Lots of cause for optimism at these programs.
The list of teams who spend Signing Day 2018 finishing up their highest-ranked recruiting classes yet, mostly based on the 247Sports Composite*:
1. Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati quietly had the best Signing Day of any non-power, bringing in 22 three-stars and four-star local TE Leonard Taylor to rank No. 47, well ahead of plenty of Power 5 teams.
2. Clemson has won 10-plus games in seven straight seasons, won a national title, and made the Playoff three years running … and isn’t done leveling up. The Tigers’ No. 6 2018 class, headlined by four of the country’s top 10 prospects, is just their third top-10 class. So yes, things can get scarier.
3. Coastal Carolina has been FBS for all of one year, so it makes sense that No. 107 is the Chanticleers’ new high point.
4. Who led Conference USA this time? Probably Lane Kiffin, right? Nope. Butch Davis, former Miami and North Carolina recruiting ace, has FIU up at No. 71, signing two four-star Mississippi JUCOs.
5. Georgia landed No. 1 with one of the highest-rated classes ever, signing a hilarious seven five-stars. This really isn’t a surprise, though. If you run the numbers all the way back to 2002, UGA has the second highest average ranking, behind only USC. The Dawgs hadn’t had a No. 1 in recruiting (or in the final AP poll in quite a while), but they’d lingered just a step behind for the entire Mark Richt era.
6. Georgia State cracked double digits for the first time, ranking No. 93 overall and No. 3 in the Sun Belt, thanks to an experienced local recruiter in head coach Shawn Elliott and a new stadium formerly known as the home of the Braves.
7. Ohio State has finished No. 2 a few times now, but this class rates the highest. It would’ve been the No. 1 in almost any other year.
8. Penn State had finished in the top 10 just once before. James Franklin got closer and closer every year, then broke through with a No. 5 class led by three five-stars.
9. Toledo hit No. 65 and loaded up with 24 three-stars, at least 10 more than anybody else in the MAC besides Western Michigan. The MAC’s most consistent program waited years for a conference title, and now we might see a string of them.
10. Western Kentucky’s been steadily building for a long time now, topping 2017’s No. 82 class with a No. 81 finish, including 16 Georgia and Florida signees.
* With some exceptions to account for wild outliers. A bunch of old Kentucky, Iowa, and Ohio State classes ranked dozens of spots lower in the Composite than they should’ve based on the individual rankings, for example, so I used Rivals instead for those. I also cut it off at 2002, since things start getting extra janky around then. These numbers also fluctuate over the years, for whatever reason, so an old class might’ve jumped ahead of a newer one by the time you read this.
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