Rivals national recruiting analyst Clint Cosgrove takes a look at a rule change that could be coming soon, the top of the team rankings and five Midwest prospects poised to rise in the next rankings refresh.
1. COUNTABLE COACHES CHANGE COULD BE COMING
According to a story on FootballScoop.com this week, the NCAA is close to going forward with removing the rule that limits teams to 10 on-field coaches who are also able to go on the road recruiting. While I do worry about the effect it could have on smaller schools that do not have the budget to hire additional coaches, this is a common sense move by the NCAA in my opinion.
Most of the big Power Five programs already have multiple analysts and quality control coaches that serve a number of different roles, but are also not technically allowed to coach the players on the field or go on the road recruiting. Even with the rule in place, it is pretty much an open secret that these analysts do coach on the field. Although there are occasionally minor infractions handed out to teams that are caught using the non-countable coaches, it seems to be rarely enforced.
I see unlimited countable coaches as a positive for a number of reasons. First and foremost it takes away the moral predicament for these non-countable coaches. They want to be on the field coaching and they aren’t going to tell the head coach no when asked to do so. Secondly, this will create more opportunities for coaches who are out of work or have had their opportunities limited to being an analyst since there isn’t an on-field role available for them with the current limit of 10 assistant coaches. Third, this is a win for the college athletes and will enhance their support system. Between coaching, recruiting and all of the other hats that a college assistant coach has to wear, sometimes the attention and time spent developing their players can take a back seat. With unlimited coaches there will be enough staff in place at many schools to free up coaches of additional responsibilities, not only will this make their work-life balance better, it will increase the amount of time that they can focus on developing their players.
The last thing that sticks out as being a huge positive is the recruiting workload on individual coaches will be reduced. Some coaches will likely be assigned more of a recruiting role while other coaches will be able to focus on football and worry less about recruiting. This helps everybody involved from the coach, to the current roster, to the recruits.
There will likely be some downside if this rule goes into effect, but at the end of the day this just makes too much sense and should benefit many. It may take awhile for everything to work the way it is intended, but through trial and error we will get there and an unnecessary NCAA rule will be eliminated.
2. EARLY TEAM RANKINGS HAVE A DIFFERENT LOOK AT THE TOP
We all know it is relatively early in the 2023 recruiting cycle and there will be plenty of rankings movement between now and signing day. A lot of the current rankings are simply based on teams having a high number of commitments while others only have a couple in the boat as of today. But, the number of programs that aren’t necessarily known as recruiting powers toward the top of the rankings right now is fun to see.
To put things in perspective, Alabama’s 2023 class currently sits at No. 37 overall due to only having four commitments with all of them being four-star recruits. This is due to the caliber of recruit that Alabama is going after. The top tier players typically let their recruitment drag out a little longer and the Tide are also in a unique situation where they are often able to choose who they want versus chasing players that aren’t to their standard for the sake of early commits. It is highly unlikely that Alabama will be found anywhere outside the top five when the 2023 class signs. On the other end of the spectrum Colorado’s 2023 class currently ranks No. 20 in the nation with 11 commitments, but its average player rating is only 2.83 stars.
The current top five has some regulars in Notre Dame at No. 1 and Ohio State at No. 5. But, the Nos. 2-4 spots are currently in uncharted territory. After finishing No. 38 in the 2022 class, Texas Tech currently sits at No. 2 with 20 commitments and an average star rating of 3.2. While I doubt the Red Raiders stay near the top five in the end, the 3.2 star rating is pretty good for 20 commitments and they should finish much higher than the previous year’s class.
Coming in at the third spot is Cincinnati which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise since the Bearcats are moving to the Big 12 and have put an elite product on the field. That being said, their previous three recruiting classes have never ranked higher than No. 38. While their 19 commitments help the ranking, there is also some serious star power here with three four-star players and a number of players with the highest RR that a three star can have. The Bearcats may not finish in the top five, but if they keep recruiting the way they are and land some more top targets they are close on, they will have a chance and should end up with their best class ever.
Northwestern comes in at No. 4 which is one spot ahead of perennial Big Ten recruiting champions Ohio State. I don’t know if I have seen that before and Northwestern has done a great job recruiting this class. The Wildcats currently have 18 commitments and similar to Cincinnati they also have three four-star players and a similar average star rating of 3.17. Both figures are very impressive considering their academic standards and the fact that they finished No. 57 in the 2022 class rankings. While they likely won’t finish in the top five, Northwestern is in the mix for a number of other highly rated prospects and this is going to be a very impressive class for Northwestern when all is said and done.
TEAM RANKINGS: Class of 2023
Five Midwest 2024 prospects that should rise in the rankings
1. Brandon Davis-Swain – Davis-Swain has always been an impressive player, but the way he has grown and developed over the past year is too hard to ignore. He has been lights out this season including an excellent performance at the Rivals Camp Series in Indianapolis. Davis-Swain made a pit-stop at Notre Dame on the way to the camp and ended up committing to the Irish on his way.
2. Christian Bentancur – Bentancur was not included in our previous 2024 ranking release, but he has become too hard to ignore. He is a big and athletic tight end that can play with his hand in the dirt or flex out. His recruitment has also blown up since our last rankings release and he now sits at over 20 offers including the likes of Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon.
3. Mylan Graham – Graham was not even on my radar during the last 2024 rankings update, but when you turn on the film it becomes pretty obvious why his recruitment has blown up in the past few weeks. Graham kicked his recruitment off with a bang when Ohio State became the first program to offer. Over the next five days he also went on to pick up offers from Indiana, Michigan and Notre Dame. Graham has the ability to be a special player.
4. Aaron Scott – Scott is a long and athletic corner with a skill-set to match his frame. He has been really impressive during off-season camps and his recruitment has substantially picked up because of it. Scott was a 5.6 three-star in our last rankings and should have a legitimate shot at becoming a four-star during the next update. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Cincinnati and Michigan are some of his recent big offers.
5. Luke Williams – Williams should have made our last 2024 rankings release, which was really just an oversight on my part, because I have been a big fan of his since I first saw him at practice during his freshman year. Williams’ older brother signed with Northern Illinois in the 2022 class and was a heck of a player. Luke may be even better and his most recent offer came from Wisconsin, and he appears to be high on the Badgers.