2017 Conference USA Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings
How did the Conference USA teams stack up with their respective recruiting classes? Who had the strongest-looking haul of talent, and who struggled a bit?
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2017 Conference USA Recruiting Class Rankings
So how do the 2017 Conference USA 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?
14. UTEP Miners
It’s a really, really small class with a big group coming in last year. It’s all about the defensive side, with JUCO transfer Kahani Smith and Kalaii Griffin coming in to make a push right away for jobs in the secondary. Alex Fernandes is a big passer for down the road, but JUCO transfer TE David Lucero is for now.
13. Rice Owls
The Owls need a ton of help, but it’s always a tough get finding prospects who can handle the offensive side, as well as play a bit. Miklo Smalls is a good-looking quarterback, and Kenneth Orji needs to one day anchor the D from his linebacker spot, but the defensive back seven has to shine from this group.
12. Old Dominion Monarchs
ODU is building the foundation, with no JUCO transfers, but no instant stars to help the cause right away. The defensive line gets the most help in the class, but the offensive side might need Shedrick McCall to shine relatively soon as the team’s top running back recruit.
11. Marshall Thundering Herd
It was expected to be a down year after loading up with the best recruiting class in Conference USA last year by far. The JUCO transfers will do the most work, especially in the linebacking corps with Artis Johnson and Donyae Moody coming in from California to try helping the cause. The passing game should get help from QB Isaiah Green along with JUCO transfers Marcel Williams and Armani Levias as key targets.
10. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
It might not be all that flashy, but the Blue Raiders cranked up the prospects for the linebacking corps and with JUCO transfer Rosheem Collins for the defensive interior. Can Maurice Gordon take over the running game early on? He’ll get his chances.
9. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Between the coaching change, and a big 2016 recruiting season, it’s a down year for the Hilltopper recruiting class. Calder Marria is the main man for the future of the defensive front, but LB Juwuan Jones is one day going to be the leading tackler. There’s little star power for the offense with the wide receiver haul coming last year.
8. North Texas Mean Green
Last year’s class was heavy on the JUCO transfers, but this time around the Mean Green will be building towards the future. Cameron Johnson leads a smallish class for the defensive side – he’s a great-looking option for the secondary – while the offense will depend on whether or not quarterbacks Devin Isadore and Cade Pearson can develop.
7. Charlotte 49ers
It’s a good class for the offense, but it’s a spotty group for the other side. RB Kameron Duncan should be the star of the attack in the near future, while Dmitri Emmanuel should be the main man up front who paves the way. The bulk coming in is at receiver.
6. UAB Blazers
Starting over again, UAB is trying to get back into the college football world with a hodge-podge team of players just trying to figure it all out. Ten JUCO transfers will get their chances right away, starting with DT Anthony Rush to potentially anchor the front.
5. Florida Atlantic Owls
The scintillating Lane Kiffin hype video – zzzzzz – didn’t exactly translate to the recruiting season. He didn’t get a whole lot of time to work, but controversy aside – for the moment – getting FSU QB DeAndre Johnson is a really big deal on the field. There aren’t a lot of new bodies, but the guys coming in are strong.
4. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Can the offensive fun continue? That’s the goal for down the road with QB Elijah Walker and WR George Scott among the best incoming pitch-catch combinations in the league. The secondary got the most new bodies, with Amik Robertson a future All-C-USA corner.
3. Florida International Golden Panthers
While he didn’t get a whole lot of time to work, Butch Davis did a nice job, especially on the defensive side with a great group of local talents at linebacker along with some terrific defensive backs. The offensive playmakers will have to come next year.
2. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
While the best players are on the defensive side, the Golden Eagles got plenty of good playmakers for the passing game, signing two quarterbacks to go along with WR Tim Jones – arguably the star of the class. With five JUCO transfers coming in, the Golden Eagles are going to fill a few holes, especially on the O line.
1. UTSA Roadrunners
Frank Wilson is supposed to be a top-shelf recruiter, and that’s exactly what he became in one year with a loaded class, especially on defense. While the skill positions weren’t ignored, Wilson and his staff cranked up the defensive backs with a loaded group of future stars for the secondary.