Winners and Losers for September on the 2014 College Football Recruiting Trail
The fabulous month of September has come to an end, but before we look forward to October, it's time to reflect on the ninth month of the year.
September was the first full month of the college football season, so of course the recruiting trail was impacted. As teams got out to hot starts, others opened the year in disappointing fashions. Some recruits made commitments, while others narrowed their lists.
Also, a powerhouse program fired its coach, which could serve as a good and bad thing.
Winner: Penn State
The Nittany Lions received some good news in September which could provide a boost to their recruiting efforts. The NCAA restored five scholarships back to Penn State football, which are surely of great need in Happy Valley.
The 2014-15 year will see Penn State have 20 scholarships to offer recruits, and the full 25 scholarships will be available the next year. This means the PSU coaches have a little more room to recruit, can take a chance or two on some prospects, and can use this as an immediate rallying cry on the trail.
The Ducks are off to a 4-0 start to the season. They are still lighting up scoreboards under new head coach Mark Helfrich and have a great shot at a national title.
The month of September also saw Oregon earn a commitment from 4-star running back Tony James, a perfect fit for its offense. James has electric speed, quickness and elusiveness, which all are required traits for runners in the Ducks' offensive attack.
Oregon also scored big with James due to his location. The Gainesville native is from Florida Gator country, so he's proof that the Ducks are expanding their recruiting reach.
Loser: Ole Miss
Ole Miss laid an egg versus Alabama, as it lost 25-0. A win, or even a better performance, would have shown recruits that Mississippi really was for real.
Also, not only did the Rebels lose a game on the big stage, they also saw one of their best commitments in 4-star safety C.J. Hampton at the game, but as a guest of Alabama, according to John Garcia Jr. of BamaMag.com.
Georgia won all three of its games in September, including victories over South Carolina and LSU. The program seems to have rebounded well from its lost to Clemson to start the season, but that is not all.
In September, Georgia got another commitment from a solid defensive prospect who fits the scheme. Defensive end/outside linebacker Keyon Brown, a 4-star recruit, pledged to Georgia last month, and he will work well as a stand-up rush-end type of player in Athens.
USC made the expected decision of firing head coach Lane Kiffin after its 62-41 loss to Arizona State. Kiffin's job security had been speculated on for months, and it served as a dark cloud over the program's recruiting efforts.
Firing Kiffin could actually help the Trojans bring in a good class, according to this story by Blair Angulo and Erik McKinney of WeAreSC.com via ESPN.
However, 4-star guard Toa Lobendahn has said he is now considering other schools, via the WeAreSC.com story.
So USC firing Kiffin could be a good thing, but the Trojans could lose some recruits in the short term.
LSU's offense has looked excellent to start this season, but the Tigers lost their heavyweight bout with Georgia last weekend.
However, they took two significant lumps on the recruiting trail, and that's why they are on this list in this slot. First, in early September, LSU lost 5-star offensive tackle prospect—and elite in-state target—Cameron Robinson to rival Alabama. This was a big blow to the Tigers, as it is on the level of losing 2012 safety prospect Landon Collins to the Crimson Tide.
Aside from being 4-0, and winning a thriller over Texas A&M in College Station, September brought Alabama its clear-cut recruiting class headliner.
Cameron Robinson, a 5-star offensive tackle, committed to 'Bama over LSU on September 4. Robinson, who is 6'5" and 330 pounds, has excellent agility, athleticism, strength and mirror ability. He has the potential to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft in a few seasons.
So the Tide come into October unbeaten and with another potentially dominant offensive lineman in the fold.