Top 30 Questions – No. 1 to 6
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Recruiting 2014 – The 30 Key Questions
- No. 1 to 6. Can Bama's great class help the D?
- No. 7 to 12. Why can't Spurrier get a star QB prospect?
- No. 13 to 18. Can Notre Dame compete with the SEC?
- No. 19 to 30. Can Gary Andersen bring star to UW?
1. Is Nick Saban changing anything about his recruiting style after his Alabama defenses struggled so much against spread attacks and quick quarterbacks?
Kirk McNair, BamaMag.com - Yes, and the change has already begun. Saban is looking for what he calls "quick twitch guys" on the defensive line, and he brought in A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen last year.
Saban's recruiting style hasn't changed, but he has adjusted his priorities within the class of 2014. Mid-way through, offensive line was the clear No. 1 issue, but over the last month or two the focus has shifted to the defense almost exclusively. Of course, that was after getting commitments from a handful of outstanding offensive linemen – top-ranked tackle Cameron Robinson , top-ranked center J.C. Hassenauer, five-star junior college tackle Dominick Jackson, fourth-ranked center Joshua Casher, fourth-ranked guard Ross Pierschbacher, offensive guard Montel McBride.
Alabama is targeting the nation's best pass-rushers, it landed the nation's top cornerback in Tony Brown while having another five-star corner in Marlon Humphrey high on the list, as well as notching three safeties in the class. Alabama also added a pair of junior college transfers on the defensive line, where it is looking for at least one more commitment down the stretch.
- For more, go to BamaMag.com
2. Even though it's late in the game, is there a renewed energy recruiting-wise under Charlie Strong? With no time to prepare, what is he doing differently from Mack Brown?
Kevin Flaherty, LonhornDigest.com - I think there is. Any time you have a coaching change, you're going to see some decommitments, and Texas hasn't been immune there, losing three defensive tackle commitments in Strong's first week. But almost the second the dead period ended, Strong went out and pounded the pavement, visiting virtually all the Texas commitments along with a few other interesting prospects.
As far as what he's doing differently, you can just look at the areas he's targeting. If there was one thing that surprised most people about Strong's initial staff, it was that the coaches were absent Texas recruiting rainmakers, or those with recent records of recruiting the state extremely well. That's not to say that Strong's staff will struggle from a recruiting standpoint, it's just that most of those coaches — several of which are high-level recruiters — have built their reputations and contacts through the Southeast.
Two of Texas's top defensive tackle targets with those three players gone include Poona Ford, from Hilton Head, S.C., and Chris Nelson, from Lakeland, Fla., players certainly outside of Texas's usual recruiting comfort area. And the staff has already extended offers to 2015s in Florida and North Carolina.
It remains to be seen whether the early offers are more of an indication that Strong will be shifting Texas's recruiting to more of a national search or whether his first offers are simply going out to those players he's comfortable with. But that's certainly one difference that stands out early.
- For more, go to LonghornDigest.com
3. There might be one or two guys here and there, but really, has Urban Meyer had any problems not getting the guys he wants for Ohio State?
Jeff Svoboda, BuckeyeSports.com - To this point, I'd say, no, not really. Meyer has shown his recruiting skills since arriving, picking up ten commitments in the two months of recruiting time he between being hired in late 2011 and National Signing Day in 2012. Then came last year's No. 1-rated class, and this year's group is a little small at the moment, but packed with star power with ten Scout 100 recruits. Meyer's recruiting has been a little different than Jim Tressel's -- surprisingly, he has hit the northeast harder and not been as involved in Florida -- but the results have been the same: highly rated classes full of top talent.
- For more, go to BuckeyeSports.com
4. Has anything changed for Oregon, or is anything being adjusted in recruiting to combat the more physical – Stanford - teams?
Steve Summers, eDuck.com - I don't think Oregon recruits players to combat any other program, including Stanford. The Ducks focus in on winning the national championship, and while Stanford is a team the Ducks play every year, there is no more emphasis on Stanford than there would be on California, Washington, Washington State or Oregon State.
-For more, go to eDuck.com
5. What is Florida head coach Will Muschamp doing this recruiting class to help out the offense?
Bob Redman, FightingGators.com - The main thing is speed. He is trying to add speed after a few years of making size the determining factor. The spread offense has now opened the door for more Florida-like talent and the recruiting in this area should be better. We are seeing some smaller receivers and running back, but the guys are really quick. And, we are seeing the staff go after a few athletes at quarterback, guys that may be run first, instead of the drop-back style of quarterback they have targeted.
- For more, go to FightingGators.com
6. Was the Rose Bowl seen as a culmination or a start of something big for Michigan State? Is the big season resonating right away?
Michael Wilson, SpartanDigest.com - Winning the Rose Bowl really was a culmination and the start of something for Michigan State. I think first and foremost it was the culmination of the goal set in place when Mark Dantonio arrived, but since then -- and during the lead up to the game in Pasadena -- it was clear the players saw how close they were to a national title game appearance. In that, the bar has been raised in East Lansing. It also is clear the incoming recruits and those that MSU is targeting took notice and want to be a part of keeping the program on a national level. It also gave MSU the position to be very selective in closing out the 2014 class with tight numbers.
- For more, go to SpartanDigest.com