This is an article from the Feb. 13, 2012 issue
Ohio State's class was out of the top 15 until the two-time title-winning coach was hired on Nov. 28. Meyer (above) flipped eight blue-chippers who were committed to other schools and landed five-star DE Noah Spence. Meyer's methods ruffled Big Ten feathers: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema accused him of "illegal" recruiting tactics, which Meyer denied.
THE L.A. SCHOOLS
Despite signing just 12 prospects because of NCAA sanctions, USC landed impact players, led by 6'9", 335-pound offensive tackle Zach Banner. In his first stab at recruiting, new UCLA coach Jim Mora reeled in a class ranked 13th by Rivals.com. Among his gems were five-star defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (above) and two highly ranked QBs, including Devin Fuller of New Jersey.
The Cardinal, whose class ranked fifth, hauled in a group of O-linemen considered the nation's best. It's led by five-star tackles Kyle Murphy (above) of California and Andrus Peat of Arizona, who didn't announce their decisions until the final day. Both spurned, among others, USC coach Lane Kiffin, who said, "I certainly didn't think two of them would go to the same school."
What Stanford achieved on the offensive line, the Seminoles matched on the defensive front, bringing in Mario Edwards (above) of Texas, the nation's No. 1 end and Eddie Goldman of Washington, the No. 2 tackle. "That's what separates Southern football from everywhere else in the country—defensive linemen," said coach Jimbo Fisher.
Not only did the LSU coach finish outside the top 10 for the first time since 2008 (the class was ranked 17th), but also Gunner Kiel, the five-star QB from Columbus, Ind., reneged on a commitment and chose Notre Dame. Speaking at a gathering of LSU fans last week, Miles (above) said that Kiel "did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program, so you know."
The Irish coach took a Miles-like tone with Deontay Greenberry, the four-star receiver from Fresno, Calif., who had been committed to the Irish for almost a year before signing with Houston. On a school-run website, Kelly (above) said of Greenberry, "I used to have a saying about players like that, and that was, I'd rather play against him for four games than with him for four years."
When the Bears lost ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi to Washington, their class would not be the same. Five-star safety Shaq Thompson (above), who had committed to Cal, followed Lupoi to Seattle, and two other Californians being recruited by Lupoi for the Bears—DT Ellis McCarthy and WR Jordan Payton—landed at UCLA. What could have been a top 10 group turned out to be 23rd.
The class came in at an uncharacteristic 50th, with just two four-star recruits in a 19-player group. The haul was doubtless affected by the Jerry Sandusky scandal (about six players decided to go elsewhere after the news broke) as well as by new coach Bill O'Brien (above), who couldn't devote his full attention to recruiting while he was serving as offensive coordinator for the Patriots.