At the conclusion of National Signing Day, Alabama dominated the boards with the number one ranked recruiting class. It might be argued that the dynasty may have just pieced together the greatest recruiting class in NCAA history. National Signing Day offers a little more clarity for when the polls roll out in early August. Here is a preview of what we might expect to see if it were August 1. Today, a preview of the teams ranked 10 to 7. Tomorrow, the next few rankings will be presented.
10.Clemson Tigers – The Tigers come in to 2014 riding high. The Tigers defeated a one-loss Ohio State team in the Orange Bowl, finishing eighth in the final polls. The Tigers have lost key weapons on their offense in QB Tajh Boyd, who graduated, and wide-receiver Sammy Watkins. who declared for the NFL Draft. Watkins is first-round talent and a dynamic play maker. Clemson, did well in recruiting finishing thirteenth in the country and third in their ACC stable. Clemson will open between the hedges against a top-ten team in nemesis, Georgia. A win in Athens, will set the table for a Tigers title bid.
9. Georgia Bulldogs – This is by no stretch any defamation of other contenders based on a bias. The Dawgs return seventeen of their twenty-two starters and sport the seventh best recruiting class in the country. The signing of coaches Jeremy Pruitt and Tracy Rocker add fuel to the fire of a young and talented Dawg defense. Georgia does not face Alabama or LSU on their schedule, and is poised to make a run after navigating a brutal two-game stretch to open the season. The only key loss for Georgia, was the departure of senior quarterback Aaron Murray.
8. Stanford Cardinal – This Pac-12 power puncher is by no means overlooked as a championship contender. The Cardinal has won the Pac-12 for two consecutive years and has clinched a BCS berth in the last four years. This statistic could not be met by any other team in the country. The Cardinal is a well-coached team who take pride in their physical and aggressive defense. Quarterback Kevin Hogan will lead the Cardinal with a platoon of bruising and disruptive running backs. The anticipated match-up between Stanford and Oregon will be the headlining blockbuster of the 2014 Pac-12 race.
7. Ohio State Buckeyes – For a majority of 2014, the projected BCS National Championship featured Ohio State versus the Crimson Tide. In a cannibalistic final week of the regular season and conference championship week, Alabama and Ohio State were both removed from the title hunt. The Buckeyes stood at 11-0 before losing their final two games to Michigan State and Clemson. Ohio State hopes to rebound with the third-best recruiting class in the country.
Tomorrow, a look between the teams ranked 6 through 4. A few teams that were honorable mention are: Oklahoma State, Baylor, LSU, UCLA and Washington. All of these teams, are top-10 caliber and many can argue for their placement in this preliminary top-10. Assuredly, Alabama’s dominance of National Signing Day has earned them a higher position in this very early preseason poll.
By Keith Fuchs