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2009 C-USA Recruiting - What It All Means
UCF RB/WR Josh Robinson
UCF RB/WR Josh Robinson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 8, 2009


How do the 2009 Conference USA recruiting classes really affect the college football world? Which programs, like UCF getting Josh Robinson, did the best job this recruiting season? Now that the storm has died down, here's what it all really means.

Recruiting 2009 ... C-USA

Ranking the Conference USA classes

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

- CFN Recruiting 2009
- 2008 CFN C-USA Recruiting Rankings
- 2007 CFN C-USA Recruiting Rankings

- 2006 CFN C-USA Recruiting Rankings
- CFN 2009 Recruiting Rankings
No. 1 to 30 | No. 31 to 60 | No. 61 to 90 | No. 91 to 120


1. UCF  CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 2
The class is heavy on ... defensive backs. After losing the entire starting secondary to graduation, this was an absolute priority for George O’Leary and the Knights. The program did a magnificent job a few years ago of taking two-star players, such as CB Joe Burnett, and molding them into defensive stoppers. It may not have to do much coaching up of CB Josh Robinson, an outstanding all-around playmaker, who also drew interest from Michigan, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... CB Josh Robinson
The player you might care about this year ... LB Jonathan Davis
What it all means to the real world of college football ... At this stage of the process, you could argue that six of the Knights’ top seven recruits are on defense, so don’t expect any drop-off in this area. The offense, however, didn’t get nearly as much help as it needed. Other than WR Leon Woods, who has a nice blend of size and speed, UCF did little to inject life into one of the country’s most feeble attacks.  

2. Houston   CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 4
The class is heavy on ... offensive linemen. The loss of three starting linemen to graduation prompted Kevin Sumlin to spend extra time cultivating the next generation of Cougar blockers. Three new tackles and three new guards provide a nice foundation for the future and the present. At tackle, for instance, Ralph Oragwu is a three-star high-schooler with enormous upside and Roy Watts is a ready-made JUCO transfer, who turned away offers from SEC and Big 12 suitors.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... LB Steven Robertson
The player you might care about this year ... T Roy Watts
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Sumlin capitalized on last year’s success, reeling in one of Conference USA’s best collection of players. With an abundance of young skill position players already in the fold, the staff was able to concentrate on other areas of importance, like shoring up the lines and committing more resources to a defense that still has a long way to go.  

3. Southern Miss  CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 1
The class is heavy on ... JUCO transfers. His program headed in the right direction, Larry Fedora sought out players capable of keeping the momentum going right now. A league-high six junior-college players, four on offense and two of defense, will help fill in the holes at tight end, linebacker, and offensive tackle. LB Hendrick Leverette is already being counted on to offset Gerald McRath’s departure, and 6-5, 265-pound David Rue is angling to catch some of the passes that used to go to Shawn Nelson.  
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... RB Kendrick Hardy
The player you might care about this year ... LB Hendrick Leverette
What it all means to the real world of college football ... With this class, the Golden Eagles are making a statement that they plan to contend for a league championship sooner than later. By getting a handful of top 50 players at their position, Southern Miss beat out SEC teams along the way, enhancing Fedora’s reputation as a recruiter. For instance, LB Jamie Collins was offered by Auburn and Hardy was being wooed by the likes of Alabama, LSU, and Oregon.

4. SMU   CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 6
The class is heavy on ... offensive linemen. What good is the run-and-shoot if the quarterback is always running for his life? In fine shape at the skill positions for the next few years, June Jones loaded up on linemen, many of whom will need to spend their first year adding girth and weight. In Ben Hughes and Joey Fontana, the Mustangs signed two of the nation’s top 10 centers, so replacing Mitch Enright in 2010 shouldn’t be a major headache.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... WR Chayse Joubert
The player you might care about this year ... C Ben Hughes
What it all means to the real world of college football ... When a second-division program produces a first-division recruiting class, it’s a sign that progress is being made. Jones is slowly amassing enough talent to become more competitive in Conference USA. As always, player development will be the key, especially with those defensive players headed to the Hilltop. 

5. Rice  CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 12
The class is heavy on ... defensive backs. When you give up 34 touchdown passes and finish 110th nationally in pass D, you better focus on signing more athletes for the secondary. David Bailiff did exactly that, adding eight two-star defensive backs from as far away as Minnesota and Canada. Out of that group, the Owls are hopeful that, in time, two or three will develop into starters and productive members of a needy defense.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... DE Josh Skinner
The player you might care about this year ... LB Trey Briggs
What it all means to the real world of college football ... The Owls have capitalized on last year’s unexpected success by compiling a big class that’ll eventually provide more depth to both sides of the ball. By landing Briggs, Skinner, T Bobby Janisch, and RB Charles Ross, Rice showed that it can compete with more prominent programs for three-star prospects, a tangible sign of progress.

6. Tulsa    CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 7
The class is heavy on ... wide receivers. The resignation of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn does not signal a change in philosophy at Tulsa, which still plans to wing it around out of no-huddle sets. With that in mind, the Hurricane is bringing in a bunch of receivers, most of whom are undersized flyers in the mold of current flanker Damaris Johnson. The gem of the newcomers is Ricky Johnson, who could have gone to any number of SEC schools.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... QB Shavodrick Beaver
The player you might care about this year ... WR Ricky Johnson
What it all means to the real world of college football ... While the Hurricane is making sure that the offense remains on the cutting edge, it’s the beleaguered defense that could have used a little more pop in this recruiting cycle. All eyes are going to be on Beaver, who de-committed from Michigan to go to Tulsa, and is one of the highest rated players to ever choose the school.  

7. Tulane   CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 8
The class is heavy on ... receivers. When Jeremy Williams was injured last season, the Green Wave passing attack virtually shut down. That lack of depth and reliable options at wide receiver has prompted Bob Toledo to scour Texas and Louisiana high schools for offensive weapons that can stretch a defense. While there are no sure-things in the group, D.J. Banks and Devin Figaro look like pretty good prospects, and the quantity alone should reap a productive player or two.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... TE Brock Sanders
The player you might care about this year ... LB Cody Ledford
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Hey, the Green Wave isn’t winning many football games these days, so piecing together the league’s seventh-best class is a small victory. Toledo landed two more three-star prospects than last year, which can be couched as a measure of progress. It’s now incumbent upon that staff to take a few of the two-star kids and mold them into the next Matt Forte or Troy Kropog.    

8. East Carolina  CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 9
The class is heavy on ... defensive backs. The Pirates have chosen to accentuate a team strength by bolstering an already talented secondary. Six defensive backs are the backbone of a relatively small class put together by Skip Holtz and his assistants. Damonte Terry, the top safety in the mix, is still raw, but has the speed and athletic ability to overshoot his grade at some point down the road.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... QB Rio Johnson
The player you might care about this year ... LB Lamar McLendon
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Go ahead and label the Pirates one of this year’s disappointments on signing day. Just a couple of months after being crowned Conference USA champs, East Carolina assembled a ho-hum class that boasts just a trio of three-star athletes. Considering the trajectory that Holtz has this program on, you’d think that could have been parlayed into better results in February.  

9. Memphis   CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 10
The class is heavy on ... offensive linemen. Faced with some turnover in the trenches, Tommy West aimed to keep the area replenished by inking five linemen no smaller than 6-4 and 275 pounds. Of the group, G Ricky Hart really has Tiger fans excited. A 6-3, 315-pound drive blocker, who was pursued by the ACC and SEC, he’ll likely spend just one year as a backup before moving into the starting lineup.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... WR Michael Lindsey
The player you might care about this year ... DT Justin Thompson
What it all means to the real world of college football ... While this is a small class compared to the rest of the league, Memphis did hit a couple of home runs with Lindsey, Thompson, and Hart. The rare five-star recruit in Conference USA, Thompson is a 6-5, 290-pound interior lineman, who has a spot in the lineup waiting for him if he can earn it in practice and meet the necessary academic requirements.   

10. UAB  CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 11
The class is heavy on ... safeties. Of the 24 new Blazers signed by Neil Callaway, a big portion is projected as safeties once they arrive in Birmingham. That’s not such a bad thing, considering last year’s starters, Will Dunbar and Matt Taylor, were seniors. The two junior-college transfers, Hiram Atwater and Elliott McGaskin, should be ready to compete right away, and David Conner was good enough to get mail from Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. 
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... S David Conner
The player you might care about this year ... RB Rashad Wynes
What it all means to the real world of college football ... The Blazers’ strong finish to 2008 had some carry-over effect on the recruiting trail. While the class isn’t littered with can’t-miss players, especially at the high school level, UAB really came on strong in February. It also features a preponderance of JUCO transfers, a blinking sign that Callaway is getting antsy with this whole rebuilding process.

11. UTEP  CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 3
The class is heavy on ... defensive linemen. In an attempt to beef up one of the perennially weakest defenses in the country, the Miners are bringing in a couple of speedy rush ends and a tackle with considerable upside. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, Adam Ayala can snap off a sub-5.00 in the forty. If he can add some muscle without losing a step, he has a chance to be an impact player on this defense. 
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... S Richard Spencer
The player you might care about this year ... LB Justin Hickman
What it all means to the real world of college football ... On the heels of three straight losing seasons, Mike Price and the Miners needed to do a whole lot more during this recruiting cycle; this class is short on both quantity and quality. UTEP has 20 new players under wraps, and just one JUCO transfer, Hickman, earning above two stars. On this day, mediocrity reigned supreme in El Paso. 

12. Marshall    CFN’s 2008 Conference Recruiting Rank: 6
The class is heavy on ... wide receivers. The Herd has loaded up on a bunch of big, physical wide receivers that other schools felt were a little unpolished at this stage of their careers. A collection of athletes who all go at least 6-2, most are expected to do an apprenticeship in 2009 before being turned loose. A local kid, C.J. Crawford is both big and very fast. Wayne Bonner, on the other hand, comes via East Mississippi Junior College, and is most likely to chip in right away.
The player who’ll someday be a really big deal ... LB Zakee Bashir
The player you might care about this year ... RB Troy Evans
What it all means to the real world of college football ... With an unmistakable sense of urgency in the air, Mark Snyder is leaning on a class that’s heavy in transfers to help bring him that elusive bowl invitation. A couple of quarterbacks, in particular, Jacob Laudenslayer and Press Taylor, are being counted on to push—or pass—incumbent Mark Cann.