Recruiting 2012 - CUSA West Team Rankings
Posted Feb 2, 2012

Ranking and analyzing the 2012 Conference USA West Recruiting Classes

Recruiting 2012 

C-USA West Rankings

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 

- C-USA East Recruiting Rankings


1. SMU | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

Top 5 SMU Recruits To Care About
Player writeups by

1. LB Damien Neroes
6-2, 230, 43rd ranked, three-star middle linebacker.

2. LB Prescott Line
6-1, 220, 54th ranked, three-star middle linebacker.

3. S A.J. Justice
6-2, 185, 64th ranked, three-star safety.

4. S Shakiel Randolph
6-5, 190, 74th ranked, three-star safety.

5. OT Seaver Myers
6-6, 280, 76th ranked, three star offensive tackle.

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The defensive line. June Jones went hard after the offense the last few years to get the players he needs to run his attack, and now it's time to fortify the front wall that's going to need prospects to develop for 2014. The offense won't be ignored, but the key players are going to be for the line instead of among the skill players.

Team Concerns For 2012: Offensive line. Two starting receivers are gone, as is starting quarterback J.J. McDermott, but there are players in place to be just fine. The offensive line, though, is a huge concern with all five starters gone and backup center Blake McJunkin also done. Two starters are gone in the secondary and defensive end is a concern with Taylor Thompson and Szymon Czerniak done on the left side.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Head coach June Jones is still around instead of Arizona State, and the team that rocked Pitt in the bowl game should be ready to make a major move in the Conference USA race. QB J.J. McDernott is done, but Kyle Padron is a veteran and star running back Zach Line is returning – hopefully – from a toe injury. The problem? The line loses four starters and two of the top receivers Cole Beasley and Terrance Wilkerson. The defense that finished second in the league loses both starting ends and has to upgrade the depth, but the entire linebacking corps returns including Taylor Reed in the middle. Big tackling FS Chris Banjo is gone, but SS Ryan Smith should be one of the team's statistical stars.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 51. That Class Was Heavy On ... Outside linebacker. The June Jones offense needs receivers, and after loading up last year, the offense got yet another influx of talent with Arrius Holleman and Ronnell Sims two dangerous targets. The defensive line loaded up with several strong hybrid prospects, while the linebacking corps got several safety-sized, speedy players with Devon Moreland a terrific get and Jonathan Yenga and Cameron Smith two promising recruits.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 73. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. After putting the building blocks in place with a big recruiting class of offensive linemen last year, June Jones is getting the receivers to make his style of offense fly. With Shawnbrey McNeal leaving early for the NFL, there was a hole to fill at running back and freshman Darryl Fields might fill it, but the bulk of the class is at receiver with eight prospects coming in led by Kyle Guinyard, a potential No. 1 target who had offers from several Big 12 schools.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 65. That Class Was Heavy On ... offensive linemen. What good is the run-and-shoot if the quarterback is always running for his life? In fine shape at the skill positions for the next few years, June Jones loaded up on linemen, many of whom will need to spend their first year adding girth and weight. In Ben Hughes and Joey Fontana, the Mustangs signed two of the nation’s top 10 centers, so replacing Mitch Enright in 2010 shouldn’t be a major headache.

2. Houston | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

Top 5 Houston Recruits To Care About
Player writeups by

1. DT Donald Hopkins
6-2, 270, 33rd ranked, three-star tackle.

2. DT Tomme Mark
6-1, 255, 42nd ranked, three-star tackle.

3. RB Terrence Taylor
5-10, 205, 52nd ranked, three-star running back.

4. LB Thaddeus LaGrone
6-2, 215, 67th ranked, three-star outside linebacker.

5. RB Ryan Jackson
5-11, 180, 69th ranked, three-star running back.

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Can new head man Tony Levine keep the fun going? Quarterback isn't a big priority - even with Case Keenum and Cotton Turner gone – thanks to the 2010 class. Receiver isn't a concern after bringing in a slew of talents last year. The defensive front seven will get the most attention with Levine working hardest for the line while also looking at linebacker for a few key prospects.

Team Concerns For 2012: Passing game. Did Kevin Sumlin do his job recruiting over the last few seasons? David Piland is the likely new starting quarterback, but the pecking order has to quickly be determined. Patrick Edwards, Tyron Carrier, and Justin Johnson are all gone. Daniel Spencer could be the key pickup from last year's class for this year's receiving corps.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Life goes on after a terrific 13-1 season. New head coach Tony Levine has a ton of work to do, but the system is still in place to keep the offensive production rolling. Case Keenum is finally done, and so is backup Cotton Turner. David Piland has a little bit of experience and should be ready to roll right away, but he won't have the same receiving corps Keenum enjoyed with all the top targets gone. On the plus side, four starters are back on the line. Heart-and-soul LB Sammy Brown is done, as is running mate Marcus McGraw. Three starters return to the secondary and seven starters are back overall on a defense that never got enough attention. Matt Hogan is an ultra-reliable kicker, and punter Richie Leone might actually be used this year.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 67. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The 2010 class brought in several strong quarterback prospects, and they’re going to need someone to throw to. The Cougars are looking to stop someone from throwing, and now, with JUCO corners Chevy Bennett and D.J. Hayden, but the offense got the bulk with several nice receivers. Daniel Spencer and C.J. McElroy are short, quick targets, while 6-3, Mark Roberts has the potential to be a No. 1 in time. RB Kenny Farrow and QB Bram Kohlhausen will fight for starting jobs in the near future.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 54. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. The miserable run defense got a big piece to the puzzle with 285-pound JUCO transfer Matangi Tonga an almost certain instant starter in the defensive interior, and linebacker Sammy Brown will get a job from Day One at one of the spots. The secondary was also addressed with three excellent corners in Dominique Sanders, Alton Demby, and Zach McMillen. The highlight of the class, though, was at quarterback where four prospects were brought in to develop in a hurry with Case Keenum leaving next year. Terrance Broadway came in from Baton Rouge, after getting offers from Alabama, Nebraska, and Oregon, and could be the most interesting of the candidates, Aaron Johnson is a great athlete who got offers to switch positions from several big-name schools, and David Piland comes in from Carroll High in Southlake, famous for Chase Daniel, among others.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 58. That Class Was Heavy On ... offensive linemen. The loss of three starting linemen to graduation prompted Kevin Sumlin to spend extra time cultivating the next generation of Cougar blockers. Three new tackles and three new guards provide a nice foundation for the future and the present. At tackle, for instance, Ralph Oragwu is a three-star high-schooler with enormous upside and Roy Watts is a ready-made JUCO transfer, who turned away offers from SEC and Big 12 suitors.

3. Tulsa | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

Top 5 Tulsa Recruits To Care About
Player writeups by

1. QB Dane Evans
6-2, 183, 54th ranked, three-star quarterback.

2. OT Blake Belcher
6-6, 270, 57th ranked, three-star offensive tackle.

3. PK Daniel Schwarz
6-2, 180, 10th ranked, three-star kicker.

4. S Michael Thomas
6-1, 195, 102nd ranked, three-star safety.

5. DE Damian Gibson
6-3, 220, 122nd ranked, three-star end.

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Receivers. It's not a glaring need after loading up with talent in 2009, but the coaching staff will be looking for down the road with options to keep the high-octane attack going. There isn't any one major issue for this year's class to address, so it'll be about trying to upgrade the talent level across the board. Defensively, the back seven will get the most attention.

Team Concerns For 2012: Quarterback. G.J. Kinne was one of college football's most underappreciated quarterbacks, playing in a league with Case Keenum and hidden in anonymity in a state with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He'll be missed, meaning Kalen Henderson will have the pressure on to shine right away this offseason. Star recruit Dane Evans will get a long look at being the No. 2.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: It's all up to the quarterback situation with Kalen Henderson needing to prove he's the playmaker G.J. Kinne was. Willie Carter is one of Conference USA's best receivers, leading a loaded corps that should make Henderson's life easier. Ja'Terian Douglas and all the running backs are back to balance things out, but three starters are gone off the line. The defense has to replace tackling machine linebacker Curnelius Arnick, but Shawn Jackson should be a dominant statistical star. Three starters return up front and in the secondary. Kicker/punter Kevin Fitzpatrick has to be replaced, but Trey Watts should be a top kickoff returner.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 71. That Class Was Heavy On ... Cornerback. The offense should keep on rolling under new head coach Bill Blankenship, but the nation’s worst pass defense has to stop someone for the team to make a big step toward a Conference USA title. While the defensive line got the most bodies, and Gus Johnson and Zack Langer are interesting running backs, the focus is on cornerback with Kwame Sexton a potential No. 1, shutdown defender and Dwight Dobbins a good prospect. JUCO transfer J.D. Ratliff will be used immediately.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 93. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front. RB Ja'Terian Douglas is the star of the class and Thomas Roberson should be a No. 1 wide receiver early on, but the key is the defensive front. JUCO transfers Tyrunn Walker and Darrell Zellars will be in the rotation right away, and Durrell Finch, another JUCO transfer, has the speed to be a dangerous pass rusher. With a little bit of time, DT Alec Henry could be the best of the bunch.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... wide receivers. The resignation of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn does not signal a change in philosophy at Tulsa, which still plans to wing it around out of no-huddle sets. With that in mind, the Hurricane is bringing in a bunch of receivers, most of whom are undersized flyers in the mold of current flanker Damaris Johnson. The gem of the newcomers is Ricky Johnson, who could have gone to any number of SEC schools.

4. Rice | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

Top 5 Rice Recruits To Care About
Player writeups by

1. LB Alexander Lyons
6-0, 215, 78th ranked, three-star outside linebacker. Lyons finished his junior season with 152 tackles, three sacks, three fumbles caused, two fumbles recovered and one interception. He says he can bench 250-pounds, squat 350 and claims a 35-inch vertical jump.

2. DT Cody Henessee
6-3, 250, 87th ranked, three-star defensive tackle.

3. WR Darrioun Pollard
5-10, 175, 91st ranked, three-star receiver.

4. LB Luke Turner
6-1, 180, 100th ranked, three-star linebacker.

5. C Spencer Stanley
6-4, 245, 33rd ranked, two-star center.

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The Owls have worked on defense over the last few recruiting classes, but the efforts haven't exactly paid off so ar. However, there's a decent base of underclassmen ready to show what they can do. Now the program needs to find more firepower with several key skill players going and more playmakers a must.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offensive line is a huge problem with four starters gone and the backup center, Eric Ball, also done. The opening is there for a newcomer to start right away, and a few decent prospects are on the way in Connor Patterson and Spencer Stanley. Defensive tackle is also a major concern with little proven depth to play around with.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Rice has to get a better year out of the defense to have any hope of improving. The nation's 111th- ranked defense loses three starters on the line and WLB Justin Allen. The secondary that was torched time and again has to replace two starters, but top corner Bryce Callahan will be the anchor. Leading tackler Cameron Nwosu is back on the strongside, but the D has to press on without top pass rusher Scott Solomon. The offense will work around QB Taylor McHargue and running backs Turner Peterson and Sam McGuffie, but four starters are gone off the line. Leading receiver Vance McDonald is back along with solid TE Luke Willson.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 85. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Rice HAS to start generating more of a pass rush. The defense was 105th in the nation in sacks and was dead last in tackles for loss, and while it’s asking way too much to get a new recruiting class to make a difference in one years, the Owls have to hope that one of the several new defensive ends can provide a boost to the depth. Michael Sam is the best of the lot, while outside linebacker Nick Elder could be the playmaker the D is looking for. Offensively, receivers Driphus Jackson and Lovett Gibson should be the stars of the haul.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 101. That Class Was Heavy On ... 2009. Last year's class was the one that's going to make the difference over the next few seasons, and there weren't many spots to fill this year. However, it's about quality over quantity with this class needing DE Dylan Klare, CB Bryce Callahan, and linebackers James Radcliffe and Cameron Nwoso likely to be key Conference USA players sooner than later. But if the stars bust out, there's no a lot from this class to fall back on.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 76. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. When you give up 34 touchdown passes and finish 110th nationally in pass D, you better focus on signing more athletes for the secondary. David Bailiff did exactly that, adding eight two-star defensive backs from as far away as Minnesota and Canada. Out of that group, the Owls are hopeful that, in time, two or three will develop into starters and productive members of a needy defense.

5. UTEP | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

Top 5 UTEP Recruits To Care About
Player writeups by

1. DT Devontae Richardson
6-2, 292, 95th ranked, three-star defensive tackle.

2. CB Dashone Smith
5-11, 185, 100th ranked, three-star corner.

3. RB Paul Franklin
6-1, 200, 106th ranked, three-star running back.

4. CB DaCarlos Renfro
5-10, 175, 107th ranked, three-star cornerback.

5. WR MeKale McKay
6-4, 190, three-star receiver.

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The Miners have loaded up for the passing game over the past few classes, but the defense needs to finally be addressed a bit more with a talent upgrade. Mike Price went after linemen in 2009, and he's going to do it again with prospects mostly for the defensive interior.

Team Concerns For 2012: Linebacker. The UTEP starting three are gone and linebacker is going to be a glaring issue in 2013. It's going to take a few recruiting classes to improve the front seven, but more than anything else, the team needs bodies. The depth has to be improved across the board while hoping for some of the recruiting classes from the last few seasons to provide the offensive pop.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Another year, another collapse over the second half of the season. The Miners have just enough talent returning to hope to finally come up with a more even season, but it all has to start on stopping the run with even thought the entire starting linebacking corps is gone and five are gone from the front seven. Throw in the loss of two starters in the secondary and the D is going to have some issues. The offense needs more from a line that didn't do anything in pass protection, but four starters are back. The quarterback situation has to be settled between Nick Lamaison and Carson Meger, and a new runner has to take over with the three top backs gone. Punter Ian Campbell should be among the nation's best.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 99. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. And the replacement for Trevor Vittatoe is … ? There’s hope from the JUCO ranks with the lightning fast Antavius Sims and Nick Lamaison looking to step in and start right away, while 6-4 Blaire Sullivan was brought in to develop for the future. The defense got some instant help with Josh Fely a ready-made JUCO middle linebacker and Zoey Williams a shutdown corner who could see time as a true freshman.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The Miners have needed to work on improving the defense for the last several seasons and came up with a big class of defenders last season. The D was hardly ignored this year, especially on the line, but the talent is at receiver eight very big, very interesting prospects signed including Jordan Leslie, Darius Tubbs, and Devin Patterson. These three will be the key to the Miner passing game sooner than later.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 100. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. In an attempt to beef up one of the perennially weakest defenses in the country, the Miners are bringing in a couple of speedy rush ends and a tackle with considerable upside. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, Adam Ayala can snap off a sub-5.00 in the forty. If he can add some muscle without losing a step, he has a chance to be an impact player on this defense.

6. Tulane | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

Top 5 Tulane Recruits To Care About
Player writeups by

1. CB Darion Monroe
5-11, 185, 29th ranked, three-star cornerback.

2. CB Jordan Batiste
5-9, 170, 84th ranked, three-star cornerback.

3. WR Devon Breaux
6-0, 175, 149th ranked, three-star receiver.

4. WR Lorenzo Doss
6-0, 185, 164th ranked, three-star receiver.

5. QB Fudge Van Hooser
6-2, 185, 92nd ranked, two-star quarterback.

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Players who do what Curtis Johnson will want. The Green Wave has to get the passing game going, and Johnson, the new head man, will want to wing the ball all over the yard. Quarterback is fine for the next two years, but the position will be an issue by 2014. Upgrading the pass catchers and the team speed will be vital, even with last year's class focusing on the receivers.

Team Concerns For 2012: Johnson has to build up the infrastructure, the lines, and then he can hope for everything else to work. The defensive line is going to be very, very young. Three starters are gone, but there's a decent nucleus of underclassmen to build around. The offensive line might require the most immediate help with three starters gone and an infusion of decent backups needed.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: New head coach Curtis Johnson has a ton of work to do to improve one of the nation's worst scoring offenses and scoring defenses. Three starters are gone from a defensive line that wasn't bad at getting into the backfield, but seven starters are back including the entire linebacking corps and star tackler Trent Mackey. Corner Ryan Travis is a good ball-hawker to count on. Ryan Griffin is a good quarterback to work around and Orleans Darkwa is a terrific back, but the line loses three starters and the O needs to find a steady target for Griffin.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 108. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Pass catchers. The Green Wave got plenty of receivers in 2009, and while there aren’t any sure-thing stars in this class, there’s strength in numbers. Marc Edwards is the most promising prospect of the bunch, and quick Devin Boutte is promising. Tight end was a target with three new recruits including Greg Thomson out of Syracuse and pass catcher Josh Drum. Safety Renaldo Thomas needs to be a starter sooner than later.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 88. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. The Green Wave has to do something about its defense, and while there isn't any instant help from this class, there are plenty of safety-sized athletes who will upgrade the athleticism and the potential. Ray Oppman will be a fixture on the inside within the next three years, while Zach Davis could be an ideal strong safety or a dangerous playmaker as an outside linebacker. Jamar Thomas has the potential to be the next great Green Wave running back.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 79. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. When Jeremy Williams was injured last season, the Green Wave passing attack virtually shut down. That lack of depth and reliable options at wide receiver has prompted Bob Toledo to scour Texas and Louisiana high schools for offensive weapons that can stretch a defense. While there are no sure-things in the group, D.J. Banks and Devin Figaro look like pretty good prospects, and the quantity alone should reap a productive player or two.

- C-USA East Recruiting Rankings