Breaking down the biggest team needs in the 2013 recruiting cycle
Now that a month has passed since National Signing Day, college football recruiters can begin to target the class of 2013 -- and concentrate on fortifying the positions where they came up short. It's never too early to look ahead, and many programs are beginning to build their rosters of the future. As the list below demonstrates, some schools have major needs to address.
Remember: These are not needs for
With that in mind, here's a wish list for many of the nation's top programs.
Arizona State enters spring practice with just three scholarship quarterbacks on its roster. The Sun Devils didn't sign a single quarterback in this year's cycle -- three-star Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal prospect
Arkansas will have two scholarship quarterbacks with eligibility heading into 2013. The Razorbacks didn't sign a quarterback in the 2012 class, and Jacoby Walker's decision to transfer to Central Arkansas further deprives their positional depth. Arkansas could also use reinforcements at defensive tackle -- it's signed just two over the last two years.
Cal's only returning noteworthy tight ends are Richard Rodgers and Jacob Wark, unless Spencer Hagan, a former walk-on wide receiver now with scholarship as an H-back, is included. Though the Golden Bears attempted to address this need in the 2012 class, the only tight end they added was Sacramento (Calif.) American River College's Harrison Wilfley, who hasn't played football for the last two years while participating in a church mission in Uruguay.
This may seem counterintuitive, as Brandon Jenkins, Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner provide Florida State with a trio of formidable pass rushers. But the Seminoles won't have them for long. Jenkins and Carradine will be seniors come fall, and Werner, though a junior, could enter the 2013 NFL draft. Florida State will also have to replace backup Toshmon Stevens, another senior, and Dan Hicks, who recently transitioned from defensive end to tight end. Even given the recent additions of
Despite running a 3-4 defense, the Bulldogs didn't ink a single inside linebacker on Signing Day. Couple that with the fact that they'll lose two key inside linebackers after next season, Michael Gillard and Christian Robinson, and there's a clear lack of depth at a critical position. After stockpiling running backs this cycle -- landing
The Hoosiers will rely heavily on senior defensive tackles Larry Black Jr., Adam Replogle and Nicholas Sliger this fall, but all three are gone after the season. That forces Indiana to find replacements -- a need that could become even more pressing if the Hoosiers falter as they did last season. Indiana ranked 109th in total defense in a forgettable 1-11 campaign.
The return of Big East Rookie of the Year Teddy Bridgewater offers plenty of optimism in Louisville, but the Cardinals have a serious lack depth at the position. The team's three other returning quarterbacks are walk-ons or former walk-ons, and it signed just one signal-caller, three-star
All-ACC selections Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis enter their senior seasons, meaning Maryland will have to replace two of its top three defensive tackles in 2013. To make matters worse, the Terps didn't sign a single defensive tackle last month, increasing pressure on Randy Edsall to find prospects who can make an instant impact.
Miami has been a breeding ground for future NFL tight ends, producing the likes of Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow Jr., Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham. But the Hurricanes didn't sign a single tight end this year, placing them squarely in the market for at least one in 2013. Beyond tight end, Al Golden could also use reinforcements at running back and defensive tackle.
Wideouts Junior Hemingway and Kelvin Grady completed their eligibilities last season, while Roy Roundtree enters his final year and Darryl Stonum was dismissed from the team. That places the onus on Brady Hoke to sign a budding new receiving corps. He signed four-star prospect
The Spartans should prepare for the likelihood that star pass rusher William Gholston will head to the NFL Draft, a decision that could prove critical given the team's lack of incoming depth. Mark Dantonio and Co. suffered a big recruiting loss when 2012 defensive end
Nebraska's top four defensive ends include three seniors (Eric Martin, Cameron Meredith and Joseph Carter) and one junior (Jason Ankrah). Their looming departures will create a huge void, and though the Huskers signed
Notre Dame hoped to sign three cornerbacks this year, and for most of the recruiting cycle, it seemed poised to land two:
Oregon's 2012 signing class included five defensive ends, but the only defensive tackle in the 21-man group was three-star prospect
The Volunteers' latest haul didn't include a single offensive lineman, making it all the more imperative that they stock up on big bodies next year. Tennessee's wealth at the position from the previous two cycles provides a bit of a buffer, but it's rarity that any school fail to sign a single offensive lineman. The Vols have already begun their search: They have an early 2013 verbal from Cleveland (Tenn.) Bradley Central offensive tackle
The Horned Frogs were in the market for defensive tackle help even before D.J. Yendrey was dismissed from the team two weeks ago. TCU is young at the position -- sophomores Chuck Hunter and David Johnson currently top the depth chart -- so it likely won't have to replace any starters next year. But it does need reinforcements.
Texas Tech likely will have three senior starters on its offensive line this year, prompting a serious need as it moves to 2013 and beyond. The Red Raiders added three offensive linemen last month (Rashad Fortenberry, Jared Kaster and Trey Keenan), but hoped to land as many as five. Don't be surprised if they pursue several early enrollees who can participate in spring practice and challenge for immediate playing time.
Amir Carlisle's transfer to Notre Dame leaves USC with just three scholarship tailbacks on its roster. The Trojans' 2012 class didn't include a single tailback -- though it did add the nation's No. 1 fullback prospect in
USF aggressively pursued Jupiter (Fla.) High dual-threat quarterback Tyler Cameron last year, but Cameron signed with Wake Forest instead, leaving the Bulls without a quarterback in their 2012 class. To compound matters, B.J. Daniels, the team's incumbent starter, enters his senior season this fall. Though Skip Holtz already has a commitment from Asiantii Woulard, a 2013 quarterback prospect from Winter Park (Fla.) High, it might be wise to go after a second quarterback as well.
Logan Thomas has been so effective as Virginia Tech's quarterback that it could actually