-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Athlon begins its look at the nation's top recruiting classes from 2011. Today, the countdown starts with classes 31-40. Individual names listed below were "nationally rated" recruits. A nationally rated recruit is anyone who received at least one Athlon Consensus 100 vote. There were 269 in 2011.
31. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (24 signees – 1 AC100)
Schiano has made a living reaching into neighboring states and dipping down into Florida to land talent during his stay in Piscataway. But with over half (13) of this class hailing from inside of New Jersey, it appears his focus this session was directed inwards. Huggins was the state’s top prospect and Rutgers also landed the No. 3 and No. 6 players in the state. The surrounding area, and the Sunshine State, still helped out. Pennsylvania (3), Virginia (3) and New York (2) shipped talented players to Rutgers while Florida sent two up North.
The defensive line was a clear area of focus. Three ends and four tackles replenish the D-line with excellent depth. A pair of quarterbacks and a trio of talented running backs help the offensive backfield. This was an excellent year for Rutgers’ recruiting as it appears Schiano has some of his momentum back after a poor season on the field.
No. 28 Savon Huggins, RB (Jersey City, N.J.)
No. 156 Marquise Wright, DT (Paramus, N.J.)
No. 215 Miles Shuler, WR (Long Branch, N.J.)
No. 240 Al Page, DT (Bronx, N.Y.)
32. Virginia Tech Hokies (21 signees)
This was not a vintage Hokie class. Of course, this is compounded by how successful rival Virginia was in-state this year. Tech lost most of the big, in-state battles. That does not mean, however, that this is a talent-laden class with loads of potential. With seven defensive line recruits, including nationally rated stars Kris Harley and Corey Marshall, Bud Foster should have plenty of talent to work into his front seven. Also, a unusually deep tight end class adds loads of depth at a position that is normally thin for every school.
No. 233 Kyshoen Jarrett, CB (East Stroudsburg, Pa.)
No. 243 Kris Harley, DT (Indianapolis, Ind.)
No. 259 Corey Marshall, DE (Dinwiddie, Va.)
33. Miami Hurricanes (16 signees – 1 AC100)
Much like the Hokies, this class is not, especially in terms of size, what most Canes expect from its recruiting efforts. And missing out on most late targets hurt too. But this is a team in transition and the class size should be back up to normal in 2012. That said, the quality is still strong. Gems Anthony Chichillo (a third generation Cane legacy) and Jalen Grimble lead a strong defensive line class while RB/ATH Kevin Grooms can make plays at a number of positions. This class also adds plenty of depth to the linebacking corps as four solid prospects signed with the Canes.
No. 43 Anthony Chickillo, DE (Tampa, Fla.)
No. 140 Jalen Grimble, DE (Las Vegas, Nev.)
No. 191 Kevin Grooms, RB (Hollywood, Fla.)
No. 237 Dallas Crawford, CB (Ft. Myers, Fla.)
34. Louisville Cardinals (19 signees – 1 AC100)
It doesn’t take long to see just what type of value and experience Strong brings to the recruiting trail. His connections in Florida paid huge dividends this recruiting rotation as the three nationally rated recruits that signed with the ‘Ville all hail from Miami. The next three best prospects each come from Florida as well. In fact, 12 of the 19 signatures originated from the Sunshine State. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the jewel of this class and might be the most highly touted signal caller to ever sign with Louisville (who wasn’t a legacy from inside the city limits at least). With six of the 19 signees slated to play in the secondary, defensive back was clearly a big need. Three receivers and four offensive lineman highlight the offensive side of the ball.
No. 96 Teddy Bridgewater, QB (Miami, Fla.)
No. 110 Gerod Holliman, DB (Miami, Fla.)
No. 200 Eli Rogers, WR (Miami, Fla.)
35. Texas A&M Aggies (22 signees)
The dichotomy of this class is interesting. On offense, the focus was on the line of scrimmage as four of the seven offensive signees slated to block for A&M. On defense, 10 of the 12 signees will be playing in the back seven. The focus of both sides of the ball seems clear. The secondary is the most impressive unit, with nationally ranked DB Floyd Ravern and League City’s safety Howard Matthews leading the way. Of course, Ravern will need to overcome one of the most bizarre NSD stories this recruiting editor has ever heard – his mother forged his signature on an LOI to Ole Miss.
No. 202 Floyd Ravern, CB (Reserve, La.)
36. Wisconsin Badgers (20 signees)
This is a typical blue-collar Badger class, the only difference being the areas of focus. The secondary, wide receivers and tight ends got the most focus because of the youth and depth along both lines of scrimmage. Five DBs, three WRs and three TEs address the passing game on both sides of the ball. As has been the case in recent UW recruiting, the Badgers have dominated the in-state talent. This year they landed nine local prospects.
No. 174 Melvin Gordon, RB (Kenosha, Wisc.)
37. Kansas Jayhawks (26 signees)
Turner Gill did an excellent job landing talent this recruiting session. He went into Missouri and pulled one of the Showme State’s best in running back Darrian Miller. Six offensive lineman, five linebackers and five defensive backs add tremendous depth to key positions of need.
No. 196 Darrian Miller, RB (Blue Springs, Mo.)
38. Boston College Eagles (23 signees)
An above-average haul for the Eagles, led by talented secondary and offensive line classes.
No. 177 Albert Louis-Jean, DB (Brockton, Mass. - pictured)
39. Illinois Fighting Illini (27 signees)
Ron Zook used 12 different states to land biggest class in the league. Talent-rich states like Florida, Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina have been Zooker stalwarts for players for years. Eleven line-of-scrimmage players should help the Illini improve up front, while three wide receivers, two running backs and three athletes should replenish the depleted offensive skill positions.
No. 241 Jon Davis, ATH (Lousiville, Ky.)
No. 262 Dondi Kirby, WR (Monroeville, Pa.)
40. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (22 signees)
Versatile class – five “athletes” – full of players Paul Johnson hand-picked for his system.
No. 198 Vad Lee, ATH (Durham, N.C.)