Ohio State bucks trend with big recruiting class
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is one of the best recruiters in the nation, and everybody, especially the coaches in the Big Ten, knows it.
He and his staff just reeled in the No. 4 class in the nation despite being on the job for just a bit more than two months and despite being on NCAA probation, a probation that includes a postseason ban in 2012.
Truthfully, perhaps Meyer and his staff deserve even more credit than they’ve been getting. Ohio State put together this class despite coming off a losing season; it’s just the 12th time since Rivals.com started its ranking system for the 2002 signing class that a school has had a top-10 class despite just finishing with a losing record. And it’s only the fourth time that a team coming off a losing record has had a top-four class in the ensuing recruiting cycle.
The Buckeyes were 6-7 in 2011, a season capped by a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, and they were the only team with a losing record to finish in the top 10 in the 2012 recruiting rankings. Conversely, there were five teams with double-digit wins on the field in 2011 that finished in the ’12 recruiting top 10.
Since 2002, there have been 57 teams with double-digit wins who followed up with top-10 recruiting rankings; there have been at least five in every cycle except two (four in 2008 and three in 2010).
And now that we’ve had some time to digest all the information from National Signing Day, here are some other numbers of interest:
• You think New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker is feeling some pressure to win in the fall? The Aggies had the most junior college signees, with 10. Arizona State and Texas Tech had nine each to lead the “Big Six” conferences.
• Alabama finished No. 1 in the team rankings; it was the fifth No. 1 finish for coach Nick Saban. He has had four at Alabama (2012, 2011, 2009, 2008) and one at LSU (2003). USC’s Pete Carroll is the only other coach with multiple No. 1 signing classes; he had three in a row from 2004-06.
• Alabama signed the most Rivals100 prospects (nine) and the most Rivals250 prospects (15).
• Stanford’s No. 5 finish is its highest finish in the Rivals era. The previous high was 20th in 2009. Stanford was one of three schools to sign three five-star prospects; the others were Alabama, Florida, Florida State and USC.
• Despite NCAA sanctions, USC finished with a top-10 class for the 10th consecutive season, the longest streak in the country. USC has had a top-10 class in all but one year (2002) of the Rivals.com era.
• SEC schools signed 32 prospects in the Rivals100, the most of any conference. The Pac-12 signed 26 top-100 prospects, followed by the ACC with 16.
• SEC schools signed 72 prospects in the Rivals250. Second was the Pac-12 (53), followed by the ACC (39), Big Ten (53) and Big 12 (28).
• Over the past five signing classes, SEC schools have signed 55 five-star prospects – more than twice as many as any other league. Second is the Pac-12 with 26, followed by the ACC with 23, the Big 12 with 18, the Big Ten with 13, independents with seven and Conference USA with one.
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