Winners and Losers from the College Football Recruiting Trail for March
The month of March is concluding, and April is just about here. However, a lot happened in March, and not just St. Patrick's Day.
On the recruiting trail, several big commitments happened. UCLA landed a 5-star passer, while Texas Tech also got a pledge from an elite quarterback prospect.
While those two schools won the month of March, other programs didn't have a great 31 days. Ohio State lost a coveted offensive line recruit to a Big Ten rival, while Virginia let a school take away one of the best players in its state.
Oregon needs offensive linemen in this recruiting cycle, as the Ducks signed just three in 2014. They're off to a great start, as they received a commitment from 4-star offensive lineman Zach Okun on March 4.
At 6'4" and 310 pounds, the California native has the size and strength to help in Eugene early in his career. While Okun is the only recruit currently committed to Oregon, his pledge proves the Ducks are serious about filling a pressing need.
Michigan received a commitment from 4-star cornerback Garrett Taylor on March 24. While that's huge news for the Wolverines, it's a blow to Virginia.
The Cavaliers signed perhaps their most talented class under head coach Mike London in 2014, which should mean they should have the momentum to keep top in-state talents like Taylor home.
Well, that doesn't appear to be the case. In fact, Taylor didn't even have Virginia in among his finalists, according to the list he revealed to Adam Friedman of Rivals.com (subscription required) on March 17.
Winner: Texas Tech
Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury has the charisma and confidence to lure great talent to Lubbock from the recruiting trail.
That charisma and confidence is starting to pay dividends, evidenced by the Red Raiders earning a pledge from 5-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham on March 7. At 6'3.5" and 190 pounds, Stidham combines good size with great arm strength and mobility.
He could start for Texas Tech sooner than later.
The Red Raiders also got a commitment from 3-star JUCO offensive tackle Lio Lafaele in March.
Cameron Brock of RaiderPower.com wrote on March 7:
Stidham, who chose the Red Raiders over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas A&M, is arguably the biggest commitment in Texas Tech recruiting ever and is certainly the biggest commitment thus far in the new millennium.
It stings programs when they lose a coveted recruit to their archrival. That's exactly what Oklahoma felt in March, as they lost 4-star offensive tackle Toby Weathersby to Texas.
The Sooners were felt to be the favorites for Weathersby, as seven out of eight experts at 247Sports predicted he would be blocking in Norman. Yet, the Houston native announced he would call Austin home on March 22.
Winner: Penn State
James Franklin is on fire at Penn State. After netting seven commitments in February, Franklin responded in March with another four pledges.
Penn State's new head coach didn't just collect commitments from low-rated prospects to build his numbers, as all four recruits who committed to Penn State in March are 4-star prospects.
Offensive guard Steven Gonzalez is a 6'4", 300-pounder who is a terrific run-blocker. Juwan Johnson and Brandon Polk will complement one another well at receiver, and linebacker Josh Barajas could be a future captain of the defense in Happy Valley.
Loser: Ohio State
This very well could be the only month of this recruiting cycle that Ohio State isn't a winner. However, the Buckeyes lost 4-star offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez to Big Ten foe Penn State in March.
While Gonzalez had a ton of offers, he did have Ohio State as his leader before pledging to block in Happy Valley, says Greg Pickel of Fight On Penn State. The Buckeyes haven't lost many recruiting battles under head coach Urban Meyer, but they came up short here.
UCLA got a commitment from 3-star running back Bolu Olorunfunmi, which is great news. The coaches in Westwood are excited to have the California native, as he should help their rushing attack.
Yet, there's no denying the fact UCLA won in March simply by getting a commitment from 5-star quarterback Josh Rosen. The 6'4", 205-pounder is arguably the premier passing prospect in America and could be the future face of UCLA's program.
Rosen's commitment is such a huge deal that it will help the Bruins attract some of the top prospects in the country.