The end of the bowl season and National Signing Day is the time where teams reload their rosters with fresh young talent from around the country. This is where teams begin to succeed or fail. Recruiting does not determine completely who will be winners. However, it severely hampers those who are unable to land players who fit their systems.
Notre Dame faces another gauntlet of 12 teams who will bring in Freshman who will look to make an impact immediately. Some teams have prospects who are more capable than others. Here is an evaluation of how Notre Dame’s opponents have fared, in ranked order, this recruiting cycle:
Michigan’s class is headlined by Quarterback Shane Morris, a 5-star recruit from Warren, Michigan. From anyone who saw the Under Armour All-American Game, several things are apparent. Morris possesses all the tools necessary to be a successful Quarterback: size, arm strength, mobility and leadership. The one tool that needs improvement is his accuracy. On the Defensive side of the football, Henry Poggi, a Defensive Tackle out of Baltimore, Maryland, is the Wolverines best recruit. Michigan has landed 26 commitments thus far in the 2013 class. This places them 5th in the Rivals.com Team Rankings.
By the time National Signing Day hits, the Trojans could be further down this list. Their class is imploding quickly. They recently have had decommitments from Eddie Vanderdoes, Sebastian Larue and Kylie Fitts. More could be on the horizon. The reason is simple. When USC began the season, they were ranked #1 in the country. When they finished, the Trojans were 7-6 and falling quickly. Off the field problems have only added insult to injury for Lane Kiffin and his staff. Despite only having 14 commitments, the Trojans have six 5-star commitments. The top Trojan recruit is 5-star Quarterback Max Browne who is the 4th best player in the country according to Rivals.com.
The Sooners rank 13th in the Rivals Team Rankings. They have been one of the more consistent teams over the years under Coach Bob Stoops.The Sooners have raided Texas in the past for their recruits and have continued that trend this year. This year’s haul features Running Back Kieth Ford who looked excellent running the ball in the Under Armour All-American Game. He is the 10th best Running Back in the nation. However, many would argue that 10th is too low for this future Sooner. The Sooners have 20 commitments thus far and are looking to add more before National Signing Day.
4. Arizona State
Surprising fans at number four is the Sun Devils of Arizona State. Surprising because Arizona State does not seem like the fourth best team on this list. Maybe its because it has the number one girls? Who knows. But the Sun Devils have managed land 21 commitments from the class of 2013 including 2 standout Linebackers. Chans Cox is the best of the two. He checks in at 6’3” 230 and runs a 4.53. He is the 150th best player in the nation. The second is Linebacker A.J. Latu. He is smaller but is still one of the top 50 Linebackers in the nation. The Sun Devils have the 28th best class.
After losing out on one of the best Wide Receivers in the country in Robert Foster, the Panthers landed a commitment from an equally talented player in Tyler Boyd. The 6’1” 168 player from Clairton, Pennsylvania will probably be on the field when the Panthers face the Irish. He is the 60th best recruit in the nation. The Panthers class has 23 commitments currently and is ranked 32nd in the country just behind Illinois.
6. Michigan State
After Pittsburgh, there is a big drop off in talent for the teams. Michigan State comes in with the 49th ranked class. Their haul features two big Linebacker commitments from Shane Jones and Jon Reschke. Jones hails from the same high school as current Notre Dame Quarterback Andrew Hendrix and former Irish Head Coach Gerry Faust. The program is a powerhouse in the Cincinnati area. Reschke is the 148th best player in the country and is the Spartans best player in the class. He is from Bloomfield, Michigan.