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Path: /college-football/big-12-2016-team-recruiting-rankings
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Recruiting results and National Signing Day have been a fascinating area to watch for the Big 12 in recent years. The conference has a stronghold in the state of Texas – one of the nation’s best areas for talent – but the league has watched some of its top talent head to the SEC to play for Texas A&M, LSU, Alabama or Ole Miss. The national recruiting rankings over the last four seasons also paint an interesting picture for the Big 12. During that span, only one class – Texas in 2016 – ranked as a top-10 consensus haul by the 247Sports Composite. While the Longhorns reached the No. 10 mark in the 247Sports Composite, coach Charlie Strong’s team needed a furious close just to reach that mark. Keeping talent at home has to be a priority for the Big 12’s top teams.

 

Outside of Texas, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma inked strong classes. Coach Art Briles continues to elevate the talent level in Waco, as the Bears recorded a No. 18 national average by the four major scouting services. Oklahoma was the only team in the Big 12 to sign a five-star prospect (linebacker Caleb Kelly). However, the Sooners’ in-state rival (Oklahoma State) finished with an average place of 44.25 among the four major recruiting services. The Cowboys inked four top-35 classes from 2011-14, but coach Mike Gundy’s last two hauls ranked outside of the top 40 nationally. 

 

To recap National Signing Day, Athlon Sports is taking a look at the top recruiting classes by each league. The national rankings from the four major scouting services – Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN – were used to compile a consensus average, which we used to rank teams in each league. Additionally, the number of three, four and five-star recruits signed by each team are indicated in the table from the 247Sports Composite. 

 

Big 12 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings

RankTeam 5-Star4-Star3-StarNational Average247ScoutRivalsESPN
1Texas01311111381310
2Baylor08141819191717
3TCU081519.2518162122
4Oklahoma18921.2523201923
5West Virginia032037.7541343937
6Texas Tech022340.7546304542
7Oklahoma State012044.2542434646
8Iowa State002550.7550465354
9Kansas State001573.2569777770
10Kansas001388.6819392-
Teaser:
Big 12 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings
Post date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/big-ten-2016-team-recruiting-rankings
Body:

The Big Ten is trending up entering the 2016 season, and National Signing Day did nothing to slow the momentum from the 2015 campaign for the league’s top teams. Ohio State and Michigan were two of National Signing Day’s biggest winners, as the Wolverines and Buckeyes landed top-five classes and two of the three five-star prospects entering the conference. Both teams should be playoff contenders next fall, with a handful of freshmen expected to make an immediate impact. Although Ohio State and Michigan won the headlines on Signing Day, Michigan State (No. 20 national average class rank) and Penn State (No. 20.75 average class rank) also picked up solid classes.

 

One of the Big Ten’s underrated winners of Signing Day was Nebraska. Despite a 6-7 record in coach Mike Riley’s first season, the Cornhuskers signed the Big Ten’s No. 5 recruiting class. Additionally, the No. 24 rank in the 247Sports Composite was the program’s highest mark since a No. 22 finish in 2013. Nebraska signed five four-star recruits according to the 247Sports Composite, which is nearly as many as it inked from 2014-15 (six). The Cornhuskers have signed the best recruiting class in the Big Ten West Division over the last two seasons. That’s a positive sign for Riley and this program moving into 2016. 

 

The Big Ten’s four new full-time coaches had their share of ups and downs on the recruiting trail this season. Two programs Illinois (Bill Cubit) and Rutgers (Chris Ash) finished outside of the top 65 nationally in the consensus rankings among the four major services. Maryland’s D.J. Durkin signed the No. 8 consensus class in the Big Ten but missed on keeping a couple of touted local prospects at home. Minnesota’s Tracy Claeys guided the program to a No. 48 finish in the 247Sports Composite, which is the highest mark for the Golden Gophers over the last five seasons.

 

To recap National Signing Day, Athlon Sports is taking a look at the top recruiting classes by each league. The national rankings from the four major scouting services – Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN – were used to compile a consensus average, which we used to rank teams in each league. Additionally, the number of three, four and five-star recruits signed by each team are indicated in the table from the 247Sports Composite. 

 

Big Ten 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings

RankTeam 5-Star4-Star3-StarNational Average247ScoutRivalsESPN
1Ohio State11773.253235
2Michigan114145.255646
3Michigan State09102021182021
4Penn State171120.7520222318
5Nebraska051625.7524282526
6Wisconsin032231.527253341
7Iowa00254038314249
8Maryland031645.2543554043
9Northwestern002047.7547454752
10Minnesota01194845425055
11Indiana001955.2554535658
12Illinois00196770606771
13Rutgers001372.578727664
14Purdue001478.598827361
Teaser:
Big Ten 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings
Post date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-16-national-signing-day-recap
Body:

Braden Gall, Mitch Light and David Fox break down National Signing Day 2016.

 

- What was their favorite part of NSD 2016 and how did each of the guys end up at their school of choice?

 

- Alabama is boringly amazing. Again.

 

- Texas and Charlie Strong are doing things differently in Austin and it paid off in a big way.

 

- How important is the rise of Baylor and TCU for the Big 12 as a whole?

 

- Jim Harbaugh: Mad genius or totally annoying? And what is his impact on the rest of the Big Ten?

 

- Florida State surged into the No. 2 slot while LSU used home state advantage to land the No. 3 class.

 

- Auburn, Ole Miss, Georgia and Tennessee all closed strongly. Which one was most surprising?

 

- Clay Helton and USC won the Pac-12 recruiting title. What does that prove for Trojans fans?

 

- Did Houston land the best Group of 5 class ever?

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: '16 National Signing Day Recap
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 15:52
Path: /college-football/acc-2016-team-recruiting-rankings
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The ACC isn’t two-team league, but it’s clear Florida State and Clemson are in clear control of this conference. The Seminoles and Tigers have each earned a trip to the College Football Playoff over the last two seasons, and both programs continue to outrecruit their league opponents by a significant margin. Florida State inked the ACC’s top recruiting class with a No. 2 national average and earned the No. 1 class designation from ESPN. Clemson checked in second with an 8.75 national average, with three of the four recruiting services grading coach Dabo Swinney’s class a top-10 group.

 

The strength of Florida State and Clemson’s class is clearly demonstrated by the five and four-star recruits. The Seminoles and Tigers signed the only five-star recruits in the ACC and 29 of the league’s 48 incoming four-star prospects.

 

The ACC took a step forward this offseason with the addition of new coaches Mark Richt (Miami), Dino Babers (Syracuse), Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia) and Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech. However, Florida State and Clemson continue to set the bar high for the rest of the league.

 

To recap National Signing Day, Athlon Sports is taking a look at the top recruiting classes by each league. The national rankings from the four major scouting services – Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN – were used to compile a consensus average, which we used to rank teams in each league. Additionally, the number of three, four and five-star recruits signed by each team are indicated in the table from the 247Sports Composite. 

 

ACC 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings
RankTeam 5-Star4-Star3-StarNational Average247ScoutRivalsESPN
1Florida State117722321
2Clemson11278.7581458
3Miami01072522372219
4Pittsburgh032128.526273031
5North Carolina012428.533232434
6Duke021931.534333128
7Louisville022038.2539413736
8Virginia Tech01194640564939
9NC State002147.7557474344
10Wake Forest001957.2553636350
11Georgia Tech001460.2555656853
12Syracuse001860.7565595762
13Virginia002361.2561626260
14Boston College001675.576708274
Teaser:
ACC 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 15:00
Path: /college-football/sec-team-recruiting-rankings-2016
Body:

The SEC was one of the big winners on National Signing Day. Three teams – Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss – cracked the top six of the , with the Crimson Tide taking home the No. 1 overall class for the sixth consecutive season. The depth of the league extends outside of the top six, as Georgia (No. 7) and Auburn (No. 10) are just behind. All 14 SEC teams finished inside of the top 60 in national rankings and only two classes – Missouri and Vanderbilt – ranked lower than 35th.

 

Needless to say, the rich are getting richer. And there’s no shortage of talent flowing into the SEC.

 

To recap National Signing Day, Athlon Sports is taking a look at the top recruiting classes by each league. The national rankings from the four major scouting services – Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN – were used to compile a consensus average, which we used to rank teams in each league. Additionally, the number of three, four and five-star recruits signed by each team are indicated in the table from the 247Sports Composite. 

 

SEC 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings

SEC

Rank

Team 5-Star4-Star3-StarNational Average247ScoutRivalsESPN
1Alabama31471.251112
2LSU21664.254463
3Ole Miss31295.757574
4Georgia31078.7599107
5Auburn111910101299
6Florida091612.514101412
7Tennessee0101115.2515171514
8Texas A&M081318.2516211620
9South Carolina052026.7528262627
10Arkansas151428.2525323224
11Kentucky03223329392935
12Mississippi State121533.7531353633
13Missouri011754.2556575351
14Vanderbilt01175648686048
Teaser:
SEC Team Recruiting Consensus Rankings for 2016
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: Video, Overtime
Path: /overtime/willem-dafoe-plays-marilyn-monroe-snickers-super-bowl-50-commercial-2016-eugene-levy
Body:

Marilyn Monroe has passed away, but evidently she's still available for Super Bowl commercials.

 

Willem Dafoe plays the fallen starlet in a new Snickers commercial for the big game. Eugene Levy even makes a random cameo toward the end, but the whole thing is pretty odd. It's a little creepy but you get the point that people really act different when they're hungry, and Snickers is the only thing that will bring them back to normal.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 13:28
All taxonomy terms: videos, NFL, Overtime
Path: /overtime/jimmy-fallon-super-bowl-nfl-superlatives-50-broncos-panthers-peyton-manning-olsen
Body:

The last game of the NFL season is upon us and we all know what that means.

 

Jimmy Fallon goes in on the Broncos and Panthers ahead of Super Bowl 50, and the results are hilarious. Peyton Manning gets two well-deserved awards.

You can never look at James Ferentz the same again.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 13:04
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Utah Utes, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/5-takeaways-utah-utes-2016-recruiting-class
Body:

concluded National Signing Day in 2016 by hauling in one of the team's most talented recruiting classes yet. The Utes addressed many needs at the offensive skill positions and grew even deeper along the defensive line – already traditionally an area of strength for the program.

 

“"I'm real excited about this class,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “I thought our assistant coaches did an outstanding job of evaluating and targeting the right guys. We won some crucial head-to-head battles with some stiff competition.”

 

Utah doesn't look like it is going to take a step back in the Pac-12 any time soon with the talent joining the program. Here are five things that stand out about the Utes' 2016 recruiting class:

 

1. Utah has even more strength in the trenches

Utah is already blessed with tons of talent up front on both sides of the ball. It got even better on Wednesday.

 

The Utes reeled in standouts like Leki Fotu and Keaton Bills to add to their defensive line. Fotu led Herriman (Utah) to its first Class 5A state title in 2015. He totaled 79 tackles and 9.5 sacks as a senior for the Mustangs. Bills accumulated 141 tackles and eight sacks at Corner Canyon (Utah). He totaled 69 tackles and six sacks in his senior season alone.

 

On the offensive line, the Utes landed Garrett Boles, Scott Peck and Johnny Maea. Coming out of Snow (Utah) College, Bolles was rated the no. 1 junior college lineman in the nation for 2016. Maea anchored an offensive line at in-state prep powerhouse East that produced a state-record 5,509 rushing yards and a Utah Class 4A title for the Panthers in 2015. Scout rated Peck as the top offensive lineman in Washington in the 2016 class.

 

2. Quarterback talent received a major upgrade

Finding out who will succeed Travis Wilson in running Utah's offense in 2016 is sure to produce a healthy battle in spring ball. The Utes snagged a pair of impressive quarterbacks who both possess potential to get the job done.

 

Troy Williams threw for 2,750 yards 31 touchdowns and only four interceptions last season at Santa Monica (Calif.) College. Williams, who began his career at Washington, was the No. 1-ranked junior college quarterback in the 2016 class. Joining him is freshman Tyler Huntley, the Florida Player of the Year in 2015. Huntley passed for 3,636 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior at Hallandale Beach.

 

Both players signed with Utah early and enrolled in classes in January.

 

3. Florida pipeline runs strong for Utah

Having assistant head coach Dennis Erickson on staff has really altered the recruiting landscape for Utah. The Utes are mining the Sunshine State and bringing in upgrades to speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball.

 

Donovan Thompson promises to be a disruptive playmaker in the mold of Gionni Paul at linebacker. Thompson led Miami Central to four Florida state championships. He accumulated 135 tackles and 11 sacks as a senior and led all Miami-Dade County schools with 167 tackles as a junior in 2014.

 

A pair of running backs from Florida will have a shot to earn time in Utah's backfield. Zach Moss comes to the Utes fresh off a senior season at Hallandale where he rushed for 1,098 yards and 17 touchdowns on 145 carries. Devonta'e Henry-Cole averaged 11.8 yards per carry as a junior at Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas before joining Utah. Henry-Cole showed blazing speed while also competing on the track team, posting a personal best of 10.87 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

 

4. Winning is breeding recruiting success

Utah won many more head-to-head recruiting battles with other Pac-12 schools than in past seasons. Because of that, the Utes drew in a recruiting class ranked in the top 40 by both Scout and Rivals, and came in at No. 37 in Athlon Sports’ consensus team rankings.

 

One key to success in recruiting battles is on-the-field results. Utah has finished as a top-25 team each of the past two seasons. The Utes have posted a combined 19-7 record over that stretch. Winning and contending in the Pac-12 South has helped Utah sway more talent to Salt Lake City.

 

“We attribute a lot of our success to the way we're trending,” Whittingham said. “We won nine games two years ago and we won 10 games last year. The recruits understand we're trending in the right direction and a lot of those guys want to be a part of what's coming next.”

 

5. Utah is having success targeting junior college talent

Devontae Booker offered a good example over the past two seasons for why Utah dips into the JUCO ranks during each recruiting cycle. Booker turned out to be a powerful runner who carried the offense on his shoulders at plenty of critical moments.

 

Utah has plenty of JUCO talent in the 2016 class that can be difference-makers in the same vein. The aforementioned Bolles and Williams, along with linebacker David Luafatasaga, wide receiver Alec Dana and punter Mitch Wishnowsky are all expected to play major roles for the Utes in the upcoming season.

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter

Teaser:
5 Takeaways from the Utah Utes' 2016 Recruiting Class
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/best-prop-bets-super-bowl-50-carolina-panthers-vs-denver-broncos
Body:

The Super Bowl props are arguably as big as the game itself. There are hundreds of them ranging from the normal (number of FGs) to the off-beat (color of Gatorade used at end of game). My favorites are the cross-sport ones as they tie-in the NBA and NHL into this huge event.

 

There are several things to consider when wagering on the props. First off, you have to envision how the game is going to go. A lot of the props mentioned in this article will go along with my Denver victory that I predicted in my other article. If you think Carolina is going to win, then you may have some completely different ideas then I do.

 

Personally, I like to take underdog props as well. It's always fun to have a little bit on something that is not likely to occur. Imagine if you had the safety as a first score prop in the Seattle/Denver Super Bowl. Finally, bet wisely as it is very easy to get carried away and go past your budget. Give yourself a stable number and stick to it.

 

All that said, let's give you my favorite props that are sure to win… if Super Bowl 50 goes as I think it will. We'll use the prices and props from the world famous Las Vegas Superbook in the Westgate.

 

Will both teams make 33-yard or longer field goals?

Yes +120

Listen, I've made it clear how good these two defenses are. New England kicked two FGs in the AFC Championship Game while Cardinal kicker Chandler Catanzaro was shut out, but his team down 17-0 before the Cardinals realized what had happened. Carolina’s Graham Gano and Denver’s Brandon McManus are very good kickers so I'm not exactly asking for much from them in terms of distance. Denver's offense has stalled quite a bit in the playoffs. Some books will even offer this wager with a little extra yardage, which I would consider as well.

 

Will Peyton Manning throw an interception?

No +190

Since coming back from injury, Manning has thrown 78 passes, completing 43 with nary an interception. The Broncos’ offense has reduced a lot of the risk for their quarterback, making it less likely for him to get picked off. Yes, Carolina got several picks off Carson Palmer, but that's a different, more open offense compared to what Denver is employing right now. If you like Carolina to blow out Denver, then this prop is not for you.

 

First touchdown of the game will be

Any other TD +145

I think this is pretty good value for us to get a rushing touchdown or something from the defense. Cam Newton could very easily run one in and if not him then maybe Mike Tolbert or Jonathan Stewart. Denver could contribute here, but it's more likely that the Broncos are throwing the ball to get into the end zone.

 

Will the Panthers convert a 4th down attempt

Yes +165

They don't call Panthers head coach Ron Rivera "Riverboat Ron" for no reason. Carolina went for it on 4th down 10 times during the regular season and converted six of those. I think that we will see at least one such attempt in this game and I'll take the solid price for the Panthers converting that opportunity.

 

Total touchdown passes by Peyton Manning

Over 1.5 +140

The Panthers’ secondary is there for the taking and I think Denver capitalizes. Remember, this is in my scenario where the Broncos win the game. I think a Denver win comes with two TD passes from Manning… probably one to Demaryius Thomas and one to Owen Daniels.

 

Who will have more (Chris Paul points vs. Demaryius Thomas longest reception)?

Chris Paul points +4.5 -110

Here's our first cross-sport prop that I really like. Demaryius Thomas is going to see a lot of All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, which likely means the Broncos’ No. 1 WR won't be that busy. Thomas had a long catch of 15 yards against the Steelers and just seven yards against the Patriots. Ten times during the regular season, the WR matched up with Norman had a long catch of 25 yards or fewer. On the other hand, Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers head to Miami to face the Heat on Super Sunday (2 p.m. ET on ABC). Back on Jan. 13, Paul scored 15 points (on 6-of-17 from the field), while adding 12 assists in a 104-90 home win. For the month of January (13 games), Paul averaged 21.3 points per game. I think there's some value here as the stars of the NBA try to separate themselves Sunday afternoon before the NFL takes over.

 

Who will have more (Chris Bosh rebounds vs. Demaryius Thomas receptions)?

Chris Bosh rebounds -1.5 EVEN

Once again, taking into consideration that Thomas is likely going to see a lot of Norman meaning his role in Denver’s offensive game plan will be reduced. Good corners in the past have been able to take the the Broncos’ top WR out of the game. Chris Bosh had 12 rebounds in the first meeting with the Clippers. He's averaging 7.6 per game this season, but that took a slight dip in January (6.6 rpg). We're getting a little crazy here with this prop, but with the price being even, I'll take a shot.

 

Which is larger (SMU vs. South Florida margin of victory or largest lead in Super Bowl 50)?

SMU vs. South Florida Margin +1.5 -110

For me, this is an easy one considering I think the Broncos are going to win and I don't think either team is going to ever be ahead by that much. SMU is nationally ranked and pounding opponents, especially when the Mustangs are the better team. They have road wins of 15, 12, 24 and 15 points already this season. South Florida is awful and shouldn't put up much resistance, even though the Bulls are at home. Last year SMU beat South Florida by 11 when it made the trip to Tampa. I think the margin of victory is bigger this year.

 

First touchdown scorer

Mike Tolbert 18/1 (12/1) & C.J. Anderson 10/1 (5/1)

Always a favorite play of mine is to pick the first touchdown scorer. The reason I put two prices up there is because one is involving both teams and the other is for first touchdown scorer of the specific team. I'm going sentimental with Mike Tolbert hoping it's a short TD. He's one of my favorite players to root for considering he does everything to help Carolina out. Anderson is my first Denver scorer because he's been the more effective runner out of its backfield. A Broncos sleeper is Emmanuel Sanders too as he could be the more targeted WR.

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
Best Prop Bets for Super Bowl 50 (Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos)
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/ranking-every-super-bowl-halftime-show
Body:

The Super Bowl halftime show has always been a spectacle, but until the early 1990s, it did not feature megastars. Viewers were often subjected to marching bands and productions that generally had bizarre themes. It only took four decades, but the halftime show has finally found its groove.

 

In honor of Super Bowl 50, many fans are ranking the 10 best halftime shows. That’s child’s play. Here’s a ranking of all the Super Bowl halftime shows I was able to track down. Note, they are judged by their quality and not just star power. Coldplay, you're up.

 

40 (tie). Grambling State University Marching Band – Super Bowl II
Southeast Missouri State College Marching Brand and Anita Bryant – Super Bowl V
Texas Longhorn Marching Band – Super Bowl VIII
Tyler Junior College Apache Belles, Al Hirt and Pete Fountain – Super Bowl XII
Bob Jani Production Presents "Carnival: A Salute to the Caribbean"– Super Bowl XIII
Jim Skinner Productions Presents “Mardi Gras Festival” – Super Bowl XV
Bob Jani Productions Presents "KaleidoSUPERscope" – Super Bowl XVII

As I said, I ranked all the shows I was able to find. These seven shows by marching bands and event producers Bob Jani and Jim Skinner were not available online. 

 

39. New Kids on the Block/Disney Characters – Super Bowl XXV

Take the most annoying songs at Disney World, the most annoying boy band of all time and bad lip syncing, and you’ve got the worst halftime show on this list. This performance in honor of the children of members of the armed forces was the first to feature a major popular act at halftime. It also took a backseat to the Persian Gulf War, as ABC chose to air a report on the status of the conflict rather than show the halftime performance live.

 

38. Disney Presents “It’s a Small World” – Super Bowl XI

Ever ridden the “It’s a Small World” ride? This show was based on it. Torture.

 

37. United States Air Force Tops in Blue – Super Bowl XIX

A show titled “World of Children’s Dreams” featured pirate ships, the circus and a space shuttle and it was every adult’s nightmare.

 

36. Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill and the University of Minnesota Marching Band – Super Bowl XXVI

This Super Bowl was played in Minneapolis’ Metrodome and viewers were subjected to an exhausting production titled, “Winter Magic.” Boitano and Hamill livened things up a bit with their ice skating, but the only thing that saved it was Estefan’s performance, which began 10 minutes into the show.

 

 

35. Andy Williams, Woody Herman and the University of Michigan Marching Band – Super Bowl VII

This list is objective, i.e, Lawrence Welk fans might place this one a little higher.

 

34. University of Arizona and University of Michigan Marching Bands and the Rocket Men – Super Bowl I

There is nothing exciting about two college bands with no connection to the city hosting the Super Bowl or the two teams playing in it, but hey, it did have two guys fly around the stadium in jetpacks. 

 

33. Be Bop Bamboozled – Super Bowl XXIII

Billed as the first use of 3D in television, this goofy performance featuring a performer named Elvis Presto who does card tricks (!) is elevated by Bob Costas’ Eddie Haskell-esque intro.

 

 

32. Disney’s Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary – Super Bowl XXI

A corny introduction by George Burns, who was nine years younger than Hollywood, set the tone for this production.

 

31. Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye: Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval and Miami Sound Machine – Super Bowl XXIX

You would have thought Disney would have learned its lesson about tying in Super Bowl halftime shows with theme park rides, but no. In addition to pulling together this odd pairing of performers, Disney tried to use it to promote Disneyland’s new Indiana Jones ride. Needless to say, it was a bizarre mess.

 

30. Carol Channing, Marguerite Piazza and the Southern University Marching Band – Super Bowl IV

A solid representation of New Orleans in the first-ever Super Bowl to be played in the Crescent City, although the recreation of the Battle of New Orleans was a bit silly.

 

29. Peanuts’ 40th Anniversary – Super Bowl XXIV

Another weird halftime show was saved by solid numbers by the Southern University band, Irma Thomas, Pete Fountain and Doug Kershaw, and a showboat at the end.

 

28. Phil Collins, Toni Braxton, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias with narration by Edward James Olmos - Super Bowl XXXIV

Yet another Disney-produced show focusing on a theme park attraction, Epcot Center's now-defunct Tapestry of Nations parade. Unlike the others, it was not laughably bad. It was just boring.

 

27. Jessica Simpson, Ocean of Soul, Spirit of Houston, Nelly, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson – Super Bowl XXXVIII

This one is best remembered for , but it was not very good anyway. “Nipplegate” was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

 

 

26. Salute to Louis Armstrong: Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt and the U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team – Super Bowl VI

This is not available online, but I’m going to give a show that featured Ella Fitzgerald honoring Louis Armstrong in New Orleans six months after this death the benefit of the doubt.

 

25. Florida A&M Marching Band – Super Bowl III

The FAMU Marching 100 is one of the best and most innovative bands in the country and it was on full display at this halftime show.

 

24. Disney Salutes Stars of the Silver Screen – Super Bowl XVIII

Of all the Disney-produced halftime shows, this one worked the best.

 

23 (tie). Up with People – Super Bowls X, XIV, XVI and XX

The record for most Super Bowl halftime shows belongs to Up with People, a civic organization whose mission is to “bring the world together through service and music.” What’s not to like about that?

 

22. Grambling State University Marching Band – Super Bowl IX

This salute to Duke Ellington was made memorable by the GSU Tiger Marching Band’s unique formations.

 

21. Chubby Checker and The Rockettes – Super Bowl XXII

The best of the old school Super Bowl halftime shows also included 88 grand pianos, which was a site to behold.

 

 

20. Paul McCartney – Super Bowl XXXIX

After the public outcry over “Nipplegate” the previous year, the Super Bowl needed a performer who was good and safe. Mission accomplished.

 

19. The Temptations, Smoky Robinson, Martha Reeves and the Vandelles, Queen Latifah and Boyz II Men – Super Bowl XXXII

A solid salute to Motown drops a few pegs because of Reeves’ shaky voice and too many slow numbers.

 

18. The Who – Super Bowl XLIV

This one would be ranked higher if Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry had destroyed the stage like The Who of old.

 

17. Madonna, LMFAO, M.I.A, Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo Green – Super Bowl XLVI

You would have expected this lineup to kill but the result was a bit ho-hum.

 

16. The Blues Brothers, James Brown and ZZ Top – Super Bowl XXXI

This performance epitomizes what a Super Bowl halftime show should be: big and fun, but not overdone and torturous to watch.

 

 

15. Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Super Bowl XXXIII

A Miami-themed halftime show featured some of Wonder’s best hits and awesome tap dancing by Savion Glover. It also redeemed Estefan for what happened in Minneapolis seven years earlier.

 

14. Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting – Super Bowl XXXVII

The highlight was Gwen Stefani and Sting singing “Message in a Bottle” together.

 

13. Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Arizona State University Marching Band – Super Bowl XLIX

The backlash on this performance is symbolic of how spoiled Super Bowl viewers have become in the last 20 years. However, one thing is for certain: sharks and “Teenage Dream” do not mix.

 

12. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Super Bowl XLII

This is one of the few halftime shows where it was clear that no one was lip-syncing. 

 

11. Diana Ross – Super Bowl XXX

A great performance was made epic when Ross exited Sun Devil Stadium in a helicopter.

 

10. Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Tanya Tucker and The Judds – Super Bowl XXVIII

The first Super Bowl ever played in Atlanta featured this Southern-fried halftime show. It also reunited The Judds for the first time, which became less of a big deal after all their subsequent reunions. Stevie Wonder also joined at the end for “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

 

9. Blacked Eye Peas, Slash and Usher – Super Bowl XLV

The most stylish Super Bowl halftime show in history despite some technical difficulties.

 

8. Prince and the Florida A&M Marching Band – Super Bowl XLI

It’s a shame that this show took place in the rain, but Prince and the FAMU Marching 100 delivered in this creative performance.

 

7. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Super Bowl XLIII

The only regret about this halftime show is that it did not happen sooner.

 

6. The Rolling Stones – Super Bowl XL

It was The Rolling Stones playing a stadium. Of course it was good.

 

5. Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers – Super Bowl XLVIII

Mars knocked this performance out of the park and he only relied on simplicity and talent.  It was also good fun for a large, age-diverse audience.

 

 

4. NSYNC, Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly – Super Bowl XXXV

The first halftime show produced by MTV seemed like an unlikely pairing of performers, but it turned out to be a thing of beauty.

 

 

3. Michael Jackson – Super Bowl XXVII

The first true Super Bowl halftime show headlined and led by a major solo artist. It set a bar for future halftime shows that few have come close to meeting.

 

 

2. U2 – Super Bowl XXXVI

U2 always seems to be the appropriate band for a time of healing. After the attacks of September 11, originally scheduled performer Janet Jackson actually stepped aside so they could play. When Bono sang the first words to “Beautiful Day,” it made the hair on your arms stand up. It only got more moving from there.

 

 

1. Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams – Super Bowl XLVII

Beyoncé opened her show with a recording of a Vince Lombardi quote on excellence and then owned the halftime show in a way that few performers have. She even reunited Destiny’s Child. As Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield wrote, “Why would you ever have a Super Bowl without Beyoncé?” This year’s halftime show has taken that advice.

 

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at .

 

(Top photo courtesy of )

Teaser:
Ranking Every Super Bowl Halftime Show
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes
Path: /college-football/despite-some-defections-new-miami-hurricanes-head-coach-mark-richt-solid-recruiting-class
Body:

Mark Richt had a tough job in his first two months as head coach of the . Not only did he have to put together his coaching staff, but he also had to retain a lot of the Hurricane recruits that had committed to former head coach Al Golden.

 

Related:

 

Even before National Signing Day on Wednesday, Richt and the Hurricanes got off to a rocky start as four-star cornerback Tyler Byrd flipped his commitment from Miami to Tennessee, where formerHurricanes interim head coach Larry Scott is now a tight ends coach. Then on Wednesday morning receiver Latrell Williams also left Miami high and dry for Tennessee.

 

“Recruiting is a relationship game, so to speak, Richt said. "It’s a big part of the process — of young men making decisions. It’s just very common across the country. People use the term ‘flipped’ — guys get flipped one way or another."

 

Despite Byrd and Williams heading to Knoxville, Richt and the Hurricanes put together a quality recruiting class.

 

CBSSports.com ranked Miami’s 2016 class 20th in the nation with the Hurricanes finishing among the top 25 schools in Athlon Sports’ .

 

The class features five early enrollees in Jack Allison, Pat Bethel, Zach McCloud, Michael Pinckney and Shaq Quarterman. Ten of the 18 players were ranked on the ESPN300 list and 16 of the players are from the state of Florida.

 

The 2016 class is led by two players from Fort Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas — wide receiver Sam Bruce and tight end Michael Irvin Jr.

 

While Bruce is only listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, he was highly recruited because of his explosive speed. His 40-yard dash time is listed in the 4.5 range by ESPN, but he plays a lot faster.

 

Bruce recorded 1,300 career receiving yards and 21 touchdowns in his time at St. Thomas Aquinas. The 4-star recruit also can return kickoffs. With Miami’s talent at receiver, Bruce certainly could be a factor on special teams in 2016. Bruce chose Miami over offers from Ohio State, South Carolina and Alabama.

 

Irvin Jr. of course will come to Miami with high expectations because of his namesake. The 6-foot-3, 220 pound 3-star prospect is the son of Michael Irvin, an NFL Hall of Famer who is one of the most famous Hurricanes in program history.

 

The younger Irvin will play either wide receiver or tight end at Miami. He has great size, hands and route-running to be a quality player down the line.

 

Richt said Irvin’s ties to the school were key to convincing the son to follow in his footsteps.

 

“Of course, his dad was there [during] the home visit… we did a little talking about The U in general and had some fun,” Richt said. “The big thing these guys have to understand is that we’re going to take care of them. It’s truly a ‘Cane for Life’ philosophy… that’s the philosophy I had at Georgia, and that’s same philosophy I’m going to have here. I want our guys to know — our current players and anyone we recruit — that we’re going to take care of you while you’re here, and we want your relationship with this university to bless you for the rest of your life, not just for three or four years.”

 

In all, the Hurricanes signed 10 4-star recruits according to CBSSports.com. Richt felt like his 15 seasons at Georgia and even his experience as an assistant coach at Florida State was beneficial to him to recruiting the South Florida area.

 

“But I think the fact that I had been a head coach for 15 years was helpful for me to have a vision of what I wanted everything to look like,” Richt said. “I think 16 years ago when I went to Georgia as head coach, I really only knew one way, which was quite frankly, Bobby Bowden’s way. I know that’s probably a bad name to say around here [laughter]. But I did have a chance to work for one of the finest men and one of the finest coaches in the business, and when I left there and went to Georgia, I kind of used that template.”

 

Miami will have a strong chance to win the ACC Coastal Division in 2016. If Richt and the Hurricanes can show signs of improvement, it will be even harder for schools like Florida State and Florida to steal talent from the South Florida area in the years to come.

 

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

 

(Top photo courtesy of )

Teaser:
Despite Some Defections, New Miami Hurricanes' Head Coach Mark Richt Put Together a Solid Recruiting Class
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC
Path: /college-football/5-takeaways-florida-gators-2016-recruiting-class
Body:

In his first recruiting class for the in 2015, head coach Jim McElwain finished with the 21st-ranked class, according to CBSSports.com. A top-25 class is pretty impressive considering McElwain had only been on the job for three months.

 

In his first full cycle, McElwain improved upon Florida's national ranking. The Gators brought in the 12th-ranked class according to ESPN, while CBSSports.com had it one spot lower at No. 13. Overall, Florida checks in at No. 14 in Athlon Sports' .

 

Related: 

 

So, what are the main takeaways from McElwain's new group of recruits?

 

1. McElwain believes he improved the team’s offense with the 2016 class

If you followed the Gators last season, then it is no secret that the team struggled to move the ball after former quarterback Will Grier was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs.

 

Florida averaged 12.8 points per game (3-3) in its final six games, as the offense finished No. 111 in the country. McElwain said he was happy with the way the coaching staff addressed the offense during the recruiting period.

 

“Obviously that's part of the side that needed probably the most restructuring,” McElwain said. “I think we addressed some of those position needs. I feel really good at the skill spots. We obviously have some young offensive linemen and we have got a couple that we look forward to adding to that.”

 

Florida signed two quarterbacks (Franks and Kyle Trask), two running backs (Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson) and three receivers that will participate in spring practices. McElwain feels like that will big for the Gators.

 

"When you look at from the receiver, quarterback, running back side, I think we've got some really good talent in there,” McElwain said. “It will be fun to watch them, because the majority are here already. So we'll get a good feel for that this spring.”

 

2. Feleipe Franks could play sooner than expected

There’s a slim chance Treon Harris will be the Gators' starting quarterback in 2016. After taking over for Grier, Harris threw seven touchdown passes against six interceptions for an adjusted quarterback rating of 51.5.

 

Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio is likely the favorite to be under center in the Sept. 3 opener against UMass. But if Franks has a great showing in the spring, the true freshman could have a chance to play right away.

 

Franks is tall (6-5), has a live arm and a lot of upside. He is already enrolled at Florida, so that will help his progression. What will determine how quickly he could play is how fast he's able to learn the playbook.

 

When talking about Franks on Tuesday, McElwain already seemed to be impressed with his progress.

 

“We're excited about him and the others that are in here with that class as freshmen,” McElwain said. "We are going to be able to complete some routes in the air because these guys can throw it now.”

 

3. Gators got their big fish in Tyrie Cleveland

Tuesday morning started out well for the Gators as Cleveland, a wide receiver from Westfield High School in Houston, Texas, flipped from his hometown Cougars and chose Florida over Arkansas and TCU. The four-star recruit is originally from Jacksonville, Fla., but his family moved to Texas when he was 11.

 

A number of recruiting sites had Cleveland as the No. 2 receiver in the 2016 class. McElwain said the Gators were pursuing Cleveland for a while.

 

“He's a guy that came by this summer and always had a lot of interest in the Gators, right there in Duval County, before he moved to Texas,” McElwain said. “For him, it's a little bit of a homecoming. Here is a guy that grew up wanting to be a Gator, playing in the swamp, back with a bunch of guys -- a couple guys that he actually grew up playing with. So I'm really happy he's back in this part of the country.”

 

Cleveland committed to Houston in December, but he visited Florida, TCU and Arkansas in January. Florida was hoping to revamp its receiver corps and signing Cleveland certainly did that.

 

4. Antonneous Clayton will improve the depth on the defensive line

While Cleveland received a lot of attention on Wednesday, defensive end Antonneous Clayton was a key signing for McElwain. The 6-foot-4, 236-pounder from Vienna, Ga., became a hot prospect after a dominating showing in the Under Armour All-America Game practices last month.

 

Clayton has the ability to become a relentless pass rusher with his quick first step off the ball. In 11 games last season, Clayton averaged seven tackles per contest and had a total of 26.5 tackles for a loss and 13 quarterback hurries.

 

Coaches from Auburn and Florida State attempted to try to flip Clayton during the contact period in January, but the four-star recruit remained loyal to the Gators.

 

5. Florida shouldn’t have any kicking issues in 2016

A kicker rarely gets any attention when talking about recruiting classes. But with the Gators' kicking issues last season Eddy Pineiro was an excellent signing.

 

Pineiro was originally committed to Alabama but flipped to Florida in December. The Miami native was the nation’s top kicking prospect and will provide an immediate upgrade to Austin Hardin, who missed nine field goals and four extra points last season.

 

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley

Teaser:
5 Takeaways from the Florida Gators' 2016 Recruiting Class
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/5-things-we-learned-about-nebraska-after-national-signing-day-2016
Body:

Finally, it’s all over. Signatures have been put to paper and the newest members of the ’ roster are committed in the truest sense of the word. This class didn’t meet every need, but it gives us some tea leaves to read about what the future of Nebraska football will look like. After sorting through them, here’s what there is to see.

 

1. Quality, Reliable Quarterback Depth

California stud Patrick O’Brien gets all of the headlines, but former member of the Tulane Green Wave Tanner Lee is coming aboard as a transfer.

 

While Lee has to sit a year, O’Brien and familiar Husker signal-caller Tommy Armstrong will be battling it out to see if No. 4 can keep the title of “starter.” Regardless, the Big Red will have more than one quarterback capable of executing head coach Mike Riley’s scheme.

 

2. Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner

Nebraska’s 2016 class contains one of the best hauls of offensive line talent that the Huskers have brought in at once in a long time. Inside linemen Boe Wilson, John Raridon and Bryan Brokop along with tackle Matt Farniok provide offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh with four legitimate options to potentially work into the 2016 lineup.

 

What’s clear from these four massive monsters’ presence is that Nebraska does want to be able to impose a traditional Big Ten running game on its foes, but also be able to protect those hurling the rock. If you’re familiar with Stanford during the Andrew Luck days, that seems to be a fair comparison.

 

3. Following in Andy Janovich’s Footsteps

It’s no secret that Nebraska fans welcomed back the use of a traditional position in the fullback and Riley seems to have taken a shine to it. David Engelhaupt, who hails from Norfolk, Neb., may prove to be the next bruiser at the spot.

 

Then again, he has the athleticism to step in as an H-back or tight end. Regardless of his future, Engelhaupt’s signing along with the addition of a number of walk-ons show the Huskers are still all about turning opponents black and blue.

 

4. Working to Build a Dominant Front Seven

The Huskers didn’t land any standout defensive tackles, the one blemish of the 2016 class. However, they did continue to bring in quality talent at the linebacker spots and for pass rush situations.

 

Greg Simmons (Fort Pierce, Fla.) could provide immediate help if current Blackshirt linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey’s injuries spark back up. Quayshon Alexander's name is one that Big Red fans may become familiar with early on as well.

 

No doubt stacking the defensive interior will be one of the biggest goals for the 2017 class, but the Huskers have enough depth to keep the gates closed for now.

 

5. Highway to the Danger Zone

A pair of the nation’s best safety prospects are potential Blackshirts in Marquel Dismuke and Lamar Jackson.

 

Nebraska kept quite a bit of young, inexperienced talent redshirted last season. Those youngsters are ready to see live play while athletes on the level of Dismuke and Jackson can be worked in immediately.

 

The Big Red also brought in two quality cornerbacks in Tony Butler and honoree DiCaprio Bootle. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker may eventually have himself one of the saltiest secondaries in the Big Ten, if not the nation.

 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on , Periscope (eightlaces) and like his

Teaser:
5 Things We Learned About Nebraska after National Signing Day 2016
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/national-signing-day-2016-winners-and-losers
Body:

recruiting rankings are not the end all, be all but certainly give a pretty good indication of the kind of seasons that are to follow for the perceived winners and the losers on National Signing Day. With a lot of coaching and a little bit of motivation, some of the top 5- and 4-star players are sure to be difference-makers on the collegiate gridiron for years to come, but which teams came out on top and which teams fell off the recruiting trail at the worst possible time?

 

Related:

 

Winners

 

Alabama

No matter what recruiting service one subscribes to for trusted spot-on rankings, Alabama rolled from outside the top 10 to the top spot in a flurry. Per 247Sports, the Tide ended up with three 5-star recruits, 14 prospects ranked as 4-star, and seven 3-star talents.

 

Alabama had nine commits on National Signign Day, highlighted by 5-star linebackers Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson along with 5-star defensive end Terrell Hall. The addition of 4-star defensive backs Jared Mayden and Shyheim Carter can only lead one to believe the Crimson Tide defense will be salty, per usual, again for the foreseeable future.

 

Texas

The biggest winner of National Signing Day from start to finish had to be the Longhorns. Over the weekend, Rivals rated Texas’ class No. 43. By day’s end the Longhorns were rated No. 13 by Rivals and No. 11 by both 247Sports and .

 

Head coach Charlie Strong had zero 5-star recruits and five 4-star prospects headed into the week, but railed big time, pulling in two 4-stars on Tuesday followed by 5-star linebacker Erick Fowler, a flip from LSU, and 4-star defensive tackle Chris Daniels, a one-time Oklahoma commit, on Wednesday. Texas has a fairly balanced class that may tilt slightly to the defensive side. The common theme with this class is threefold: size, speed and playmakers.

 

Georgia

The Bulldogs had a solid day, landing four in-state recruits that included 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman and 4-star defensive tackle Michail Carter. What cannot be overlooked in Kirby Smart’s first recruiting class in Athens is the talent he kept committed to the Bulldogs. Smart overcame some negative recruiting about a first-time head coach after convincing 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason to stay with Georgia as well as landing 5-star tight end Isaac Nauta.


Related: 

 

USC

The Trojans were out in the cold before the National Signing Day fanfare began, listed at No. 32 by Rivals. With room still to add to its haul, USC skyrocketed up the rankings, landing at No. 8 on both Rivals and 247Sports and finishing ninth in Athlon’s consensus rankings before the day was done. The Trojans pulled in six commits on Wednesday, going into Arizona for 4-star defensive end Connor Murphy, Georgia for 4-star OT E.J. Price, and out to Hawaii for 4-star running back Vavae Malepeai.

 

The only downside to the class is its size (20 total commitments), but all of the signees are high-quality recruits.

 

Losers

 

Miami

Tough to call a team ranked No. 21 by Rivals, No. 20 by 247Sports and 23rd in the consensus rankings a “loser” on National Signing Day, but this distinction might have more to do with Mark Richt’s recruiting abilities while at Georgia and the immense amount of talent in south Florida.

 

The Hurricanes added five recruits since the beginning of February to get to 18 total commits. On Tuesday, landing 4-star defensive back Romeo Finely was a nice win but the only noise on NSD was 4-star wide receiver Ahmmon Richards.

 

Arkansas

The Razorbacks were in the running on Wednesday to potentially land five or more top recruits, but instead ended up going the wrong way when their only cornerback commit, Joseph Putu, flipped to Florida. Arkansas has a very strong class with four 4-star recruits and 14 3-star players but did not close as strong as hoped. Bret Bielema and his staff missed out on several targets, including defensive back Brandon Jones (Texas), wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (Florida), defensive back Kristian Fulton (LSU), running back Kyle Porter (Texas), defensive end Allen Cater (North Carolina), and linebacker Calvin Bundage (Oklahoma State).

 

Arkansas finished with a class that ranked a solid 32nd with Rivals, 25th by 247Sports and 26th in the consensus rankings. The group is highlighted by 5-star defensive end McTelvin Agim and a trio of 4-star recruits – running back Devwah Whaley, athlete T.J. Hammonds, and defensive tackle Briston Guidry. The Hogs being in the “loser” category is not an indictment on the haul or the effort, but more the letdown of not landing a couple of high-end recruits in the clutch.

 

Iowa

Kirk Ferentz can make winners out of 3- and 2-star prospects, we get it. But one would think the Hawkeyes’ success in 2015 would land at least one 4-star talent. That was not the case. Iowa’s class, which includes 21 3-star recruits, finished ranked No. 41 by Rivals, No. 45 by 247Sports and 40th overall in the consensus rankings.

 

Georgia Tech

Per Rivals, Wisconsin, Oregon State, NC State, Houston, Minnesota, Iowa State, UCF, Boise State, Vanderbilt, Colorado State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Indiana, and Temple all finished above Georgia Tech’s No. 64 ranking. Something is wrong in Atlanta.

 

Head coach Paul Johnson is at a slight disadvantage with a stadium that only holds 55,000 against in-state rival Georgia’s Sanford Stadium that holds 92,000-plus. However, by virtue of being in a talent-rich recruiting state and playing in a Power 5 conference, the Yellow Jackets should be able to out-recruit several of the aforementioned teams ranked ahead of them. Tech has 18 signees with just one, defensive end Jordan Woods, considered a 4-star. To make matters worse, the Yellow Jackets have only had one verbal commitment since Jan. 25, 2-star defensive back Ajanji Kerr.

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, . Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
National Signing Day 2016: Winners and Losers
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 10:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army West Point Black Knights, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/how-college-footballs-new-coaches-recruited-2016
Body:

Recruiting is the basic blueprint for any college football program. Building a winner starts on the recruiting trail, and the just how important Signing Day is to all 128 teams. Sure, there are going to be hits and misses in the team and player projections each season, but there’s plenty of accuracy and meaning behind the final rankings.

 

Recruiting isn’t just a one-month exercise, as coaches are essentially on the trail all year for multiple classes. Whether it's the junior college ranks or high school prospects, coaches are constantly looking for talent and their next standout players.

 

New coaches are often placed into a difficult position, as it takes a year or two to build relationships for a signing class. Most new coaches only have a couple of months (if that) to target their prospects to fit the new systems and fight for commitments on the recruiting trail.

We can’t read much into how new coaches recruited this season due to the short turnaround time. However, the numbers are certainly interesting. And it will be critical to see how these numbers change after each coach has a full year to recruit.

 

Let’s take a look at how the new coaches for 2016 recruited (all rankings and data from  Composite)

 

Power 5 Conferences

ACC
     
MiamiTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Al Golden (2015)22261560
Mark Richt (2016)18217100
      
SyracuseTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Scott Shafer (2015)29582400
Dino Babers (2016)20661800
      
VirginiaTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Mike London (2015)23502210
Bronco Mendenhall (2016)25592300
      
Virginia TechTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Frank Beamer (2015)24292040
Justin Fuente (2016)21411910

 

 

Big 12
     
Iowa StateTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Paul Rhoads (2015)24661800
Matt Campbell (2016)29522600

 

Big Ten
     
IllinoisTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Tim Beckman (2015)24481820
Bill Cubit (2016)25712000
      
MarylandTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Randy Edsall (2015)19491520
D.J. Durkin (2016)21421430
      
MinnesotaTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Jerry Kill (2015)24632400
Tracy Claeys (2016)20481810
      
RutgersTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Kyle Flood (2015)25562110
Chris Ash (2016)17741300

 

Pac-12
     
USCTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Steve Sarkisian (2015)2729153
Clay Helton (2016)2086122

 

SEC
     
GeorgiaTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Mark Richt (2015)30516122
Kirby Smart (2016)2077103
      
MissouriTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Gary Pinkel (2015)24252021
Barry Odom (2016)18531710
      
South CarolinaTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Steve Spurrier (2015)311920100
Will Muschamp (2016)26262050

 

 

Independents
     
BYUTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Bronco Mendenhall (2015)23641500
Kalani Sitake (2016)24501720

 

Group of 5 Conferences

American
     
East CarolinaTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Ruffin McNeill (2015)15951300
Scottie Montgomery (2016)22711600
      
MemphisTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Justin Fuente (2015)33791510
Mike Norvell (2016)23621800
      
TulaneTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Curtis Johnson (2015)1993800
Willie Fritz (2016)25861000
      
UCFTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
George O'Leary (2015)18721510
Scott Frost (2016)20651800

 

 

C-USA
     
North TexasTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Dan McCarney (2015)25941000
Seth Littrell (2016)17106600
      
Southern MissTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Todd Monken (2015)27871100
Jay Hopson (2016)20881000
      
UTSATotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Larry Coker (2015)321031100
Frank Wilson (2016)17111700

 

 

MAC
     
Ball StateTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Pete Lembo (2015)27112600
Mike Neu (2016)23108600
      
Bowling GreenTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Dino Babers (2015)24110500
Mike Jinks (2016)15116500
      
ToledoTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Matt Campbell (2015)24851000
Jason Candle (2016)22931000

 

 

Mountain West
   
HawaiiTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Norm Chow (2015)14123400
Nick Rolovich (2016)16121700

 

 

Sun Belt
     
Georgia SouthernTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Willie Fritz (2015)21911300
Tyson Summers (2016)28781200
      
Texas StateTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Dennis Franchione (2015)2596700
Everett Withers (2016)24105700
      
ULMTotalNational Rank3 Stars Signed4 Stars Signed5 Stars Signed
Todd Berry (2015)27108700
Matt Viator (2016)19122500

 

Teaser:
How College Football's New Coaches Recruited in 2016
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army West Point Black Knights, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-impact-true-freshmen-2016
Body:

College football’s 2016 National Signing Day is officially in the books. Every FBS program inked recruits to a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, which means coaching staffs should have a good snapshot of how their program looks for the upcoming season. With spring practice just around the corner, the focus around the nation now shifts to the 2016 season. 

 

There will be several impact performers from the 2016 class this season, and it’s impossible to narrow the names down to just 10. However, now that signing day is complete, let’s take a look at 10 names to watch in 2016 and how they could impact their team in on-field action. 

 

10 Instant-Impact College Football Recruits for 2016

 

Oluwole Betiku, DE, USC

New coach Clay Helton inked the Pac-12’s top class in the 247Sports Composite rankings, landing at No. 8 overall nationally. Securing talent and depth in the defensive trenches was critical for Helton, and the Trojans have four new prospects joining the roster this offseason. Betiku is the one garnering the most attention as the No. 16 overall player in the 247Sports Composite. The California native registered 17 sacks and 28 tackles for a loss in 2015 and enrolled in time to compete in spring practice. With Delvon Simmons, Claude Pelon, Greg Townsend and Antwaun Woods departing Los Angeles, Betiku could be asked to play a lot of snaps as a true freshman.

 

Related:

 

Nate Craig-Myers/Kyle Davis, WR, Auburn

Upgrading the offense is an offseason priority for coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn averaged only 22.1 points a game and 5.1 yards per play in SEC contests last season and question marks remain under center and at receiver going into spring practice. The top two receivers – Ricardo Louis and Melvin Ray – have expired their eligibility after combining for 66 of Auburn’s 179 catches last year. Just how important were the signings of Davis and Craig-Myers to Auburn’s recruiting class? Consider this – the top returning receiver for 2016 is Jason Smith with 13 catches. Craig-Meyers and Davis have a clear path to playing time next fall.

 

Jacob Eason, QB, Georgia

Georgia’s passing game left a lot to be desired last season. The Bulldogs ranked 12th in SEC-only contests in 2015 and tossed only six touchdowns to eight interceptions. Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey are back in 2016, but Eason is the frontrunner to take the first snap of the year for new coach Kirby Smart. The Washington native enrolled early and will compete in spring practice.

 

Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

Gary ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the four major recruiting services – Scout, 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN – and is the anchor for a Michigan class that finished No. 5 in the 247Sports Composite. The New Jersey native boasts a powerful 6-foot-5, 293-pound frame and is capable of wreaking havoc at the line of scrimmage with his quick first step and explosiveness. Even though Michigan has one of the Big Ten’s top defensive lines in place, Gary will see plenty of snaps for new coordinator Don Brown.

 

Related:

 

Patrick Hudson, OL, Baylor

Baylor’s offensive line was one of the best in college football last season, but coach Art Briles has some work to do in the trenches this spring. Four starters depart last year’s standout group, including left tackle Spencer Drango. Center Kyle Fuller is the lone returning starter up front, but the cupboard is far from empty. Hudson was a key pickup for the Bears in the 2016 signing class, as the Texas native ranked as the No. 50 overall recruit in the 247Sports Composite. Additionally, junior college recruit Branton Autry is also expected to push for time. Hudson is a player to watch this offseason for Baylor’s high-powered attack.

 

Gregory Little, OT, Ole Miss

Hugh Freeze inked another stellar recruiting class on Wednesday, which includes two of the nation’s top prospects in Little and quarterback Shea Patterson. Little is a key pickup for the Rebels at a position of need. The offensive line loses four key starters, including standout left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Starting as a left tackle in the SEC is no easy assignment, but Little has the talent, size and strength to protect quarterback Chad Kelly’s blindside next fall.

 

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Clemson continues to churn out elite defensive linemen, and there’s no shortage of talent in the pipeline for coordinator Brent Venables. The Tigers have a bigger need at end with the departures of Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson than the interior this offseason, but Lawrence is too talented to keep on the sidelines. The North Carolina native ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the 247Sports Composite and could slide into a rotation at tackle, adding depth to a group that already features Carlos Watkins, Christian Wilkins, Scott Pagano and Albert Huggins.

 

Related:

 

Austin Mack, WR, Ohio State

Ohio State was hit hard by early departures to the NFL, including its top two receivers – Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall – who combined for 92 catches in 2015. But that’s not all the Buckeyes have to replace in the receiving corps. Also departing is Braxton Miller (26 catches), tight end Nick Vannett (19 receptions) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (27 grabs). Coach Urban Meyer indicated on Signing Day he wants the incoming freshmen play a lot of snaps in 2016, and Mack could be one of the instant impact recruits. The Indiana native ranked as the No. 76 prospect in the 247Sports Composite and is capable of being a physical presence on the outside with his 6-foot-2 frame. Two other incoming freshmen to watch – running back Antonio Williams and defensive end Nick Bosa.

 

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

It’s rare to see a five-star recruit sign with a program outside of the Power 5 ranks. However, Houston is a program on the rise under coach Tom Herman, and the Cougars have plenty of talent in their backyard in one of the nation’s most fertile recruiting areas. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Herman is having success keeping talent at home and away from Power 5 teams. Oliver played at Westfield High School – just under 30 minutes away from Houston’s TDECU Stadium – and ranks as the No. 6 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite. The Cougars must replace one contributor (Tomme Mark) from the 2015 defensive line, so Oliver may not have to start right away. However, he should be an impact performer for Houston in 2016.    

 

Devwah Whaley, RB, Arkansas

With Alex Collins leaving for the NFL, the Razorbacks are looking for a new standout at running back to anchor Bret Bielema’s ground attack. Kody Walker is back for his senior season, but Rawleigh Williams III is coming off a significant neck injury. Whaley rushed for 1,530 yards and 21 scores as a high school senior and possesses a good blend of size, speed and power. He should have an opportunity to push for carries right away.

 

Others to Watch

 

McTelvin Agim, DL, Arkansas

Shane Buechele, QB, Texas

Ben Davis, LB, Alabama

Devin Duvernay, WR, Baylor

B.J. Emmons, RB, Alabama

Damar Hamlin, DB, Pittsburgh

N’keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Daelin Hayes, LB, Notre Dame

Malik Henry, QB, Florida State

Theo Howard, WR, UCLA

Benito Jones, DL, Ole Miss

Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia

Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

Jeffrey Simmons, DE, Mississippi State

Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State

Kareem Walker, RB, Michigan

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Teaser:
College Football's Top 10 Impact True Freshmen for 2016
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army West Point Black Knights, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-2016-team-recruiting-rankings
Body:

College football’s 2016 National Signing Day ended with a familiar face at the top of the team recruiting rankings: Alabama. The Crimson Tide claimed the recruiting national championship for the sixth consecutive season, slightly edging Florida State for the No. 1 spot in the consensus average from the four major services – 247Sports, Rivals, Scout and ESPN. The Seminoles earned the top spot in ESPN’s ranks, but Rivals, Scout and 247Sports gave Alabama the nod at No. 1.

 

The SEC was one of the big winners of Signing Day, as five teams claimed spots in the top 10. The conference was close to having a couple of other programs in the top 10, with Florida (No. 13) and Tennessee (No. 15) just missing the mark. Michigan and Ohio State carried the banner for the Big Ten with both programs inking top-five classes. Texas at No. 11 was the top Big 12 team in the rankings, while USC at No. 9 earned the best class in the Pac-12.

 

Evaluating recruiting classes is no easy task, which is why Athlon Sports has looked to the major scouting services to get their take on the best signing hauls of 2016. Every class was listed in a spreadsheet, added to get a point total and averaged by four to create the consensus team rankings for 2016.

 

Here’s a look at how the four major scouting services rank the college football signing classes for 2016:

 

College Football's 2016 Consensus Team Recruiting Rankings
RankTeam 247ScoutRivalsESPN
1Alabama1112
2Florida State2321
3Ohio State3235
4LSU4463
5Michigan5646
6Ole Miss7574
7tGeorgia99107
7tClemson81458
9USC611811
10Auburn101299
11Texas1381310
12UCLA1171415
13Florida14101412
14Notre Dame12131216
15Tennessee15171514
16Stanford17151813
17Baylor19191717
18Texas A&M16211620
19TCU18162122
20Michigan State21182021
21Penn State20222318
22Oklahoma23201923
23Miami22372219
24Nebraska24282526
25South Carolina28262627
26Arkansas25323224
27tPittsburgh26273031
27tNorth Carolina33232434
29Oregon35242832
30tWisconsin27253341
30tDuke34333128
32Arizona State32363425
33tWashington36293829
33tKentucky29392935
35Mississippi State31353633
36California37382740
37Utah30403538
38West Virginia41343937
39Louisville39413736
40Iowa38314249
41Texas Tech46304542
42Houston44514430
43Oklahoma State42434646
44Maryland43554043
45Virginia Tech40564939
46Oregon State52524145
47tNorthwestern47454752
47tNC State57474344
49Minnesota45425055
50Arizona51445147
51Iowa State50465354
52BYU49544857
53Missouri56575251
54Washington State58505456
55Indiana54535558
56Vanderbilt48685948
57Wake Forest53636150
58Boise State62485868
59Georgia Tech55656553
60Syracuse65595662
Teaser:
College Football 2016 Team Recruiting Rankings
Post date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/national-signing-day-2016-announcement-watchlist
Body:

On paper, much of the 2016 recruiting season is a formality at this point in the game with thousands of high school and junior college recruits verbally committed to their dream school or program of choice. Regardless of the stability many fan bases believe they have in regards to how their class was shaping up on Tuesday, things are sure to change by the end of today.

 

The perch atop the recruiting rankings, per Rivals, is a familiar sight with a couple of surprises. Ohio State is leading the way followed by LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss and Michigan in the top five. The wrinkle within this first tier is that every team but the Wolverines have left open a couple of spots for last-minute additions and late flips. The surprise go-getters based on recent history is Ole Miss and Michigan. Both programs have excelled on the trail, especially the Rebels with two 5-star commitments paired with eight 4-star talents.

 

The biggest teams with the most ground to gain within the top 10 are No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Alabama. The College Football Playoff National Championship Game foes are battling it out again on the recruiting trail with several overlapping interests in top prospects. Oddly enough, both were sitting on 17 verbal commitments entering National Signing Day.

 

Programs with high expectations outside the current top 10 include No. 14 Auburn (17 commits), No. 15 Oklahoma (19), No. 17 Georgia (16), and No. 19 Texas A&M (18). Of the four, watch for Georgia to make the biggest gains, perhaps even over some of the teams in the top 10 thanks to the wealth of in-state talent that has yet to announce a decision.

 

Teams like No. 23 Miami (17 commits), No. 24 Tennessee (17), No. 32 Arizona State (18), and No. 36 Mississippi State (18) have a lot of room to add talented prospects but are floating around an average class per their peer group. Mississippi State has been pushing hard for in-state prospects but has so far lost out to Ole Miss and Alabama. The final decisions of defensive end Jeffery Simmons (Noxubee County), wide receiver A.J. Brown (Starkville), offensive lineman Scott Lashley, and wide receiver Daniel Crowell could make for a boom-or-bust recruiting class for the Bulldogs.

 

The two biggest teams with the most to prove on a national level today are the USC Trojans and Texas Longhorns. Two of the bigger pillars of college football history and tradition have missed the mark so far on the recruiting trail. New USC head coach Clay Helton has just 13 verbal commitments so far. In Helton’s favor, the 13 are very impressive with one 5-star (wide receiver Tyler Vaughns) and eight 4-star prospects, a group that’s highlighted by in-state offensive linemen Nathan Smith (Murrieta) and Frank Martin (Santa Ana).

 

Texas head coach Charlie Strong cannot make the same claim as Helton. The Longhorns have 16 commitments and thus far have been outperformed by in-state rivals Baylor (No. 12 per Rivals), TCU (No. 16) Texas A&M (No. 19), and even Houston (No. 30). The news did start getting a little bit better for Texas on Tuesday when 4-star running back Kyle Porter (Katy) picked the Longhorns over Arkansas and TCU.

 

The following recruits will help swing the pendulum in favor of a lot of teams while giving fan bases a reason to feel optimistic about their favorite program’s chances for success in the near future.

 

Related:  

 

2016 National Signing Day Commitment Times

 

Note: All times listed are ET and subject to change

 

CB Trayvon Mullen – 9:10 a.m. on ESPNU

Coconut Creek (Fla.)

Contenders: LSU, Clemson, Florida State, TCU, Louisville
Pick: Mullen announced he would be signing with Clemson

 

 

DB Jared Mayden – 9:15 a.m.

Sachse (Texas)

Contenders: Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan
Pick: Mayden announced he would be signing with Alabama

 

 

SS Brandon Jones – 9:30 a.m. on ESPNU

Nacogdoches (Texas)

Contenders: Texas, Baylor, Arkansas, Texas A&M
Pick: Jones announced he would be signing with Texas

 

 

LB Ben Davis – 10:10 a.m. on ESPNU

Gordo (Ala.)

Contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame
Pick: Davis announced he would be signing with Alabama

 

 

SS Deontay Anderson – 10:30 a.m. on ESPNU

Manvel (Texas)

Contenders: Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Texas
Pick: Anderson announced he would be signing with Ole Miss

Related: 

 

 

LB Dontavious Jackson – 10:45 a.m. on ESPNU

Elsik (Houston, Texas)

Contenders: Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Florida State

Pick: Jackson announced he would be attending Florida State

 

 

WR Nate Craig-Myers – 11:10 a.m. on ESPNU

Tampa Catholic (Fla.)

Contenders: Ole Miss, North Carolina, Florida State, Auburn, Florida

Pick: Craig-Meyers announced he would be attending Auburn

 

 

LB Jeffery McCulloch – 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU

Aldine Davis (Houston, Texas)

Contenders: Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Stanford

Pick: McCulloch announced he would be signing with Texas

 

 

OT Landon Dickerson – 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU

South Caldwell (Hudson, N.C.)

Contenders: Tennessee, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Auburn

Pick: Dickerson announced he would be attending Florida State

 

 

CB Kristian Fulton – 1:00 p.m.

Archbishop Rummel (Metairie, La.)

Contenders: Arkansas, LSU

Pick: Fulton announced he would be attending LSU

 

 

DT Rashan Gary – 1:10 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2

Paramus Catholic (N.J.)

Contenders: Alabama, Clemson, Michigan

Pick: Gary announced he would be signing with Michigan

 

 

DE Terrell Hall – 2:00 p.m.

St. John’s College High (Washington D.C.)

Contenders: Alabama, Florida State, Maryland, Ole Miss, Florida

Pick: Hall announced he would be signing with Alabama

 

 

LB Lyndell “Mack” Wilson – 2:05 p.m. on ESPN2

Carver (Montgomery, Ala.)

Contenders: Alabama, Georgia, Auburn

Pick: Wilson announced he would be attending Alabama

 

 

DT Derrick Brown – 3:10 p.m. on ESPN2

Lanier (Sugar Hill, Ga.)

Contenders: Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee

Pick: Brown announced he would be attending Auburn

 

 

TE Devin Asiasi – 3:20 p.m. on ESPN2

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)

Contenders: USC, Alabama, Washington, Michigan

Pick: Asiasi announced he would be heading to Michigan

 

 

DT Boss Tagaloa – 3:20 p.m. on ESPN2

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)

Contenders: USC, UCLA, Washington, Michigan

Pick: Tagaloa annouced he would be signing with UCLA

 

 

LB Caleb Kelly – 8:30 p.m.

Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.)

Contenders: Oklahoma, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon
Pick: Kelly announced he will attend Oklahoma

 

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, . Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
National Signing Day 2016 Announcement Watchlist
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 19:55
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/ranking-best-super-bowl-50-commercials-2016-puppymonkeybaby-t-mobile-drake-seal-colgate-mini-doritos
Body:

Ask any casual sports fan what the best part of the Super Bowl is and they will say the commercials. 

 

Though recent year's commercials for the big game have been somewhat lackluster, there was bigger hopes that 2016 would be a good year with it being the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl. Some you can't forget, some you want to forget, and some are just plain weird.

 

Note: I'm not counting movie trailers because those are good or bad depending on who's a fan of the movie.

 

11. Hyundai

Ryan Reynolds is making every girl out there want a Hyundai.

 

10. Colgate

An important message for everyone to see. We all leave the water running while brushing out teeth and the image should've stuck with us all. 

 

9. Amazon Echo

Some products get lost in the commercial. This was one of them.

 

8. Puppy Monkey Baby

This makes the list solely based on the fact that you had nightmares about it. Well after the game was over, people unfortunately couldn't stop thinking about the puppymonkeybaby.

 

7. MINI

The Mini Cooper gets a bad rep for being small and wack, but thanks to this commercial, we all saw it in a different light.

 

6. Bud Light 

Great comedians, beer, and a play on the upcoming election. It's all here.

 

5. Doritos 

This was too weird not to include.

 

4. Kia & Walken

This is another one of those commercials where the product gets lost because you're so consumed with the commercial. Christopher Walken and and sock puppet?? Kia didn't stand a chance.

 

3. LG & Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson can steal any show. This time it's the younger Neeson, who is actually Liam's son, who is the star here.

 

2.

Call me a sucker for 90s nostalgia, but this is the one of the best commercials. Seal, an iconic song, and a premise that is actually true for Super Bowl winning cities. Win.

 

1. T-Mobile

The best thing you can do is take something deep in pop culture and turn it into a commercial to remember. First , who's "Hotline Bling" is so perfect for a phone company you have to wonder how much T-Mobile paid to get him.

 

Then there's , who's Miss Universe gaffe was the talk of the town... and now the Super Bowl. Hand it to T-Mobile because these two commercials stuck with viewers.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 17:55
All taxonomy terms: Video, Overtime
Path: /overtime/carolina-fans-make-pretty-bad-panther-nation-video-cam-newton-super-bowl-2016
Body:

It's always a good idea to support your team, especially if they're heading to the Super Bowl.

 

This video proves that support comes in different ways. A few Panthers fans decided that cheering wasn't enough, so they made what can only be called one of the worst fan videos ever made. Give them props for the effort and some dance attempts, but the rhymes and dabbing among many other things are just bad. As with anything, fans of the team may be ones to play out just to support Cam Newton & Co. 

 

 

Please refer to this video if you're unsure if the dab is dead or not.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 15:55
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/jeff-goldblum-lil-wayne-team-super-bowl-50-commercial-apartments-2016-ad
Body:

This is a pairing we never thought we would see, Lil' Wayne and Jeff Goldblum.

 

The odd couple helps Apartments.com in a "Jeffersons"-themed commercial that just blends everything perfectly. It almost makes you want to go apartment shopping, although it won't be as glamorous as the ad makes it seem.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 14:49
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Video, Overtime
Path: /overtime/bret-bielema-throws-shade-florida-ole-miss-recruiting-arkansas-razorbacks
Body:

Bret Bielema is always going to speak his mind.

 

The Arkansas head coach just took a jab at a couple programs during National Signing Day by saying Florida is like the "new Ole Miss". The way the teams are recruiting is just a shock to Bielema and he has no problem expressing it.

 

 

Ole Miss did shock some in the past thanks to the heavy recruiting hand of Hugh Freeze, and of course the rumors are swirling. Bielema went on to say he didn't know how the Rebels were getting all these recruits. 

 

Ole Miss currently has the No. 5 class for 2016, while Florida sits at No. 9. Bielema's crew? No. 24.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 14:20
Path: /college-football/5-takeaways-ohio-states-national-signing-day-haul
Body:

head coach Urban Meyer has never hidden his passionate and intense feelings about the importance of recruiting. Junior Days, Friday Night Lights, summer football camps, and recruiting weekends are all relentlessly used by Meyer, with the continual focus upon doing whatever is possible to bring the best talent to Columbus.

 

While Meyer may have described his 2016 recruiting class as lacking drama; it certainly is not lacking in talent per recruiting analysts' estimates. Below are five quick thoughts on the players who will be donning the scarlet and gray, beginning with the 2016 college football season.

 

1. Ohio Remained The Focus

Out of 25 players signed, 10 are from the Buckeye State. Ohio State was able to sign most of the top players in the state, losing a few to other top programs around the country. The most notable defection is Cleveland Benedictine WR Justin Layne, who chose to sign with Michigan State. The point? If Meyer and his staff truly want a player from Ohio, chances are strong that the Buckeyes will be able to land him.

 

2. Gold Is Where You Find It

Ohio State concentrated upon Ohio, but was certainly willing to expand its geographic footprint to land top talent from around the country. Top players from Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina were all willing to leave the familiarity of home, and local programs, to sign with the Buckeyes.

 

3. Urban Meyer Can Close

Most of Ohio State's recruiting class was secured prior to National Signing Day, with seven of the recruits already enrolled on campus as of January. Ohio State was able to land two top players early Wednesday, showing that Meyer truly believes nothing is final until the player has signed on the dotted line of his Letter of Intent.

 

4. Several Position Groups Were Replenished

With so many underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft, as well as many seniors exhausting their eligibility, many position groups were definite needs for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has lost TE Nick Vannett, but was able to sign three highly touted prospects at the position. Ohio State has lost three starting offensive linemen in Taylor Decker, Chase Farris, and Jacoby Boren, but were able to sign a crop of five players to replenish the depth chart.

 

5. Defensive Tackle Will Be A Focus For 2017

While able to restock several position groups, defensive tackle seems to be the one position group where Ohio State was not able to land many players, signing only one with this class. It would seem likely that defensive tackle will be the priority position for Meyer and his coaching staff heading into the 2017 recruiting cycle.

 

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a diehard Ohio State fan. Minnich also writes and podcasts for , a site dedicated to Ohio sports with a special emphasis on the Buckeyes. Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
5 Takeaways From Ohio State's National Signing Day Haul
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime
Path: /overtime/ric-flair-michigan-wolverines-ohio-state-msu-wrestler-jim-harbaugh-national-signing-day-2016
Body:

Ann Arbor, .

 

Wrestling legend Ric Flair was on hand to give a speech to the Wolverine-faithful, and what's a speech without a dig at their biggest rivals?

 

"I can't stand Ohio State," Flair said. "I got no time for Michigan State."

 

 

Since there's no more Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, Flair flipped his commitment to Jim Harbaugh and Michigan.  

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 13:57
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /overtime/news-station-confuses-carolina-florida-panthers-super-bowl-graphic
Body:

Super Bowl 50 is going to put the Broncos against the Panthers. That's the Carolina Panthers for those who don't know.

 

A news station goofed by putting the Florida Panthers logo up there while talking about the big game. The Florida hockey team seemed to handle the limelight just fine as they took to Twitter to respond.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 12:10

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