Why group all the midmajors (American, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt) into one big clump, when we broke out individual recruit teams for the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC? Simple. In the Playoff era, all non-AQ teams are competing with each other for one designated New Year's bowl slot. So while they're not in the same conference together, they're all chasing the same prize.
And based on the consensus recruiting ratings compiled by the 247 Sports Composite, one team dominated its new peers as much as any other team in the country did. The rosters are below, but first, a few notes.
Willie Taggart, lord of three-stars
In terms of pound-for-pound recruiting, USF might've assembled the most impressive class of anybody in the country. It's ranked No. 40 on the Composite, and that might not sound like much, but it's ahead of power-conference schools with far greater financial resources (Louisville, Syracuse, Iowa), not to mention schools with similar access to fertile recruiting grounds (Texas Tech, Cal, Georgia Tech).
And that might undersell it. The Bulls topped 27 power-conference teams, landing 27 three-stars to, say, Colorado's 11.
Where it counts most, though, is how far it's ahead of the Bulls' on-field competition. UCF ranks second among all midmajors at No. 58, and that's after beating Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl with a potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick quarterback, not after going 2-10, like USF did. Next are Marshall at No. 63 and Cincinnati at No. 67.
On the All-Midmajor team below, USF boasts the top quarterback, running back, offensive lineman, defensive lineman, and both top wide receivers.
The Bulls have eight first-teamers, the same number of All-SEC first-teamers Alabama signed -- but USF is competing against five conferences worth of teams here, not just one. Yes, Alabama's players are all better, but USF will very rarely have to try and beat a team like Alabama. If Taggart and company can keep recruiting at this level for a couple years, the Bulls' conference opponents will be outmanned every single Saturday.
While USF won't be the favorite for the little guys' designated New Year's bowl slot this year (that's probably UCF), recruiting like this is one huge step toward being the favorite in years to come.
The former Big East: still the league to beat
Thanks in large part to USF and UCF, the American put 23 players on the roster. Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West, and the Sun Belt combined for 27. The Bulls by themselves have as many players as the MAC and the Sun Belt combined.
The top three players signed by midmajors: four-star defensive backs. All three decommitted from SEC schools for one reason or another, with Dylan Sumner-Gardner flipping from Texas A&M to Boise State, Kendall Gant from Georgia to Marshall, and Kyle Gibson from Vanderbilt to UCF.
The Knights' defensive backs class might be the best position group haul made by any midmajor, with Alabama flip Chris Williams also among their four top-100 safeties.
In general, it's much easier for non-AQ programs to find speed than power. Our defensive secondary depth chart here could've made it to fourth-teamers before we even filled out the second-team offensive linemen.
The rosters, according to the 247 Sports Composite:
|Quinton Flowers||Miami (Fla.) Jackson||3||USF|
|D'Ernest Johnson||Immokalee (Fl.) Immokalee||3||USF|
|Daniel Greshman||Fort Worth (Tx.) All Saints Episcopal||3||SMU|
|Ryeshene Bronson||Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar||3||USF|
|Tyre McCants||Niceville (Fla.) Niceville||3||USF|
|Demetrius Johnson||Annapolis (Md.) Annapolis Christian||3||Marshall|
|Chase Blakely||Coeur d'Alene (Id.) Coeur d'Alene||3||Boise State|
|Benjamin Knox||Deland (Fla.) Deland||3||USF|
|Nathaniel Devers||Massillon (Ohio) Washington||3||Marshall|
|Larry Allen||Concord (Ca.) De La Salle||3||Houston|
|Aaron Ruff||Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Institute||3||Temple|
|Chukwuma Okorafor||Southfield (Mich.) Southfield||3||Western Michigan|
|Rohan Blackwood||Brooksville (Fl.) Nature Coast Tech||3||USF|
|Jamiyus Pittman||Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County||3||UCF|
|Sylvester Hayes||Dallas (Tx.) South Oak Cliff||3||Colorado State|
|Donavin Buck||Brawley, (Ca.) Brawley||3||San Diego State|
|Daniel Appouh||Germantown (Md.) Seneca Valley||3||Old Dominon|
|Michael Lazarus||Berkeley (Ca.) Berkeley||3||Fresno State|
|Kevin Mouhon||Norcross (Ga.) Norcross||3||Cincinnati|
|Jimmy Bayes||Immokalee (Fla.) Immokalee||3||USF|
|Dylan Sumner-Gardner||Mesquite (Tx.) West Mesquite||4||Boise State|
|Kendall Gant||Lakeland (Fl.) Lake Gibson||4||Marshall|
|Kyle Gibson||Seffner (Fl.) Armwood||4||UCF|
|Chris Williams||Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County||3||UCF|
|Kendall Sawyer||Lehigh Acres (Fla.) East Lee County||3||USF|
|Tyler Harris||Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County||3||UCF|
|Vincent Lowe||Chesapeake (Va.) Grassfield||3||Old Dominion|
|Kurt Scoby||Mission Hills (Ca.) Bishop Alemany||3||Fresno State|
|Mikah Holder||Oceanside (Ca.) Oceanside||3||San Diego State|
|Javonte Seabury||Orlando (Fl.) Timber Creek||3||Western Michigan|
|Emanuel Beal||Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove||3||Marshall|
|Anthony Jones||New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr||3||UL-Lafayette|
|Messiah Rice||Orangeburg (S.C.) Orangeburg-Wilkinson||3||East Carolina|
|Troy Bacon||Hesperia (Ca.) Oak Hills||3||Boise State|
|Jared McCray||Minford (Oh.) Minford||3||Ohio|
|Trayvon Williams||Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County||3||Georgia Southern|
|Justin Brown||Hampton (Ga.) Lovejoy||3||UAB|
|Cedric Johnson||Rowlett (Tx.) Rowlett||3||Louisiana Tech|
|Patrick Choudja||Oakley (Ca.) Freedom||3||Nevada|
|Korey Rush||Salt Lake City (Ut.) East||3||Nevada|
|Zach Vaughan||Austin (Tx.) McNeil||3||Houston|
|Petera Wilson||Memphis (Tn.) White Station||3||Tulsa|
|Vincent Jackson||Tampa (Fl.) Jesuit||3||USF|
|Anthony Davis||Tampa (Fl.) Chamberlain||3||Toledo|
|T.J. Posey||Gadsden (Al.) Gadsden City||3||UL-Lafayette|
|Lonnie Johnson||Gary (In.) West Side||3||Western Michigan|
|Mike Rogers||Smyrna (Ga.) Campbell||3||UCF|
|Nilijah Ballew||Cincinnati (Oh.) Walnut Hills||3||Bowling Green|
|Anthony Davis||Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway||3||Temple|
|Deatrick Nichols||Miami (Fl.) Miami Central||3||USF|
|Team||First team||Second team||Total|
|San Diego State||1||1||2|
|Conference||First team||Second team||Total|