Now that National Signing Day 2018 has (mostly) come and gone, I’d like to review some of my favorite recruiting classes.
These are not necessarily the best classes, as that would be boring. Instead, I picked my favorite great class, excellent class, good class, and above-average class.
Great: Georgia Bulldogs (No. 1)
Georgia is as chalk as they come. The Bulldogs signed a superstar quarterback in Justin Fields, the No. 1 running back in Zamir White (who, when healthy, was miles ahead of any other 2018 RB), a top-three tight end, and three of the best eight offensive linemen in the country.
That is impressive considering UGA is ostensibly a defensive program in the Alabama/Saban mold.
In all, Georgia signed one of the best recruiting classes in the history of recruiting. Literally. Not just this year, but all-time.
What’s not to like? Every position was addressed with overwhelming, elite talent.
Excellent: Washington Huskies (No. 13)
There is so much to like about this class. Let’s start with the fact that the Huskies secured two commitments from top quarterbacks in Colson Yankoff and Jacob Sirmon, both of whom are considered top-10 at their spots in what is generally being discussed as a great year for QBs. Recruiting quarterbacks is a complete crap-shoot, but Chris Petersen has a good track record with it, and signing two increases the chance that one will work out.
Linebacker Brandon Kaho, out of Reno (Nevada), is a name that college football fans are likely to know in 2019, if not 2018. Kaho has it all — size at 230 pounds, range, instincts, motor, and nastiness.
I also like Domonique Hampton, a 6’2 potential corner out of Peoria (Arizona) Central. He moves well, and the Huskies might have signed a gem, despite Hampton being one of the lowest-rated players in Washington’s class.
Washington has been blown out several times by more talented teams in recent years, but the Huskies are in the middle of a gradual build. Washington is probably one more elite class away from joining the Blue-Chip Ratio club.
Good: TCU Horned Frogs (No. 25)
TCU is stepping up its recruiting efforts and somewhat separating from the likes of Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, etc. All those year of winning seem to be paying off. I won’t tell you this class is in the same realm as the Longhorns and Sooners, but it is a nice class.
QB Justin Rogers is an excellent addition out of Bosier City (La.) Parkway. Rogers is big at 6’4 and 210 pounds, and he can really throw. He can also run enough that opponents need to respect his legs, which should create more opportunities to throw into single coverage.
I’m also a big fan of Trevon Moehrig-Woodard. The Spring Branch (Texas) Smithson Valley defensive back can do it all, and with good size at 6’2. The Horned Frogs got a steal there. He committed to TCU in April and stuck.
Above average: Minnesota Golden Gophers (No. 35)
I heard more about Minnesota’s recruiting this year than I had in all my years doing this job previously — combined. And the reason was Early Signing Period. Minnesota convinced so many kids who would have had spots at more successful programs later in the cycle to instead stick with them and sign early. Row the boat.
Tifton (Ga.) Tift County WR Rashod Bateman is a egregiously underrated at the No. 61 receiver in the nation on the 247Sports Composite rankings. Bateman has good size at 6’1, he’s fast enough, and he has a great feel for the game while catching everything. A lot of major programs in the Southeast were bummed when he stuck with Minnesota.
Ditto that for Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett CB Terrell Smith, a 6’0 corner who passed up interest from bigger programs to stick with the Gophers. And they paired him with Benny Sapp Jr., a 6’0 corner from Eden Prairie (Minn.) whose namesake played for the Vikings and Dolphins.
Big IMG Academy linemen Daniel Faalele and Curtis Dunlap round out the class.
Bonus for new coaches: Alabama
Losing coach Jeremy Pruitt definitely hurt the Tide’s defensive coaching staff, but I absolutely love the hires Nick Saban made, both from a coaching and recruiting perspective.
Getting Dan Enos from Michigan, Josh Gattis from Penn State, Pete Golding from Texas San Antonio (a really bright defensive mind), and Jeff Banks from Texas A&M is really something. Whether it is coaching, recruiting, or both, Saban knocked his assistant hires out of the park.