2017 American Athletic Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings
How did the American Athletic teams stack up with their respective recruiting classes? Who had the strongest-looking haul of talent, and who struggled a bit?
2017 American Athletic Recruiting Class Rankings
So how do the 2017 American Athletic recruiting classes stack up? Here’s how the rankings are figured out.
1) Bulk. Who gets the most talent? Sometimes, getting lots of good prospects is better than getting a few great ones.
2) Superstars. Yeah, getting the elite guys matters. Who got the supposedly best players?
3) The needs and hole filling. How do the programs manage to do what’s needed to get their types of players, at least compared to the others in the conference?
12. South Florida Bulls
It’s been a rough recruiting run, with Charlie Strong having to come in late in the process and do what he can. He’s getting in a few wide receivers – Randall St. Felix should be a good one – and CB Nick Roberts and DE Darrien Grant are interesting prospects to start with, but this year is a wash. 2018 will have to be huge.
11. Temple Owls
It was going to be a tough recruiting season no matter what after losing Matt Rhule, and it turned out to be particularly tough. The offensive side got the best players with RB Gary Brightwell the top prospect, while QB Todd Centeio and TE Griffin Sestili good options for down the road. The Owls have been able to get by without top talents, but next year’s class has to rock.
10. Connecticut Huskies
Randy Edsall had absolutely no time to work, but UConn has never recruited at a high level. QB David Pindall might turn out to be the main man a few years from now if all goes well, but defensive backs Brayden Brown and Ian Swenson could be the real gems. Again, as it is with USF and Temple, the new coach thing was an issue – but last year’s class was mediocre, too.
9. SMU Mustangs
It’s a top-heavy class that leans almost all on the offensive side. JUCO transfer D.J. Gillins and prep option Austin Upshaw are the key quarterbacks coming in, and Kayce Medlock is a smallish, quick back who should fit nicely. The stars, though, are on the O line, with Alan Ali is potentially the best of the bunch. It’s strength-in-numbers on the D line.
8. Tulane Green Wave
Did head coach Willie Fritz get the guys he needed to run his style of attack? Not even a little bit. The running game was almost totally ignored as Fritz went wild on receivers. He and his staff cranked up the pitch for a ton of big, long pass catchers, with 6-3, 210-pound Khalil McClain the best new option, and JUCO transfer Jabril Clewis and QB Jonathan Banks for the right now.
7. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
It’s an okay class, but Tulsa succeeds without the top-shelf talents – at least compared to the rest of the American Athletic Conference. The secondary gets most of the defensive help, with Marcus Mays and Daiquain Jackson the best prospects, but the biggest stars are on the offensive side. The receiving corps is loaded, while Shamari Brooks looks like a good back for the near future. LB Michael Scott is the best of the defensive lot.
6. Navy Midshipmen
It’s Navy, so it’s a different world when it comes to recruiting and amassing talent. Football is just a small part of the process to getting to Annapolis, but that doesn’t mean the place doesn’t want great players. A few are coming in, led by – shockingly, considering the offense – WR Mychal Cooper, a big target out of Texas for the attack, while LB Diego Fagot and DE Jackson Perkins are the key players for the other side.
5. East Carolina Pirates
The Pirates needed a strong class after an okay haul last year, and it got it. The receiving corps got a few terrific targets in Jayden Borders and Leroy Henley, while the defense came up with a terrific class, especially for the linebacking corps. JUCO transfer Tyree Owens is a big body to help out now on the defensive front, while Taijh Alston is a promising pass rusher for down the road.
4. Houston Cougars
After rocking on the recruiting trail last year, there was bound to be a step back with Tom Herman gone. Major Applewhite did an okay job, but it wasn’t a special class outside of DE Bryan Jones as the leader of the defensive front, and QB Bryson Smith is a smallish, but good get for the O. Jones and the defensive ends are the strength.
3. UCF Knights
Scott Frost loaded up on the defensive front, especially on the ends with Jeremiah Zio and Gabriel Luyanda the best of the bunch. JUCO transfer Otis Anderson was a key get to get into the backfield right away, and Emmanuel Greene should see time right away at one receiver spot in a promising overall class.
2. Cincinnati Bearcats
There might not be any special players, but there are plenty of really good ones in a deep class in Luke Fickell’s first run. It wasn’t all about local Ohio players, but this class got its best players from in the state, keeping the versatile Jarell White at home and safety R.J. Potts a terrific prospect. By far, the defensive backs are the strength of the class, along with a good get in 315-pound DT Ben Hutch.
1. Memphis Tigers
Mike Norvell is hitting his stride in his second year at the helm. He came up with a big class with a little something for everywhere. OT Obinna Eze might be the top recruit by and American Athletic Conference team, but TE Nick Robinson isn’t all that far behind and CB T.J. Carter will be a strong starter early on. A few years from now – helped by Carter – the secondary should be the strength of the class.