Five programs that declined the most from 2018 to 2019
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
On Friday, we looked at the five programs that improved their recruiting ranking the most from 2018 to 2019. Well, today they look at the programs that went the opposite direction. Here are the five teams that declined the most from 2018 to 2019.
Decline: -57 (No. 31 to No. 88)
The skinny: Coaching changes can give a program a much needed boost, but since it usually happens close to National Signing Day they can also cause recruiting chaos. That was the case with Louisville, who until Wednesday was outside the top 100 and even with a few additions finished below programs like Arkansas State, FIU, Ohio and Middle Tennessee State. It also didn’t help the Cardinals' ranking that they signed a very small class (14). They added their highest ranked player on Wednesday, three-star defensive end Zach Edwards, and picked up some much-needed depth at linebacker, offensive line and running back, but Scott Satterfield will need a big 2020 class to get the Cardinals back on the right track.
Farrell’s take: This was obviously a class they didn’t want to fill too much and they will add numbers to 2020 and beyond. It’s an ugly class overall but I don’t think it’s a reflection of future recruiting. They will be much better than this moving forward.
Decline: -43 (No. 29 to No. 72)
The skinny: As with Louisville, the Terps had to deal with a coaching change, plus the publicity of the D.J. Durkin chaos before the transition did not help the process. Mike Locksley arrived in College Park with a fantastic reputation as an elite recruiter, and while he brought in a few nice pieces since his hire, most notably four-star wide receiver Isaiah Hazel and four-star quarterback Lance Legendre, overall the huge splash some expected did not happen. However, with plenty of recruiting ties to the region, Locksley should be able to bring in a higher caliber of talent to Maryland in the coming years.
Farrell’s take: Mike Locksley can recruit and Maryland will have much better years than this going forward. They will be a team that makes it harder to pull prospects out of Maryland but it will take some time. This is a result of a coaching change and some really bad PR from D.J. Durkin.
Decline: -29 (No. 6 to No. 35)
The skinny: This was a somewhat unique situation, as after Miami collected numerous impressive early commitments for this class, that group gradually fell apart over the last six months. A lackluster season was partially to blame for this, which was then followed by the sudden retirement of Mark Richt. New coach Manny Diaz should bring some much needed energy back into the program, but with only about a month to gather a class together, the Hurricanes were bound to struggle. Finishing at No. 35 isn’t catastrophic for most programs, but for Miami, who finished at No. 6 last season and looked to have found its recruiting groove back, it’s definitely a setback. Look for a rebound class in 2020, but how much of a rebound will be interesting to see.
Farrell’s take: Manny Diaz couldn’t make up for the lack of recruiting of Mark Richt who was clearly done with college football. Miami will have a much better 2020 and they have done well in the transfer portal. But dropping from a top-10 class to this is tough.
Decline: -26 (No. 19 to No. 45)
The skinny: While Louisville, Maryland and Miami dealt with coaching changes, the same excuse can’t be used for the Bruins. Usually the second class for a coach is when the recruiting improves, but after a disastrous season on the field, Chip Kelly has failed to bring the spark that UCLA fans were hoping for. The Bruins were able to experience some success in California, with 13 of their 21 recruits being in-state, however they were only able to sign two of the top 38 ranked recruits from the Golden State. This will need to improve quickly if Kelly hopes to find success with the Bruins.
Farrell’s take: I don’t know what Chip Kelly is doing but I know it won’t work long term in today’s college football landscape. He needs to be much more aggressive and offer big time prospects much earlier. This recruiting drop is not puzzling at all, it’s due to a bad recruiting strategy.
Decline: -24 (No. 50 to No. 74)
The skinny: As with Miami, Illinois did not have to deal with a coaching change during the off-season yet still managed to drop to No. 74. It is safe to say that more was expected from Lovie Smith at this point, but he has yet to really make an impact in Champagne on the field or with recruiting. With a class of only 13 recruits it is difficult to achieve a high team ranking, but overall the class is far from inspiring with five two-stars. Credit must be given for bringing in four-star athletes Isaiah Williams and Marquez Beason, plus recruits like Shammond Cooper, Keith Randolph and Moses Okpala who have the potential to develop over time. But is that enough to help the Illini take a much needed step in the right direction on the field?
Farrell’s take: You have to hand it to Lovie Smith for landing some high profile prospects in this class, but the depth is not there. They need to do a much better job in the Midwest to improve this ranking.