4. Oklahoma Sooners
How many stars does a quarterback recruit with a national title, three College Football Playoff appearances, and two SEC Championships – and legendary status at another school – to his credit?
Jalen Hurts takes the already amazing Oklahoma class up to a whole other level.
Lincoln Riley had one of the nation’s top five classes of prep players, partly because he landed the perfect quarterback for his system. Spencer Rattler has all the tools to be the next great Sooner quarterback, but getting Hurts keeps the progression going after what Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were able to do.
No matter who’s at quarterback, the passing game will have a whole lot of fun with the incoming receivers. Jadon Haselwood was the big, giant get after the early signing period, but Trejan Bridges and Theo Wease aren’t far behind in upside, if at all.
More importantly, the defense talent signed on is amazing, too.
3. Miami Hurricanes
Here’s the call – at least for this list. Great transfers going to work out at a better percentage than great high prospects recruited on pure speculation.
Miami had an okay overall recruiting class of high school guys – but it wasn’t amazing.
Jeremiah Payton is a great-looking receiver, Keontra Smith and Christian Williams are good-looking defensive backs, and the pass rushers are coming in with a few excellent ends.
Even so, the class is a big bag of whatever. The coaching situation had something to do with it, and Manny Diaz didn’t have any time to work, and …
Miami has become the place for the hot transfers to go.
It’s not quite like when the Heat got LeBron and Bosh, but there was a pipeline of talent about to help make Miami amazing.
Take this class, and this team, and then add the superstar transfers to the mix. Proven talents with a little experience like the guys Miami landed are automatic four-star recruits, and some would be in the five-star range at this point.
As is, Miami’s class is probably just outside of the top 25. Now add S Bubba Bolden – a four-star recruit for USC in 2017. He’s going to soon be one of the team’s defensive leaders with the NFL upside to be special.
Go ahead and add Bolden’s former teammate out of Las Vegas, Ohio State QB Tate Martell. He was a fringe five-star recruit before, and next year he’ll be the fired up starter to lead the attack – if he’s not ruled eligible this year.
KJ Osborn was a two-star wide receiver recruit in 2015. Put him in that four-star category of a get now after catching 96 passes for 1,490 yards and 12 touchdowns as an explosive target for Buffalo over the last few years.
And it keeps going.
Asa Martin was a superstar recruit for Auburn last year, and now the running back took his talents to South Beach.
Trevon Hill was a nice recruit for Virginia Tech, and now he’s a massive prospect for Miami after making 11.5 sacks and 94 tackles in his 29 games of work.
Don’t blow off that Tommy Kennedy is a grad transfer from Butler. He’s a starting offensive tackle who should find a job right away, and UCLA transfer Chigozie Nnoruka – a two-star prospect in 2016 – will likely find a role early on after proving himself with 46 tackles with two sacks and eight tackles for loss in 2017.
And sometimes, part of the offseason is helped by other factors, too.
If all that new talent coming wasn’t enough, Miami got back Jeff Thomas, a star who’d easily be in the top five among the prep wide receivers in the current crop of recruits.
Miami’s No. 1 target averaged 18 yards per catch with 937 yards and five touchdowns on 52 catches, but he transferred to Illinois – and then came back after Diaz was hired.