first_imgFor most programs and their fans, National Signing Day is Christmas come early. Each team adds a few dozen players who are coming off of illustrious high school careers. Most are either lauded by the various recruiting services or deemed “underrated” by the fans. While these major recruiting sites—Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN—can never evaluate every kid perfectly, studies have shown that the teams that consistently pull it blue chip talent are the ones that compete for national championships. SB Nation’s Bud Elliott wrote a great feature about this last February: As recruiting rankings continue to grow more accurate, they’re now to a point at which they can help tell us which teams are ready to compete for titles. Every BCS champion since recruiting rankings could be accurately tracked (2005, or four classes after Scout joined Rivals in rating players) has met a benchmark: it’s recruited more blue-chips (four- and five-star players) than lesser-rated players over its four previous signing classes.So, which programs have improved their recruiting the most from 2014 to 2015? Which have fallen off? Based on 247 Sports’ useful composite rankings, which use the ratings applied to each player from the four recruiting services, here are the 23 power conference teams whose recruiting rankings have improved the most.coloradoT-19. Colorado2014 Composite: 742015 Composite: 69Difference: +5As a program, Colorado has been wandering through the desert for years now. 2014 didn’t see a big difference in the Buffaloes’ win-loss record at 2-10, but Mike MacIntyre’s team was more competitive on the field. The Buffs took UCLA to double-overtime, eventually falling 40-37, and did the same in a total shootout against Cal, where they eventually fell 59-56. They also put up pretty respectable performances against Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington, and Utah. While the gains in recruiting weren’t substantial, Colorado did keep talented four star lineman Tim Lynott home. He was one of four of the top six recruits in the state to choose to play for CU. The Buffs also went into California to pull out talented outside linebacker Nu’umotu Falo. Colorado’s class isn’t huge at 19 players, which hurts its total ranking a bit, but it is a step in the right direction for a team that hopes to finally exit the rebuild stage over the next few years.purdueT-19. Purdue2014 Composite: 692015 Composite: 64Difference: +5Purdue’s recruiting class ranks last in the Big Ten, but the Boilermakers are encroaching on Minnesota and Iowa, and don’t have winning seasons to fall back on like those schools. Purdue only has four wins in the first two seasons under Darrell Hazell, with only one coming in Big Ten play. Former coach Danny Hope had a bit more success late in his tenure, making back to back bowls in 2011 and 2012, but two of his classes ranked 70th or worse. Hazell is digging out of a big hole, and hasn’t had a ton of immediate success, but the deck was stacked against him, which makes it less surprising if he gets a bit of extra leeway at Purdue.wsuT-19. Washington State2014 Composite: 542015 Composite: 49Difference: +5With Mike Leach on the sideline and Connor Halliday under center, Washington State had one of the most prolific offenses in the country in 2014. The Cougars were No. 1 in the nation in passing offense at 477.7 yards per game, and 117th in points against at 38.6 per game. While some don’t believe that Leach cares much about defense, this 2015 recruiting class says something different. Wazzu’s lone four-star player Thomas Toki plays defensive tackle, and is one of 11 Cougar commits on that side of the ball. According to 247 Sports, seven of the Cougs’ nine top recruits play on defense. While bringing a top 50 class to Pullman and improving on last year’s class is a good thing, if Washington State can start to build that defense, it will not be a fun group to play.nebraskaT-19. Nebraska2014 Composite: 362015: Composite: 31Difference: +5Coaching changes almost always have an immediate impact on recruiting. Occasionally, it takes a year for excitement about a new coach to result in improvement, but new Nebraska coach Mike Riley actually improved on Bo Pelini’s final class right away. The program has a pair of four-star early enrollees from Colorado in cornerbacks Eric Lee and Avery Anderson, and picked up a top ten guard in four star Jalin Barnett. Nebraska is not a state rich with high school football talent, which makes recruiting for the Huskers a bit tricky, but Riley did a very nice job dipping into Texas, Oklahoma, and even out to California and the Southeast for quality players.oregonT-19. Oregon2014 Composite: 212015 Composite: 16Difference: +5There is a pocket of the Oregon fanbase that is not yet sold on head coach Mark Helfrich, at least when compared to his predecessor Chip Kelly, but he has done a great job of maintaining Oregon’s high level of recruiting, despite the fact that the state produces very few FBS caliber players. Oregon plucked players from eight different states, and it leaves no stones unturned. The Ducks are bringing in players from California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Minnesota—their recruiting profile is about as varied as any team can get. Headlining this impressive class are five-star defensive end Canton Kaumatule from Honolulu, who should be a force against both the run and the pass at 6-foot-7, 290-pounds, and dual-threat quarterback Travis Waller from Anaheim.arkansasT-17. Arkansas2014 Composite: 292015 Composite: 23Difference: +6Since shutting out LSU 17-0 on November 15, Arkansas has been on a roll. The Razorbacks followed that up with an even more impressive 30-0 win over Ole Miss, narrowly lost to SEC East champion Missouri, and then destroyed Texas in the Texas Bowl, 31-7. In mid-October, it didn’t look like Arkansas would make a bowl. Now, the team has a ton of momentum, and took it into the end of this recruiting cycle. The Hogs had five blue chip players enroll early, including pro style quarterback Ty Storey from in state. Arkansas has also added a couple of four star defensive linemen, and two top tight ends, which should help round out Bret Bielema’s run-heavy offense a bit. Amazingly, Arkansas’ class only ranks 11th in the SEC, but it should help them stay competitive in the SEC West, college football’s toughest division. Next: Programs Ranked 17-12 >>>Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5last_img

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