Rivals Rivalry Week: Five new recruiting rivalries
The college football landscape is always evolving, and with that evolution comes new recruiting rivalries. Whether it’s a school experiencing unprecedented success or a historic program regaining its momentum, different programs find themselves facing off on the field and on the recruiting trail. We take a look at some new rivalries that are popping up and the impact they can have on recruiting.
Texas A&M vs. LSU
These two teams have gone head-to-head more over the past five years, coinciding with the Aggies joining the SEC. While that has played a factor, so has the success of both programs. They play every year and since joining the SEC the Aggies have worked hard to nab some of the best players out of the state of Louisiana. The recruitment of Speedy Noil seemed to really stoke the flames of the rivalry, and the Aggies have two commitments from the state of Louisiana for 2017 while the Tigers have six from the state of Texas.
Oregon vs. Washington
This is one of the most intense regional rivalries in the country, with the hatred between two the fan bases dating back decades. But prior to this year, Oregon had beaten Washington 12 consecutive times and also won several important battles on the recruiting trail. The arrival of Chris Petersen in Seattle seems to have spiced things up quite a bit. The Huskies blew out Oregon 70-21 earlier this fall and most recently nabbed a commitment from Ducks legacy and four-star defensive back Elijah Molden. With more quality players emerging from Portland and Seattle on a yearly basis, look for these two to continue battling for star players going forward.
Clemson vs. Florida State
The Seminoles and Tigers annual battle has developed into must-watch TV and that has a lot to do with the uptick in recruiting from Clemson over the last decade. Florida has emerged as a pipeline state for the Tigers and current stars like Ray-Ray McCloud and Artavis Scott were both pursued by the Seminoles before ending up with the Tigers. The ‘Noles also do a nice job of plucking players from North Carolina and other Mid-Atlantic states, a key recruiting area for Clemson as well. The two programs look built for the long haul and their head-to-head battles should continue to be fun to watch.
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
The Heels and Hokies have always been border rivals, but with the arrival of Justin Fuente in Blacksburg and the recent success in Chapel Hill, things have been turned up a notch. The Heels sit No. 6 in the ACC and the Hokies No. 9 in the team recruiting rankings, respectively, with several uncommitted prospects still up for grabs. North Carolina coach Larry Fedora has made it a priority to keep the best players close to home and that clashes with Fuente’s stated goal to push further south to find talent. This cycle, the Hokies have three prospects from North Carolina committed and the Heels have shied away from Virginia, but the two have battled for prospects in Florida and Georgia as well.
Nebraska vs. Iowa
The Huskers' move to the Big Ten came with plenty of fanfare, but it also meant the school lost many of its traditional rivalries. But with the season Nebraska is having on the field this year, new rivalries are quickly budding in recruiting as well. Both schools rely on recruiting in Texas, and without a large number of elite prospects in their respective states they are often battling to keep others from poaching their talent. This year’s battle over Chevin Calloway, a four-star Iowa commit who visited Nebraska much to the chagrin of the Hawkeyes' coaches, could be the first of many high-profile prospects the two teams find themselves battling for on a yearly basis.