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5 Schools That Crushed This Recruiting Season


Who had the big college football recruiting hauls? Here are 5 programs that did a fantastic job in 2022 after struggling in 2021.

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2022 College Football Schedules: All 130 Teams

The February version of college football National Signing Day doesn’t have the hold on the sport like it used to – it’s the landline phone line in a 5G world – but it closes out the recruiting season.

Sort of.

Some programs were already done recruiting back in December, but everyone is always pitching and holding on to their own guys with the transfer portal a bigger deal now.

Why bother with a whole slew of young prospects when you can go shopping and get the mature guys you need?

But recruiting high school players is still a big deal for your base.

No, not everyone is going to transfer, and no, you can’t live off of getting guys through the portal. You need the cake to put the transfer portal frosting on.

Texas A&M destroyed it this recruiting season. Shock of shocks, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Texas, Penn State – the normal big guys did big recruiting things. But you knew that.

What teams off the normal recruiting radar crushed it this season? More to the point, which schools and coaching staffs bounced back massive after a mediocre 2021?

5. Stanford Cardinal

It certainly helped a wee bit that USC and Oregon are in a transitional period and need a year or so to get back up to speed in the high-end recruiting world, but it’s not like Stanford is competing for the same guys as the rest of the Pac-12.

David Shaw’s 2020 class wasn’t bad, but the 2021 haul was a bit lacking.

There were a few nice parts, and the Cardinal always gets a star lineman or two, but it missed the WOW factor for a program that started to fall off. After a 3-9 season coming off a four-win 2020 – granted, there were only six games – and 4-8 2019, the reciting class needed guys.

Shaw hasn’t done a whole lot in the transfer portal, but he did what he must for the program and got the right guys from across the country for the right spots.

When Stanford rocks, its lines are dominant and the running game works. In come the infrastructure players with both lines improving, Sam Roush out of Tennessee is a top tight end, and he’s got two terrific-looking offensive tackles in Lucas Heyer and Fisher Anderson.

Again, it’s different because some programs aren’t quite there yet, but Stanford had one of the best recruiting runs in the Pac-12.

NEXT: Michigan State Spartans

4. Michigan State Spartans

Ask anyone who’s been around Mel Tucker for a few minutes and the rave reviews will come.

The guy knows how to sell, he’s got the right pitch, and he’s got the proof now that things are headed in the right direction after a big 2021 and his second straight win over Michigan.

The biggest gets come from the transfer portal. The running back tandem of Jarek Broussard (Colorado) and Jalen Berger (Wisconsin) was fabulous, landing corner Ameer Speed from Georgia is an instant help, and he’s got some linebackers coming in to be a big jolt for the D.

Armed with a long-term contract and the success of last year, he and his staff did a great job after an okay 2021 recruiting run, loading up on a whole lot of speed, athleticism, and potential playmakers.

This is one of the strongest groups of young receivers to come to East Lansing in a while, and the secondary glitch is soon to be fixed by the defensive back options coming in.

This class built on the momentum of all the positives, but it has to be kept in mind that it’s all about 2-to-4. years from now with the new guys. Fortunately, they all know who their head coach will be.

NEXT: Purdue Boilermakers

3. Purdue Boilermakers

(Pretentiousness name-drop warning …)

In a long-form interview several years ago, I asked the late and great Joe Tiller if the success he had with his passing game was getting him looks from a higher-caliber of recruit.

“I consider it a win if I can get a top guy to open a piece of mail from us, much less get them on campus.”

Even in the best of times, Purdue has to recruit to a certain type even though Jeff Brohm’s passing offense is perfectly suited for anyone with NFL dreams. Getting great receivers hasn’t been a problem, and he’ll have a few nice parts here and there, but it’s not like he has to fight to keep the five-star guys from rushing in.

The 2021 class was a bit lacking. It wasn’t a big class and there weren’t a ton of sure-thing star parts, but Brohm and the program made up for it with a huge bounceback 2022.

He got the receivers and corners from the transfer portal, but it’s his class of young parts that should be the biggest boost.

He might have his star quarterback to build around in 2023 if Brady Allen is as good as advertised. He was a great get, he’s got a few future defensive linemen who should grow into edge rushers, and overall, it’s a class that both recruits to a type and has future high-end Big Ten producers.

NEXT: South Carolina Gamecocks

2. South Carolina Gamecocks

It stinks so much to be in the SEC.

You can put together a terrific recruiting class and it barely gets noticed because of all the powerhouse talent going to Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, and the rest of the giants.

But Shane Beamer put together something terrific after getting a year to work.

Like all newly hired head coaches, trying to get anything together after being on the job for ten minutes is tough. He put together a stunner of a 2021 season on the field, he was able to show where the program is headed, and that played a massive role in his overall recruiting class.

Start with getting QB Spencer Rattler from Oklahoma, keep it going with RB Christian Beal-Smith from Wake Forest, TE Austin Stoner from OU, S Devonni Reed from Central Michigan, and on and on and on.

Improving right now through the transfer portal wasn’t a problem. Then it became time to build for the future with Tanner Bailey his potential quarterback in a few years.

He landed a few nice defensive linemen and a whole lot of defensive backs to improve the all-around team speed and athleticism.

Again, it might not seem like much compared to some of those other SEC programs, but this might be a top 20 overall class to go along with even more interest from the transfer portal.

It was a big-time brand up class.

NEXT: Arizona Wildcats

1. Arizona Wildcats

It’s been a constant mystery.

Why can’t Arizona get the big-time recruits?

Great weather, great campus, great basketball with the fan base that’s starving for a winning football team, great relative location to Los Angeles and the California recruiting area.

But it’s been a rough run, and head coach Jedd Fisch had to tear the whole thing down to try building it back up again. On the plus side, the pitch was easy after a miserable season.

Come to the school with the great weather, great campus and all of that, and you can potentially play right away and make a big impact.

And boom. In comes QB Jayden de Laura from Washington State. In comes WR Jacob Cowling from UTEP. In comes DT Tiaoalii Savea from UCLA.

Fisch and his staff crushed the transfer portal, and then he went out and landed one of the school’s best recruiting classes in a long, long time.

The team needs a gamebreaking running back. Welcome in Rayshon Luke.

The team needs more firepower for the passing game. Welcome in, WR Tetairoa McMillan.

The team needs a whole lot more depth for the lines. That was more about quality than quantity with this class, but that’s still going to take another class or two and more help from the portal – at least for the offensive side.

The talent level just cranked up a few notches.

2022 College Football Schedules: All 130 Teams


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