Schools that surprised

Several schools brought in major recruits coups this year. Michigan, Iowa State, Wake Forest, Houston, and Colorado all stepped things up in 2012.

This recruiting cycle there have been a few schools either new to the recruiting rankings or that have significantly stepped up their recruitment from years past. Here is a look at five schools who surprised many with the classes that they brought in.

Michigan -

It isn't so much that Michigan has recruited poorly in recent years or that they don't have the tradition of bringing in big time players, but this 2012 class is a whole different animal for the Wolverines.

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* Signing Day Blog
* Top 25 Class Rankings
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* Six Impact Performers
* Miller surpasses expectations
* Grading the new head coaches
* Signing Day Superlatives
* No. 1 prospect won't sign early
* Schools that surprised
* Conference Breakdown: No. 1 ACC
* Conference Breakdown: No. 2 PAC-12
* Conference Breakdown: No. 3 Big East
* Conference Breakdown: No. 4 Big Ten
* Conference Breakdown: No. 5 Big 12
* Conference Breakdown: No. 6 SEC
* Non-BCS Breakdown
* Schools that surprised
* Gathers opens it up
* Goodwin goes with Memphis
* 2012 Rankings
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* National Message Board
Landing Mitch McGary, while not a surprise at the end, if you look at it in a vacuum it was definitely a surprise. Before the spring had anyone asked if Michigan would beat out Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina for a kid, the answer would have been a definitive no. Also there is more than just McGary, four-star wing Glenn Robinson also gives the Wolverines a big time athlete who would be recruited at the highest level had he not committed early.

Finally Michigan also has a big time shooter in Nick Stauskas. Stauskas is a Canadian native who had a very good summer, and has people thinking that he could be in line for a jump into the top 100.

Overall this class for the Wolverines was impressive, and somewhat surprising. They stepped up, brought in a top 10 class, and can compete with anyone in the Big Ten talent wise at any position now that they have two back-to-back strong classes with a mix of big men, wings, and guards.

Colorado -

Major respect goes to Tad Boyle here for the job he has done on the recruiting trail. While it might not be the only reason, the move from the Big XII to the Pac 12 seems to be paying immediate dividends for the Buffalos.

What really got things going for Boyle was his ability to lockdown the borders of the state of Colorado. The Buffalos landed four-star in-state big men Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon, and Scott especially could be a program changing type of player for the school. Very rarely does the state produce this type of talent, and Boyle did a great job in identifying the talent and then locking it down.

Also Colorado did an excellent job in the state of California pulling off a big commitment from wing Xavier Johnson. Johnson is a very talented player who could be someone who really puts it all together in college. Some Pac 12 schools backed off of Johnson, but there is no denying the natural ability that he possesses.

Overall this class is just absolutely huge for Colorado, and while in the past Colorado has landed players like Chauncey Billups and David Harrison who were big time recruits, never has the school put together a class like this one with high level talent across the board.

Houston -

Coming into this year no one saw the Houston Cougars as a recruiting threat in the state of Texas. Now the Cougars are very, very real, and have done as good a job as any school not in a BCS conference.

The big deal for Houston came when they landed the package deal of local talent in Danrad Knowles and Danuel House. Both played over the summer for the high powered Texas PRO AAU program. House is an elite level athlete who is also a good shooter on the wing from deep. Knowles is a stretch the court power forward who can make threes and also once he adds strength will be able to play down low.

Still it wasn't just those two for the Cougars. Houston also landed another local product in big man Valente Izundu. Izundu is a raw big man, but he has the athleticism and length to be an impact player in Conference USA once he gets more comfortable with the game.

While the days of Phi Slama Jama are still a long way away in Houston, the Cougars are going to be back in a big way with talent once this 2012 class arrives on campus.

Wake Forest -

The Demon Deacons struggled mightily on the floor a year ago, and to date in the Jeff Bzdelik era hadn't brought in many high level recruits. That has now all changed with the way Wake Forest recruited in 2012.

First Wake stepped up by locking down a pair of talented in-state targets in Aaron Rountree and Codi Miller-McIntyre, but the biggest news came later in the process when talented combo forward Arnaud Moto picked the Demon Deacons.

Moto isn't the typical Bzdelik player as he is fairly unskilled, but strong, tough, and athletic. He is one of the best athletes in the class, and his mid-range game has been improving, and for Wake it was a statement recruit.

While those three headline the class, another three solid three-star frontcourt pieces have also joined the fold. 7-footer Andre Washington needs to get tougher, but he has some skill and also is a good shot blocker who plays hard. Tyler Cavanaugh and Devin Thomas are both power forwards with toughness down low and solid athleticism.

Overall this is a big class with a good mix of size and skill. It addresses needs all over the floor for the Demon Deacons, and shows that Bzdelik can recruit against the best. A top 15 class at Wake would have been a surprise to many when this class started, so this was a major step up.

Iowa State -

When the Cyclones hired Fred Hoiberg to replace Greg McDermott many were surprised given Hoiberg's lack of coaching and recruiting experience. Well, it is now clear that Hoiberg can recruit. Not only does he have some very talented transfers coming into the program, but now in the 2012 class he has some excellent players.

The headliner came early when Hoiberg went into New England and landed Georges Niang. Niang is a bully on the interior who absolutely thrived over the summer with BABC proving that he can score against taller and more athletic players.

Then Hoiberg went into New York City and landed a talented wing in Nkereuwem Okoro. Okoro is a bit of a do it all forward who combines a solid skill level with solid athleticism. Also from the city of Detroit, Iowa State added Sherron Dorsey-Walker who is a shooter with length.

Finally Iowa State scored a solid combo guard in Nazareth Long. The Canadian native can score and also run the point, so he will be asked to compete right away in the Big XII after a solid summer with CIA Bounce on the Nike EYBL circuit.

Overall this is a major recruiting coup for the Cyclones. They targeted and landed several top players, and now will have some pieces in place along with their transfers to compete against the better teams in the Big XII conference.

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