2018 Independent Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings
How did the Independent teams stack up with their respective recruiting classes? Who had the strongest-looking haul of talent, and who struggled a bit?
2018 Independent Recruiting Class Rankings
So how do the 2018 Independent 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?
6. Liberty Flames
It’s a smallish class with a few JUCO transfers to help the defensive line, secondary and receiving corps. The secondary is getting plenty of help, landing JUCOers Bejour Wilson and Chapel Jones-Morriss, while hoping for Kevin Shaa out of City College of San Francisco to rock right away. There’s not a lot for the skill spots, and the O line will need a burst next year, but – along with the secondary – the defensive interior is being reinforced.
5. New Mexico State Aggies
The move from the Sun Belt to independence didn’t matter too much – the program got the same types of talents they would’ve signed, anyway. JUCO transfer Matthew Romero will at least provide a little depth to the quarterback situation, and fellow JUCO pickup Caleb Mills is a big target who should find his way into the receiving corps. John Graves should be the anchor of the defense – and the best prospect – after a little bit of time.
4. UMass Minutemen
UMass gets what it gets, but there aren’t any stars to pump up. CB Justin Lewis should be a starter at some point, and Josh Jefferson is a good-looking center, but that’s about it. Josiah Johnson and Jaret Pallotta are two big quarterbacks who fit the type for the offense, but there isn’t a whole lot for the attack. The defensive ends should be okay with a few solid options signed on.
3. Army Black Knights
Like all of the military academies, Army has to recruit to a certain type. But for what it does, it just got a few defensive prospects who should be difference-makers.
Kenese Leomiti is a real, live defensive tackle who could’ve gone to another FBS school, LB Brandon Mays was wanted by Ole Miss, and several Mountain West and Conference USA teams wanted fellow LB Cade Bernard. It’s Army, so in come lots and lots of quarterbacks and running backs, with several of them interchangeable.
2. BYU Cougars
It’s disappointing. Missing out on getting QB Tanner McKee – he chose Stanford – wasn’t surprising, but there weren’t any star offensive talents to guarantee the attack will turn around in the next few years. WR Gunner Romney and OT Jacob Smith are okay, but if they’re the stars of the class, there’s a problem.
Zachary Wilson is a fine quarterback get, and plenty of receivers signed on, but there’s nothing for the running game and other than a few linebackers and DE Chinonso Opara, there’s not enough for the defense to make a massive difference.
– BYU Schedule Analysis
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Quietly terrific, Brian Kelly did most of his work in December, meaning there wasn’t much happening in February. That doesn’t mean he and the staff didn’t do a great job, landing QB Phil Jurkovec early, along with next-level safety Houston Griffith and a whole slew of fantastic linebackers.
The best prospects are on the defensive side, with more great linebackers to go along with Griffith, and a few strong defensive tackles to take over on the inside.
Throw in tight ends George Takacs and Tommy Tremble, a bulk of promising offensive linemen, and a few nice running backs, and this has a shot at being Kelly’s best class in the last few years.
– Notre Dame Schedule Analysis