The American Athletic Conference cemented its status as the best Group of Five conference this season, but it brought in just nine commits in November, usually a quiet month for recruiting. Sixteen Scout 300 players made their commitments as well, eight of them from Texas. Every AAC team has at least two three-star commitments and Houston, Cincinnati and South Florida have at least one four-star.
1. SMU Mustangs: 24 commits
Top-rated commit: Plano (Texas) three-star center Kadarius Smith, Scout’s 15th-ranked center and seventh-ranked in Texas.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (2) TE (1) OL (4) DL (4) LB (5) DB (5) ATH (1) specialists (0)
Recent activity: SMU pulled off a flip it had been working on for a couple months: Van (Texas) running back Aphonso Thomas flipped his commitment from Nebraska after committing to the Cornhuskers in May. Scout’s 124th-ranked running back wasn’t expected to be a member of Nebraska’s signing class. He will also enroll in January for the spring semester. Thomas also held offers from Kansas, Colorado State and Texas State.
2. Houston Cougars: 18 commits
Top-rated commit: Houston Westfield five-star defensive tackle Ed Oliver, the 9th overall player in the 2016 Scout 300.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (3) TE (0) OL (3) DL (4) LB (0) DB (6) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: The Cougars grabbed their third four-star (or higher) commitment of the class, landing Houston Bellaire wide receiver Courtney Lark. He’s Scout’s 169th overall player in the class (33rd-ranked wide receiver, seventh in Texas) and is a former TCU commit. Lark’s body control, route running and advanced technique make him a pretty advance prospect at his position, but he could add some weight to his 6-foot, 172-pound frame. Head coach Tom Herman announced Monday he’s agreed in principle to a new contract, so Houston fans won’t have to worry about the class disbanding if Herman leaves. Lark originally committed to TCU in January and also held offers from Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, Texas Tech, UNLV and Washington State.
3. Tulane Green Wave: 17 commits
Top-rated commit: New Orleans St. Augustine three-star inside linebacker Giovanni LaFrance, Scout’s 48th-ranked ILB and second-ranked in Louisiana.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (1) TE (0) OL (3) DL (4) LB (4) DB (3) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: Tulane has gone four months since landing a commitment and fired head coach Curtis Johnson on Saturday. Expect some movement once a new coaching staff is in place. LaFrance’s brother, Royce, plays defensive line for the Green Wave, so he may be more inclined to stay committed through the coaching search.
4. Cincinnati Bearcats: 15 commits
Top-rated commit: Cincinnati La Salle four-star running back Jeremy Larkin, Scout’s 24th-ranked RB and third-ranked in Ohio.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (2) WR (3) TE (0) OL (3), DL (2) LB (1) DB (3) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: The Bearcats added some defense to an offense-heavy class with Austell (Ga.) South Cobb defensive end Eljiah Cobb, who held FBS offers from Air Force, Appalachian State, Charlotte, Georgia State, Navy, Ohio and Old Dominion. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Cobb projects to shift inside to tackle at the college level, according to BearcatInsider.com’s Dave Berk.
5. East Carolina Pirates: 13 commits
Top-rated commit: Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook three-star quarterback Reid Herring, Scout’s 99th-ranked QB and fifth-ranked in North Carolina.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (3) TE (1) OL (2) DL (4) LB (0) DB (1) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: East Carolina added Mooresville (N.C). defensive tackle Jamil Dukes to its class on Nov. 12. Dukes is 6-foot-3, 295 pounds and held offers from Charlotte, Georgia Southern and West Virginia.
6. Temple Owls: 13 commits
Top-rated commit: Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor three-star safety Keyvone Bruton, Scout’s 69th-ranked safety nationally and second-ranked in Virginia.
Commits by position: QB (2) RB (0) WR (2) TE (1) OL (1) DL (2) LB (0) DB (5) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: Temple added its 13th commit when Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar wide receiver Daelun Dunbar committed on Nov. 12. The Owls extended his only known offer.
7. Navy Midshipmen: 13 commits
Top-rated commit: Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal three-star defensive tackle Joe Goff, Scout’s 67th-ranked DT and second-ranked in Virginia.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (1) TE (0) OL (3) DL (2) LB (4) DB (1) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: Navy landed Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College Prep center Noel Hijazi to its class when he committed on Nov. 6. It’s the 6-foot-1, 290-pounder’s only known offer.
8. South Florida Bulls: 12 commits
Top-rated commit: Miami Central four-star running wide receiver, Darnell Salomon, Scout’s 37th-ranked wide receiver and seventh in Florida.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (1) TE (0) OL (3) DL (1) LB (3) DB (2) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: The Bulls have surged toward the top of the AAC with an 8-4 season that put Willie Taggart hot seat rumors to rest. The big splash was Salomon, Scout’s 196th overall player in the class and 17th-ranked wide receiver in the South region. South Florida also brought a familiar face back into the fold: Lake Wales (Fla.) three-star cornerback Josh Dunn recommitted after briefly reopening his recruitment in October. He’s Scout’s 113th-ranked cornerback.
Commit Spotlight: Darnell Salomon: The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver picked South Florida on Nov. 30 over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, LSU, Miami (Fla.), N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. He named Miami his leader earlier in the season before the Hurricanes made a coaching change. Saloman may be the biggest commitment in Taggart’s tenure. With his commitment, nine of the Bulls’ 12 pledges are rated a three-star recruit or higher.
9. Tulsa Golden Hurricane: 11 commits
Top-rated commit: Houston Reagan three-star inside linebacker Robert Revels, Scout’s 14th-ranked ILB and second-ranked in Texas
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (1) TE (0) OL (4) DL (0) LB (3) DB (1) ATH (1) specialists (0)
Recent activity: Tulsa is bowl eligible for the first time since 2012, but it did not add a November commitment.
10. Memphis Tigers: nine commits
Top-rated commit: Laurel (Miss.) three-star quarterback Keon Howard, Scout’s 22nd-ranked quarterback and first-ranked in Mississippi.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (3) TE (1) OL (0) DL (0) LB (0) DB (3) ATH (1) specialists (0)
Recent activity: Memphis brought Dothan (Ala.) three-star safety Tyrez Lindsey on Nov. 9. He’s 6-foot-2, 187 pounds and held FBS offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Southern Mississippi and Troy. Stay tuned for movement in the class after Justin Fuente agreed to be the head coach at Virginia Tech.
11. Connecticut Huskies: eight commits
Top-rated commit: Southington (Conn.) three-star quarterback Jay Rose, Scout’s 62nd-ranked quarterback and first-ranked in Connecticut.
Commits by position: QB (2) RB (0) WR (1) TE (0) OL (1) DL (0) LB (1) DB (1) ATH (2) specialists (0)
Recent activity: The Huskies did not add any commits in November, but became bowl-eligible with a Nov. 21 win over then-undefeated Houston.
12. UCF Golden Knights: five commits
Top-rated commit: Miami Gulliver Prep three-star cornerback Dontay Mayfield, Scout’s 131st-ranked CB and 21st-ranked in Florida (he will play wide receiver in college).
Commits by position: QB (0) RB (0) WR (2) TE (0) OL (0) DL (1) LB (0) DB (2) ATH (0) specialists (0)
Recent activity: The miserable 2015 season came to an end with an 0-12 record, but the Knights added Scott Frost as their new head coach. The former Oregon offensive coordinator will have an exciting brand of football to sell in Florida. Recruiting should pick up now.