The e-mail came late last week from one of my seven bosses.
I begged for mercy. Didn't he realize what he was asking? He wanted me to commit to paper a list that, in three years, almost certainly will look foolish. Even the coaches don't really know which players will develop once they get on campus. An idiot sportswriter doesn't stand a chance.
Like most Sunday morning quarterbacks, I prefer the clarity of hindsight. That's why, for the third consecutive year, I'm re-ranking the classes that signed three years ago based on actual on-field production. As in 2006 and 2007, the initial 2008 recruiting rankings pegged some classes perfectly and severely underrated or overrated others. Just like the coaches did.
This year marked the first time the defending national champ didn't make the top 10 in the re-rank. Auburn's team was a mix of veterans signed in 2006 and 2007 and junior college transfers and youngsters signed in 2009 and 2010. Only two key contributors (wide receiver Darvin Adams and running back Onterrio McCalebb) signed with the Tigers in 2008. TCU also didn't make the list despite a top five finish. The Horned Frogs' 2008 class produced only three 2010 starters. Also absent was Boise State. The reason? The core of the group that had so much success signed in 2007, which is why the Broncos finished No. 2 in
The rest of the group should look pretty familiar. While many of the players listed here weren't household names when they signed in 2008, you know them now.