Still Work to be Done

Michigan's Brady Hoke

There are some familiar names in the Top 25 of Scout's Team Recruiting Rankings, but there are also teams notable in their absence. Here is a look at 10 teams who have some work to do to catch up to a more accustomed spot in the rankings before Signing Day.

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#27 - Florida Gators
Florida has never finished outside of the Top 25 in Scout's recruiting rankings. A sudden coaching change delayed the usual Gator assault on the Top 5 for a few weeks, but Florida's exclusion from the Top 25 is short-lived. While a resurgent Florida State Seminole recruiting machine along with the loss of Head Coach Urban Meyer have slowed Florida, the Gators are still finalists for the requisite amount of top prospects to vault back into the Top 25 on Signing Day.

#29 - Mississippi State Bulldogs
While not generally considered a recruiting power on a national scale, Mississippi State has been ranked 29th across an average of the last four recruiting classes, exactly where they're ranked now. With Ole Miss struggling to a 4-8 record and Mississippi State with a big season that included another win over the Rebels, a Top 15 finish, and a bowl win over Michigan, the Bulldogs have to be disappointed that they've lost their two highest ranked commitments Scout 100 receiver Nickolas Brassell, who could eventually choose the Rebels, and Scout's No. 4 middle linebacker C.J. Johnson who did commit to Ole Miss.

#32 - Michigan Wolverines
It was a rough ride at Michigan for former head coach Rich Rodriguez, and the turmoil has caught up to the Wolverines on the recruiting trail. New coach Brady Hoke has done an admirable job of salvaging the Class of 2011 for the Wolverines with nine new commitments since he's been hired, but this is as low a ranking as one should expect to see Wolverines in recruiting for the foreseeable future.

#33 - Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies have everyone right where they want them. Virginia Tech is a school who rightfully gets a reputation as doing more with less. Virginia Tech hasn't been one Top 20 finish in the Scout Recruiting Rankings in the last five years (No. 20 in 2008), yet the Hokies have won the ACC three of the last four years. This year Virginia Tech is trying to hold off a strong charge from North Carolina who has gone to Virginia and nabbed commitments from two of the state's highest ranked players in linebacker Travis Hughes and offensive guard Landon Turner. Curtis Grant is the state's No. 1 prospect, and he appears to be leaving the state as well.

#48 - West Virginia Mountaineers
It's truly remarkable what West Virginia accomplishes on the field considering the lack of players the Mountaineers are able to count on from within its own borders. Over the last 10 years, West Virginia is ranked 12th in winning percentage amongst BCS schools, yet the state of West Virginia produced one player in the Class of 2010 who signed a scholarship with a BCS team, defensive back Wes Tonkery. The state of Florida led the nation with 194 players signing with BCS Schools. Still, the sustained success of Mountaineers should open more doors to more heavily recruited out of state athletes than it has to this point.

#49 - Miami Hurricanes
The name Hurricane and talent have been synonymous for the better part of the last 30 years, but the Hurricanes of more recent years haven't put the type of talent on the field that looks like an NFL minor league team. While the times of Miami making news for the wrong reason were long gone under former coach Randy Shannon, there wasn't enough making news for the right ones for him to keep his job. Insert Temple coach Al Golden, a name relatively unfamiliar in the talent rich Dade/Broward area, and the Hurricanes are in an unaccustomed spot when it comes to recruiting. Winning will take care of any recruiting efforts for Miami in the future, and for this year, Golden gets a pass.

#66 - UCLA Bruins
If there was one team in the country that should have benefited the most from USC's looming sanctions, it should have been UCLA. While the Trojans are appealing the scholarship reductions and are still set on taking a full class, the Bruins did nothing to help themselves limping to an uninspiring 4-8 record. Meanwhile Oregon, Cal, and Washington are coming to California and taking the players that USC is not. 5-Star Brett Hundley should be able to help immediately, and there's still time for UCLA to take advantage of USC's scholarship reductions that haven't kicked in yet, but this year was a step backwards when it could have been a leap forward.

#68 - Arizona Wildcats
Arizona is another team that is not a perennial Top 25 team in the recruiting rankings, but if they finish where they are currently ranked, it will be their worst finish of the last five years. Arizona's 7-1 record in 2010 was a bit of a desert mirage as the wheels came off against the teeth of the Pac-10, Oregon, USC, and Stanford in an 0-5 finish. If the Wildcats are going to sustain success over the course of an entire season, they can't afford to let the limited number of players leave the state. The state of Arizona has seven players rated 4-Star or better by Scout, and not one of them is committed to either the Wildcats or the Arizona State Sun Devils. Arizona State has done a good job of supplementing its commitment list with talented out of state prospects, the Wildcats have not to this point. 

#81 - Colorado Buffaloes
A clean slate can't come fast enough for Colorado. A new coach, a new conference a new day in Boulder will be welcomed. Consider the Class of 2011 a reset. Caught in no-man's land in the Big 12, a move to the new Pac-12 makes sense for Colorado as they've had a lot of success recruiting the state of California in the past. Colorado needs to close considerably stronger or they're going to make the transition to the Pac-12 a rough one. Recruiting rankings certainly aren't an exact science when it comes to predicting a team's future success, but teams in BCS conferences trend towards their recruiting rankings through the years, and with only 13 commitments and looking up at teams such as Rice, Central Michigan, and Marshall, it's going to be awfully tough for the Buffs to compete with the likes of Oregon, Stanford, USC, Washington, Utah, and Arizona State among others.

#85 - Pittsburgh Panthers
It wouldn't be a stretch to list the entire Big East as one entity on this list as not a single team from that conference is ranked in the Top 25, but Pitt's fall from grace has been particularly noticeable. After dismissing a successful coach who was dynamite on the recruiting trail, the Panthers were quickly scrambling to replace his replacement. When Dave Wannstedt was fired at Pittsburgh, the Panthers were in Scout's Top 20 in recruiting, a spot they had grown accustomed to under Wannstedt.


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