Signing Day

USC tops, SEC dominates recruiting past 10 years


As part of their celebration of “Rivals at 10”, has compiled a list of the top schools in the recruiting game over the past decade.

And, in what should come as no surprise at all, a plethora of schools from the SEC litter the Top 25 list, while a Left Coast school is the paper recruiting champion.

Thanks in large part to four No. 1 recruiting classes during that span, USC sits atop Rivals’ Top 25 rankings for individual schools from 2002-11.  Perhaps more impressive than the top classes is the Trojans’ “worst” recruiting showing: 13th in 2002, the year after Pete Carroll‘s first full season at the Los Angeles school.  All told, those recruiting class rankings translated into on-field success for Carroll’s program as the Trojans compiled the third-best winning percentage in the country during the past decade.

Interestingly, the next two schools in the rankings — Georgia at No. 2, Florida at No. 3 — tied for 10th in the country in winning percentage.  Florida, however, has two national titles during that span while Georgia has none, which could explain in part why Mark Richt‘s backside may be inching closer to the proverbial hot seat.

Others, however, fared far “worse” record-wise when compared to their recruiting rankings than did the cocktail partygoers.

Florida State is arguably the most striking example, finishing No. 6 in the recruiting rankings but just 36th in winning percentage.  Other examples of the “coaching matters” principle include Notre Dame (14th in rankings, 46th in winning percentage), South Carolina (15th, 55th), Texas A&M (16th, 59th), UCLA (T17th, 61st), Ole Miss (21st, 70th) and North Carolina (23rd, 80th).

On the flip side, there were other schools that made more than most out of the on-paper rankings, especially Boise State and TCU.

The Broncos had the highest winning percentage of any Div. 1-A school the past decade, but just the 76th-best recruiting ranking.  The Horned Frogs weren’t far behind their (for now) Mountain West Conference colleague with the fifth-best winning percentage while compiling an overall No. 61 in recruiting rankings.

Inside the Top 25, Virginia Tech had the 25th-best recruiting effort over the past 10 years but managed to finish eighth in winning percentage.  Ohio State was 12th in recruiting but No. 2 overall in percentage of wins.

There were just three of the 12 SEC schools that did not make the Top 25, with Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Ole Miss being joined by LSU (4th), Auburn (8th), Tennessee (T9th), Alabama (13th) and Arkansas (24th).

Here’s Rivals’ complete Top 10 list, but you can view the entire Top 25 by clicking HERE:

1. USC  (nine Top 10 classes)
2. Georgia (10)
3. Florida (six)
4. LSU (seven)
5. Texas (seven)
6. Florida State (eight)
7. Oklahoma (seven)
8. Auburn (six)
T9. Michigan (four)
T9. Tennessee (five)

Report: Baylor regents say Art Briles failed to report alleged assaults

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears leads his team against the Rice Owls at McLane Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Baylor’s ongoing scandal involving sexual assaults at the school took yet another turn for the worse on Friday.

In a report from The Wall Street Journal, school regents told the paper that 17 women reported sexual or domestic assaults in alleged incidents involving 19 football players since 2011. The regents, which went on the record to discuss some of the detailed findings from law firm Pepper Hamilton’s in-depth report into the matter for the first time, also said there were four alleged gang rapes involving players in the same time frame.

Former head coach Art Briles was fired by the school as the result of the Pepper Hamilton investigation but has maintained that while he made mistakes, he tried to do the best he could in his position. However the WSJ report disputes that notion by saying that Briles did not notify police, the school’s judicial affairs or Title IX offices of at least one alleged gang rape involving another Bears athlete after being notified of the allegation.

“There was a cultural issue there that was putting winning football games above everything else, including our values,” said J. Cary Gray, a lawyer and member of the Baylor board of regents. “(Briles) said, ‘I delegated down, and I know I shouldn’t have. And I had a system where I was the last to know, and I should have been the first to know.’”

Briles’ lawyer told the paper that the comments appeared to violate a non-disparagement section of the school’s termination agreement with the coach. Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw and university president Ken Starr all resigned or were fired over the summer as the result of their handling of the matter.

With numerous lawsuits already filled and plenty more likely to come up, it figures to be some time before Baylor can move on and put this scandal behind them. On the field, the Bears travel to face Texas on Saturday after starting this season 6-0 under interim head coach Jim Grobe.

Florida RB Mark Thompson cited for pot possession

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 15:  Mark Thompson #24 of the Florida Gators rushes for yardage during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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And now we know a little bit more of the rest of the story.

Friday afternoon, Florida announced that Mark Thompson would not travel with the rest of the team to Jacksonville for Saturday’s game against Georgia.  The only reason given was “some choices and decisions he’s made.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, one of those choices was smoking weed, with that decision resulting in a citation for possession of marijuana.  The citation was issued after the running back ran a stop sign very early Thursday morning and was pulled over by a university police officer.

From the Sentinel:

UFPD spokesperson Maj. Brad Barber said the officer smelled the odor of marijuana in the car and after a search discovered Thompson in possession of fewer than 20 grams of the substance.

Thompson was given a notice to appear for the misdemeanor violation and also cited for failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to provide proof of insurance.

Thompson, a 6-2, 237-pound redshirt junior, is currently third on the Gators in rushing yards (262) and second in rushing touchdowns (two). This is the back’s first season in Gainesville after transferring in from the junior college ranks earlier this year.

Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp set to return after two-game absence

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 10: Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp #1 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers grabs a touchdown pass against linebacker D.J. May #7 of the Wyoming Cowboys at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Wyoming 52-14. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
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When undefeated and seventh-ranked Nebraska takes the field for its biggest game of the 2016 season thus far, it’ll do so with one of the most experienced and productive pieces of its passing game back in action.

Jordan Westerkamp sustained an injury to his back during the Week 5 win over Illinois, and was briefly hospitalized after being hit by an Illini defender. The wide receiver missed the Week 7 win over Indiana and the Purdue win the following Saturday because of the injury.

This week, however, Westerkamp practiced without any type of restrictions ahead of the Week 9 game against No. 11 Wisconsin in Madison. Westerkamp, who stated his injuries included tiny fractures on the transverse process in his spine as well as what was described as a deep muscle bruise, confirmed the obvious, that he will suit up for the Cornhuskers and play against the Badgers in the huge Big Ten West matchup.

“It’s been good,” Westerkamp said, by way of the Omaha World-Herald, of his return to practice. “My confidence is at an all-time high and we’re ready to go get back with the team and kick butt this Saturday.”

At the time of the injury, Westerkamp led the Cornhuskers in receiving touchdowns (four) and tied for the team lead in receptions (13). His 228 receiving yards were second behind Alonzo Moore‘s 310.
Last season, Westerkamp led the ‘Huskers in all three of those categories.

‘Due to some choices and decisions he’s made,’ Florida RB Mark Thompson won’t play vs. UGA

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Mark Thompson #24 of the Florida Gators in action during the second half of the game against the North Texas Mean Green at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Sounding very similar to a disappointed parent, Florida has announced that one of their kids will be in timeout instead of on the field this weekend.

Ahead of Saturday’s annual rivalry game with Georgia, Florida announced via Twitter that running back Mark Thompson not only won’t play this Saturday but won’t even make the trip to Jacksonville for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  Why? “[D]ue to some choices and decisions he’s made.”

The school, obviously, will not go into any further details as to the issue or issues that will sideline the player.

Thompson, a 6-2, 237-pound redshirt junior, is currently third on the Gators in rushing yards (262) and second in rushing touchdowns (two). This is the back’s first season in Gainesville after transferring in from the junior college ranks earlier this year.