On the day after the 2011 National Signing Day for college football programs around the country, let's look at the reaction to the players brought in by Rutgers and Syracuse. The initial reaction seems to be that Rutgers had a great day, while Syracuse nearly missed on a couple of players who could have made their recruiting class special.
Let's look at Rutgers first. Here is what ESPN's Brian Bennett had to say:
Needs met: As Rutgers proved last year with its brutal offense, it needs playmakers, especially in the running game. Huggins should help that right away. The Scarlet Knights also needed help for a battered offensive line and got that in junior college center Dallas Hendrickson and prospects Kaleb Wright and Keith Lumpkin, the latter of whom blocked for Huggins in high school. Greg Schiano also filled some holes on the defensive front and got a backup quarterback, at least, in Gary Nova.
Analysis: This has all the makings of a standout class. Schiano kept some of the top prospects in New Jersey, and [Savon] Huggins was a home run. This group answers a lot of concerns and could have the star power to help the Scarlet Knights finally get to the next level.
Here is CBS Sports on Rutgers' class:
Greg Schiano pulled in a really nice class for the Scarlet Knights, headlined by running back Savon Huggins. Huggins committed in the days coming into National Signing Day, but he is arguably the best prospect in the conference. Rutgers did get on official commitment from former Pitt commit Marquise Wright on Wednesday. Wright, a 6-3, 260-pound defensive lineman, is one of the best of a group of in-state prospects Schiano was able to keep in New Jersey.
So, a good day for the Scarlet Knights. They needed that after going 4-8 overall (1-6 in the Big East) and losing ground to Syracuse in the regional recruiting battle the last couple of seasons.
Now, let's look at the reaction to the Syracuse class.
Needs met: Syracuse badly needed offensive playmakers and added some guys with speed at wideout and running back. The program also needed more depth, especially after losing a large senior class; the 27-man class should help in that area.
Analysis: This looks like Doug Marrone's best class in his three years at Syracuse. The Orange disappointingly missed on a couple of superstars they had a chance of landing in Ishaq Williams (Notre Dame) and Kevin McReynolds (UCLA). Getting a player of that caliber must be the goal going forward. But Marrone has made inroads in keeping more talented New York players home and should be able to build on 2010's breakthrough season with this class.
From CBS, which put the Orange in its 'loser' category:
Syracuse entered signing day with one last target on their board, and it was arguably their most important. But when defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds signed with UCLA, head coach Doug Marrone's class was complete. Marrone did pull in 27 players, but that 28th would have made a big difference for Syracuse.
Seems like SU did OK. The Orange, though, apparently missed out on the type of talent that will be needed to take Syracuse to the level of consistently competing for a BCS bowl berth.
The Big East was termed a "loser" overall by Scout.com:
No team from the Big East finished in the Top 30. Rutgers and Louisville signed respectable classes at No. 31 and No. 36 respectively. Each signed potential stars including 5-Star running back Savon Huggins (6'0/200) of Jersey City, N.J. for Rutgers and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (6'3/195) of Miami, Fla for Louisville. Recruiting rankings don't mean everything, but the conferences remaining six members signed only three players rated 4-Stars or better. That's less than 28 teams.