February 7, 2013

Signing Day Blitz: Best of the non-BCS

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We've ranked the recruiting classes in every major conference, but some of the most talented classes belong to schools that aren't in a BCS conference. Here's a look at the best outside of those conferences.

Signing Day Blitz: Best outside the Big Six
Notre Dame: No. 3 in the nation

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Headliner: Jaylon Smith is one of the more athletic linebackers in recent memory. He can cover a lot of ground easily, and he is a hard hitter.
Sleeper: Durham Smythe has great physical tools. He will get his chances to catch a lot of balls.
Overview: Notre Dame went to the national championship and built off that success by landing one of the nation's top classes. Getting five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes late in the day was huge. With Vanderdoes and Max Redfield, the Irish have more five-stars from California than any other team in the country. Don't forget five-star running back Greg Bryant, who has explosive speed, either. The Irish signed a class with many prospects who could contribute early.
Houston: No. 1 in C-USA

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Headliner: Quarterback John O'Korn is a leader who ran an outstanding high school program and can make all the talented players around him better.
Sleeper: Emerald Faletuipapai needs footwork drills, but he has outstanding size, moves well for an interior lineman and rarely allows anyone beat him.
Overview: The dramatics of last recruiting cycle, when four-star Deontay Greenberry chose Houston over Notre Dame, did not take place, but the Cougars compiled an impressive list of three-star recruits who can contribute. O'Korn could be an outstanding quarterback, and the other two highest-rated players are tight end Deondre Skinner and defensive end Tyus Bowser, who had many other impressive offers.
Toledo: No. 1 in Mid-American

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Headliner: Rodney Adams claimed some big-time offers and backed it up on the field. He could be a huge steal for the Rockets. Delando Johnson was right at the top as well.
Sleeper: Michael Julian is a true dual-threat quarterback who fits Toledo's offense perfectly. He could make an impact for years to come.
Overview: The important thing to remember about Toledo's recruiting class is that it landed a bunch of players that seem to fit perfectly in its system. Julian could be a special player for the Rockets, and Adams and Johnson are superb athletes. Toledo also loaded up along the defensive line with players like end Daniel Davis and tackle Marquise Moore, among others.
Boise State: No. 1 in Mountain West

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Headliner: A.J. Richardson was committed to Cal for a long time and would have been a nice addition there. He was especially impressive in his team's state-playoff run.
Sleeper: Kendal Keys has excellent size, had some Pac-12 offers and is one of many big-time sleepers who could emerge from this class.
Overview: Boise State did a nice job of keeping longtime commits and adding certain pieces late in the recruiting process to have the best class in the Mountain West. Richardson is a Pac-12-caliber prospect who could do big things for the Broncos. Fruitland, Idaho, teammates Alec Dhaenens and Joey Martarano could be nice additions that went relatively unnoticed throughout the process. Kamalei Correa is undersized, but he's a hard-nosed kid.
Louisiana-Lafayette: No. 1 in Sun Belt

Commit List
Headliner: Scott Austin has great size, and the 6-foot-4, 180-pound prospect had impressive numbers in his senior season.
Sleeper: Carlton Perkins has good size and a lot of speed, so the Walker, La., athlete could add a lot to either side of the ball.
Overview: The two highest-rated prospects in the class are linebacker George Williams from Hialeah, Fla., and athlete Elijah McGuire out of Houma (La.) Vanderbilt Catholic, and both seem like they could see early playing time. With four defensive backs signed, Louisiana-Lafayette loaded up in the secondary and added a bunch of athletes. Those players can fill a lot of roles.

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