Recruiting is like the weather. Without global warming.

Honestly, I’ve never gotten real excited about Signing Day.

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Never got too jacked for the NFL draft, either.

Because on the one hand, nobody knows whether the new guys are going to turn out to be good.

On the other hand, signing-day classes are like the weather. Everybody talks about them. But that doesn’t change them.

I don’t even have to look to tell you that Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Florida State, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame did great.

Here’s why that happens. Because the best players want to go where they have the best opportunities—to win and to put themselves in the best light for the NFL.

Here’s the other thing I noticed when I paid attention to this stuff. If a kid wasn’t highly rated and all of a sudden Notre Dame and USC were interested in him, his ranking rises—and so does the ranking of whatever blue-chip school has him ranked highly.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

So. . . I just took a look at a composite ranking put together by USA Today.

Here’s where my list of Usual Suspects landed:

1, Alabama

2, Ohio State

4, Michigan

8, USC

5, Florida State

13, Florida


7 Oklahoma

6, LSU

15, Notre Dame,

So who did I miss?

2, Georgia [there were some ties(!)]

9, Texas A&M

11, Auburn

14, Tennessee

Four SEC schools. Shocking!

Here are a couple of things that semi-surprise me (but not really):

@ Clemson was ranked 17th, and Texas was 30th. . . Clemson is not surprising because it’s not in the SEC or in Florida. I expect Dabo will coach ‘em up, even if they’re missing a few pounds or have a few extra ticks on their 40 times. And golly, 17th is not all that bad.

@ Texas is not surprising because it just had a coaching change, and things have been messy there for a while. Kids will go back there when things settle down. It's always good to have your own television network.

Here’s one thing that really does surprise me:

@ Maryland was listed at t-16th (along with Stanford). Maryland? Football?

Again, without doing a lot of phony research, I’ll conclude that new coach D.J. Durkin knows what he’s doing, which we could tell from the way the Terrapins played right out of the gate last fall.

Durkin also has a couple of nice things to sell: Playing time and being in the Big Ten.

Let’s see how that top-20 recruiting class turns out in, say, three or four years. . . . In that lovely Big Ten East Division. You know, the one with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, which, by the way, has a t-15th (with Notre Dame) recruiting class.

Henceforth, the Nittany Lions are back on my Usual Suspects list.

Oh, and let’s not forget about Michigan State, which was only 28th in the national-recruiting chase but is still lurking.

To recap, Maryland did really well. Texas didn’t do very well. The rest of them did about what you’d expect them to do.

If Maryland starts winning the East—or heck, coming close—I'll start paying more attention to recruiting.

In three or four years, we’ll find out if Maryland really did that well. And if Texas really didn’t do that well.

When I covered Illinois, its close-to-the-vest athletic director, Ron Guenther, always used to tell us that it was best to evaluate recruiting classes four or five years down the road.

I hated hearing that.

But you know what? Although it doesn’t take quite that long, it’s fairly true.[/membership]