20 Big Recruiting Questions - No. 5 to 8
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez
Posted Feb 2, 2009

What's happening this recruiting season? Is Bill Stewart getting it done at West Virginia? Have the Brian Kelly leaving rumors hurt Cincy? Is Texas Tech still recruiting to type? How much did Michigan's lost season hurt? Check out CFN's Big 20 Questions for the 2009 Recruiting Season.

Recruiting 2009 - The 20 Big Questions

No. 5 to 8 - What's happening with West Virginia, Cincinnati, Texas Tech and Michigan?

The 20 Big Questions of the Recruiting Season
No. 1 to 4 | No. 9 to 12 | No. 13 to 16 | No. 17 to 20

8. Q: How much have things changed at West Virginia from the RichRod era recruiting-wise? What's the biggest area of need for WVU to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Kevin Kinder, BlueGoldNews.com

Believe it our not, Bill Stewart's first full-fledged recruiting class could be the best ever in Mountaineer history. Stewart assembled an assistant coaching staff full of top-notch recruiters, such as veteran Doc Holliday, who holds sway in Florida, and rising newcomers like Chris Beatty and Lonnie Galloway. The mechanics of the operation didn't change a great deal when Rich Rodriguez departed, but the one significant change is the fact that West Virginia has focused on players who aren't academic risks. Going into Signing Day, only a couple of the expected full class of 25 haven't qualified yet, and those are very close to doing so.

WVU will wind up with a Top 15 class, and was able to address pressing needs at wide receiver and cornerback. Logan Heastie, Deon Long and Stedman Bailey should provide immediate help as WVU moves to incorporate more passing into its attack, and the Mountaineers also added three excellent cover corners in Michael Carter, Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins to bolster depth issues at that spot. West Virginia not only got highly rated players, but also got players that fit its recruiting needs across the board.

7. Q: Has all the talk about Brian Kelly leaving soon (or at least within the next four years) been a problem at Cincinnati? What’s the one area the team really needs to beef up?

A: From Dave Berk, Founder/Publisher, BearcatInsider.com

While Brian Kelly has seen his name linked to several jobs over the past few months he’s stressed his long term plans are to remain at Cincinnati.  After winning the Big East title this past season Kelly and his staff know they’ve got things headed in the right direction and have seen the University of Cincinnati step up their efforts to provide Kelly with the tools needed to have long term success.  Ground breaking for new practice facilities and an indoor facility has happened with the next step coming with expansion to Nippert Stadium.  Kelly knows he’s in a state with a high number of college prospects that can feed his team the talent needed for success at a high level.  At this time prospects are buying into him being with the Bearcats for the long term.

The biggest question headed into the spring and next season will come from the defensive backfield.  The loss of Mike Mickens, DeAngelo Smith and Brandon Underwood leaves a huge hole.  In last years class and this year’s class Kelly looks to have found the talent needed to fill these voids.  Dominique Battle saw time this past season and Kelly stuck with Class of 2008 member Reuben Johnson who enrolled at Cincinnati in January and is expected to play a key role next season.  Kelly will also look at Junior College recruit Malik James and Chris Williams to fight for playing time next season.  While the defense loss ten seniors that started this past season, the play of the defensive backs have been a key ingredient to the success the team has seen the past two seasons.

6. Q: Is Texas Tech starting to get a better look from pro prospects, or is Mike Leach still recruiting to type when it comes to the offense? What’s the biggest area of need for Tech to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Mark Sparrow, RaiderPower.com

Texas Tech has begun to get more of a look from pro prospects this year, especially with the success of the team and the additional media coverage that comes along with that. Michael Crabtree is currently projected to be one of the top 5 picks in the upcoming NFL draft, which does nothing but help Coach Leach out on the recruiting trail.

That being said, Leach still recruits the type of player that he believes will succeed in his system. Sometimes those are 5-star future NFL prospects; some times they are 2-star players out of a local high school.

In Leach’s system, the most valuable players can be the ones who don’t necessarily have the all the athletic measurables you would expect in a top caliber collegiate recruit. They can be the kids who are willing to give 100% every time they step out on the field and have the most important measureable of all: heart.

The biggest area of need for this years recruiting class is in the secondary. The Red Raiders already have commits from 6 defensive backs, which will likely be all that they take. The star of the group is former Oklahoma Sooner commit Will Ford, who switched his pledge to Tech back in June of last year.

5. Q: Is last year’s disaster a plus in any way, since now Rich Rodriguez can tell recruits they can play right away? What’s the biggest area of need for Michigan to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Tom Beaver, from GoBlueWolverine.com

No disaster is a plus; if anything the 3-9 season opened Coach Rodriguez to even-more-excessive negative recruiting than ever, which only winning can stop. Nevertheless, Coach Rod and his assistants are super-recruiters, so things look good regardless.

The five biggest needs:
(1) quarterbacks
(2) quarterbacks
(3) quarterbacks
(4) safeties
(5) any great players, at any position.

As far as quarterbacks go, U-M has already enrolled a top-notch run-pass signal-caller in Tate Forcier, plus the Wolverines look to be in a strong position for yet another top-player in the Wolverines' new prime recruiting ground of central-Florida in Deerfield Beach's Denard Robinson.

As far as safeties go, U-M has already enrolled central-Floridians Mike Jones and Vlad Emilien, and Ohio commitment JT Turner is a 5-star guy DB who can play either safety or corner.

As far as the "great players at any position," instate lineman William Campbell fits the bill -- he's the only guy who has ever played both ways in a U.S. Army All-American Bowl game.