College Football 2011: Top 8 Recruiting Class Busts of the Last 10 Years
Have you ever seen your school sign a top-tier college football class one year that gets you stoked for the next recruiting cycle, then when signing day comes, your favorite program is nowhere to be found?
Well you're not the only one. It happens to every program. But some drop-offs and letdowns have been way more apparent and head-scratching than others.
Recruiting is a roller coaster, and if your program is in the middle of a solid year-to-year run, enjoy it—soon enough they'll be on this list too.
8. North Carolina, 2009-2010
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In 2009, the Tar Heels had a top-10 class and signed 29 recruits. Butch Davis was on the road back to restocking talent in Chapel Hill like he did in Coral Gables.
Donte Moss was the headliner, and Kevin Reddick was also in this class.
But in 2010, North Carolina finished with a 31st-ranked class, according to Scout.com. They did get five-star OT James Hurst, but not much was thought of UNC's 2010 recruiting effort.
7. Texas Tech, 2004-2005
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Listen, Texas Tech is not a juggernaut per se on the trail—Red Raider fans, you know I'm right.
But recently, the Lubbock Legends have been in the mix for some prime recruits.
In 2004, Mike Leach signed a top-20 class, a rare feat for Texas Tech. 26 players made up the class, headlined by Graham Harrell and Danny Amendola. Lubbock was buzzing with hopes of Texas Tech becoming more prominent on the trail.
Then 2005 came, and things went back to normal, meaning the Red Raiders were out of the top 25 recruiting rankings.
6. Baylor, 2002-2003
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Baylor is similar to Texas Tech, as the Bears usually are forced to take the leftovers from Texas and Texas A&M around the state. Baylor hasn't had much success on the field nor in recruiting, but things were looking up in 2002.
The school signed a 25-man class with five-star junior college RB Rashad Armstrong as the headliner; 10 other recruits were rated four-stars.
Then 2003 came. Boy oh boy. Scout.com had Baylor ranked barely in the top 50 at 47th overall, and no player was rated higher than three-stars.
5. Miami, 2008-2009
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Some claim Miami had the top class in 2008. They didn't.
Alabama did, then Notre Dame, then the Canes. But Miami was on its way back to the dominant recruiting days of the 1980's, 1990's and early 2000's.
Arthur Brown, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston and Brandon Harris were just some of the promising then-new Hurricane recruits.
Randy Shannon couldn't keep the train moving in 2009 though. Ray Ray Armstrong was the headliner from this class, and no five-star signed with The U.
4. Penn State, 2010-2011
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Penn State is one of the staple programs in the sport and home to the staple coach of college football—Joe Paterno. Paterno is a tradition in himself and is one of the faces of college football.
The Nittany Lions don't really dominate in recruiting, and I really don't know why. But in 2010, JoePa signed a top-10 class with Mike Hull, Silas Redd and Paul Jones as the headliners.
But in 2011, PSU was just 34th nationally and suffered a huge drop-off.
3. UCLA, 2009-2011
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In both 2009 and 2010, the Bruins had top classes. In fact, Scout.com gave the 2010 Bruins recruiting class a top-five ranking.
Westwood was brimming with confidence, Rick Neuheisel was talking smack about USC and the feeling was that the Bruins were on their way back.
But both classes have been generally unproductive; star WR/TE recruit Morrell Presley has transferred out, and Richard Brehaut is in the middle of a three-headed QB battle.
Then in 2011, a recruiting apocalypse happened. The Bruins class was nowhere to be found. Sure, they signed Brent Hundley, but the class was awful and ranked as one of the very worst in the Pac-12.
Surely, the Bruins' 2012 class will be much better.
2. Iowa, 2005-2006
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Kirk Ferentz is one of the good guys in college football, and Iowa is one of the more consistent programs in the country. They are not a sexy name on the trail, but they really evaluate well and go after players who fit their mold.
In 2005, Iowa signed the top TE in the country by the name of Tony Moeaki, and two five-star offensive linemen in Dace Richardson and Dan Doering to land a top 10 recruiting class.
Hawkeyes fans thought, "Next year, we take over the recruiting trail—then, the world."
Next year, meaning 2006, Iowa signed the 40th-ranked class and fell short of their recruiting—and perhaps world domination—goal.
1. Ohio State, 2009-2010
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In 2009, Ohio State signed the No. 1-ranked recruiting class, according to many around the country. Jim Tressel was back at it again, cleaning up on the trail with players like Marcus Hall, Johnny Simon, Melvin Fellows, Dorian Bell and Carlos Hyde.
No. 1. The best. Tops. Recruiting champs for 2009. That's what the Buckeyes were.
So the next year should have been a great year too, right?
The Buckeyes suffered a big year-to-year letdown and went from having the top-ranked class in 2009 to just 20th in 2010, according to Scout.com.