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Recruiting impact: West Virginia, South Carolina win on field and off

How did this weekend's college football results impact recruiting?

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire


The biggest winner of the week in recruiting is West Virginia. The Mountaineers were already experiencing some bump in Texas recruiting (five commitments in 2012) simply by joining the Big XII and hiring a coach with Texas ties in Dana Holgorsen. But to go to Austin and beat the Longhorns while running an offense that many high schools in the state employ is huge. Texas recruits are going to give West Virginia a much longer look than they would have previously.

What about N.C. State? The Wolfpack may see an uptick in recruiting thanks to the win over Florida State, but it's still very much wait and see with a staff that simply has not brought in top talent on a consistent basis.

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South Carolina has recruited well under Steve Spurrier, but not quite at the level of SEC East rivals Georgia and Florida. What the Gamecocks have done better than Georgia, perhaps, is focus on players who fit South Carolina's system and develop them. With ESPN's College GameDay in town, many top recruits in attendance, and the national spotlight on Columbia, the Gamecocks delivered in a big way. A physical whipping of Georgia such as this may turn heads of a few kids for whom the Gamecocks were not previously in good position. It's basically the opposite of what Tennessee did three weeks ago when College GameDay came to Knoxville and Florida drained Volunteer Stadium.

Ohio State's explosive offensive performance (63 points) on national TV against Nebraska is just what the Buckeyes needed. After struggling for a few weeks, Urban Meyer's offense looked great under Braxton Miller, and Meyer can tell recruits to imagine what it would look like if the Buckeyes had nationally elite skill talent.

The same can be said for Michigan in some regards. I've done a few pieces about this, and Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated did another recently, but Ohio State and Michigan are lapping the rest of the conference in recruiting by a huge margin. So great is the gap in recruited talent coming in, that they could have high bust rates and still have much better players than the other 10 schools. With Penn State not a player on the national recruiting stage, both Ohio State and Michigan are set up to dominate the conference for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of the Gators, Florida's upset of LSU should help to keep Florida's excellent recruiting class together and may help the Gators with some other top prospects as well. Numerous top recruits were in attendance, including Laremy Tunsil, and took in what was described by many as a special atmosphere in the Swamp. It's tough to recruit better than Florida is at the moment, but this win certainly doesn't hurt.

Notre Dame's shellacking of the Miami Hurricanes looks great in the box score, but the Irish coaches have to hope top defensive back prospects were watching closely. If they were, they saw Notre Dame's secondary get beat repeatedly, only to have Miami receivers drop the ball. Early playing time can be had in the secondary of an Irish team that is otherwise loaded at every position.

I don't see the WVU loss hurting Texas' recruiting. Texas is Texas, and it still holds the right of first refusal for most of the top talent in the Lone Star State.


Auburn's embarrassing loss to a terrible Arkansas team may be the straw that breaks the Tigers' proverbial recruiting back. Recruits notice empty stands and hear the voices of discontented supporters. And with this loss, Gene Chizik's name will be at the top of every hot seat list. That's easy negative recruiting fodder for opposing staffs, who will continue to stress to recruits that the Auburn staff cannot coach or develop players, and that the lone standout season under Chizik really was all Cam Newton. At this point, even if Auburn keeps Chizik and the majority of this staff, it is tough to see the Tigers holding together a Top 10 class.

Here's SB Nation's Chris Fuhrmeister with a note on Auburn:

This program is officially at a crossroads. Gene Chizik deserves a ton of credit for keeping the 2010 team together in the face of adversity and leading Auburn to a national championship. But it's time to closely examine whether or not he is the man for the job. This was always going to be a tough year, but it should have been a year that featured development of a foundation for 2013. So far, that development hasn't happened. The Tigers are going backward, and every aspect of the program needs to be evaluated. That includes the head coach.

Right now, this team looks like it will finish the season 4-8.

For its part, Miami desperately needs to bring in some JUCO defensive linemen. The Hurricanes were blown off the football and simply do not have the talent up front that should be expected of an upper-level BCS conference team. Only four of college football's 124 teams have allowed more than 1,500 rushing yards to date. Miami is one. Other issues can be schemed around or minimized, but it's awful hard to scheme around being blown off the football. Miami has strict academic requirements that sometimes make taking JUCO players difficult, but the Hurricanes have done so before and must do so again. The 2013 Hurricanes' rushing defense won't be fixed by high school recruits. The Canes need some grown men in there.

Florida State's loss at N.C. State certainly won't help the Seminoles' class vault from good to great. In fact, it opens the door for opposing coaches to tell recruits that Florida State gets a ton of elite talent but doesn't develop or win enough with it. If Florida State drops two more games down the stretch of the regular season, its staff will also have to deal with hot seat rumors, regardless of legitimacy. The recruiting class and season certainly aren't lost, but it is the first week of October and Florida State's coaches now have to recruit without the benefit of the national spotlight.

TCU's Big XII home opener had been billed as a big event, but it flopped in a 37-23 loss to Iowa State. To be sure, TCU couldn't foresee its starting QB getting arrested for DUI late Wednesday night, but this is a blown chance to impress recruits with what could have been a special atmosphere.

Texas Tech's blowout loss to Oklahoma is a missed opportunity. Tech fans had hyped this game as one the Red Raiders had a solid chance to win, and the odds agreed, as they were an underdog of less than a touchdown. The loss will allow Texas Tech to sell immediate playing time, but a win would have created invaluable excitement in Lubbock.

The real impact of the losses by Virginia Tech (at North Carolina) and Virginia (at Duke) won't be felt this year. Both project to do about what they've been doing, which is to recruit well, but not at a special level.

But 2014 is a banner year in the state, with megastars Da'Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding already identified. Geography plays a much bigger role in recruiting than many realize, but the irrelevance of the Hokies and Cavaliers could knock them out of the race for some of these players before the opening gun ever sounds. Recruiting starts earlier and earlier each year, and currently Virginia and Virginia Tech are not having the type of seasons typical of a program that lands players of their caliber.

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