Who had the big college football recruiting hauls? Here are 5 programs that did a fantastic job in 2022 after struggling in 2021.
The February version of college football National Signing Day doesn’t have the hold on the sport like it used to – it’s the landline phone line in a 5G world – but it closes out the recruiting season.
Some programs were already done recruiting back in December, but everyone is always pitching and holding on to their own guys with the transfer portal a bigger deal now.
Why bother with a whole slew of young prospects when you can go shopping and get the mature guys you need?
But recruiting high school players is still a big deal for your base.
No, not everyone is going to transfer, and no, you can’t live off of getting guys through the portal. You need the cake to put the transfer portal frosting on.
Texas A&M destroyed it this recruiting season. Shock of shocks, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Texas, Penn State – the normal big guys did big recruiting things. But you knew that.
What teams off the normal recruiting radar crushed it this season? More to the point, which schools and coaching staffs bounced back massive after a mediocre 2021?
5. Stanford Cardinal
It certainly helped a wee bit that USC and Oregon are in a transitional period and need a year or so to get back up to speed in the high-end recruiting world, but it’s not like Stanford is competing for the same guys as the rest of the Pac-12.
David Shaw’s 2020 class wasn’t bad, but the 2021 haul was a bit lacking.
There were a few nice parts, and the Cardinal always gets a star lineman or two, but it missed the WOW factor for a program that started to fall off. After a 3-9 season coming off a four-win 2020 – granted, there were only six games – and 4-8 2019, the reciting class needed guys.
Shaw hasn’t done a whole lot in the transfer portal, but he did what he must for the program and got the right guys from across the country for the right spots.
When Stanford rocks, its lines are dominant and the running game works. In come the infrastructure players with both lines improving, Sam Roush out of Tennessee is a top tight end, and he’s got two terrific-looking offensive tackles in Lucas Heyer and Fisher Anderson.
Again, it’s different because some programs aren’t quite there yet, but Stanford had one of the best recruiting runs in the Pac-12.