Five programs that regressed the most from 2019 to 2020
The second Signing Day has come and gone and the 2020 team rankings are done for the most part save for a few stragglers. Here’s a look at the Power Five teams that declined the most from 2019 to 2020.
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
MORE: PROGRAMS THAT IMPROVED THE MOST FROM 2019 TO 2020 | TOP 25 RECRUITERS | BATES WINS RECRUITER OF THE YEAR | FARRELL AWARDS | MIND OF MIKE | BIGGEST STINGS | COACHES IN NEED OF REBOUND | WINNERS AND LOSERS | GEORGIA WINS THIRD STRAIGHT NATIONAL RECRUITING TITLE | NSD LIVE BLOG | TEAM RANKINGS | FIVE SIGNINGS THAT WILL MAKE IMMEDIATE IMPACT | GRADING NEW POWER FIVE COACHES | TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2021 | COACHES IN NEED OF BOUNCEBACK YEAR
Virginia Tech -57 (From No. 25 to No. 82)
The skinny: While it is true that a small class (15) can skew a team’s ranking, there is still no justifiable reason for the Hokies to finish at No. 82 in the Team Recruiting Rankings. As a comparison this puts Army, Navy and Western Kentucky ahead of them and UConn only one spot behind them. If you are looking for positives, the Hokies did add talent and depth at the defensive end position, with their two highest-rated recruits in the class being Alec Bryant and Robert Wooten. Derrell Bailey Jr. also adds plenty of interesting potential to the defensive line.
Farrell’s take: A small class will certainly lead to a lower ranking as we rank the top 20 in each class so schools with bigger classes have the edge. However, only one four-star in this class is alarming and the fact that he hails from Texas is more worrisome. The Hokies need to do a much better job recruiting in-state.
USC -47 (From No. 18 to No. 65)
The skinny: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. From a perennial top-10 recruiting class to being tied with East Carolina for the No. 65 class in the country, one spot behind Tulane. Trojan fans were extremely disappointed after finishing at No. 18 last year, so this reality will bring about a new level of depression. Two prospects that the Trojans should be excited about are four-star wide receiver Gary Bryant and four-star offensive lineman Jonah Monheim, while three-star additions like Kobe Pepe, Courtland Ford and Tuli Tuipulotu have potential but likely need some time.
Farrell’s take: This is not good at all. More and more California prospects are leaving the state and heading to Oregon or to national powers like Clemson and Alabama. Clay Helton’s tenuous job status is a big reason why, but things have been falling off for awhile now and I can’t see it getting much better until the Trojans either win the Pac-12 or dismiss Helton.
Baylor -27 (From No. 33 to No. 60)
The skinny: The sudden departure of coach Matt Ruhle to the NFL obviously did not help this class, but considering it happened after the Early Signing Period, this class was already somewhat disappointing. This is especially true considering the Bears had a surprising run to the Sugar Bowl in 2019. Dave Aranda arrives in Waco with a reputation as a top-level defensive coach. The additions of four-star defensive end James Sylvester and three-star defensive back Jahdae Barron gives him pieces to work with, while the offense added several intriguing recruits like four-star running back Taye McWilliams, three-star tight end Drake Dabney and three-star offensive lineman Micah Mazzccua.
Farrell’s take: This is surprising and makes you wonder if Rhule had a foot out the door for awhile. Baylor had a great season and should have capitalized on it and now they will have to regroup and win some of the same battles Rhule did to get them near the top. The question is — can Aranda spot talent the way Rhule did and develop it.
Ole Miss -24 (From No. 22 to No. 46)
The skinny: With Ole Miss firing Matt Luke and hiring Lane Kiffin in the weeks leading up to the Early Signing Period, this class was destined to be somewhat patchwork. However, with that said, Kiffin and his staff did an admirable job keeping most of it together while adding some nice pieces down the stretch. DaMarcus Thomas is a four-star tight end who should see early playing time, and the later additions of four-star running back Henry Parrish and four-star defensive end Demon Clowney were nice victories for Kiffin and his new staff.
Farrell’s take: Yes, there were some big misses down the stretch but worry not Ole Miss fans — Kiffin can recruit. I expect Ole Miss to steal some prospects in 2021 and for things to get stronger if the Rebels start winning on the field. Prospects like McKinnley Jackson might not be leaving the state with Kiffin in charge now and able to establish relationships early
Missouri (From No. 34 to No. 56)
The skinny: With a coaching change in Columbia, this should not come as a surprise. With Eli Drinkwitz replacing Barry Odom in early December, the new coach has had a busy two months trying to piece together the remainder of his first recruiting class at Missouri. While the class as a whole is lacking star power, the Tigers did add pieces that have the potential to make an early impact. Keeping three-star wide receiver Javian Hester committed was huge and teaming him up with in-state receiver Jay Maclin and quarterback Brady Cook gives the Tigers a potent offensive combination in the future. Also, the addition of three-star Ennis Rakestraw during the Late Signing Period was a nice feather in the cap for Drinkwitz, as the Tigers beat out Alabama and Texas for his services.
Farrell’s take: This ranking drop is a double-whammy as Missouri put together a small class in a transition year. But there are many promising signs under the new coach and his enthusiasm for recruiting is certainly being noticed.