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

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

Recruiting 2013 

Conference USA West 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 East Recruiting Needs & Concerns 

Louisiana Tech | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Bulldogs have plenty of holes to fill on the nation's most productive offense. Skip Holtz has to come up with the right quarterback to replace Colby Cameron, but first things first, four new starters have to emerge on the line. The offense will be fine, but the defense is a different story after finishing dead last in the nation in yards allowed. There has to be more of a pass rush to help out a secondary that gave up a nation-worst 340 yards per outing.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebackers. Can Skip Holtz take advantage of some strong classes brought in by Sonny Dykes? The coaching change made life harder this recruiting season, but there are still some decent prospects coming in, especially at linebacker with JUCO transfers Nick Thomason and Mitchell Villemez each expected to help out the nation's worst defense right away. Wide receiver Ladell Marshall and end Nicholas Bickham are good prospects for down the road.

2012: What's Needed Now: Not much. Head coach Sonny Dykes had the WAC's best recruiting class last year and loaded up in a big way on the defensive line and the secondary over the last two seasons. Now it's about trying to find a few stars to add to the mix. This isn't likely to be a big class in any one area, but 2013 will be when the big haul has to come.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 84. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. This is a big, big class with a little something for everyone. The splash is in the passing game as quarterbacks and receivers are hot for the Sonny Dykes passing offense. JUCO transfer receivers Quinton Patton, Scott Cathcart and Myles White will play right away, while JUCO transfer quarterbacks Brodrick Watters and Nick Isham will fight it out. The meat of the class is on the defensive front with several strong prospects led by Malcolm Pichon, a 6-3, 330-pound tackle who could be the anchor of the line for the next four years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 96. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Sonny Dykes. While the focus will be on the quarterback and receivers in the Sonny Dykes system, Derek Dooley brought in those prospects last year. This year, the coaching staff, with no time to work whatsoever, loaded up for the secondary with seven prospects who'll be thrown to the wolves right away. Antonio Burton, Michael Schrang, and Connor Nichols form a solid safety trio, while JUCO transfer Ryan Williams might be one of the WAC's best corners right away.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 70. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running back and receiver. Head coach Derek Dooley went hard on the offense, and while he didn’t pick up any sure-thing stars, he got a lot of prospects. If you’re a strength in numbers fan when it comes to recruiting, then you’ll like all the options the Bulldogs have to choose from over the next few years with a few smallish but speedy backs like Lyle Fitte and Tyrone Duplessis. Big receivers like C.J. Broadus and Jaccari Jackson should be interesting to keep an eye out for as they develop.

North Texas | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: Points. The offense moved the ball without much of a problem averaging close to 400 yards per game, but it couldn't close out drives with enough points failing to score more than 24 in every game but two. The receiving corps needs to replace a few key parts and quarterback Derek Thompson needs to be more efficient and more effective, especially in the red zone. The special teams, especially the return games, have to be far better after finishing last in the Sun Belt in punt returns and 104th in the nation in kickoff returns.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Dan McCarney likes his offensive linemen, and after a year when the Mean Green front five was so strong in pass protection, he knows how to coach them. JUCO transfers Justin Manu at tackle and Shawn McKinney at center are at least ready to step in and help out with the depth, while guards Harrison Sorge, Dominic Walker and Hunter Siddons will be starters in three years. JUCO transfer Brock Berglund is an interesting option to at least fight for the No. 2 job.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 104. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front. Dan McCarney is a defensive coach by nature, and while his group made strides last year, now he wants to improve for the next few years especially at tackle. This will be a class based on variety with a sprinkling of bodies for all spots except for linebacker, which will be the focus in 2013. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 110. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Dan McCarney likes linemen and wants to load up on the offensive front, but with little time to work, he didn’t do much of anything for the lines. There’s no star power whatsoever in this group, and for the second straight season the program has gone strongest in the secondary with corner Freddie Warner the best of the bunch and Kerry Swarn a long, tall safety with good upside. There isn’t much immediate help from the JUCO ranks.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 117. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. North Texas hasn't played defense in several years, and while the team is still growing and still needs big seasons out of previous classes, head coach Todd Dodge is looking for a big impact from the JUCO ranks with safeties Jamison Hughes and Ryan Dowling and corners Steven Ford, D'Leon McCord and DeAndre Wood to all see time immediately.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 118. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. If you’re going to run the offense head coach Todd Dodge wants to run, you need targets. The Mean Green passing game got an influx of receivers with two JUCO transfers for right now in Jamaal Jackson and Mike Outlaw, while freshman Daniel Mayberry might be the most talented of the lot.

Rice | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Owls are loaded with veterans - welcoming back 20 starters - but they need be better on the lines. The offense didn't have too many problems moving the ball despite issues in pass protection. All five starters are back up front after going through a few growing pains, and now the payoff has to come. The punting and punt return games need improvement. Punter Taylor Cook has to be replaced, and Dennis Parks has to be more productive after helping the Owls average just 4.32 yards per try.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Tight ends. Rice has cranked out some nice pass catching tight ends over the years, and it's bringing in two very tall protoypes going around 6-6 and 230 pounds. Colt Hunt has the most upside, but Robby Wells isn't too far behing. Corner Anthony Canady is the most talented player brought in, and running back Jowan Davis will be a factor, but Hunt and Wells appear to be the surest things.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 82. That 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 far. 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. 

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.

Tulane | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: The Green Wave needs to stop the run. The offense might not have cranked out a ton of yards in Curtis Johnson's first season, but the passing game started to work despite the problems in pass protection. The nation's second-worst running game has to be better, but that will only come if the line is far better. The O will come around, but the defense needs to be far more physical after finishing last in the league against the run and second-to-last in scoring and total D.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. With starter Ryan Griffin done, three big passers are coming in with JUCO transfer Nick Montana looking to fill the void immediately after starting out his career at Washington. The secondary is getting the most overall help with safety Nico Marley leading a deep class and Richard Allen and Parry Nickerson adding speed to the outside. Local product, guard Kenneth Santa Marina, is the team's best prospect and needs to add more to the ground game as soon as possible.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 88. That 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. 

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.

Tulsa | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: After winning the Conference USA title and rolling over Iowa State in the bowl, there are big problems on a defense that has to replace eight starters after leading the league in most major categories. The offense has to find a deep passing game after relying mostly on the ground attack to carry the attack. Quarterback Cody Green has to be more efficient considering he'll get plenty of time to work behind a terrific line. The punting game has to improve after Cole Way averaged just 39 yards per boot.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. The Golden Hurricane went heavy on targets last year, but there's always room for more. Keevan Lucas has the speed and talent to become a No. 1 target, while Khalid Kornegay and tight end Jesse Brubaker have excellent upside. Quarterback Ben Oberste and Ryan Rubley will one day fight it out for the starting job with Oberste a little more talented but Rubley a bit bigger. Devin Rolan is going to one day be a leading tackler at linebacker, and Joe Bean is soon going to be a starting safety.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 81. That 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. 

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.

UTEP | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Sean Kugler is in charge of trying to crank up a defense that couldn't make enough plays behind the line and an offense that had problems putting points on the board. The O was able to move the ball a bit with a nice passing game, but not enough drives finished well. The D finished last in the league in tackles for loss, but all four starters are back on the defensive front.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... 2014. It's a small class for Sean Kugler to deal with after a few years of loading up on bodies under Mike Price. Quarterback Mark Leftwich is an interesting option, but he'll likely have to wait in line with the 2011 class of passers maturing. JUCO transfer Nick Gathrite will try to produce for the passing game right away as a key receiver, while JUCOer Jameel Erving and freshman Jaylon Scott will bring the most immediate help at corner.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 84. That 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. 

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.

UTSA | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2013: Head coach gets back all 11 starters on an offense that stalled way too often running the ball against the better WAC defenses. Out of the 21 touchdown runs, just one came in the four losses. The defense got ripped apart by most passing games over the second half of the season allowing 324 yards or more in each of the last five games and gave up 17 touchdown passes with just three picks in the last six outings.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... FBS talents. It's not like the Roadrunners are taking any prospects away from Alabama, but after not needing to come up with too many bodies in the 2012 class, this one is full with a variety of different prospects for all spots. The line isn't getting a slew of top-shelf stars, but running backs Jalen Rhodes and Jarveon Williams were nice gets, and corner Nkeal Bailey will soon be a key part of the secondary.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 123. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Roadrunners haven't had too much time getting ready for life in the WAC, but head coach Larry Coker has a young, YOUNG team without many glaring personnel needs. Redshirt freshmen are the norm across the board with only two upperclassmen among the 24 players on the offensive two-deep, and there's only one player needing to be replaced on defense. 

- C-USA East Recruiting Needs & Concerns