with half of them coming on offense.

    Joe McKnight was thought to be the No. 1 running back in the nation, and once he hit the field, he rarely disappointed. In his three years at USC, McKnight would rush for 2,213 yards and score 13 touchdowns.

    Running back Marc Tyler also joined USC that season, as well as offensive linemen Kristofer O’Dowd (expected to be one of the top linemen taken in this year’s draft) and Martin Coleman, and oft-injured quarterback Aaron Corp