clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who out-recruited their conferences the most on National Signing Day 2017?

Let’s run the numbers. Yikes, Vanderbilt. And yikes, Big 12!

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

College football recruiting varies a lot by conference. When the dust settled on Wednesday’s National Signing Day, average class rankings broke down like this:

SEC: 21.8
Pac-12: 32.9
Big Ten: 35.9
ACC: 38.6
Big 12: 43.1
American: 80.6
Conference USA: 96.5
Mountain West: 99.6
MAC: 100.7
Sun Belt: 110.8

In turn, which league you play in has a huge effect on how much ground you can make up or lose in one recruiting cycle. Here’s how every team’s class fared compared to the average ranking of all the other teams in its conference. Class data is from the industry-generated 247Sports Composite:

How teams recruited relative to their conferences

National Rk. Team Conference Vs. conference avg.
National Rk. Team Conference Vs. conference avg.
64 Vanderbilt SEC -42.2
70 Cal Pac-12 -37.1
71 Purdue Big Ten -35.1
113 Temple American -32.4
126 UTEP C-USA -29.5
67 Boston College ACC -28.4
50 Missouri SEC -28.2
128 Akron MAC -27.3
63 Indiana Big Ten -27.1
65 Wake Forest ACC -26.4
122 Rice C-USA -25.5
68 Kansas Big 12 -24.9
125 Eastern Michigan MAC -24.3
104 Tulane American -23.4
123 Kent State MAC -22.3
58 Minnesota Big Ten -22.1
121 San Jose State Mountain West -21.4
120 New Mexico Mountain West -20.4
100 Connecticut American -19.4
130 Idaho Sun Belt -19.2
115 UAB C-USA -18.5
129 Coastal Carolina Sun Belt -18.2
114 North Texas C-USA -17.5
56 Virginia ACC -17.4
117 UNLV Mountain West -17.4
60 Kansas State Big 12 -16.9
55 Syracuse ACC -16.4
116 Wyoming Mountain West -16.4
127 New Mexico State Sun Belt -16.2
49 Oregon State Pac-12 -16.1
57 West Virginia Big 12 -13.9
52 NC State ACC -13.4
124 Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt -13.2
48 Northwestern Big Ten -12.1
45 Arizona Pac-12 -12.1
111 Utah State Mountain West -11.4
112 Northern Illinois MAC -11.3
44 Washington State Pac-12 -11.1
107 Charlotte C-USA -10.5
53 Iowa State Big 12 -9.9
106 Old Dominion C-USA -9.5
109 Nevada Mountain West -9.4
47 Duke ACC -8.4
30 Ole Miss SEC -8.2
119 South Alabama Sun Belt -8.2
51 Texas Tech Big 12 -7.9
46 Georgia Tech ACC -7.4
88 Tulsa American -7.4
29 Kentucky SEC -7.2
118 Arkansas State Sun Belt -7.2
43 Illinois Big Ten -7.1
28 Arkansas SEC -6.2
42 Rutgers Big Ten -6.1
41 Iowa Big Ten -5.1
40 Wisconsin Big Ten -4.1
37 Arizona State Pac-12 -4.1
36 Utah Pac-12 -3.1
83 Navy American -2.4
102 Air Force Mountain West -2.4
103 Ohio MAC -2.3
24 Mississippi State SEC -2.2
35 Colorado Pac-12 -2.1
81 SMU American -0.4
21 South Carolina SEC 0.8
110 Appalachian State Sun Belt 0.8
95 Louisiana Tech C-USA 1.5
98 Hawaii Mountain West 1.6
99 Buffalo MAC 1.7
34 Michigan State Big Ten 1.9
78 East Carolina American 2.6
93 Marshall C-USA 3.5
77 USF American 3.6
39 Baylor Big 12 4.1
17 Tennessee SEC 4.8
38 Oklahoma State Big 12 5.1
33 Pitt ACC 5.6
32 Louisville ACC 6.6
92 Central Michigan MAC 8.7
87 FIU C-USA 9.5
91 Western Michigan MAC 9.7
12 Texas A&M SEC 9.8
101 Troy Sun Belt 9.8
89 Fresno State Mountain West 10.6
90 Miami (OH) MAC 10.7
22 Washington Pac-12 10.9
27 North Carolina ACC 11.6
69 Houston American 11.6
10 Florida SEC 11.8
31 TCU Big 12 12.1
9 Auburn SEC 12.8
23 Nebraska Big Ten 12.9
20 UCLA Pac-12 12.9
25 Virginia Tech ACC 13.6
97 Georgia Southern Sun Belt 13.8
19 Oregon Pac-12 13.9
82 Middle Tennessee C-USA 14.5
86 Bowling Green MAC 14.7
7 LSU SEC 14.8
96 Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt 14.8
80 Western Kentucky C-USA 16.5
84 Ball State MAC 16.7
94 Georgia State Sun Belt 16.8
26 Texas Big 12 17.1
79 Southern Miss C-USA 17.5
18 Maryland Big Ten 17.9
3 Georgia SEC 18.8
14 Stanford Pac-12 18.9
61 Cincinnati American 19.6
1 Alabama SEC 20.8
15 Penn State Big Ten 20.9
59 Memphis American 21.6
16 Clemson ACC 22.6
73 UTSA C-USA 23.5
76 San Diego State Mountain West 23.6
72 FAU C-USA 24.5
13 Miami (FL) ACC 25.6
74 Colorado State Mountain West 25.6
75 Toledo MAC 25.7
85 Texas State Sun Belt 25.8
54 UCF American 26.6
4 USC Pac-12 28.9
5 Michigan Big Ten 30.9
6 Florida State ACC 32.6
2 Ohio State Big Ten 33.9
8 Oklahoma Big 12 35.1
62 Boise State Mountain West 37.6
247Sports Composite

A few teams set themselves apart in a good way ...

  • Oklahoma is in the worst recruiting Power 5 conference, and the Sooners were the only team in the Big 12 that didn’t somehow contribute to that billing. Bob Stoops put together one of his most impressive recruiting showings ever. But the next-best showing in the Big 12 was a relatively lousy one from Texas, which missed the top 25.
  • Boise State is positioning itself well to contend for the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six bowl bid each year. The Broncos didn’t win their league this year, but they’re going to be the prohibitive Mountain West favorite every season. They have the highest five-year recruiting ranking in the conference, and the gap between the Broncos and their competition only grew after Signing Day. Bryan Harsin’s doing an excellent job.
  • Penn State and Maryland signed great classes. But this list is a good illustration of why the Big Ten East will still belong to Ohio State and Michigan more often than not.
  • UCF coach Scott Frost increasingly looks like a rising star. He took the Knights from 0-12 to a bowl bid in his first year, and now he’s signed the best non-power conference class in the country. It also blew away the American, the best non-power league there is.

... and a few set themselves apart in a bad way.

  • That’s not to blame the schools that did the worst relative to their competition. Vanderbilt is Vanderbilt and plays in the SEC, which isn’t Derek Mason or anyone else’s fault. Cal underwent a late-winter coaching change, with Justin Wilcox taking over for Sonny Dykes just more than two weeks before Signing Day. But the class of 2017 is going to further set those programs back from the rest of their leagues.
  • Jeff Brohm’s going to need a little time to get the train chugging in the right direction at Purdue. The Boilers netted the worst-ranked class in the Power 5, and the Big Ten had some really good recruiters this year. The good news for Purdue is that the Big Ten West is not the same as the Big Ten at large. Nebraska was the best recruiter in that division this year, behind four teams from the East. Not all’s lost for the Boilers.
  • Temple is going to have a challenging time getting back to where it was. The Owls are losing a lot from last year’s American champion, and that’s not just head coach Matt Rhule. The Owls are 87th in returning production, and Geoff Collins’ time-compressed signing class was the worst-ranked in the conference. The Owls were one of the lower-key really good teams anywhere last year, but they’ve taken some big hits.