THE BOTTOM LINE ON THE DOTTED LINE

How critical is signing day? As this chart ranking the top recruiting teams since 2008 shows, being a title contender (Alabama) requires blue-chippers, but blue-chippers don't ensure being a title contender (Texas)
January 30, 2012

KEY

Teams were awarded with three points for every five-star prospect from the last four years, two for every four-star and one for every three-star. Colored blocks proportionally represent the recruits signed in that year.

2008

2009

2010

2011

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

1. Alabama

5-STARS 11*

4-STARS 62

3-STARS 31

The national champs were—surprise!—also the best on the recruiting trail, with the top-ranked classes of 2008, '09 and '11, which included RB Trent Richardson and CB Dre Kirkpatrick.

2. LSU

5-STARS 10

4-STARS 46

3-STARS 44

The Tigers' run to the BCS national title game was fueled by a 2009 group that ranked No. 2 and was loaded with defensive talent (DT Michael Brockers, CB Morris Claiborne and DE Barkevious Mingo).

3. USC

5-STARS 12

4-STARS 52

3-STARS 20

QB Matt Barkley and WR Robert Woods, five-star recruits in 2009 and '10, respectively, keyed the Trojans' 10--2 season, but NCAA sanctions will dock the team 30 scholarships over the next three years.

T4. Florida State

5-STARS 8

4-STARS 44

3-STARS 43

Though they finished last season 9--4, the Seminoles will be able to rely on their second-ranked 2011 class, which produced freshman All-America defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, among others.

T4. Texas

5-STARS 6

4-STARS 57

3-STARS 23

The Longhorns have finished outside the Top 25 the last two seasons, in part because several blue-chippers on offense, including 2009 five-star QB Garrett Gilbert (who transferred to SMU), have not panned out.

* Represents total number of recruits in that star category over the last four recruiting seasons

PHOTOBOB ROSATOTRENT RICHARDSON CHART