By: David Ware (@Ware)
As the CFSL season approaches, fans and analysts eagerly await the return of their favorite teams, while also keeping a close eye on the newcomers who are set to make their mark on the gridiron. In this article, we will focus on the recruiting class rankings of nine new powerhouse teams. Among these teams, four are returning to the CFSL, including Tennessee, LSU, Washington, and USC. Five are brand new teams Colorado, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Baylor, and Penn State.
Every season we debate on who had the best recruiting cycle and there are multiple ways to look at each team and make an argument for them. So let’s create a baseline to compare all nine of these teams and see who had the best recruiting class. There will be three categories that we will look at for each team and then rank them amongst all 28 teams to come up with a composite ranking. The first category that will be used will be the total recruit points that each team signs based on recruit rankings that were previously released. The second category is the average recruit rating amongst all 28 teams. The third and final category will be an adjusted roster recruiting score, in which the total recruit points are multiplied by the current percentage of total roster spots signed. Once these three categories are ranked for each team, their scores will be added up and the team with the lowest score will be the top class.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Colorado has signed 18 recruits so far with eight being five-star and five being a four-star recruit. Their top recruit signing so far has been quarterback Sky Sanders, the Denver, Colorado high school star. In the transfer portal, Colorado reeled in Junior Tight End Jordan Tank from Bowling Green University. Tank has 72 career receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns in his two seasons. Colorado’s recruiting class consists of five three-stars which makes up 27.7% of their roster and they should be adding several more three-stars before it is said and done.
They say the third time’s the charm, well we shall see if that is the case for Tennessee and its CFSL existence. The last time around Tennessee went (2-22) from season 12 through 14. This recruiting class has signed 21 recruits so far, with six being five stars. The big fish for the volunteers has been elite quarterback Kyson Carey, the senior from Bowling Green. Carey sat on the bench his freshman year at Boise State before transferring but has thrown for 42 touchdowns over the last two seasons. The big question for Tennessee is going to be defense as so far they have only signed two five stars on that side of the ball.
The Baylor Bears have had the second-largest recruiting class so far with 23 recruits signed so far. That is only one short from the most recruits for this cycle and we will talk about what team that is shortly. Out of the six five-star recruits signed for Baylor, five of those are on the offensive side of the ball with two five-star halfbacks (Dorian Hunter and Christian Davis both transferred to Baylor). Freshman Quarterback Windham Carter will rely on both halfbacks as well as transfer wide receiver BJ Shark Jr to try and keep pace with opponents. The big question for Baylor is how much production will they get from their 17 three-stars.
Syracuse has been busy already this offseason and has signed 22 recruits. Most teams are happy to land a big fish on one side of the ball, but Syracuse was able to land two big fish. In the transfer portal, the Orangeman brought in defensive tackle Anthony Kuehler to clog the middle of their defensive line. The senior has 33 career sacks and looks to establish a presence in this defense. The offense has their trophy fish as well with freshman halfback William Avery in the backfield and will have fellow freshman JK Matthews at quarterback. A very scary-looking combo and with both being a freshman, this could be a major building block for the Orangemans’ future.
Cincinnati has made a splash so far as they have signed 23 recruits already while having a great balance in transfers and freshmen for this class. A whopping 12 out of the 23 recruits are a five-star. The Bearcats offense is looking scary with elite quarterback transfer Ludwig Friedman, five-star halfback Ceecee Mucci, (3) five-star wide receivers, and (2) five-star tight ends. The defense has seven five stars as well and should be very difficult to move the ball on.
Washington has not only signed 21 recruits with 10 five stars. Six of those are on the offensive side of the ball. Washington did sign one of the best wide receivers in the recruiting class with the generational talent Buck Stackhouse. Sophomore quarterback Owen Dart will have plenty of weapons to go along with Stackhouse as he will have two other five-star receivers and a five-star tight end plus transfer halfback John Turner who is a five-star. One big question for Washington can be the defensive line as they will have only one five-star starting next to two four-stars and a three-star.
#3 Penn State
The Nittany Lions come in third as they have signed 22 recruits in this stellar class so far, with two of those being elite middle linebacker Kirby Sierra and wide receiver Buster Cox. Those two players in addition to 12 other five stars will have Penn State primed for a great inaugural season. One player to watch for this team will be freshman halfback Chase McDougal from Killeen Texas. This power back can help to set the tone for the entire offense. We also have seen AD TJ Smith be very successful in the past.
The return of USC has been nothing short of impressive with their first recruiting class. What makes it even more impressive is that Jaco Cobb is a first-time AD, and handled this recruiting cycle with precision. Cobb has added four elite defenders from the transfer portal to go with nine of the 14 five stars being on the defensive side of the ball. Cobb understands that defense wins championships and has built this defense to compete with anyone. Freshman quarterback Kolten Powell does have some nice weapons at his disposal though and should be able to put up plenty of points. So far it has been a back-and-forth battle for the top new school when it comes to recruiting class.
Well, Syrok has had a masterful recruiting class and has signed seven elite players from the transfer portal. Some teams have not signed seven five stars let alone seven elites. Much like Jacob Cobb at USC, Syrok understands the importance of defense as five of the seven elites are defensive players while adding three more five stars to that mix. The offense will be led by transfer quarterback Charlie Sammons, who played for Syrok at Kentucky last year and will have some other familiar names such as Ken Dixon III. This offense may be on a new team but have had time to get to know each other. This could be a very scary team.
Congratulations to all the new Athletic Directors on their accomplishments this offseason so far, it will be interesting to see how well they can finish their roster building. I would expect to see some movement between these new schools in the rankings as well so stay tuned for the next set of rankings to be coming out soon. A friendly reminder, as always the rankings that I post are purely stat-based and have zero personal opinion involved. So without further delay, let the chaos begin in league chat!