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All-Decade: Three programs up, three down in recruiting

Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart

Recruiting is, for the most part cyclical. Over time, some powerhouses fade while new ones emerge. Coaching changes, conference realignment and a host of other factors have an impact on the schools that wane and wax on a year-to-year basis. Below, Rivals.com has a look at the programs that saw their stock rise and the ones that saw it fall the most over the last decade.

MORE ALL-DECADE: Rivals All-Decade team | Top QBs | Top RBs | Ranking the No. 1s | Crazy recruiting storylines in 2010

THREE UP

GEORGIA

2010 RANK: 15

CURRENT RANK: 6

WHAT HAPPENED: Georgia’s return to the top five of the recruiting rankings can easily be traced to the Kirby Smart hire. The Bulldogs’ average finish in the five years prior to Smart’s arrival was 10.2. Since Smart’s installment in 2015, UGA has averaged a ranking of 3.8, which includes national recruiting titles in both 2018 and 2019.

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CLEMSON

2010 RANK: 19

Current RANK: 2

WHAT HAPPENED: Clemson is the favorite to win the 2020 recruiting title, a fact that would have been hard to believe when the decade began. The Tigers had never finished in the top 10 of the recruiting rankings before 2011 and cracked the top five for the first time in 2015. The 2010s have been good to the Tigers, which hired current head coach Dabo Swinney in 2008 and watched his player-friendly approach pay dividends despite not being located in hot bed recruiting state. The Tigers have drilled into Florida and expanded their reach nationally as a result.

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TEXAS A&M

2010 RANK: 17

CURRENT RANK: 5

WHAT HAPPENED: A&M’s rise seems to be all about the SEC. After finishing 22nd, 17th and 27th respectively in its last three years as a Big 12 institution, The Aggies made the hop to the SEC in 2012. From there, everything changed. A&M has finished in the top 10 on three occasions and is currently pushing for its second top-five finish since switching leagues. Being the state of Texas’ only SEC program comes with perks.

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THREE DOWN

USC

2010 RANK: 1

CURRENT RANK: 70

WHAT HAPPENED: The decline of Pac-12 as a whole hasn’t helped. Neither has the revolving door of head coaches. The Trojans have had four different head coaches since since 2009 and will likely be in the market to hire a fifth this offseason. The result? A program that has won three straight recruiting titles in them early 2000s finished 19th a year ago and could be headed for an even lower ranking this cycle.

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UCLA

2010 RANK: 8

CURRENT RANK: 35

WHAT HAPPENED: It’s been an up-and-down decade for the Bruins, as there were a couple good years under Jim Mora. Overall, however, things have been trending downward. The Chip Kelly era is off to a slow recruiting start. Last year’s 44th-place finish was alarming. And while things on that from are improving a bit, Bruins fans should have higher expectations.

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FLORIDA

2010 RANK: 2

CURRENT RANK: 11

WHAT HAPPENED: Dan Mullen seems to be righting the recruiting ship at Florida, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t lost at sea for a chunk of the decade -- a decade that saw the program led by four different head coaches. The Gators finished in the recruiting top five on five occasions between 2002 and 2010. Since 2010, they have accomplished that feat just twice and have only three times landed the state of Florida’s top class. Things seem to be on the mend, but Mullen and company have work to do to get back to where they were in 2010, especially with Clemson, Alabama and others routinely raiding the Sunshine State for it’s elite talent.

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