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The 2014 All-Midmajor college football recruits team: USF rules everything

We assembled the best incoming 2014 freshman in the five non-power conferences into offensive and defensive two-deeps. Two teams tower over all the other little guys, with one setting itself up for a future New Year's run.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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 ACCBig 12Big TenPac-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.

Small-school speed

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:

First team

Player Origin Stars College
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
Tight end
Chase Blakely Coeur d'Alene (Id.) Coeur d'Alene 3 Boise State
Offensive line
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
Defensive line
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
Defensive backs
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

Second team

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
Tight end
Anthony Jones New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr 3 UL-Lafayette
Offensive line
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
Defensive line
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
Defensive backs
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
USF 8 2 10
UCF 3 2 5
Marshall 3 1 4
Boise State 2 1 3
Western Michigan 1 2 3
Fresno State 1 1 2
Houston 1 1 2
Old Dominion 1 1 2
San Diego State 1 1 2
Temple 1 1 2
Nevada 0 2 2
UL-Lafayette 0 2 2
Cincinnati 1 0 1
Colorado State 1 0 1
SMU 1 0 1
Bowling Green 0 1 1
East Carolina 0 1 1
Georgia Southern 0 1 1
Louisiana Tech 0 1 1
Ohio 0 1 1
Toledo 0 1 1
Tulsa 0 1 1
UAB 0 1 1

By conference

Conference First team Second team Total
American 15 8 23
Mountain West 5 5 10
Conference USA 4 3 7
MAC 1 5 6
Sun Belt 0 4 4

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