This time last year, Rutgers fans were riding high. The Scarlet Knights were making the move to the Big Ten, 13 New Jersey prospects were ranked as four stars or higher and many expected Rutgers to capitalize on the recruiting trail. Fast-forward to today, and Rutgers' 2014 class will be signing day's most disappointing class. At one point, the Knights had one of the best groups in the Big Ten, featuring local players such as four-star Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./ Manalapan). But 12 decommitments later, Rutgers is limping into signing day. It's a remarkable level of attrition for a team that hasn't been hit with NCAA sanctions or had a coaching change. There's just no way to put a positive spin on things for Rutgers.
You will never see Kansas State in the top 25 in the recruiting rankings, and this season the Wildcats are at the bottom of the Big 12 and likely will remain there after signing day. But big names and stars don't mean anything to somebody like coach Bill Snyder, who prefers to make something out of nothing. Snyder is famous for taking three-star recruits and turning them into five-star players by the time they graduate. Count on the Wildcats to do the same thing again with a number of the players in the 2014 class.
New Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason was asked to do the impossible. He was given less than two weeks to turn around a Vandy class that was devastated by the departure of now-Penn State coach James Franklin. A highly rated class just wasn't going to happen. But Commodores fans should take comfort in knowing this will be the worst class Mason signs while he's in Nashville. He has a tremendous eye for talent and knows how to target kids of a higher academic standard. So watch for things to turn around with the 2015 class.
This statement is less of a prediction and more of a sure thing. You can count on not seeing a single coach get in front of a microphone on Wednesday and say his recruiting class stinks or he missed out on his top targets. Most coaches will say it's best to judge how good the class truly is in four or five years, but then will gush for 30 minutes about the quality of the players they just landed. That's one of the reasons why signing day is so special for every team in the country. On Wednesday, everybody is a winner. Everybody got the guy who will help them win a lot of games in the future. Everybody has hope. That's what makes signing day a sports holiday.