January 29th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

Shame on me for not doing my homework before posting this, but oh well. I think Michigan's recruiting class in 96 or 97, with Henson, Terrell, Walker, Epstein, etc. was a hell of a class. Ranks pretty high on my list.

Maize.Blue Wagner

January 29th, 2010 at 3:04 PM ^

Agreed, that was the first one that came to my mind. Justin Fargas was in it as I recall.

This list seems to be much more weighted toward team results (for good reason). I think almost every team on the list won a national title. I was surprised at the OSU class which was included; I expected a class with a few more of their more famous players (aka not Steve Bellisari).


January 29th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

If you count Miami's 5th year seniors (like he gives credit to the class in some of the posts). 5 if you count in team scrimmages. :-)

Might explain our Rose Bowl record some...though we did beat some of those teams on the list. ;-)


January 29th, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

What blew me away was despite how good some of these recruiting classes were on paper, how few of them resulted in a large number of NFL prospects/starters. Even those old OSU classes under Cooper - which seemed like NFL factories at times - resulted in a couple of good pros and a bunch of meh players. Just surprising how that played out.

The other interesting fact I noticed was how a number of those classes - like FSU and Miami in the 80s and 90s, USC in 2003 - ultimately became known at least as much for their off-the-field transgressions (and recruiting issues) as their on-field success. Even though FSU's run in the 90s was amazing on paper, the first thing that pops in my head is Free Shoes U. I feel like there is some sadness in that.


January 29th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

One of the most impressive classes I ever saw assembled (without the benefit of hindsight, obviously) was FSU's class in 1991. They signed 25 guys, 18 of them were high school all-americans. I *THINK* their only QB that year was Thad Busby. But they had Charlie Ward in the system and I think Chris Weinke had signed with them the year before.

The 1991 class featured the top offensive and top defensive player in the country. The top defensive guy was Derrick Brooks (who was still a safety prospect) and the top offensive guy was Marquette Smith (who transferred after his mom got sick).

I mentioned this in another thread...but one of the more incredible recruiting efforts was by Notre Dame in 1990. Normally, a school will offer scholarships to 150-200 kids. Notre Dame offered something like 37 kids scholarships. And signed 18 of them. Of the 18 that they signed, 12 of them played in the NFL. Bryant Young, Jerome Bettis, Jeff Burris, Aaron Taylor, Lake Dawson, Willie Clark, Pete Berrich, Greg Lane, Jim Flanigan, Oliver Gibson, Anthony Peterson and Tim Ruddy were all in that class.

I interviewed Jeff Burris when he got back from his recruiting trip. Most of the kids that signed were brought in for the Notre Dame football banquet at the end of the year. Bob Costas was the speaker.

Burris is an impressive guy. He was the star athlete at his high school in Rock Hill, SC. He was a running back who was everyone's all american. He was the class president and easily the most popular guy in school. His school won the state beating their crosstown rival.

But he came back from that visit and was on cloud nine. He couldn't stop talking about it.


January 29th, 2010 at 9:43 PM ^

"I'm obviously biased here, but I believe you've made a mistake. You mention that in the 1947 season, Notre Dame was ranked #1, but after UM won the Rose Bowl the AP voted again, giving UM the National Championship. All of this is correct, but then in describing Notre Dame's 1946 class you credit them with 3 national titles from 1946-1949, which would include the 1947 title. While Notre Dame claims the 1947 title (incorrectly, as you have shown), it should not be given to them from an impartial source such as SI. I doubt this will be changed in the article, but some acknowledgement would be much appreciated."