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2007 CUSA Recruiting - What It All Means
Southern Miss CB Gene Anderson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 11, 2007


How does the 2007 Conference USA recruiting class really affect the college football world?

Click on each team for the fill class list and top players
East  UAB | UCF | East Carolina | Marshall | Memphis | Southern Miss
West  Houston | Rice | SMU | Tulane | Tulsa | UTEP

- 2006 CFN Recruiting Rankings


1. UCF
The class is heavy on ... Pass catchers. Eight wide receivers and two tight ends were brought in to provide an instant boost to the depth of the passing game. Give George O'Leary's penchant for playing freshmen when needed, several new receivers should see time right off the bat. Alphonso Bryant is the star of the show, but A.J. Guyton, Kama Aiken, Darnell Williams and Sidney Haynes were all big-time steals.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... WR Alphonso Bryant
The player you might care about this year ... QB Mike Greco
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Compared to last year, this was a monster recruiting season in sheer numbers and overall talent. It was a statement class that should throw a bit of a scare into the rest of the league when it comes to the speed and athleticism O'Leary was able to bring in. In other words, watch out for UCF over the next few years because of this group.

2. Houston
The class is heavy on ... Receivers and corners. The future of the passing game was addressed with plenty of speed and options for the receiving corps led by Demetrius Woods. Stopping the pass was also a priority with five corners and two safeties. A.J. Edwards and Loyce Means are 4.4 runners who need to grow into a top corner tandem over the next few years.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... RB Chris Tate
The player you might care about this year ... OT Rodney Brisbon
What it all means to the real world of college football ... The defending Conference USA champions didn't bring in any quarterbacks, but they got a little bit of everything else with a good enough class to keep the program among the best in the league for a long time to come. There might not be any sure-thing steals from the bigger Texas programs, but there are enough options to develop a few into top playmakers over time.

3. Marshall
The class is heavy on ...Tackles. Not only did Mark Snyder and his staff bring in five offensive tackles, they brought in five really good ones including elite prospects in Charles Wood and 6-6, 310-pound Branden Curry. The defensive tackles might not be as promising, but there might be strength in numbers with JUCO transfer Montel Glasco certain to provide immediate depth and Delvin Johnson and good future prospect.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Chris Smith
The player you might care about this year ... RB Terrell Edwards
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Beefing up the lines was a big priority for the Herd, and this class accomplished that. The offense got a few interesting playmakers in quarterbacks Chris Smith and Mark Cann, who might be in a battle for playing time in 2008, while RB Terrell Edwards might be needed right off the bat to help fill the hole left by the early departure of Ahmad Bradshaw to the NFL.

4. Southern Miss
The class is heavy on ... Defensive backs. The strength of the class is on offense, especially in the backfield, but the bulk is in the secondary with eight prospects to play around with. JUCO transfer Gene Anderson will be a part of the corner mix from day one, while the rest of the DBs will likely spend time learning the system and being moved around where needed. The raw speed and athleticism is there, there just needs to be some developing.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Randy Hardin
The player you might care about this year ... OT Julius Gray
What it all means to the real world of college football ... No Conference USA team made a bigger instant splash offensively. Damion Fletcher is one of the league's best runners, and now he'll get a little bit of help carrying the workload after the program's major coup of getting Antwain Easterling, arguably the league's best recruit this season. QB Randy Hardin is for the future, but tackle Julius Gray and tight end Brennan Houston will help right now.

5. East Carolina
The class is heavy on ... Receivers. Four receivers and three tight ends were brought in with a nice combination of players to build around and possible instant helpers. 6-6, 210-pound Rodney Cox is a wide receiver who could eventually grow into a devastating receiving tight end, while JUCO transfer Travis Lee will be in the mix from day one. Michael Byrd leads a good group of tight ends that could make the short passing game shine over the next several years.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... WR Rodney Cox
The player you might care about this year ... RB Tyrell Worthington
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Skip Holtz and his staff brought in a big class of players with plenty of options to work with and players to build around for the future. The secondary got a ton of help for the future, but the real excitement is for the offense. There are so many prospects that there are bound to be several playmakers who grow out of the pack into something special.

6. SMU
The class is heavy on ... Receivers. The offensive line and the secondary got the most prospects, but the receiving corps is the strength of the class thanks to De'Von Bailey and Bradley Hawkins. How many can help right off the bat? It might take a little while, but this group needs to develop some sort of a rapport in practices with new quarterbacks Logan Turner and Terrance Wilkerson. This is the future of the Mustang passing game.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... OG Josh LeRibeus
The player you might care about this year ... WR De'Von Bailey
What it all means to the real world of college football ... It's all about building around QB Justin Willis and giving him the most help possible, and where there might not be a slew of immediate playmakers, the receiving corps and the linemen should shine in two years just when Willis, hopefully, goes from special to Conference-USA-Player-of-the-Year caliber. Guard Josh LeRibeus will be a huge help for the ground game.

7. Memphis
The class is heavy on ... The offensive line. Ten prospects were brought in led by JUCO transfer Cody Stubblefield, who should grab a starting spot right off the bat. The class has five guards ranging from the monster road graters (6-4, 340-pound Ronald Leary) to the athletic (Keenan Bratcher and Tommy Walker) to potentially help the running game that struggled so much with its consistency last year.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Dallas Walker
The player you might care about this year ... WR Steven Black
What it all means to the real world of college football ... JUCO, JUCO, JUCO. After a horrific year, the team underwent a facelift with nine ready made players from the junior college ranks with five possible instant starters in WR Steven Black, OT Cody Stubblefield, DT Fred Barnett, LB Tom Phelps, and CB LeRico Mathis. Tommy West and his staff need to win and win now, and this class reflects that.

8. UTEP
The class is heavy on ... The defensive back seven, especially up the middle. With four safeties and four linebackers, the UTEP defense got an infusion of talent to help right away if JUCO transfers Torrey Huckaby, Justin Halas and Roddray Walker live up to their billing. It's a diverse group that will make or break the class.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Chris Dowell
The player you might care about this year ... DT Charles Ofili
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Mike Price and his staff brought in plenty of offensive prospects, but there's no one of note. It would've been nice if the program took another big step in recruiting after an abysmal haul last year, but it didn't happen. Price has to make all the pieces fit and show, like he did when he took over the program, that he can develop players in a hurry.

9. Tulsa
The class is heavy on ... Receivers. After the way Todd Graham developed the Rice receiving corps in just one season, pitching receiver prospects to come to Tulsa was a relatively easy sell. Five players were brought in, with JUCO transfer Dion Toliver and C.J. Chaten likely to get looks right away, for Graham to work with and help grow into the system. Michael Johnson will get players to work with over the next few years to become the quarterback of the future.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Rashad Robinson
The player you might care about this year ... RB Charles Opeseyitan
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Graham had no time whatsoever to work, but he's had to deal with worse when he took over at Rice. Charles Opeseyitan could be an instant boost for the running game and a player to build the offense around over the next few years. This was a diverse overall class to help build for the future, but after Graham bolted after one year at Rice, will this class have its head coach around five years from now if there's any sort of success? 

10. Rice
The class is heavy on ... The offensive backfield. With four running backs and three quarterbacks coming in, new head coach David Baliff has his backfield of the future to work with. There aren't any real star talents of note, but there's a variety of options to work with. The offensive line also got plenty of attention with six recruits led by JUCO tackle William Hinton, who should be a mainstay from the day one of spring ball.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... TE Kody Emmert
The player you might care about this year ... OT William Hinton
What it all means to the real world of college football ... As if recruiting at Rice isn't hard enough, Baliff had roughly two weeks to put together a recruiting class. Most of his work was spent making sure the commitments to Todd Graham stuck, but it's not like Rice recruits are being courted by USC and Florida. All things considered, this is a good class of prospects with several options to hope a few pan out into Conference USA playmakers, especially on offense.

11. UAB
The class is heavy on ... Running backs. New head coach Neil Callaway is trying to upgrade the speed and talent in the backfield right off the bat with a slew of runners who can all move. Darrell Norman and Jae Fitzgerald are speed backs, but JUCO transfer Aaron Johns might get the early look at playing time. With five prospects coming in, look for there to be plenty of movement over the next few years with the speed and athleticism being moved where needed.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Bryan Ellis
The player you might care about this year ... RB Aaron Johns
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Last year's recruiting class was tremendous, so with the regime change, this year's haul was all about building towards the future with as much athleticism as possible to develop. Callaway will open things up for everyone giving the newcomers a chance to play right away, but most likely, most of this class won't be heard from until 2009.

12. Tulane
The class is heavy on ... Players for every spot. There's no one area of strength in Bob Toledo's first class, but every position got addressed with a prospect or two. The backs, J.T. McDonald and Andre Agers, are quick, the receivers are tall and fast, and most of the offensive line prospects are ready-made size, but can any of them play?  Tulane fans looking for a quick fix under the new coaching staff needs to look to last year's solid recruiting class for new players to step in; this group will need a while to develop.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Joe Kemp
The player you might care about this year ... PK Darren DeRochemont
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Tulane is just now getting back from the Katrina nightmare with a full season under its belt since being college football's nomadic team. The coaching change didn't help recruiting, but in time, Toledo and his staff should get the offense going like the Green Wave used to be. With that said, this class isn't going to scare anyone for a while, if at all.