Five programs that improved the most in the team rankings
As always, there was a lot of movement in the final team rankings on National Signing Day as some teams dramatically moved up and down. Here is a look at the five programs that made the biggest leap up as the 2021 class comes to a close.
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Improvement from 2020: 64 spots up
Overview: The Trojans finished eighth in the team rankings, a return to normalcy for the Pac-12 program that has routinely landed many of the top prospects in California but saw a dramatic drop in their 2020 class. That was a strange recruiting cycle as USC finished No. 71 overall, had only two four-stars in a total class of 12 signees and was dead-last in the Pac-12 rankings for the first time ever. Five-star defensive end Korey Foreman is the headliner of the class and could be an immediate starter and the Trojans finished with four-star linebacker Raesjon Davis, who had been committed to LSU for nearly a year.
Farrell’s take: Last year the main focus was on linemen but the Trojans took some questionable prospects and struck out on big names at other positions they offered like Bryce Young, D.J. Uiagalelei and Justin Flowe. This year is a different story as Clay Helton and his staff, especially new addition Donte Williams, has USC with a national top-10 class. Korey Foreman and others could lead a recruiting resurgence in the state.
Improvement from 2020: 41 spots up
Overview: Wednesday brought no new commitments and the Hokies still did not have a masterful class at No. 45 overall but Virginia Tech did climb 41 spots from where it finished in the 2020 class and so there is improvement there, especially with more signees in the 2021 group. Justin Fuente did not land any four-stars in this class but there were 22 three-stars led by speedster DJ Harvey from Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon.
Farrell’s take: OK, so this isn’t a stellar class but it’s an important one as the Hokies didn’t reach on many and took a bigger class that will impact their future and, likely, the fate of Justin Fuente. Virginia Tech needs to do a better job with big in-state names but this class will provide the talent and depth needed to continue to compete in the division.
Improvement from 2020: 33 spots up
Overview: Eli Drinkwitz’s first full recruiting class showed marked improvement from 2020 when the Tigers finished No. 54 overall to ending up at No. 21 in this class. Missouri’s group is led by five four-stars in QB Tyler Macon, defensive ends Travion Ford and Kyran Montgomery, DB Daylan Carnell and WR Dominic Lovett, all regional recruits. Missouri finished with as many four-stars as Mississippi State and more than five other SEC programs.
Farrell’s take: This is the first full class for Drinkwitz and it’s a very solid one, especially in-state and around their recruiting region. More and more programs are poaching the states of Missouri and Kansas so this sends a nice message.
Improvement from 2020: 33 spots up
Overview: This is another case of Jeff Hafley having the opportunity to have his first full recruiting class in and the Eagles saw a massive jump up in the team recruiting rankings. In 2020, Boston College signed just 15 prospects but the program added 26 in 2021, including four-stars OL Drew Kendall and DB Clinton Burton to finish No. 30 overall. This is Boston College’s best finish since the Eagles were No. 24 in 2004.
Farrell’s take: Jeff Hafley can recruit and he can recruit much better than his predecessor. The Eagles recruited all around the country and pulled prospects away from SEC programs, which doesn’t happen often. BC won’t have many top-25 classes based on academic restrictions and geography but if it finishes at or near 30 like this year they will be dangerous.
Improvement from 2020: 31 spots up
Overview: In Greg Schiano’s first full recruiting class, Rutgers has to be thrilled with its positioning at No. 37 nationally led by four-stars LB Khayri Banton and DB Alijah Clark. The Scarlet Knights finished with a better class in the Big Ten than Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois and Purdue and what’s remarkable is that Rutgers was finished with this recruiting class in late August when it landed its last commitment.
Farrell’s take: Only one man can handle the Rutgers job and clearly that is Greg Schiano who has recruiting immediately back on track and similar to where he left it when he bolted for the NFL in 2012. The Scarlet Knights could make some Big Ten noise if they continue to recruit this way.