2017 Sun Belt Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings
How did the Sun Belt teams stack up with their respective recruiting classes? Who had the strongest-looking haul of talent, and who struggled a bit?
2017 Sun Belt Recruiting Class Rankings
So how do the 2017 Sun Belt 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. Idaho Vandals
It’s not a big class, with the program going down to the FCS world next year. Even so, the Vandals came up with a few interesting players in Wyror Noil, a versatile option who could end up at receiver, and a decent guard in Ben Holmes who could be ready now.
11. New Mexico State Aggies
It’s sort of hard to build for the future when there’s so much uncertainty. Even so, the Aggies are once again going to try winning now, loading up with JUCO transfers starting with DE Tre Randle for a defense that got a slew of reinforcements. Jeremy Hodge was a surprisingly good get either at receiver or corner, while Josh Adkins is the quarterback of the future – whatever that is.
10. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
It’s going to be a little while to put it all together, but there are some actual good talents coming in to help kick off life in the FBS. Octavius Pringle is the defensive tackle to build the line around, while the offensive side will work around Jack Franklin and Seth Harrell – a few 300-pounders who might get thrown to the wolves early on. Granted, the program is going after live bodies, but there are real, live players for the foundation.
9. South Alabama Jaguars
The Jaguars went big on the JUCO ranks last season, and now it’s about building up front the high school side, starting with – arguably – the Sun Belt’s best linebacker recruit, Kendric Haynes. Throw into the mix defensive backs WyDale Flott and A.J. Deshazor, and the foundation is there for the future of the D. The running backs are the key parts of the O.
8. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
The Ragin’ Cajuns brought in the JUCO transfers with TE Chase Rogers a good prospect to throw into the offensive mix right now, and Michael Sam and Julius Perkins two good-sized defensive backs. The offense didn’t get enough help, though, and it didn’t in last year’s class, either.
7. Georgia Southern Eagles
The Eagles came up with one of the Sun Belt’s best recruiting classes last year, and this time around they didn’t come up with anything quite as big or as good. LB Tre Allen is the star of the defensive side – with the linebackers the best position get – and Grant Walker is the slippery back to help restock the shelves of an offense that loses most of the rushing production.
6. Georgia State Panthers
Can Jack Walker be the quarterback of the near future? The success of the class probably depends on his development, while the 6-9 Connor Robbins is one of the Sun Belt’s best-looking new tackles. Defensive back is the key position, with safety Jay Jones the most talented of the new, deep bunch.
5. ULM Warhawks
Defensive back, defensive back, defensive back. The Warhawks are obviously trying to improve the secondary with a loaded class of DBs coming in, starting with safety Traveion Webster as the main man for the future, and JUCO transfers Collin Turner and J.J. Dallas for now. WR Zach Jackson was a terrific get for an offense that needs downfield playmakers.
4. Troy Trojans
It’s a big class, but there aren’t as many strong prospects up top compared to some of the other key Sun Belt teams. After a great year for the passing game, the wide receivers came flocking in with JUCO transfer Damion Willis leading the way, but Drayton Law a better overall prospect. The running backs are deep, too, in the offensively loaded class, but the defensive side got, arguably, the Sun Belt’s best recruit of the season in JUCO transfer DE Rasool Clemons.
3. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Helloooooo, JUCO. The Red Wolves got an okay group of high school prospects – OT Dwayne Fisher is the one to watch out for – but the JUCO transfers are the ones who’ll make the class potentially shine. If they can boost the depth right away, they’ll have done their job, starting with Jovon Burris for the secondary and 300-plus pounders Josh Curry and Tony Adams for the defensive line.
2. Appalachian State Mountaineers
The Mountaineers cranked up one of the strongest classes with some surprisingly good recruits to beef up some key areas. The running back depth is solid with three decent options coming in, but WR Thomas Hennigan is the best prospect for the offense unless the speedy Malik Williams ends up at receiver. Ryan Huff is the best option for the defense – he’ll be a top-tackling safety in a few years – while D’Andre Hicks should be a solid corner once he beefs up a bit.
1. Texas State Bobcats
Head coach Everett Withers got a full season to recruit, and it showed with a loaded season of talents. It’s a strength-in-numbers class, but it’s so much more with several of the Sun Belt’s best prospects. Jaylen Gipson is the most talented of the three quarterbacks coming in, while RB Anthony Smith could be the centerpiece of the ground game sooner than later. The defensive line gets two excellent new bodies in the short, fire-hydrant of a tackle in Gjemar Daniels along with tweener pass rushing option Jakharious Smith.