Last Updated: Feb 07, 2013 8:45 PM
Who says college football doesn't have an off-season? National Signing Day can be just as competitive as games when it comes to swelling your coffers (no pun intended) with the best recruits, or rebuilding/reloading your program for a future title run.
Just to illustrate how much this can mean to "fans", this year we had death threats and maternal intervention, along with the usual pestering on Twitter and other social media (is there other social media?).
Establishing the winners and losers can be the result of a variety of reasons. For the bigger schools, scoring on top in-state prospects is often an indicator of how your school is viewed. For those few schools who have a chance at the really big prizes, losing out to other powerhouses can have a spin-off effect that can resonate for years to come. For smaller schools, pulling in highly-regard recruits at the expense of the big guys is always a win!
So, here are a few schools who can hold their head high, and those who can hang their heads in shame. Until next year. Recruiting information is taken from ESPN.
Ole Miss: If you look back at the Rebels' recruiting classes from the last few years, the class rankings were hardly befitting of a school that believes it belongs with the big boys. This year, that all changed. Not only did Ole Miss pull in the top recruit in the country in Robert Nkemdiche, but also two of the other top recruits at their positions. While the class isn't quite in the league of Alabama or LSU (although not far off), Hugh Freeze and the Rebels are serving notice that times are-a-changing in Oxford.
Auburn: Likewise, the Tigers are showing little hangover from the Gene Chizik era. Apart from the Reuben Foster shenanigans, the Plainsmen pulled in a strong class despite the coaching change, including picking Georgia's pocket for some of the state's top talents. Gus Malzahn has done well in his first go around - but he does know the territory.
UCLA: Jim Mora Jr showed his recruiting muscle yet again as the Bruins topped the PAC 12 with a fine class, working well at home in California, but also farming Texas, Arizona and even took in a trip to Hawaii. Mora has shown he can coach up lesser talents, let's see what he does with this bunch.
Marshall: There isn't anywhere enough premium talent to mingle with the big boys, but this is a fine group for a non-BCS school. Doc Holliday was known as a fine recruiter in his pre-Marshall days, and he showed with this class by pulling in five 4-star and ten 3-star recruits. He was particularly effective in talent-rich Florida and, if he can keep this up, could be on the verge of making the Herd a contender again.
Southern California: Before you all pronounce the fall of Troy, this was still a class that most teams can only dream of. Twelve of their thirteen recruits were in the ESPN 300, and nine in the top 150. So why are they losers, you my ask. Well, the class could have been so much better, but the Trojans lost way too many top recruits that they normally draw in, including some switching commitment at the last minute.
Georgia: Another ridiculous sounding choice, as the Bulldogs pulled in a great class, but they lost way too many in-state products to SEC opponents, as well as non-conference teams. Don't expect them to drop down the conference rankings anytime soon, but raising your perception in your own state should be high on your agenda.
Texas: The Longhorns lacked much wiggle room, but this was a disappointing class by their lofty standards. An even bigger concern is the class hated A&M pulled in was top 10 quality, and Texas can ill afford a change in perception as to who is the top school in the state.
Tennessee: Hey Volunteers! What the hell are you doing outside the top 25? For the first time in a while, the Vols had a class that doesn't match up to their usual standard. It wasn't bad; it just doesn't match up to their SEC foes. To make matters worse, they lost the top in-state player, CB Jalen Ramsey, to Florida State. At least he didn't go to another SEC team.