Recruiting 2013 - C-USA East Needs & Concerns
Posted Jan 30, 2013

What does each Conference USA East team need and what are the concerns this offseason?

Recruiting 2013 

Conference USA East Needs

CFN Top Prospects for 2013
- 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 West Recruiting Needs & Concerns

East Carolina | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Pirates have enough talent returning to win the newly-shaped Conference USA and do it convincingly. However, the pass defense has to be better after getting bombed on regularly, allowing 276 yards per game. Both starting corners - Jacobi Jenkins and Leonard Paulk - have to be replaced in what will be one of the team's biggest position battles. The ground game has to be stronger with Vintavious Cooper needing a bit more room to run for an attack that averaged a mere 135 yards per game.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receivers. The Pirates went big on offense last year, too, and now there are more weapons to add to the lot. Linebacker Devaris Brunson is the best new recruit, and offensive tackle Brandon Smith will eventually start, but Isaiah Jones and Trevon Brown could be the keys to a deep group of receivers to help the Ruffin McNeill passing game shine. Kurt Benkert is a good quarterback pickup who committed early and should be a factor by 2015.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 94. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offense. The Pirates haven’t had too much of a problem putting up points and getting the passing game going under Ruffin McNeill, but now he needs to load up for the near future. More receiver talent is a must, but coming up with more options for the offensive line is also a need that’ll be addressed. After bringing in a slew of defensive backs in 2009, this year’s class needs more for the future. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 76. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. What does the worst defense in America need? People who can actually play defense. JUCO defensive ends John Lattimore and Leroy Vick are versatile enough to be moved around, while 290-pound Will Foxx has anchor potential. The biggest position upgrade could be at safety where Danny Webster and Domonique Lennon might be used out of the gate. Offensively, JUCO transfer Reggie Bullock is an intriguingly fast running back.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 99. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive tackles. New head coach Ruffin McNeill didn't have any time to do anything with the recruiting class, but he ended up getting four excellent offensive linemen to contribute right away. JUCO transfer Anthony Garrett will be an instant factor on the tackle depth chart, while Drew Gentry and Taylor Hudson were two of the team's best recruits.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 83. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. The Pirates have chosen to accentuate a team strength by bolstering an already talented secondary. Six defensive backs are the backbone of a relatively small class put together by Skip Holtz and his assistants. Damonte Terry, the top safety in the mix, is still raw, but has the speed and athletic ability to overshoot his grade at some point down the road.

Florida Atlantic | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Owls have to find ways to score against the stronger defenses. The pass rush was miserable with a mere 12 sacks on the season, and the special teams were abysmal, but the defense will come around under Carl Pelini. FAU has to start putting points on the board and it has to start with a better ground game. The O started to work over the second half of the season, but it needs to keep the chains moving.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Players from outside of Florida. Carl Pelini is starting to settle in a bit, but he's not exactly putting a fence around the State of Miami. JUCO transfer Jacquez Johnson is a smallish quarterback from Mississippi who'll try to get the woeful offense going, while guard Austin Bland and JUCO transfer Braden Lyons will get a long look for the O line. Defensive tackles Lance Burlingame from Massachusetts and Derek Butcher from North Dakota are JUCO transfers brought in to fight for time in the interior. The best players in the class, though, are at linebacker with Robert Relf and Andrew Curtis both coming in from Brophy College Prep in Arizona.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 111. That Class Was Heavy On ... It’s Carl Pelini taking over the head coaching job, so the defense is going to be a primary focus with the secondary a major need and outside linebacker needing to be addressed. However, the offense was miserable last year and needs an upgrade in talent level. The quarterbacks came in a few years ago, with Stephan Curtis soon to be a factor, but playmakers across the offensive board will be used.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 120. That Class Was Heavy On ... Outside linebacker. This is yet another soft recruiting class as Howard Schnellenberger didn’t load up on too many strong prospects from around the area. As always, everyone is local, but the only player of note is undersized linebacker Damian Parms, who isn’t big, but can stick. The receiving corps gets a little help with William Dukes and Hakeem Ishmar two big, promising targets.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 119. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. It wasn't exactly the old Howard Schnellenberger wall around Miami to get the top talent from the area. A class that lacked star power also lacked any one area of beefing up, but there were two decent quarterback prospects to build on for the next few years with 6-3, 210-pound Nick Bracewell and strong-armed Stephen Curtis to battle it out to be the future of the program. Bracewell is the better of the two.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 101. That Class Was Heavy On ... Cornerback. By far the best prospects of this year’s class are in the secondary where De’Andre Richardson and Keith Reaser are two really fast, really good corners who should be fixtures in the FAU defensive backfield for years. Winfred Strickland and Treon Howard aren’t as fast or as good, but they should provide decent depth down the road.

Florida International | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Ron Turner was brought in to kickstart an offense that wasn't too bad. With only four starters returning to each side of the ball, it's going to take some work to find the right pieces to fit again. There were several positives to last year's miserable campaign - the run defense was great - but the offensive line has to be far stronger in pass protection and has to do more to blast away for the running game.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. The coaching change has made it interesting to try bringing in local recruits, but offensive tackle Sandley Jean-Felix is still coming in and should turn into an anchor. Guard Jordan Budwig is big and can hit, while Jason Rae is a short blocker with upside. Now Ron Turner needs more decent defensive players to work into the rotation.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 83. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Everything should be fine for this year, even with T.Y. Hilton gone, but the Golden Panthers need offensive pop after mostly focusing on the defensive side for the last few seasons. This class will be loaded with receiver options, but the defense isn’t going to be ignored with outside linebacker getting plenty of new bodies.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 109. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defense. How did Mario Cristobal capitalize on the best season in FIU history? He brought in a big, solid class with two interesting quarterback prospects in Loranzo Hammonds and Dylan Warner, several receivers, and a great-looking guard in Derrick Thorpe. The D got the stars, though, with Lyndon Edwards and Demetrius Allen two safety-sized linebackers who could be terrific after hitting the weights. Corners Corey Tindal and T.J. Lowder might not be huge, but they can move. JUCO transfers Jordan Hunt at linebacker and Tevin Blanchard at safety will play right away.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 89. That Class Was Heavy On ... Willis Wright. In a major "huh?" moment, Wright, a very strong, very fast safety prospect who could become a whale of a wide receiver or two-way player, signed with FIU despite receiving offers from Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, Nebraska, and several other BCS schools. He's the star of a really nice group of defensive players brought in with a special emphasis on the defensive front. Seven defensive linemen were signed including Jordan White, a 320-pound tackle.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 98. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive back. This was a decent class all the way around, but the major focus was on stopping the pass with some good defensive ends in Joshua Forney and Thatcher Starling, and several defensive backs with decent speed, and surprisingly, a lot of size. Terrance Taylor was a nice pickup at safety while Wayne Times is a good-looking corner prospect.

Marshall | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: Considering the passing game led the nation and the offense finished sixth, there isn't a lot of concern with eight starters returning, even though the offensive line has to be far better in pass protection. The defense was the second-worst in college football in points allowed, giving up over 43 per game getting flattened time and again against the run. Eight starters are back on D, and now they all have to tackle someone to take advantage of the explosive attack.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. What does the nation's best passing game need? More receivers, and Doc Holliday has brought in some interesting ones with Angelo Jean-Louis destined to be a Conference USA all-star and Deontay McManus a dangerous weapon who'll quickly put up big numbers. However, the Herd also needs to stop someone, especially someone's passing game, and the hope is for JUCO transfer Taj Letman can hold down a safety job whie fellow JUCOer Lakeith Murray will push for a corner gig. Those two are good, but Chocolate Wilson has the potential to be great at corner.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 91. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Doc Holliday has a ton of quarterback prospects in place, a true sophomore in Rakeem Cato to work around, and more talent on the way, and now he needs linemen to keep the passers clean. With both starting tackles gone, the outside of the line will get really young, really fast, opening the door for a few JUCO transfers. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 65. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterback. The last two classes have loaded up on receivers, and Levern Jacobs is a 4.4 speedster coming in this year, but the Herd needs more pop to the passing game and hopes to get it with three interesting options. 6-5 Blake Frohnapfel is a chucker, Cornelius Jones if coming in from Fort Union Military Academy to try to challenge right away, and Rakeem Cato out of Miami can do a little bit of everything. Tight ends Rakim Reed and Eric Frohnapfel will be big factors in a few years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 80. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. If nothing else, new head man Doc Holliday will have plenty of pass catchers to use in a rotation. Last year's Herd class was full of big, strong receivers. This year's class is loaded with small, quick ones led by the lightning-quick Fred Pickett. Josh Lovell is a do-it-all tight end who could be good enough to be better than Cody Slate with a little bit of work, while Jazz King, Antwon Chisolm, and Demetrius Evans are all talented enough to be given a long look for early playing time. New quarterback Eddie Sullivan will have plenty of practice options to play around with.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 102. That Class Was Heavy On ... wide receivers. The Herd has loaded up on a bunch of big, physical wide receivers that other schools felt were a little unpolished at this stage of their careers. A collection of athletes who all go at least 6-2, most are expected to do an apprenticeship in 2009 before being turned loose. A local kid, C.J. Crawford is both big and very fast. Wayne Bonner, on the other hand, comes via East Mississippi Junior College, and is most likely to chip in right away.

Middle Tennessee | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Blue Raiders have to start getting more out of their pass rush to help out a beleaguered secondary. It was a trickle down effect; the front four didn't get behind the line and the defensive backs got burned time and again. All four starters are back in the secondary, and three were underclassmen, but they're going to have a nightmare of a time in Conference USA unless someone can get to the quarterback. The punt return game has to be far better after finishing 114th in the nation.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. The Blue Raiders went the JUCO route a few years ago, and this time they're building for down the line. Tackle Jordan Harris has the frame to grow into a starting tackle, while Daniel Stephens is a fireplug of a guard who should eventually be good for the running game. Watch out for JUCO transfer Devin Clarke at receiver and prep prospect Kamani Thomas at running back - they could be the featured stars in 2014. Kicker Canon Rooker is good enough to fight for time the second he sets foot on campus.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 116. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The Blue Raiders haven’t been shy about going after skill players over the last few classes, and last year was about beefing up the lines, but the offense needs more pop for the near future. There’s no receiver depth to count on going into the year, so the JUCO route might be important to help out right away. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 117. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. After getting a bit of instant help from the JUCO ranks and the skill players over the last few seasons, the coaching staff is forming more of a foundation for the offensive front with a few solid prospects with 6-4, 300-pound JUCO transfer Micah James ready to step in and start tomorrow. J.D. Jones is a good, big center prospect who could play guard, and Darius Johnson will be a decent tackle once he hits the weight room.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 105. That Class Was Heavy On ... Key JUCO transfers. This was a good MTSU team last year and it should be in the mix for the Sun Belt title this season, but to get over the hump and win the championship it needed a few more pieces to the puzzle. In come five JUCO transfers to provide help for the depth chart with Logan Kilgore likely to be the No. 2 QB behind Dwight Dasher, Jamar Brown and Jared Bamber sure to be key targets in the passing game, and Arness Ikner a shut-down corner who needs to see time right away.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 99. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. There’s a sprinkling of new recruits here and there, but the stars are at the skills with QB Jamal Ramsey one of the league’s best prospects and running backs David Jones and William Pratcher each good enough to change around the woeful running game. The receivers have size and speed, but they’re extremely unpolished.

Old Dominion | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Monarchs have to step up their run defense now that they're about to deal with the big boys. ODU gets eight starters back on a defense that was tremendous at getting into the backfield and hitting the quarterback, but allowed almost 200 rushing yards per game. Overall, the defense struggled against offenses who moved the ball without a problem as they tried to keep up the pace. The offense has to be prepared to not put up 548 yards per game.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebackers. What does the best offense in the FCS need? More weapons to compete at an FBS level, but new receivers Anthony Bonett and Kevin Privott aren't going to scare anyone for a few years. Shane McCarley is an undersized baller of a quarterback who could work out fine with a little development. The defense has to crank out some reinforcements, and it got a good won in linebacker T.J. Armstrong. Melvin Vaughn and Kanyia Anderson, like Armstrong, are safety-sized and need time to beef up.

Southern Miss | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: Winning. There's way, way too much talent to be 2012 bad again, but there's still a long way to go. The Golden Eagles couldn't come up with a victory last year, so Step One for Todd Monken is to simply get a win to get the monkey off the program's back. Just about every area needs to improve beginning with replacing seven starters on an offense that finished dead last in the league in scoring. Mistakes were a major issue finishing 115th in the nation in turnover margin thanks to a defense that couldn't come up with enough takeaways.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Defensive tackle Dylan Bradley is undersized, but he might be the most talented player being brought in. However, 320-pound JUCO transfer Fredrick Moore should be able to step in and find a role immediately while Devin Farrior should be a steady starter after a few years in the weight room. The interior wasn't ignored with James Davis a potentially strong guard once he packs on some more muscle.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 68. That Class Was Heavy On ... The offensive backfield. New head coach Ellis Johnson doesn’t necessarily need quarterback and running back options for right now, and the skill spots were addressed over the last two recruiting classes, but that doesn’t mean that more options wouldn’t be nice. Arsenio Favor is the top quarterback option going into next year, but Anthony Alford is one of the nation’s top prospects and good enough to push for the starting job. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The Golden Eagles brought in a ton of players after going for the quick JUCO fix last year, and while the lines are getting plenty of work and JUCO corners Clifford Johnson and Martez Thompson will see time right away, this class is about lots and lots of pass-catching prospects, including tight end Collin Jarbo. JUCO transfer Jhyrtn Taylor is is the best receiver of the bunch, but speedy Tray Becton and Cooper Harrington could make a bigger impact before they’re through.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 56. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. Head coach Larry Fedora went big on JUCO transfers last year, and he got a few instant helpers this season with CB Reggie Hunt and massive offensive tackles Lamar Holmes and Jason Weaver certain to be in the rotation immediately, but mostly the Golden Eagle class is setting up the future for the offense. Two quarterbacks, four running backs, and four receivers were signed with JUCO transfer Kelvin Bolden a potential instant impact player at one wideout spot and Markese Triplett a big 6-4 target to build around for the future.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 61. That Class Was Heavy On ... JUCO transfers. His program headed in the right direction, Larry Fedora sought out players capable of keeping the momentum going right now. A league-high six junior-college players, four on offense and two of defense, will help fill in the holes at tight end, linebacker, and offensive tackle. LB Hendrick Leverette is already being counted on to offset Gerald McRath’s departure, and 6-5, 265-pound David Rue is angling to catch some of the passes that used to go to Shawn Nelson.

UAB | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Blazers have to be better on the offensive front and the defense has to be far tougher against the run. The O line was last in the league in sacks allowed and did nearly nothing for the running game, while the defense gave up way too many big plays getting torched time and again while finishing last in the league in pass efficiency defense. The punt coverage team wasn't a prize netting a mere 33.5 yards per try, even though Hunter Mullins ranked 12th in the nation averaging 44.8 yards a boot.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receiver. After working on the skill positions a few years ago, UAB needs more firepower for down the road. However, JUCO transfer DeVante Scott is being brought in to be a No. 1 target right away, but J.J. Green, Greg Maclin and Adrian Kirkland are bodies to develop. Tight end Korey Cunningham has excellent size and the upside to be a safety-valve receiver.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 87. That Class Was Heavy On ... Kickers. After two big classes and working on the skill positions last year, UAB got a little bit of everything without loading up on any one spot. JUCO transfers Lamar Johnson and Calvin Jones will be used right away in the secondary, and some big prospects, led by the 6-3, 343-pound Uneik Crumbley, are brought in for the line. Apparently, though, one of the big concerns is Josh Zahn, the team’s placekicker who followed up a 14-of-21 2009 with a 7-of-17 field goal 2010 season. Kickers Colin Anderson and Ty Long were brought into provide a challenge. Considering six games last year were decided by five points or fewer, a good kicker is a must.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 108. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. The offense was Joe Webb, Joe Webb, and Joe Webb last year, and now there's an immediate infusion of talent to try to change that with seven wide receivers, four of them from the JUCO ranks, led by big Darnell Williams; the team's instant No. 1 target. Five running backs, including two JUCO transfers, were brought in, while the star should be Greg Franklin.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 96. That Class Was Heavy On ... safeties. Of the 24 new Blazers signed by Neil Callaway, a big portion is projected as safeties once they arrive in Birmingham. That’s not such a bad thing, considering last year’s starters, Will Dunbar and Matt Taylor, were seniors. The two junior-college transfers, Hiram Atwater and Elliott McGaskin, should be ready to compete right away, and David Conner was good enough to get mail from Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State.
- C-USA West Recruiting Needs & Concerns