Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell ranks the Big East 2012 recruiting classes by position.
Big East's best by position
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Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both have an argument for the best quarterback class in the Big East, but the edge goes to the Panthers. Chad Voytik was the only four-star quarterback signed in the conference during this recruiting season and that gives the edge over the Bearcats, whose three-star duo of Bennie Coney and Trenton Norvell both should fit perfectly into the Cincinnati offense.
Connecticut also answered a need by reeling in JUCO three-star Chandler Whitmer and in-state record breaking quarterback Casey Cochran. West Virginia, Rutgers, Louisville and Syracuse each signed one three-star quarterback, while South Florida passed on a quarterback in this class.
Once again the top spot goes to either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, but this time quantity is chosen over quality. The Bearcats brought in four three-star running backs, easily answering a glaring need at the position, while Pittsburgh brought in four-star Rushel Shell.
Also having a good year at running back was West Virginia, who brought in the three-star Florida duo of Roshard Burney and Torry Clayton. South Florida, Syracuse, Rutgers, Louisville and Connecticut each brought in one three-star back in this class.
A deep wide receiver group will bring more firepower into the Mountaineers offense. Leading the way was four-star Deontay McManus, and he is joined by a trio of three-star receivers from Florida. Rutgers also signed a deep group, led by in-state four-star Leonte Carroo.
Right behind the top two was South Florida, which got a four-star of its own in D'Vario Montgomery. Cincinnati picked up three receivers, UConn added two, and Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will make it more of a priority in the Class of 2013 after each of them only signed one.
South Florida grabs the top spot at tight end with the signing of four-star Sean Price. Syracuse is right behind the Bulls after the signing of three-star Ron Thompson and three-star Joshua Parris. Louisville brought in three-star Hunter Bowles, plus a two star, while West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are right behind with three-star Will Johnson, three-star JP Holtz and three-star DeShawn Dowdy.
UConn added two-star JUCO tight end Neil Shortell, while Rutgers missed out on a tight end after Michael Giacone de-committed in the days leading up to National Signing Day.
Running away at this position was Rutgers, who signed the four-star duo of Chris Muller and J.J. Denman plus a trio of talented three-star linemen. West Virginia and Louisville signed deep and talented offensive line groups, with the Mountaineers signing four three-star players and the Cardinals bringing in five three-star players.
Outside of Rutgers, Pittsburgh managed to sign the only other four-star in the conference, Adam Bisnowaty. Cincinnati and South Florida also both added multiple three-star linemen.
None of the Big East teams truly shined at this position, but the top spot goes to West Virginia, who brought in three-star prospects Christian Brown and Imarjaye Albury. Syracuse went the JUCO route with three-star Zian Jones, hoping for a quick fix on the interior defensive line, while South Florida, Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh each added one three-star tackle to their roster.
Rutgers and Cincinnati both came home empty handed. This is especially noticeable for the Bearcats, who signed a class of 28, but did not manage to bring home a true defensive tackle.
Being the only five-star player signed by a Big East program, Darius Hamilton gives Rutgers the nod at defensive end. Hamilton has the potential to move to the inside down the road, but should start his college career on the outside. Three-star Julian Pinnix-Odrick gives Rutgers additional depth at the position. Cincinnati added four three-star defensive ends, including Alex Pace from Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville and two ends from Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central. Syracuse signed four three-star ends, including trying the JUCO road once again with Markus Pierce-Brewster.
Louisville, West Virginia and Louisville all signed multiple three-star ends. Louisville went into Georgia and Florida to grab all three of their prospects, West Virginia snagged Eric Kinsey at the last minute and South Florida added a JUCO end to their roster.
Signing four-stars Nick Dawson and Keith Brown cemented the top spot for Louisville at linebacker. Three-star James Burgess Jr. also added quality depth at the position for the Cardinals. Cincinnati signed four three-star linebackers, all from Florida, while Rutgers signed four-star Quanzell Lambert and three-star Steve Longa, both top in-state products.
Pittsburgh signed Deaysean Rippy, the fourth and last four-star linebacker in the Big East, and Connecticut and West Virginia both signed two three-star backers. South Florida almost got shut out at the position before grabbing three-star Tashon Whitehurst on National Signing Day, and Connecticut will need to address the position in the Class of 2013 after not signing any.
Louisville gets the nod at defensive back mainly because of the signing of four-star Gerod Holliman, who originally was a member of the Class of 2011 and heads to Louisville after a year at prep school. After grabbing a deep group of defensive backs last year, the Cardinals also continued to add more depth by also adding two more three-star prospects to the group. South Florida tried to address a lack of depth by signing four defensive backs, including two three-star JUCO prospects, West Virginia once again hit Florida and signed three three-star defensive backs from the Sunshine State and Cincinnati brought in four three-star defensive backs, including Leviticus Payne from Michigan.
At the bottom of the conference, Pittsburgh managed to grab their only defensive back in the class on National Signing Day, three-star Bam Bradley, while Rutgers did not sign any defensive backs in this class.
The top spot at athlete is a tie between Pittsburgh and Rutgers. Both programs brought in three three-star athletes, who should be able to answer questions at multiple positions and on special teams. The Panthers went into Ohio to grab Chris Davis and Demitrious Davis, plus Ryan Lewis all the way from Washington.
The Scarlet Knights stayed in-state to pick up all three of their athlete recruits. West Virginia, South Florida and Cincinnati all added two three-star athletes to their recruiting class, Syracuse added three-star Devante McFarlane and UConn brought in Jordan Floyd. Louisville did not address the athlete position in this class.
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