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Rob's Rankings: Five programs working their way up rankings

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

There are more than eight months until the early signing period and a few more until the traditional Signing Day. It’s too early to put much stock in the team recruiting rankings for 2019, but that hasn’t stopped us from taking a few guesses. Today, we rank five teams that missed the recruiting rankings’ top-20 last cycle in order of their chances of finding their way into the group this time around.

MORE ROB CASSIDY: Darkhorse conference title contenders



Christopher Hinton
Christopher Hinton (Chad Simmons)

Last year: No. 24

Michigan may not be off to the same start as other programs when it comes to numbers, but of the seven commitments it currently holds, four are from players ranked four-stars or higher. The group is led by five-star defensive end Christopher Hinton and having Hinton in the fold is a godsend for a program that failed to land a single five-star last cycle.

All indications are that Michigan could be in for a bounce-back season on the field in 2018, which should lead to renewed recruiting success. Head coach Jim Harbaugh certainly has the charisma to stand toe-to-toe with the big boys for recruits and should his on-field performance improve from a year ago, he’ll do just that. The Wolverines feel good about where they stand with elite prospects such as Zach Harrison, Quavaris Crouch and Daxton Hill at this early juncture.

THEWOLVERINE.COM: Devin Boddie previews UM visit


Diwun Black
Diwun Black (

Last year: No. 27

The Rebels are off to a blazing start, which is particularly impressive considering the program is dealing with NCAA sanctions and preparing to play its first full season under head coach Matt Luke.

None of that seems to matter on the recruiting trail, however, as the Rebels have already secured commitments from a whopping 15 2019 prospects. Rivals100 athlete Diwun Black leads the class so far, but he could be joined by more elite star power, as this cycle represents one of the deepest in-state classes in recent memory. Already, 10 players in the state have been ranked as four-star prospects and that number is likely to rise in the year ahead. Everything sets up nicely for Ole Miss, which should by all indications rebound with a top-20 class.

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Patrick Garwo
Patrick Garwo (Nick Lucero/

Last year: No. 39

Wisconsin is selling success, which is a powerful product in recruiting. The Badgers won their second consecutive Big Ten West title before besting an impressive Miami team in the Orange Bowl last season. The compounded success isn’t a difficult sell to elite recruits.

And so far, so good on that front, as Wisconsin already holds nine verbal commitments, including three from Rivals250 prospects. The Badgers are in good shape with four-star running back Patrick Garwo in addition to others and have every reason to expect a top-20 class come Signing Day 2019.

BADGERBLITZ.COM: What would perfect 2019 class look like for UW?


Stanford commit Colby Bowman
Stanford commit Colby Bowman (Nick Lucero/

Last year: No. 63

Stanford’s No. 63 finish a season ago was the product of a small class. David Shaw’s program signed just 14 total prospects, which led to a skewed finish in the recruiting rankings. Its average star ranking of 3.21 would have put it on the fringes of the top 20 should the class have been expanded.

The Cardinal is off to a slow start and have just one pledge as things stand now, but the Stanford never starts quickly because of academic constraints. It’s hard to paint a picture of which specific prospects may end up in the fold because offers are limited, but history suggests Shaw and company should be just fine. Stanford finished inside the top 20 in four consecutive years before last cycle.

CARDINALSPORTSREPORT.COM: Stanford legacy showing interest


Julian Barnett
Julian Barnett (Brandon Brown)

Last year: No. 26

Michigan State finished just outside the top-20 last cycle but will have a chance to rectify that in 2019. The Spartans are coming off a 10-win season and already have pledges from Rivals100 athlete Julian Barnett and quarterback Dwan Mathis, who currently ranks as the No. 105 overall prospect in the class.

Michigan State finished the 2016 cycle ranked No. 18 before back-to-back finishes outside the top 25. This is a bit of a bold prediction, seeing as the Spartans have only cracked the top 20 twice since 2005, but longshots are fun and Mark Dantonio has plenty to sell in East Lansing.

SPARTANMAG.COM: Dantonio pleased with progress in spring


With spring football winding down, hope for the season ahead has taken hold on campuses all over the country. Everyone has a rough idea of what the roster will look like this fall, and it’s beyond clear that your favorite team is in for a rebound season. In this week’s overtime, we’ve ranked the not-at-all overused or fabricated reasons for spring optimism

1. The entire roster is healthy and in the best shape of his life

You never heard about minor injuries that plagued the team last year, but it turns out the quarterback was playing with two separated shoulders and your entire offensive line was “dinged up.” Those days are gone, however, because these guys are now healthy. In fact, they’re almost TOO healthy. They’re also in good shape and spent more time in the weight room this season. Everyone’s deadlift max is up by 6,000 pounds.

2. Newcomers are really impressing at practice

Every freshman that arrived early has an off-the-charts work ethic and is blowing away coaches and teammates at practice. It’s impossible to hold these guys off the field this fall, as they are clearly impact players that will turn your team into a juggernaut from the jump. You coach has an eye for young talent and has outsmarted the rankings system once again. The future is bright, my friend.

3. Everyone is buying in to the new coach’s system

Your new coach is awesome. Everything the previous coach did? This legend-in-the-making is doing the opposite. He’s killed the music at practices and is bringing a hard-nosed mentality to team. Every single player on the roster is buying into the system and it’s only a matter of time until your team returns to glory.

4. The selfish players are all gone

Everything was awful last year. Sure, you never heard about it back then but suddenly all the departed players we locker room cancers that ruined everything. The current crop of players is a wholesome family that love each other and click with a chemistry previously unknown to mankind.

5. The offense has some new wrinkles

Your coach has been there for years and his offense is pretty much the same every year, but not this year, baby. This year, there are wrinkles everywhere. The offense is basically a crumbled-up shirt in the bottom of a teenager’s dresser. A guy on a message board you read knows a guy that knows for a fact that things will be wide open this season because the aging head coach has a surprise or two in store for his doubters.