By: David Ware (@Ware)
The off-season provided plenty of excitement as we saw nine new teams battle it out for recruits! This was the largest transfer portal in the history of the CFSL and it is a sure way to guarantee some debate on who had the best recruiting class. Lots of angles and equations can calculate recruiting class, but we have formulated a way to allow schools with fewer roster spots and schools that had to fill the entire roster to be scored equally. This rating takes the average player rating and combines it with the school’s total recruit score and the adjusted total recruit score based on the percentage of roster filled. Without further delay let’s look at the top classes from this past off-season.
28 to 16
The Top 15
Auburn brought in 14 recruits during the off-season with six of them being five stars and three four stars. The big fish for Cole and his coaching staff this year was cornerback Chuy Baca and naming Jeff Mel as the AHC. This should provide a huge boost for this team as they look to continue their trajectory of improvement over the last few seasons.
Baylor, one of the new teams this year, had a lot of roster spots to fill and the coaching staff was able to bring in 25 players so far. Out of those they have five recruits that are five-star or better. Being a new school and new AD does present plenty of obstacles but hats off to them for signing so many recruits. Their biggest signing was sophomore wide receiver BJ Shark Jr, who transferred from Auburn. All expectations are that he will be one of the top offensive weapons.
Coming in at 13 is another new school with a new AD. Ryan Recca (aka Semi-rage) has brought in 23 players this off-season. They have bragging rights on signing one of the top halfbacks in the transfer portal, Ceecee Mucci from Georgia. Mucci is just one of the 12 five-star or better athletes to join Cincinnati this season. It was a solid class and it shows how much of an impression Recca made last year at Kent State as HC.
One of the biggest anticipated teams to join the league this year is none other than Colorado. Skyler, who has been around since season one put together a class of 22 players with nine five-star players. Skyler brought in two top-notch tight ends Jordan Tank and Barrett Steele as well as wide receiver Bruno Bones. This offense will have plenty of weapons this season.
The Longhorns did not have as many spots to fill, but they sure did make the most of them. Out of the 12 spots, nine of them were five-star or better including the huge strong safety transfer Mustafa Colakovic from Boise State. He is expected to make plenty of noise on defense and offense this year and will be a huge spark for the secondary, which some considered to be the weakest position last year. The big question for Texas will be how freshman quarterback Jay Duke can fill the shoes of Avery Ware.
The Panthers had a slow start in recruiting but showed up towards the end landing several elite players. One AD was quoted saying “Pitt went from a team that could get mercied every week, to a team that could make the playoffs.” The Panthers brought in junior quarterback Andrei Belov, wide receiver Dave Axis, and Brandon DeMoura as well as transfer free safety Zaveon May. Pitt still has a few holes to fill but just two weeks ago they only had eight players on the roster.
The Oregon Ducks started quickly with signings but they still have a few holes to fill. Oregon just got their freshman quarterback Claude DuBois. The Ducks also brought in two five-star defensive ends Autrie Fendall and Naomi Marcella who should have a huge impact on this defensive line to go with freshman defensive tackle Jack Hetherton. It is safe to say Oregon should sign a few more players before it is all said and done.
There has been a ton of hype surrounding Illinois and this recruiting class is a big reason for it. With 13 roster spots to fill, Illinois brought in nine five-star or better athletes to boost this roster. This great recruiting class is headlined by freshman quarterback Noir Royal and cornerback Bill Bass. Illinois is coming off of their first winning season and could be a team to watch come playoff time after this great class.
The Crimson Tide finished with the number one seed last year for the playoffs but with an early first-round exit, they were left to fill 18 roster spots. Alabama had to replace CFSL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns in Senior Cece Range. They brought in senior quarterback Avery Ware to take over the helm at QB1. There will be a lot of pressure to keep the Alabama high-power offense flowing. Out of the 18 recruits signed, 11 of them were five-star or better. The defense had multiple elite defenders added such as Ky Williams and Bronco Dukes as well.
We welcome back to the CFSL the Washington Huskies and they burst back onto the scene by signing 11 five-star or better players out of the 23 roster spots signed. The wide receiving core of Buck Stackhouse and Aloysius Jefferies is going to be as good as any combo in the CFSL this year. They also loaded up at safety with the signing of Jeremy Schultz and Payson Parker and all four of these players mentioned are freshmen. The future looks bright in Washington for AD Michael Jones and the rest of his coaching staff
The Orangemen started fast as they locked in seven players during the transfer portal including five of them that are a five-star or better. Bringing in that kind of experience as well as some big-time freshmen like quarterback Marvin McNabb and William Avery to name a couple is a great start to building a program. Things look bright for Syracuse and they should only get stronger after this season. They had 25 recruits signed this year and 12 of them are five-stars or better.
After winning a championship last year the Wildcats had to replace 19 players to the transfer portal and graduation. The return of AD Devon Davis was huge in rebuilding this team to a championship-caliber level again. In the transfer portal, Kentucky brought in senior quarterback Mateo Walker and wide receiver Shaud Sanders to name a few dynamite playmakers, and then added some major freshmen like halfback Cole Marks and cornerback Teddy Legend. Kentucky may have lost some players, but don’t expect them to drop off any whatsoever with 13 players being five-star or better on this roster.
#3 Penn State
Penn State makes its triumphant return to the CFSL while TJ Smith also makes his return to the rank of AD again. Smith did not disappoint as he signed 16 players with a five-star rating or better. This could be one of the greatest recruiting classes of all time by a team. Penn State does not have any weaknesses as they attacked both sides of the ball in recruiting and they have the leadership in place to lead this team to a championship run.
The Trojans are returning to the CSL again and much like some other teams, they have come back swinging. USC added 18 players rated as five-star or higher, which is crazy knowing they only signed 23 players. The linebacker crew for the Trojans may be the scariest in the league with the transfers of Colt Lawrence, Robbie Legg, and Joe Mac! They are going to be very difficult on both sides of the ball. Expect nothing less than a deep playoff run from the Trojans this year as they have had such a great recruiting class.
The best class belongs to the LSU Tigers. They signed 16 players in the transfer portal and a large number of the players that were on the championship-winning Kentucky Wildcats last year. Can Syrok win back-to-back championships on two different teams? Their roster is well equipped to handle a task like this and it will be very interesting to watch as they learn how to incorporate the new players that have signed this off-season. The Tigers got a slight nod over USC because they have filled two more spots than USC.
This offseason was jam-packed full of some excitement and now the season is beginning, we will see how well the ADs can gameplan and use all of the talent.