20 Big Recruiting Questions - No. 17 to 20
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads
Posted Feb 2, 2009

What's happening this recruiting season? Has the 2007 Kansas season worn off? Will the Rice offense find replacements? Is the new Iowa State coaching staff succeeding? Did BYU's big losses hurt? Check out CFN's Big 20 Questions for the 2009 Recruiting Season.

Recruiting 2009 - The 20 Big Questions

No. 17 to 20 - What's happening with Kansas, Rice, Iowa State, and BYU?

The 20 Big Questions of the Recruiting Season
No. 1 to 4 | No. 5 to 8 | No. 9 to 12 | No. 13 to 16  

20. Q: Has the luster of the 2007 season worn off, or is it still a plus with this batch of recruits? What's the biggest area of need for Kansas to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Kevin Flaherty, senior writer for Jayhawk Illustrated and Phog.net

Kansas Coach Mark Mangino says on almost every Signing Day that the Kansas coaching staff keeps getting in more and more doors that, just a few years ago, would have been shut to them. Typically, it's been a slight crack in the door here and a crack there. But with the combination of the Orange Bowl season and the addition of a brand-new football-only complex, the door has been thrown open this year.

At first glance, the Jayhawks won't ink a top-notch class, but when you look at Mangino's other lightly regarded classes, this one stands out as his best. Ohio athlete Bradley McDougald was once committed to Ohio State, while KU also has a big back in Texan Toben Opurum, who chose the Jayhawks over offers from Notre Dame and Florida. Both are players that Kansas probably wouldn't have gotten two years ago.

The biggest needs in this year's class were dictated by the need to slow down the Big 12's spread offenses. The Jayhawks needed to stock the secondary, while finding some pass rushers on the defensive line. Kansas seemed to accomplish the former by snagging six defensive backs, including two of the top safeties in Texas in Prinz Kande and Dexter Linton. They also added five defensive linemen, including JUCO-transfer Quintin Woods, who originally signed with Michigan, Kevin Young, who enrolled early, and Tyrone Sellars, who was named the top player in Nebraska this season. Randall Dent and JUCO All-American Travis Stephens are two undersized defensive tackles who should harass the quarterback up the middle. The Jayhawks also needed to add depth at quarterback, running back and receiver, and did so.

19. Q: Are recruits looking at the success of the last few years on offense and seeing Rice as a viable option? Is the program getting players it didn’t have a shot at last year? What’s the biggest area of need for Rice to hit this recruiting season?

A: From David Mooney, Publisher, Owl Digest

Let me start by saying I think there are 5-to-7 guys in the class that are deserving of higher individual rankings. Subsequently, I think the Rice Class overall is very under-ranked. Quite objectively, this is a Top 50 class and one of the best in C-USA. Perhaps with more success on the field, players will not be penalized for committing early to the Owls – most have turned down subsequent BCS offers.

The transfers Rice picked up on offense this year answer this question even better. The Owls received players from two of the most prestigious programs in college football history when QB Nick Fanuzzi transferred from Alabama in August, and then another one recently when one of the most dynamic recruits of the 2008 recruiting class, Four-Star RB Sam McGuffie transferred back home to Houston from Michigan.

Beyond that, I don’t think there’s any question recruits have noticed the Owl’s offensive output, especially this year when so many new records were established. The class has a very athletic quarterback in one-time Iowa State commit, Taylor McHargue. He reminds us a lot of Chase Clement, actually. We also have a very fast running back (4.38) coming in the form of Charles Ross. He’s a big 6-2 slasher that is perfect for the Owl’s zone running scheme. Even faster is Wide receiver Donte Moore, who at 6-2 was timed at 4.32 seconds in the forty at a University of Texas Football Camp last summer. Rounding out the Offense are 3 Offensive Linemen who chose Rice over BCS programs (Bobby Janisch, Jon Hodde, Cade Shaw); and a strong legged kicker - US Army All-American Bowl invitee Chris Boswell.

I think last season helped with that in some cases, but the Owls assembled most of their class by June. However, there are players throughout the class that have offers from BCS programs so you could say the quality of Rice recruits continues to increase.

Rice loaded up on offense in the class of 2008, so defense, particularly defensive back, was a priority this year. The Owls have accomplished their goal and then some with eight players that will start out playing in the secondary among 14 current defensive commits. Improving team speed was also a priority – every one of their secondary recruits runs 4.5 or better in the 40.

18. Q: What is this Iowa State coaching staff selling that Gene Chizik’s staff didn’t? What’s the biggest area of need for ISU to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Greg Ohlson, Cyclone Sports Report

The biggest thing the staff is selling is stability.  The new staff has more ties to the state of Iowa and some to Dan McCarney's former staff at Iowa State.  The players fully believe that Coach Rhoads can be successful and that he won't go anywhere when he does because Iowa State is his dream job.  The thing that Iowa State needs the most of is defense.  The Cyclone defense has really struggled the past few years and one major reason is due to the lack of a consistent pass rush.  The new staff is really looking hard for some impact defensive ends.

17. Q: How much did the losses to Utah and TCU hurt BYU’s recruiting for this year? What's the one area the team really needs to beef up?

A: From Brandon Gurney, BigPurpleNation.com

The loss to Utah hurt more than the loss to TCU in that BYU recruits against Utah regularly, but seldom if ever against TCU.  What hurt with both the losses was the necessary momentum needed to land the remaining top 4 recruits on BYU's radar in Manti Te'o, Xavier Suafilo, Latu Heimuli and LT Filiaga.  BYU whiffed on all of them and if they had busted the BCS or at least had beaten Utah this recruiting outcome would likely have been different, especially with the in-state recruits which were Suafilo, Heimuli and Filiaga.  BYU has lost a ton of momentum heading into LOI day.

The area where BYU really needs help is at linebacker and defensive tackle.  Landing quality cornerbacks is always a huge challenge for BYU and this year their cornerback recruiting was lacking once again.  They're usually able to pick up some quality defensive tackles, but really missed out on two top-shelf defensive tackles in LT Tuipulotu and Latu Heimuli who both signed with Utah.  Linebacker was the biggest weakness of the defense last year and they did okay here with the likes of Kyle Van Noy, Thomas Bryson and some others, but they missed on three big LDS linebacker recruits who could have helped immediately in Te'o, Filiaga and Steven Fanua.