Recruiting 2014 - What You Need To Know
Posted Jan 31, 2014's Director of Scouting, Scott Kennedy, and national analyst Allen Trieu answer the big recruiting questions going into the 2014 Signing Day.

What's happening in the recruiting world? What do you really need to know?

Once again, here to answer some key questions is Scott Kennedy,'s Director of Scouting who kindly returns for his sixth year for this piece, and Allen Trieu, one of Scout's national analysts and the Midwest Regional Manager. Allow them to make sense of it all.

Recruiting 2014 - What You Need To Know
Q&A with's Scott Kennedy & Allen Trieu

- What's the hot story? Who's crushing it?
- Who's about to mature? The big surprise and big disappointment.
- Sarkisian? Franklin? Strong? How are the new coaches doing?
- Are the Irish keeping pace? What will everyone be talking about?

1. What's the biggest storyline right now? What's all the buzz about?

Scott Kennedy: I think the resurgence of Tennessee might be the biggest recruiting story of the year. The Vols are sitting at No. 2 in the Scout rankings and are likely going to finish with a Top 5 class. Yes, they have 34 commitments, but Scout only counts the Top 25, and the Vols have loaded up with 17 players ranked four-star or better, second only to Alabama's whopping 19. With 34 commitments, you can expect good balance across the board and with the exception of quarterback, Tennessee has a commitment from at least one four-star prospect at every position.

Allen Trieu: As usual this time of year, it's all about coaching changes and how that affects recruits jumping, so James Franklin, Charlie Strong, Bobby Petrino, etc., those are storylines making the most noise.

2. Knowing RB Leonard Fournette is going to LSU and the top five picks are set is there any excitement missing from this recruiting season – unlike the last few years - with no major drama up top?

Scott Kennedy: You may know you're getting a car on your 16th birthday, but that only heightens the excitement. Most classes are done by January, but that doesn't make Signing Day any less exciting from fans to see they've locked their future players into Letters of Intent.

There's always drama, it just focuses somewhere else if the guys at the very top have already made decisions. This year it seems like all the drama resides out West. The top two prospects - athletes Adoree Jackson and JuJu Smith - haven't made decisions yet, and even Rashaan Thomas out of Auburn, Ala. is heavily considering UCLA.

Allen Trieu: There is always drama. Kids are still flipping and making late decisions. Maybe it's because I'm immersed in it every day, but there never seems to be a shortage of news. Is there a big Terrelle Pryor type announcement to come or a Gunner Kiel kind of story? No, so for the casual observer, maybe there is less to get excited about, but for those who follow recruiting close, there's always something to be paying attention to.

3. Why isn't Michigan State able to keep up the arms race with Michigan and Ohio State?

Scott Kennedy: There's something to be said for recruiting the next level of player down from the Top 200 and keeping him for five years. You recruit a five-star offensive lineman who leaves after three years, and I recruit a three-star offensive lineman who I keep for five years, in four years, I have an offensive lineman pushing new young highly touted freshman replacements all over the field. My theory is that a year of experience is worth half a star on the field. And it matters the most in the trenches.

Allen Trieu: Well, they beat both of those schools this year, so we'll see how much of an effect that has. I think they just need to sustain the success. One year won't usually make a big, noticeable difference until the following year in recruiting, which you're already seeing in their 2015 class. I think kids nationally are just beginning to get exposed to the Spartans at that level.

Another BCS bowl win next year, and wins over the Wolverines and Buckeyes again, and I think things will continue to move upwards for MSU. But as of now, Michigan and Ohio State are still able to get by on name recognition.

4. Yawn … Alabama is getting everyone it wants. What is Nick Saban doing that's working so well?

Scott Kennedy: You mean besides winning championships and putting players in the NFL, well, nothing really. I think we can judge the strength of the Alabama program by the reaction to a No. 3 finish in the nation. Alabama finishes 11-2 and No. 3 and people are wondering what went wrong. Alabama is in a position to select the best players from around the country, and it does a better job than anyone of turning potential into production over the course of a player's career. They'll oversign and process players out of the program, but that's a risk players and their families are well aware of when they sign with Alabama. It's a risk they've been willing to take, because the rewards, championships and winning the last five years under Nick Saban have been unprecedented in the BCS era.

Allen Trieu: It's pretty simple, he's winning and he's putting kids in the pros. For all the new inventions in recruiting, all the crazy mailers, the Twitter accounts and Facebooking, at the end of the day, it's still the same as it's always been. Kids want to compete for national titles and they want a good shot at getting to the NFL.