Recruiting 2012 - Big East Needs & Concerns
Posted Jan 30, 2012

What does each Big East team need, and what are the concerns this offseason?

Recruiting 2012 

Big East Needs

Recruiting 2011 | Recruiting 2010 | Recruiting 2009 

CFN Top Prospects for 2012
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 


1. Rutgers | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Receivers. Last year, head coach Greg Schiano brought in a terrific class or running backs, and the speed and talent in the defensive backfield was addressed in previous seasons. Now it's on to the passing game to find QBs Chas Dodd and Gary Nova some playmakers for the next several years. By owning New Jersey as much as possible, Schiano had a terrific class of wideouts coming in. However, now it'll be a feeding frenzy for prospects with Schiano leaving to take the Tampa Bay job.

Team Concerns For 2012: Besides bringing in a new head coach, the team needs help on the defensive line. Three starters are gone with only tackle Scott Vallone returning. There are enough decent prospects to be fine for the next few years, but the 2013 class will have to work hard to upgrade the front. Is kicker Nick DeLouisa ready to take over for San San Te? Kyle Federico out of Florida will get every shot at the job.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Running backs. Rutgers might not have come up with a loaded class in any one area, but no one in the Big East can match the upper-end star power. Losing top corner Lafayette Pitts to Pitt at the last second stung, but getting receiver Miles Shuler, with his sub-4.4 speed, defensive tackle Marquise Wright, and offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin makes the class strong. Keeping running back Savon Huggins at home when Auburn, USC, and other big names came calling was the big coup. The 6-0, 200-pounder will be the centerpiece of the attack, while Charles Davis and Ben Martin are lightning fast rushing options.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 46. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. For the second year in a row, Greg Schiano wanted to do whatever it took to upgrade the athleticism of the defensive backfield. The competition should be intense with big-time safety prospects Jordan Thomas, Lorenzo Waters, and Jeremy Deering all big and all fast, and corner Tejay Johnson an great prospect with NFL measurables. 6-6 Brandon Coleman should be the team's next star receiver, but the focus of the offense is on the line with six blockers signed.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 27. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. The departures of S Courtney Greene and CB Jason McCourty made this unit a priority for Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers didn’t have to travel very far to land S Abdul Smith and CB Duron Harmon, two of the best at their positions in the region. Schiano added quality and quantity to the secondary, which will prove especially valuable a year from now.

2. Louisville | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: The lines. The defensive line needs prospects to develop for 2014 and beyond, but the bigger need haul should come for the interior of the offensive line that's set for a while with John Miller and Jake Smith at guard, but with quality depth a must. The Cardinals won't go heavy on tackles, but they'll have more than their share of blockers.

Team Concerns For 2012: The kicking game. The Cardinals are loaded with underclassmen who played a huge role in last year's success, and while senior experience is going to be a problem, the fundamentals of the team are strong. However, the punters are gone including Chris Philpott, who also served as placekicker. Josh Appleby out of Alabama will challenge for the starting kicker gig right away.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Secondary. The star of the show needs to be Teddy Bridgewater, a tall, talented passer out of Miami who moves well and is the type of calm, cool presence to make an offense shine. He spurned Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, and other big names to be the main man for the Cardinal attack, and head coach Charlie Strong hopes he has his Vince Young. He’ll have a terrific target to throw to in 6-3 speedster DeVante Parker, and Eli Rogers and Charles Gaines out of Miami, with Rogers working as Bridgewater’s main man at Miami Northwestern, will help. The strength is in the secondary with safety Gerod Holliman a future Big East star and corners Andrew Johnson and Terrell Floyd two Floridians who could see time right away.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 42. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. New head man Charlie Strong brought in three quarterbacks led by Dominique Brown, and they'll have plenty of targets to work with.  Six wideouts signed on and they all fit a type with decent size and tremendous speed. Michaelee Harris out of Miami is the best of the group, but Stephan Robinson could grow into a dangerous playmaker. The defense has its star to build around in end B.J. Butler, a speed rusher who could've gone to Alabama or Florida.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 63. That Class Was Heavy On ... junior college transfers. Can you smell the desperation coming out of Northern Kentucky? Steve Kragthorpe, in need of instant help, went heavy on JUCO transfers, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The scales tipped overwhelmingly toward the D in this class, though Kragthorpe did land Santa Rosa (Calif.) College QB Andrew Froman, who’ll be in the mix to replace Hunter Cantwell.

3. West Virginia | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: More receivers. Head coach Dana Holgorsen got a few nice prospects last year for the offense, but this year he's loading up on receivers and pass catchers to make his high-octane attack shine. The offense had more than its share of star prospect from recent classes, but the talent is flowing to assure that the passing game remains among the nation's most dangerous.

Team Concerns For 2012: Not much. A few starters in the secondary have to be replaced, and a little bit of help is needed on the offensive front, but there's a reason WVU will be ranked in the preseason top ten and possibly the top five. The 2012 class will be for the future with so many established players already in place, but the offense is about to get even more explosive and even deeper.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive backs. While all the talk about the coaching changes helped bring in offensive stars who want to be a part of the Dana Holgorsen attack, led by running backs Andrew Buie and Vernard Roberts and receivers Dante Caldwell and K.J. Myers, but the defense got the best all-around talents with JUCO transfer Shaq Rowell ready to roll right away at defensive tackle and linebacker Joshua Francis a strong JUCO transfer who’ll be used in a variety of ways. Safeties Terrell Chestnut, Shaquille Petteway, and Nick Kwiatkoski are all going to be factors in the next three years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 35. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. West Virginia? Wide Receivers? Bill Stewart came up with several excellent, dangerous targets led by Ivan McCartney out of Florida. The 6-1, 175-pound playmaker spurned Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee to come to Morgantown, but Deon Long might end up playing earlier on. The Mountaineers also came up with several good defensive back prospects starting with safety Latwan Anderson, a flash of lightning who hits like a ton of bricks and chose WVU over Ohio State.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill position players. The Mountaineers have roped in a slew of speedy, dynamic backs and receivers, who can go a long with the ball. What else is new? This class, which is particularly heavy on outstanding wideouts, is tailored-made for an offense that hopes to throw the ball more than in the past. Logan Heastie was fielding interest from the likes of Florida and USC, so he might waste little time getting on the field.

4. Cincinnati | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Secondary. After a few years of going after receivers and skill player, the Bearcats need to strengthen a secondary that'll be fine for the next two years but needs prospects for 2014 and beyond. Offense won't be ignored, with head coach Butch Jones going after as many top players for the passing game as possible. Small and speedy Dennis Norfleet could be an instant impact running backs used in a variety of ways.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offensive line loses three starters and need a new left side. This year's class isn't going to address he line, but it'll be the biggest concern this offseason. Defensive tackle is also a problem with Derek Wolfe and John Hughes leaving, but don't expect anyone from the 2012 haul to make a difference this year.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Receivers. If head coach Butch Jones wants to bomb away, he has the class to do it. The defensive line got the biggest stars with Demetrius Alston, Silverberry Mouhon and Chad West three dangerous ends who can all get into the backfield. Throw in 300-pound Daniel Murray for the inside, and the line is set. Patrick Coyne should be the team’s star quarterback down the road, and Jameel Poteat is a speedy back who’ll be the focal point of the attack sooner than later. The big offensive push is at receiver with Shaquille Washington leading a loaded corps of seven prospects.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 52. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Receivers. Butch Jones had to try to keep Brian Kelly's recruits coming to Cincinnati. Only three receivers were signed, but they'll be the key to the class with Dyjuan Lewis, a 6-2 target with 4.4 speed, the likely No. 1 man in the near future. The line got the most help for the defense with five prospects signed and needing Josh Russ and Cameron Beard to grow into roles on the end by 2013. Safety Arryn Chenault is too good to not get an early look at playing time.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 51. That Class Was Heavy On ... tight ends. Can you say overkill? Cincinnati has signed four of the country’s top 100 tight ends, providing plenty of depth for Ben Guidugli and Kazeem Alli. From the program that turned Connor Barwin into the Big East’s sack leader a year ago, you can count on one or two of these tight ends, like Will Saddler and Mitch Kessel, to switch position at some point in their ‘Cat careers.

5. Pittsburgh | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Keeping Todd Graham's recruits. New head coach Paul Chryst is behind and has to rally, but first he has to make sure the key recruits from the former head man – like superstar running back prospect Rushel Shell – are happy. Why did Chryst succeed as Wisconsin's offensive coordinator? Offensive linemen, but that's going to be for the 2013 class. This year will mostly focus on simply getting the best players possible in an abbreviated recruiting cycle.

Team Concerns For 2012: The defensive front seven. Only two starters are back – end Aaron Donald and linebacker Todd Thomas – meaning the stars from the 2010 class have to start shining through. The offensive line needs a ton of work after losing three starters and both backups at tackle. This class isn't expected to have any instant answers for either concern.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Running back. New head coach Todd Graham needs receivers to get his passing game going, and he’ll hope that Darius Patton is worth the hype with his 4.4 speed able to stretch the field. The secondary got plenty of help with corner Jason Frimpong and safety Rodrick Ryles two talented prospects, and linebackers Nicholas Grigsby and LaQuentin Smith should be dangerous linebackers once they hit the weight room. The big question is if top recruit Lafayette Pitts will be the team’s No. 1 lockdown corner or if he’ll stick at running back. Either way, the Panthers loaded up in the backfield with Malcolm Crockett and Corey Davis two shifty runners who fit the Panther mold.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 33. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. T.J. Clemmings is a superior end prospect with 6-6, 260-pound size and the potential to be thrown into the mix right away, but he's hardly the only good defensive lineman signed with tackle Aaron Donald and end Bryan Murphy keeping the shelves stocked. Across the board there isn't a lot of sure-thing star power, but this is a diverse class with several strong prospect; because of the sheer numbers a few of these players will be better than originally expected. The secondary could be just as loaded as the line.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 26. That Class Was Heavy On ... backs. How do you answer the departure of star LeSean McCoy to the NFL after his sophomore season? You sign four young backs, who’ll be in a position to contribute in a year or two. There’s a nice blend of skills in the group. Dion Lewis and Jason Douglas provide the dash. At 205 pounds, Kevin Adams will bring the punch if he doesn’t move to safety. Raymond Graham, who was also pursued by Rutgers and Maryland, has a chance to be the best of the group.

6. Syracuse | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: The defensive line needs prospects. The Orange have tried everything possible over the last few classes to get more talent for the offense, and now is when it all has to kick in with an upgrade of talent ready to sweep in. Three starters are gone off the defensive front along with most of the top backups, so any lineman who comes in must be prepared to shine immediately.

Team Concerns For 2012: The defensive line is the biggest problem by a ten-mile wide margin, but the offensive backfield is going to get the most attention. Charley Loeb is expected to take over the starting quarterback job, but he needs a battle and there have to be other options from recent classes. It'll be a wild open fight for the quarterback pecking order.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … More offense, more offense, more offense. The 2010 class was loaded up with prospects for the offensive side of the ball, and head coach Doug Marrone kept the fun going with a heavy class of offensive prospects to move around where needed. The quarterback fight should be an interesting one with Aston Broyld and Terrel Hunt to dangerous playmakers, while running backs Tyree Smallwood and Adonis Ameen-Moore are shifty, multi-talented backs with good size. Marrone also added six receivers led by Brandon Reddish out of Brooklyn.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 69. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offense, offense, offense. After loading up with a ton of defensive back prospects last year, this year's massive class brings in players to salvage something out of Doug Marrone's offense. 17 offensive players were brought in headlined by quarterbacks John Kinder and Jonny Miller and six running backs. The D wasn't ignored with linebackers Malcolm Carter and Myles Davis good enough to see time early.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 92. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. Understanding the need to address a secondary that was last in the Big East in pass efficiency defense, the staff loaded up on defensive backs. In fact, almost half of the entire class was either a safety or a cornerback. The best of the lot are corners Torian Phillips, Phillip Thomas, and Dale Peterman, who’ll all have a shot for immediate playing time.

7. South Florida | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: The lines. Skip Holtz has the skill players in place after loading up over the last few years, and the defensive front was addressed heavily three years ago. Now the D could use a boost up front for down the road, while the offensive line has a depth issue that has to be addressed as soon as possible. Holtz is mining the JUCO ranks and is going outside of the state to bring in talent.

Team Concerns For 2012: The secondary loses a few key starters and needs more options for nickel and dime packages. Holtz is has a few JUCO transfers coming in to help right away, but this will be a need area to upgrade over the next few classes. The defensive front needs more players for the rotation, and this class should bring them.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Receivers. The offensive line got a huge boost with Max Lang, Darrell Williams, and Boo Simon all good tackle prospects who should be the anchors up front in the next three years, and the defense got some help with Corian Hamilton and Chris Garye two strong safety prospects, but the stars of the class are at receiver with Andre Davis a local product who should become a special No. 1 target. Ruben Gonzalez and Alex Mut are also nice gets who’ll boost up the Skip Holtz passing attack.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 47. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. Skip Holtz had roughly five minutes to work, but he still kept most of the key players Jim Leavitt originally pitched. Jamius Gunsby is a big, athletic playmaker of a quarterback who'll get a few years to develop, while Marcus Shaw and Tiger Powell are good looking speed backs who could find roles early on if JUCO transfer Michael Hayes and his 4.3 speed doesn't take over the workload. Jamaal Mantague and Deonte Welch might not be five-star receiver prospects, but they're going to be good. Defensively, JUCO transfer Claude Davis will be asked to step in right away and fill a gaping hole at one end, and top corner Terrence Mitchell will get a chance to see time in the rotation.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive line. Can you say epic haul? Jim Leavitt is retooling his defensive front on the fly, with a mix of talented ends and tackles from junior college, post-graduate schools, and high schools. George Selvie, Aaron Harris, and Terrell McClain won’t be around forever, so it was important to bring new reinforcements to ensure the success of the defense for the foreseeable future. DT Leslie Stirrups was supposed to be one of the cornerstones of the 2006 class, but is just now making it to Tampa after problems with grades.

8. Connecticut | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Quarterbacks. Paul Pasqualoni didn't have a chance to do much of anything last year, and it showed with a mediocre class that might have been the weakest in the Big East. This year, he needs an upgrade in talent across the board, but he also needs to find a quarterback to build around – or at least challenge Scott McCummings and/or Mike Nebrich down the road. The running game was bad last year, but the passing game has to improve quickly if Johnny McEntee can't get the job done.

Team Concerns For 2012: Defensive tackle. The Huskies have a nice defensive back seven returning, and they look great on the end, but the middle of the line is an issue with Twyon Martin and Kendall Reyes gone. This year's class doesn't seem to be concentrating on the line, but it's going to be an issue next year.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Variety. New head coach Paul Pasqualoni didn’t have time to do much, but he was able to come up with his bookend offensive tackles for the near future with Paul Nwokeji and Xavier Hemingway talented prospects who’ll be great with two years in the weight room. Kamal Abrams should be the team’s No. 1 target in 2014, and linebackers Marquise Vann and Jefferson Ashiru fit the UConn mold and Deson Foxx has more speed than the normal Husky running back, but all eyes will be on quarterback Michael Nebrich to see if he can finally add some pop to the passing game. With his 4.5 speed, he’ll be more of a runner than a bomber.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 67. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. The stars of the class might be quarterbacks Scott McCummings and Ty-Meer Brown, and they'll have dangerous receiver prospects to throw to in Tebucky Jones and Geremy Davis, but the best aspect of the class is at linebacker with Brandon Steg a sure-thing All-Big East star for the inside and Reuben Frank, Yawin Smallwood, and Josh Alexander all defenders to get excited about.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 72. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. Although the Husky quarterbacks haven’t exactly been crisp since Dan Orlovsky graduated, they haven’t been helped by the receivers either. Connecticut had one of the worst units in the country a year ago, which explains why the position got so much attention from Randy Edsall and the staff. Three of the four commits rank among the top 150 receivers, led by Ft. Lauderdale product Dwayne Difton.