2014 College Football Recruiting: Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas A&M Off to Solid Starts

Brady Hoke Michigan

Late May and early June tends to be the college football dead zone. So, we thought we’d take an early look at how 2014 recruiting is shaping up. We formed a composite from the team rankings on Rivals, ESPN, 247 and Scout. The Top 10 are below. ESPN and 247 have Michigan with the top class so far. Rivals has Tennessee and Scout has Notre Dame.

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Numbers Disparity: It’s important to remember it is only May. Some schools are benefiting from the number of recruits already on board. We suspect Ohio State and Alabama will climb the leaderboard as we move closer to February.

Michigan: Brady Hoke has a small class, but potentially a potent one. DB Jabrill Peppers, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect, committed over Memorial Day weekend. It’s huge for Michigan. It’s huge for the Big Ten, which has signed just one Rivals’ top five kid since 2009, fewer than Missouri. Michigan is still in play for No. 1 overall prospect Da’Shawn Hand. They stole two big in-state prospects who looked to be MSU-bound. After rebuilding depth on the lines the past two classes, the future looks bright.

Look at Butch Jones: We knew he could coach. The question was whether he could recruit at SEC speed. He’s off to a good start. Three of the top seven in-state recruits are on board in May, most notably running back Jalen Hurd. The decisive factor, though, will be gaining footholds in Georgia and the Carolinas and making a few forays into Big Ten country. Tennessee has done that in the past, but in the past they faced far less competition.

Notre Dame: Brian Kelly spent his first few seasons stocking the defensive front. Now, he’s shifting toward offense. Taking a cue from Alabama, he already has four four-star or better offensive linemen on board, two among the top 60 overall prospects. That should help a position where talent has been a liability. He also has a commitment from five-star running back Elijah Hood. National recruiting can still work, apparently, as Notre Dame’s 10 signees hail from nine different states.

The Sumlin Effect: Kevin Sumlin is fast becoming Austin’s worst nightmare. He has 10 signees so far, all from Texas. Seven of them are four-stars. The Longhorns are up there as well, but we may be seeing some “SEC SEC” differentiation at the top. Six of the 12 best recruits in Texas have committed so far. Four of them are heading to Texas A&M.

[Photo via USA Today Sports]


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