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?
2018 American Athletic Recruiting Class Rankings
So how do the 2018 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. Navy Midshipmen
As always, the program is getting players who are a whole lot more than just football prospects, but it got a few decent ones who had other options – there aren’t a lot of them, though. Kevin Brennan will find his way somewhere in the secondary, and Trace Oldner should turn into a key part of the O line. Brice Johnson out of Mississippi and Christian Perez out of Illinois are the two top quarterback options for the future.
11. Connecticut Huskies
Randy Edsall had a full year to work, and the results were just okay. The best prospects are for the offensive side, starting with linemen Noel Ofori-Nyadu and Travis Jones – the front five got the most attention on this side – and QB Steve Krajewski. Mostly, though, the coaching staff tried helping the secondary with lots and lots and LOTS of defensive backs. There aren’t any sure-thing stars, though.
10. SMU Mustangs
Considering new head coach Sonny Dykes had to scramble to get a class together, it’s not all that bad. Signing OT Levon Livingston was the big get, but DE Shabazz Dotson was a nice February get for the pass rush. However, considering the way the offense needs to run, there’s almost nothing for the receiving corps. However, Dykes kept the commitment from QB William Brown.
9. East Carolina Pirates
Last year’s class was terrific, and this one? Not so much. The Pirates have their quarterback of the near future in Holton Ahlers, and the pass rush got a whole lot of help with Dorian Hardy leading a deep group of ends. The horrible secondary signed on a quick fix in Warren Saba, along with a few other JUCO transfers. There’s nothing for the running game, and while the O line is light, the two signed on – Peyton Winstead and Donovan Noel – will someday be factors.
8. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
There’s not any star power in Philip Montgomery’s class, but there’s enough to hope to pick and choose a few spots that just got an upgrade. The offense needs Davis Brin to be the quarterback of the near future, and TK Wilkerson is an interesting running back, but the class is mostly about the defensive side – and rightly so. The linebackers are coming in bulk, and the defensive ends are, potentially, solid.
7. UCF Knights
The coaching change mattered. Josh Heupel wasn’t able to do too much to capitalize on the big season and all the momentum, but he did sign on elite linebacker Eriq Gilyard and a massive class of defensive ends, led by Randy Charlton and Demetreius Mayes. There’s almost nothing for the skill spots, and while it’s not sexy, there’s a ton coming in for the offensive line.
6. Memphis Tigers
Mike Norvell continues to do a nice job to keep the machine going. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the Tiger passing game? Jeremy Tate and Kenneth Gainwell are for the near future, but JUCO transfer Antonio Gibson is for now. The key is the line – the program wants blockers, and it got a LOT of them, starting with 6-7, 340-pound Nigel Brannon. There’s almost nothing for the secondary or the defensive interior, LB Keith Brown and JUCO transfer DE Keith Brigham is strong.
5. Temple Owls
The coaching change last year killed the recruiting season, but Geoff Collins was able to come up with a nice class after having a year to work, starting with QB Trad Beatty and WR Travon King. The receiving corps is getting the most help, but the offensive line is being loaded up with prospects to build around, too, including Isaac Moore and Oskar Andersson from Sweden.
4. Houston Cougars
Major Applewhite did a nice job, coming up with a few strong linebackers, a terrific running back in Kelan Walker, and possibly getting the quarterback for the near future in Clayton Tune. It’s a balanced class, a smattering of players for every spot. JUCO transfer Gleson Sprewell is a good one for the secondary, and fellow JUCOer Bo Alexander should push hard for a job at one tackle spot. The underappreciated strength could be at tight end – Christian Trahan and Spencer Wells will be a factor.
3. Tulane Green Wave
Willie Fritz wants his defense to be stronger, especially up front with tackles Jeffery Johnson, Davon Wright and Alfred Thomas the core of the class. There isn’t much for the speed-option running game, with just one running back brought on and a light class of offensive linemen. The D got the love, with a few good pass rushers to go along with the bulk inside.
2. South Florida Bulls
And there we go. After a rough 2017 recruiting season – Charlie Strong didn’t have any time to work – he was able come up with a huge class of talent, especially for the defensive side starting with ends Stacy Kirby and Dwayne Boyles. With Octavious Battle and Jordan McCloud signed on, the attempt to find a new quarterback to replace Quinton Flowers kicks in.
1. Cincinnati Bearcats
And there’s Luke Fickell doing what he was hired on to do. He didn’t just go after Ohio players, but he locked down the right guys starting with DEs Malik Vann and Leonard Taylor along with RB Tavion Thomas. There’s not much for the offensive line or the defensive interior, but 6-8, 280-pound Lorenz Metz from Germany is interesting. The class is mostly working on stopping the pass, landing a slew of defensive ends and prospects for the secondary.