Five Group of 5 Recruiting Classes of Note

Edwin Weathersby II

The Power 5 college football weekend featured the first slate of games for the Big 12 and the ACC as well as several Group of 5 programs and it didn't take long to notice the latter shaking things up. 

From Louisiana knocking off top 25 Iowa State to Arkansas State upending Kansas State and Coastal Carolina holding off Kansas (again) in the nightcap, Saturday was a stark reminder of the quality of programs beyond the Power 5. 

Coastal already has more than two dozen commitments and Arkansas State is closing in on 20 with the chance to finish well given the heightened on-field expectation. 

SI All-American digs into more notable G5 recruiting classes as the 2020 season is under way. 

Cincinnati 

Total Commits: 18

Premium Position Commits: 5

The reigning G5 recruiting champs are en route to another strong unit as of mid September. While following up the Mr. Football addition of Evan Prater in 2020 isn't the simplest task, UC did find the next arm up with in-stater Brady Lichtenberg, a balanced passer who accounted for 36 touchdowns in 2019. Four additional premium position prospects join him in the class, led by offensive tackle Luke Collinsworth, already 6-foot-6, 300 pounds. A quartet of defensive backs are already on board, too, including long cornerback Iesa Jarmon and the do-it-all Byron Threats, a one-time Purdue commitment. Luke Fickell classes will always have strength up front and the 2021 class features a pair effective of out-of-state pass rushers in Jah-mal Williams and Jalen Morrow. 

FAU

Total Commits: 27

Premium Position Commits: 5

The Owls have a new head coach in Willie Taggart, who knows the landscape and recruiting trail in the Sunshine State well, to say the least. Taggart has amassed 27 commitments, including QB Shedeur Sanders. While Sanders has fair run traits, the passer from Texas will be joined by 7 pass-catchers, including 5 WRs. A quartet of offensive linemen also have a notch in this group, including OT Jordan Sandlin and his brother Jaden on the inside. Taggart has a background as a RB coach, which may be an added element of the Owls possessing a pair of commitments from RBs Zuberi Mobley and Reginald Davis. Not forgetting to supplement defensive depth, FAU has 5 defensive linemen and 6 players in the secondary en route to Boca Raton. Edge Julius Barfield appears to be a pass-rusher with some prowess, while the backend group is led by CB Jahbari Hill. Taggart is as prideful of being a Floridian as anyone in college football, which is why it is not a shock to see 17 pledges of this 27-player class are from Sunshine State prospects.

Louisiana

Total Commits: 11

Premium Position Commits: 5

Billy Napier's current class doesn't have the volume others do but the quality is there and the impact positions are represented in nearly half the class occupying premium spots, including two quarterbacks offering differing options. Hunter Herring is a big 6-4, 200-pounder with a baseball background. The in-stater makes athletic plays as one would expect with a strong arm as well as ability as a runner. Zy McDonald hails from Mississippi and offers dynamic traits, evidenced by 14 rushing scores in 2019, but this isn't an athlete playing quarterback -- he can distribute the ball despite a 5-foot-10 frame. Size, otherwise, is a common theme in the UL class from 6-foot-8, 350-pound offensive lineman Mackey Mailho to each committed defensive back standing 6-foot or better. Throw in Texas A&M transfer tight end Glenn Beal and this class should make a splash as early as 2021 in Lafayette.

Memphis 

Total Commits: 20

Premium Position Commits: 5

The post Mike Norvell era is working well on the recruiting trail so far with a voluminous class committed to Ryan Silverfield, with some interesting defensive prospects on board including a five man DB class. In-state cornerback Jawon Odoms offers great size and length but track standout Tyrell Raby could be the best cover corner in the group. A trio of pass rushers are in the class already including junior college standout Myron Green while the offensive line group stands at just one at the moment in Peach State prospect Royce White. Texas running back JP Martin runs with great lean and can break the long one with his track background, part of the reason Power 5 programs continue to court him. If there is a sleeper in this group it's well put together linebacker Jared Nedd, who can be the signal caller and tone setter one day in the AAC. Former LSU quarterback Peter Parrish is transferring in, too. 

SMU

Total Commits: 12

Premium Position Commits: 1

Although this class has just a dozen commitments, SMU has a crown jewel headed to University Park in QB Preston Stone. From the nearby Dallas area, Stone is the No. 10 QB and No. 86 in the SI99. The Mustangs beat out many Power-5 programs for his services, and we feel his skill set in head coach Sonny Dykes’ offensive scheme is among the ideal fits in the national class. Dykes has a pair of RB commits to join Stone, yet we like the potential connection in the passing game with WR Dylan Goffney. While SMU lacks an offensive lineman in this class, it is worth noting that Dykes has acquired 9 offensive trench players for his roster since the start of 2020. Defensively, SMU has a trio of safeties locked in, led by Isaiah Nwokobia, another Dallas native. K Brendan Hall, standing 6-foot-7, may be the tallest player at his position in the country. Finally, all 12 commitments for the Mustangs are from the Lone Star state. 

Other G5 Classes off to a Good Start:

Appalachian State

USF

Troy

UNLV

Tulane

John Garcia, Jr. contributed to this report

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Top WR Corps Already Committed to P5 Programs

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Inaugural SI All-American SI99 Released

Prospects Knocking on the Door of the SI99

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SIAA's 2021 Rankings by Position

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