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10 College Football Programs Poised for a Big 2015 Recruiting Year

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IApril 10, 2014

10 College Football Programs Poised for a Big 2015 Recruiting Year

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    John Raoux

    The 2015 recruiting year is off and running, and several programs around the country are poised to do a lot of damage on the trail. 

    Some schools reside in areas that have a ton of available talent this year, while others will have a big recruiting year because they always do. A few programs have gotten a commitment from a key elite recruit, which will help them attract other great prospects to finish with a high ranking.

    A Pac-12 school has a chance to make a resurrection statement this year, while a group of SEC juggernauts figure to have outstanding classes yet again. Plus, a Big Ten school has a new head coach who is already off to a terrific start.

Texas A&M

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    Texas A&M is off to an excellent start to the 2015 recruiting year, as the Aggies have the No. 2 class in the 247Sports composite rankings.

    With Texas not being as strong as it has been in the past, the Lone Star State belongs to the folks in College Station. The Aggies' top commitment in their nine-man class is 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack.

    Head coach Kevin Sumlin has a serious chance to add studs such as 5-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield, 5-star receiver Christian Kirk, 5-star linebacker Malik Jefferson, 5-star receiver Damarkus Lodge and 4-star athlete/quarterback Kyler Murray to the fold before national signing day is finished. 

Florida State

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    Mark J. Terrill

    Florida State already has nine commitments, including a pledge from 5-star safety Derwin James. The Seminoles are poised for a big recruiting year not just cause of who they are, but also because they won some crystal trophy last year.

    A national title almost always serves as an excellent recruiting boost, and FSU is certain to take advantage of it. With high-end targets such as 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson and 5-star defensive back Tarvarus McFadden, 2015 is shaping up for another banner recruiting year in Tallahassee.

Penn State

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    Another school that has gotten off to a hot start is Penn State. The Nittany Lions are now led by James Franklin, who proved at Vanderbilt that he is capable of doing big things on the recruiting trail.

    He has secured 11 commitments so far, with eight of them being 4-star prospects. He will most certainly not rest there, as targets such as 4-star linebacker/running back Jerome Baker, 4-star offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins, 4-star cornerback John Reid and 4-star defensive tackle Adam McLean are in Franklin's sights now.

    Penn State could sign perhaps its best class in recent history. 

LSU

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    Gerald Herbert

    Currently possessing the No. 4 class in the 247Sports recruiting rankingsLSU is at it again. Head coach Les Miles has collected nine recruits to date, including two 5-star talents.

    The Tigers have a realistic chance with elite recruits such as 5-star quarterback Torrance Gibson, 5-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. and 5-star receiver Damarkus Lodge, among many others.

    It appears the 2015 cycle will be another normal one in Baton Rouge, which means it's going to be big.

Alabama

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    This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, but Alabama has the No. 1 class in the country, according to 247Sports.

    Recruiting is almost down to a science in Tuscaloosa, and head coach Nick Saban is the mastermind. He already has nine commitments, including pledges from 5-star defensive end Mekhi Brown, 4-star running back Desherrius Flowers, 4-star guard Richie Petitbon and 4-star safety Deionte Thompson.

    It wouldn't be shocking to see 'Bama add 5-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, 5-star defensive tackle Daron Payne and 4-star athlete Kerryon Johnson to the mix in due time.

    It's going to be another big recruiting year for the Crimson Tide. 

UCLA

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    Chris Carlson

    UCLA has a lot going for itself as a program and university. Yet, the main reason why this could be a big recruiting year for the Bruins is because they already have a commitment from 5-star quarterback Josh Rosen.

    He is a stud passer who is sure to attract many other talented players to join him in Westwood, including 4-star receiver Cordell Broadus. Other top-level 4-star recruits Rosen could help convince to come to UCLA include pass-rusher Keisean Lucier-South, athlete Stanley Norman, safety Marvell Tell and guard Tevita Halalilo.

    The Bruins will finish with a high ranking in the final list in February. 

Georgia

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    Georgia has a class of six commitments that is headlined by 5-star athlete Terry Godwin. Aside from its solid start, UGA is set to have a big recruiting year due to the Peach State having another talented crop of recruits available.

    The big prize is 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson, who could be the nation's best overall prospect. Rashad Roundtree, a 4-star safety, and 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith are also high on the Bulldogs' list.

    Georgia could also land 4-star defensive end Natrez Patrick, plus 4-star JUCO running back Alvin Kamara may find his way to Athens after all. 

USC

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    On its way back to national recruiting prominence is USC, as California boasts a ton of talented recruits this year.

    When the Trojans flipped 5-star quarterback Ricky Town from Alabama in January, it served as an eye opener for recruits in the 2014 and 2015 class. Town is sure to help lure other talented players to Troy, with 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall, 5-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green and 5-star linebacker John Houston being among the top targets for USC.

    The Trojans also figure to collect a ton of high-end 4-star prospects, which should help them finish with an elite class next February. 

Ohio State

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    As things look right now, Ohio State doesn't belong on this list. The Buckeyes have just three commitments and are No. 35 in the 247Sports recruiting rankings.

    However, they still have Urban Meyer as head coach, which means they'll get going soon. Once Meyer and his staff find their groove on the 2015 recruiting trail, a lot of other schools will begin to get nervous. 

    Recruits such as 5-star quarterback Torrance Gibson, 5-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, 5-star running back Damien Harris and 5-star receiver Christian Kirk are prime targets for Meyer, who doesn't miss often in recruiting.

Florida

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    All five commitments for Florida are just 3-star prospects. Yet, the Gators are poised for an exceptional recruiting year.

    Head coach Will Muschamp has a great shot at signing a class that could include 5-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey, 5-star defensive ends CeCe Jefferson and Byron Cowart, 5-star receiver George Campbell and 5-star linebacker Jeffery Holland.

    Do not let the Gators' current No. 30 recruiting class ranking by 247Sports fool you.

    Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports said about Holland: "Most believe Florida is the front-runner, and Holland has said he grew up a Gators fan."

     

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports. Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.

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