Top 30 Questions – No. 19 to 30
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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?
19. Has moving to the ACC matter in any way to recruits?
Michael McAllister, CuseNation.com - Yes it did. Especially with prospects from the south. It means they can return home, play against schools they grew up watching, and play some games in front of family that can't afford to travel to home games. Combine that with the ACC being a better conference, and it has definitely helped Syracuse recruit.
- For more, go to CuseNation.com
Tony Greco, PantherDigest.com - So far, we're not seeing it. However, this coaching staff--building off its connections for recruiting the Midwest at Wisconsin--has a unique sell in its approach. Take for example four-star running back Chris James, out of Chicago. His other choices were Michigan State and Wisconsin. A 7-6 Pitt team best out the Big Ten's recent Rose Bowl participants, and schools that have produced such stars as Montee Ball and Le'Veon Bell. This might be the first case where the ACC has factored in.
- For more, go to PantherDigest.com
20. How much did the Auburn offensive explosion perk up interest from skill position recruits?
Mark Murphy, AUTigers.com - Many of the commitments for the 2014 class were already on board before the 2013 season started. However, the big season offensively certainly helped solidify commitments even though there were high expectations going into the season opener that the offense would be much better because of Gus Malzahn's previous history of success.
- For more, go to AUTigers.com
21. James Franklin hasn't had a chance to get started, but how has the late coaching shift affected the recruiting season?
Mark Brennan, FightOnState.com - There has been a lot of flipping out. Franklin had convinced five Vanderbilt commits to flip to Penn State. In the meantime, two PSU commits had flipped to other schools. Losing four-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley to Florida hurt, but the Lions gained a couple of promising commits at offensive tackle - (an area of need. Don't be surprised if Franklin flips other commits - and not just from Vandy - before signing day.
- For more, go to FightOnState.com
22. Does Steve Spurrier's age – turning 69 this year – play a role in any way since he's probably not going to be the South Carolina head coach when this recruiting class is finished?
Gordon Shuford, GamecockPride.com - Although Spurrier hasn't built South Carolina into a championship dynasty, he has certainly laid the foundation of a legitimate contender in the SEC and many of his former prized recruits are experiencing great success in the NFL. So his age doesn't play a major factor because he has already lifted the Gamecock program to a very attractive level, and the contract he just signed days ago keeps him in charge through 2018.
Furthermore, even if he decides to step down as head football coach, the contract has a clause that says he can be a special assistant to the President and Athletic Director. And we all know who will have the power in that working relationship. Also, the athletic and academic facilities that Spurrier has helped build are competitive with most in the country, and those are important factors to recruits and their families. The future looks quite bright at South Carolina, and many kids want to be the first bunch that brings the first SEC title home to an overly loyal fan base that packed the seats even when the Gamecocks went 0-11 not too long ago.
Rob Veno, GamecockPride.com - His age doesn't really appear to be a factor in recruiting right now. His contract – he just received a raise to $4 million per year – expires at the end of the 2017 season, so perhaps this subject could be re-examined yearly but there's no indication Spurrier wants out and AD Ray Tanner has made it known he wants him to stay beyond the length of the current agreement.
- For more, go to GamecockPride.com
23. How are Bobby Petrino and Charlie Strong different when it comes to recruiting?
Jody Demling, CardinalAuthority.com - Petrino - more than Strong - will go for the under-the-radar guys. He will recruit the four and five-star kids, but will make it a point to have every class with a couple of guys he finds out there. He had 11 NFLers in his first two classes the last time he was at Louisville. Strong concentrated 50 percent on just Florida, Petrino will move more into Alabama and Georgia while also staying strong in Florida.
- For more, go to CardinalAuthority.com
24. It has already been a strong recruiting season for Kentucky – what has been the main selling point? What's working?
Jeff Drummond, AllWildcats.com - Mark Stoops has really thrived in his home state of Ohio, where Kentucky coaches have always talked about needing to recruit harder, but have never really been able to break through and land many players. He and assistant coach Vince Marrow, the Wildcats' recruiting "ace," have done a great job of using their old relationships to get some impressive Buckeye State talent to come south. Almost half of this class might be from Ohio by the time the ink dries on National Signing Day. Stoops has also done a great job of keeping the in-state talent (like Elite 11 quarterback Drew Barker) in blue despite the great job that Charlie Strong was doing at Louisville.
- For more, go to AllWildcats.com
25. Will Wisconsin ever be able to break out of the "recruit to a type" mode? After all of the success, why can't the program compete for the better prospects to be able to take that next step forward?
Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com - Wisconsin can do it and has done it, as Gary Andersen is putting together the best class in program history (since Scout.com started ranking classes in 2002). Andersen isn't remaking the Wisconsin model, as UW still recruits strong tailbacks, big offensive linemen and some development projects, but he has spent the better part of his first full recruiting year targeting more speed and athleticism at the skill positions. UW has a top 20 class despite being 9-4 this past season.
- For more, go to BadgerNation.com
26. A lot was made about Mack Brown missing out on the Andrew Lucks and Johnny Manziels – is it really talent evaluation, coaching, or both?
Kevin Flaherty, LonghornDigest.com - I think it's a little bit of both, though no school gets dinged like Texas for missing out on a recruit people think the Longhorns should have gotten. Of that quarterback mix, Andrew Luck was probably the worst miss. Texas had him at a junior day and just didn't offer. But very few offered Robert Griffin III out of high school as a quarterback, and Johnny Manziel didn't even get his Texas A&M offer until a bit later in the process.
Both of those two are guys that a lot of people missed on … not just Texas.
From the coaching standpoint, I think Texas's reactionary view of offense in recent years hurt. Garrett Gilbert was a no-huddle spread quarterback his whole high school career, but when he assumed the starting job, Texas was looking to run the ball more often (often from under center) while testing the defense off play-action. Gilbert faltered, then transferred to SMU, where he was one of the nation's leaders in total offense until he was hurt late.
This year, I think the staff felt like it had the right marriage of offense and quarterback in junior David Ash, but he only played three games after suffering two concussions, and the spread designed for Ash wasn't the offense that backup quarterback Case McCoy could win with, so they had to scrap the offense midseason.
One of the other problems has been convincing young backup quarterbacks to stick around. Texas lost Connor Wood, then Gilbert, then Connor Brewer, all within the last three or so years. So when Ash was hurt, there wasn't really anybody, with the exception of true freshman Tyrone Swoopes, to challenge McCoy when he didn't play well.
Most seem to agree that the Longhorns have found their guy in the 2014 class in Denton Guyer's Jerrod Heard, a true dual threat. Heard rushed for 4,299 yards and 62 touchdowns in the last two seasons, ending each of them with a Texas State Championship. But he has also been effective as a thrower, topping the 2,000-yard mark as a passer in all three seasons as a starting quarterback while throwing for 67 touchdowns to just 24 interceptions.
- For more, go to LonghornDigest.com
27. Are there more Geno Smiths, Tavon Austins and Stedman Baileys on West Virginia's horizon, or is the bloom off the Dana Holgorsen rose?
Kevin Kinder, BlueGoldNews.com - There are some potential stars at receiver and running back on the WVU roster and recruiting lists, but the Mountaineers are definitely struggling at quarterback. The departure of Ford Childress and Clint Trickett's recent shoulder surgery leaves the spring depth chart as deep as your kid's plastic wading pool. Holgorsen did bring in an under-the-radar JUCO prospect for the spring in the form of Skyler Howard, and has freshman William Crest arriving in the fall, but questions remain about the ability to recruit highly-regarded QBs.
To be fair, though, most of Holgorsen's star performers at previous stops weren't five-star prospects, either. Overall, Holgorsen's seat is definitely hot. Athletic Director Oliver Luck issued a "state of the program" address at the conclusion of last year that made it clear the time to produce is now. Another losing season could signal the end of the Holgorsen era.
- For more, go to BlueGoldNews.com
28. Has BYU being an independent helped, hurt or hasn't mattered?
Jake Hatch, TotalBlueSports.com - When BYU went independent in 2011, visibility & exposure were the rally cries of what BYU was going independent for. Playing regularly on the ESPN networks has helped BYU get into homes that otherwise would have been closed to them. Recruits wanted to know more about BYU because of its exclusive TV contract with ESPN and its own dedicated TV network in BYUtv. Athletes have been more intrigued by the Cougars by the exposure but the BYU coaching staff has had to put in a lot of effort to make sure to capitalize on that increased visibility. With the hire of Robert Anae and the new offensive staff last offseason, you've seen a new age of recruiting for BYU begin to unfold. They are reaching into areas of the country that they used to ignore and are looking for the best athletes they can find. It's far from a finished product and no one knows what the future holds for BYU as an Independent but Bronco Mendenhall and his assistants are working to use their unique position in the college football world to their advantage.
- For more, go to TotalBlueSports.com
29. What is the Kliff Kingsbury factor doing for the program? Are recruits looking at the program to play for him?
Jarret Johnson, RaiderPower.com It's hard to say what his hire hasn't done for the program. Texas Tech football struggled under Tommy Tuberville and Kingsbury has gone about bringing the Red Raiders back from obscurity. Almost every recruit I speak with, even ones not considering Tech as a realistic choice, loves Kingsbury. Recruits say they can identify more with a 34-year-old than an older coach, plus as a former star Texas Tech quarterback, they believe him when he pitches them on how much he cares about the school and program. Despite his young age, he has skins on the wall, as a former record-breaking quarterback, NFL player and for his work with Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. Almost to a man, recruits say he's just a cool guy and they enjoy hanging out with him and his young staff.
- For more, go to RaiderPower.com
30. Is the Fresno State coaching staff doing anything to specifically address the defense for next year?
Jackson Moore, BulldogPlaybook.com - Tim DeRuyter's coaching staff made a colossal turnaround to the defense in their first season, but lack of depth at the cornerback position led to a step back in 2013. The coaching staff has an eye for athletes they feel they can develop into effective cover corners. The Bulldogs have added a mid-year junior college transfer in Stratton Brown and have big plans for 6-foot-2 commit Malcolm Washington who was primarily recruited at receiver, but plans to come in to Fresno State cornerback.
Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Nick Toth hopes to add to his defense with a big class of linebackers. The Bulldogs have four linebackers currently committed led by three-star Michael Lazarus, but are in the hunt for several more. Four-star Chandller Leniu is considering the Bulldogs after decommitting from Washington State and three other three-star linebackers have Fresno State in their top schools in January.
For more, go to BulldogPlaybook.com