Every year a school will unexpectedly emerge as a recruiting surprise and race up the top 25 chart. Rivals.com takes a look at the top five recruiting surprises this season.
Top Five Surprises
When Lane KiffinClick TennesseeHere to view this Link. bolted for Los Angeles, everybody assumed the sky was falling and there was going to be no way the Volunteers would still reel in an elite class. Somebody forgot to tell that to Derek DooleyClick TennesseeHere to view this Link. and Co. The job they've done is nothing short of amazing. While everybody expected the wheels to fall off, Dooley went out and helped the Vols land a top 10 class in less than a month. Blue-chip recruits Rajion NealClick TennesseeHere to view this Link., Mychal RiveraClick TennesseeHere to view this Link., Martaze JacksonClick TennesseeHere to view this Link., Glen StanleyClick TennesseeHere to view this Link., Eddrick LoftenClick TennesseeHere to view this Link. and Justin HunterClick TennesseeHere to view this Link. all came on board after the transition and the Vols aren't done yet.
People that watch the Mountain West should know this really isn't a surprise, but to those on the national scene, BYU hasn't really been a national recruiting player for the past few years. That changed this year. The Cougars jumped out of the gate early with a lot of great commitments, including probably the most college-ready quarterback in this year's class in Jake HeapsClick BYU Here to view this Link.. Heaps should be able to immediately come in and see the field with quarterback Max HallClick BYU Here to view this Link. graduating. It's going to be tough to replace the one of the Mountain West's best quarterbacks ever, but Heaps has all the tools to make it happen. The Cougars also have a nice mix of offensive weapons around Heaps in this class. Receiver Ross ApoClick BYU Here to view this Link. and running back Algrenon BrownClick BYU Here to view this Link. are perfect fits for the BYU offense. The Cougars also did a nice job on the defensive side of the ball.
Ignore where the Ponies are ranked in the Rivals.com team rankings, because even though SMU is ranked in the 70s, this class is honestly much better than that. SMU reeled in of the Midlands' best offensive weapons with running back Darryl FieldsClick SMU Here to view this Link., who many thought was worthy of being a four-star prospect with his performance as a senior. They also flexed some muscle by going outside of Texas to land talented offensive linemen Ben GottschalkClick SMU Here to view this Link.. But where SMU really did some damage was in the Lone Star State. Jeremy JohnsonClick SMU Here to view this Link. and Ricky CollinsClick SMU Here to view this Link. should be stars for SMU. Both are good athletes who are dangerous with the ball in their hands.
The MAC never grabs national headlines unless it beats a Big Ten team and everybody wants to call it an upset. However, MAC programs have always recruited better than many people give them credit for and this season the most under-appreciated MAC recruiting list belongs to Toledo. The Rockets has 2009 four-star receiver James GreenClick Toledo Here to view this Link. enrolled in classes this semester. Cleveland Glenville's James GordonClick Toledo Here to view this Link. missed most of this season with an ACL injury, but could be a steal if he makes a full recovery. Toledo has a trio of mid-three star prospects in David FluellenClick Toledo Here to view this Link., Ross MadisonClick Toledo Here to view this Link. and Quintin RobinsonClick Toledo Here to view this Link.. Another three-star commitment, Elijah JonesClick Toledo Here to view this Link., won the defensive line MVP at the 2009 Illinois NIKE camp over players such as five-star prospect William GholstonClick Toledo Here to view this Link. and top Illinois prospect Bruce Gaston Jr.Click Toledo Here to view this Link.
There's a reason why Larry PorterClick Memphis Here to view this Link. was selected Rivals.com national recruiter of the year not just once but twice. In a matter of weeks since his hiring, Porter has made Memphis matter in the recruiting wars. Porter was able to spark interest from big-time recruits such as Lache SeastrunkClick Memphis Here to view this Link. and Barry BrunettiClick Memphis Here to view this Link.. Despite missing out on them in the end, Porter showed that the program can get elite players to listen. Porter and his staff have evaluated well, too. Memphis was the first school to offer defensive tackle Brandon IvoryClick Memphis Here to view this Link., landing his commitment before he changed his mind and picked Alabama. Finally, the players that Memphis actually is bringing in are some of the best prospects in Louisiana and Memphis - two areas that likely will be crucial to Memphis' future success.