Rival Views: Most surprising start to the 2018 recruiting cycle
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney don’t always see eye to eye. In this edition of Rival Views, the two debate which program is off to the most surprising start for 2018.
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FARRELL'S VIEW: NOTRE DAME
It has to be Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are coming off of a disastrous 4-8 season and Brian Kelly is on the hot seat as a result. Despite all of that, Notre Dame's class ranks No. 3 class in 2018 Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings. Quite simply, the Irish are killing it on the recruiting trail.
I know it’s early and all bets are off if there is another bad season in South Bend, but this group of 11 is stacked. The wide receivers have a good combination of size and speed, the defensive backs are elite, quarterback-of-the-future Phil Jurkovec is in the fold and both of linebackers in the class fill a huge area of need.
In recent cycles, Notre Dame has reached on a few kids early. I don’t see that this year, at least not to the same level.
Penn State’s start is a bit surprising only because the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings, and Miami is off to a great start as well. Kansas' start is obviously surprising, but we will see if the Jayhawks' four-star commits stick through National Signing Day.
GORNEY'S VIEW: MIAMI
Miami already has 13 commits, the most in college football, for the 2018 class and it’s an absolutely loaded group as the Hurricanes are beating Florida State and Florida so far for top talent.
Since Feb. 9 when five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard committed to Miami, Mark Richt and his club have also landed four four-star prospects and two of them are from IMG Academy, out-of-state kids who decided to stick in Florida to play college ball.
Four-star quarterback Artur Sitkowski is from New Jersey and four-star receiver Brian Hightower is from California but Richt has convinced both of them to play for the Hurricanes and those commitments are huge.
Richt has obviously made in-state recruiting a priority. Every single Miami pledge is an in-state kid or playing high school ball there (factoring in the IMG prospects).
Penn State has the nation's top class and that’s not a major surprise since James Franklin is such an aggressive recruiter and the Nittany Lions are coming off a Rose Bowl berth.
Miami didn’t have a lot of traction coming out of this season but Richt has put the pedal to the metal and is putting together a terrific class. The ACC is getting much better and this class is a huge step in the right direction for the Hurricanes to compete with Florida State, Clemson and others.