Ranking the Big East

On national letter of intent day Mike Fasano posted his rankings for the recruited classes in the new Big East.

Unlike last year, however, there were major changes on signing day. For Pittsburgh, signing day will be known as Black Wednesday. Not only did their top player, Anthony Morelli defect, he defected to Penn State (Ouch). Pitt also lost talented running back Andrew Johnson and two others.

Other teams prospered on signing day. UConn added a bunch of talent to their program and South Florida pulled some last minute surprises with a couple of major signings.

How do the recruiting classes of the new Big East teams stack up?

In this article, we rank the teams of the New Big East from one to eight adjusting for the signing day mayhem. The overall rankings are based on two criteria. How well the team recruited overall and how well they met their needs. The emphasis is on overall recruiting. How well a team met their needs was a criterion we used to break ties in the ranking.

Here they are, ranked from first to last.


#1 Rutgers

Late Additions

Shukree Barfield chose Rutgers over Miami; Cameron Stephenson is a highly regarded defensive lineman with three years of eligibility.

Other players of note

Dwayne Jones was one of the most sought after fullbacks in the nation this season. He chose Rutgers over Nebraska, Virginia and Boston College. Jean Beljour, RB, DB, is a super athlete who chose Rutgers over Tennessee, Boston College, Syracuse and others. Dimitri Linton is a running back with speed, vision, elusiveness and power. He comes off a break out season in which he broke South Florida records held by the likes of Emmett Smith and Autry Denson. He chose Rutgers over Stanford. Corey Hyman, OL, is a tough, tough kid who will impress Rutgers fans with his physical style of play. He was first team All Florida by the associated press and chose Rutgers over Auburn and Pitt. Mike Teel was the top QB in the State of New Jersey last season. He chose Rutgers over Virginia and Michigan State. Teel had almost 4,000 passing yards and 53 passing touchdowns at Don Bosco high. Jeremy Ito, K, Redlands, California, was considered perhaps the best kicking prospect in the nation last year and certainly the best kicker/punter prospect in America.


Rutgers needed help at offensive line, rush end, defensive back and in the kicking game. Overall they met their needs very well, probably better than any team in the league. Many of the players in this class will become fixtures in the Rutgers lineup in years to come.


#2 South Florida

Late Additions

Johnny Peyton is a burner who thumbed his nose at Pitt at the last minute. He helps to fill a huge need at wide out for USF.

Other players of note

JUCO Antonio Searcy, DT, 6-3, 310 chose USF over Kansas State. Brouce Mompremier, LB, 6-0, 210 had a 118 tackles and 12.5 sacks on the way to All Florida Honors. Jariette Buie, is a rush linebacker out of Florida who had 12 sacks last year. He chose USF over Florida, Florida State and others. Terrance Jones is a scatback with incredible speed who ran  for 2,700 yards and 39 touchdowns last season. Enough to garner offers from Nebraska, Michigan State, LSU and Iowa. Jacob Griffin is an outstanding offensive line prospect who chose USF over Florida State and Tennessee. Andre Hall, 5-9, 200 out of Garden City CC.  Hall only played one year of high school football, running for more than 1800 yards and 26 touchdowns.


USF found their "big uglies" and added a ton of talent on defense. Now they need a QB and more top wideouts. We felt that the late addition of Johnny Peyton to this class pulled USF so close that it was anybody's guess who was number one in the Big East.


#3 West Virginia

Late Additions

Ray Williams, 6-0, 180, won Ohio's Mr. Football award in 2003, rushing for over 2,000 yards last year and over 7,000 in his career.

Other players of notes

Brandon Barrett, 6-0, 190 had 76 touchdown receptions in his high school career, the second highest total in national history. He has speed, hands and an especially good knack of getting open. He turned down offers from Ohio State and Pitt to head to Morgantown.. John Bradshaw at 6-5, 300 is a tremendous prospect who is only 16 years old. He passed on an offer to Virginia Tech in order to become a Mountaineer. Someday he may be the top offensive linemen in the Big East.  JUCO Louis Davis, 6-6, 260, will provide immediate help at tight end. Darius Reynaud with team up with Brandon Barrett to provide a one-two punch at wide out. He chose WVU over and Michigan State. Doug Slavonic, 6-6, 240, DL, has 4.8 speed. He chose the Mountaineers over Georgia Tech, Iowa and Maryland.


A solid class from top to bottom.


#4 Pittsburgh

Late Additions

How about late subtractions. The Panthers got killed down the stretch losing Anthony Morelli bolted for PSU, Johnny Peyton chose South Florida and Andrew Johnson decommitted from the Panthers to chose Miami.

Other players of notes

 Craig Bokor could play offensive or defensive line at the next level, he was one of the better players out of the Pittsburgh area this season.  DE Corey Davis out of Aliquippa is one of the better linebackers out of Pennsylvania this year. At 260 pounds but with 4.6 speed people think he has pro potential. Scott McKillop excelled on offense and defense at Kiski Area HS, setting school records for career tackles with 332 and solos with 161. As a senior he had 61 solos and 71 assists. Scott also rushed for 321 yards on 71 attempts and scored four touchdowns. Adam Gunn was a versatile athlete who excelled on both sides of the ball at Kiski Area HS. Pitt recruited Adam as a safety. Adam is known for his bone jarring hits and has the reputation of a headhunter in the secondary. Linebacker Vernon Smith out of Fort Lauderdale had 101 tackles, 6 sacks and one interception as just a junior. At 6-1, 230 he has 4.6 speed. He chose Pitt over Oklahoma and Kansas State.


Walt Harris had trouble winning with great talent. This class has good talent, what does that mean for the future of Pitt football?  If you ask us it is time for Schiano to start recruiting Western Pennsylvania. He can sell something that Harris can't, a future.


#5 Louisville

Ended up with 23 recruits.

 Late Additions

none of note

Signed linebacker Mozell Axson of Winterhaven Florida, who like Lamar Miles is a Florida top 100 recruit. Also signed DB Bobby Buchanan, younger brother of Atlanta Falcons, Ray Buchanan. Considered one of the top 20 prospects in the state of Illinois.

After landing just two players from Kentucky in his first recruiting class, HC Bobby Petrino signed five this year.


#6 Syracuse

Ended up with 31 recruits.

Late Additions

 None of note

Diego Oquendo, 6-foot, 170, caught 27 passes for 675 yards and scored 20 touchdowns.

He also had 112 tackles and 3 interceptions and returned 2 punts and 1 kickoff for TDs.

He chose Syracuse over South Carolina.

Courtney Green, 6-1, 180, rushed for 17 TDs and 1,008 yards as a senior. He also played safety and was named most valuable player of the Class AA (New York) state championship game.

Syracuse was waiting on three scholarship offers. Receiver Sidney Rice of Gaffney, South Carolina, committed to South Carolina. Defensive back Joe Manning of Tallahassee, Florida, committed to Florida State and cornerback/wide receiver Rashaun Jones of Lake City, Florida, signed with Miami.



Syracuse failed to land any of the New York State's top seven recruits and also failed to sign any of the top 100 rated players in the country. Lost Mike Hart, a highly recruited tailback that played just five miles from the Carrier Dom to Michigan.


#7 Connecticut

Ended up with 27 recruits. 

Late Additions

Added John Baranowsky, DE from Sudbury Mass, who spent last year at Hargrave Military Academy in Va. Prior to that, was named to the Mass All-State team.

Also signed D.J. Hernandez, 6-2, 190 QB, from Bristol who was Connecticut's state player of the year.


#8 Cincinnati

Ended up with 16 recruits.

Late Additions

None of note


In addition to signing Dustin Grutza, 6-3, 200, QB from Mason County HS in Kentucky, also signed 6-3, 188 QB Earnest Jackson from Southfield, Michigan.

Also signed two Ohio division players of the year in Anthony Hoke, 6-1, 235 LB and Lamonte Nelms, 6-3, 210, DB from Ravenna, Ohio.



Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net

Art Stein: astein2@nycap.rr.com

Mike and the Big Dog's LLC



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