Wednesday, February 2, 2011
College Football Signing Day 2011 - Impact on KC Area Teams
ESPN's College Football Signing Day coverage may seem a bit over-the-top to the casual sports fan, but for college football fanatics, the day is a nice break from non-stop basketball and hockey coverage. It all starts with recruiting for college sports, and KU, MU and KState have all been busy trying to fill holes and build for the future. Big 12 recruiting rankings currently have KU at 6th, MU at 8th and KState at 10th.
After a disastrous 2010 season, Turner Gill and his staff made huge strides in the offseason to get the Jayhawks back on track. KU has built up depth across the board, grabbing six offensive lineman and addressing other areas of need (LB, QB). KU's 2011 signing class is led by 4 star RB's Darrian Miller and Anthony Pierson. KU also may have found its quarterback of the future in Brock Berglund. A very strong class on paper, although it could be a couple years until Gill reaps the benefits of this group.
While KU is in rebuilding mode, the Missouri Tigers have been looking to take the next step into the upper tier of the Big 12. However, Missouri's 2011 recruiting class only features 17 players, and is ranked towards the bottom of the league. The class is led by 4 star DT Sheldon Richardson, and while MU doesn't seem to have any knock-out signings, all of its other 16 recruits are at least a 3 star according to Rivals. Gary Pinkel has already built up a good talent base in Columbia, but it remains to be seen if Mizzou is ready to battle with Texas and Oklahoma for the league's title consistently.
Kansas State's 2011 recruiting class is ranked last in the league, and despite Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder leading the Wildcats, KState cannot afford to continue to be out-recruited if it wants to remain a factor in the Big 12. No one does better with limited resources than Snyder, but KState has struggled since 2004, and a drying well of talent in Manhattan is likely the cause. The Wildcats did bring in several defensive recruits to try to immediately help one of the nation's worst defenses from a year ago.
Mizzou and KU both proved in 2007 that highly-ranked recruiting classes can be very overrated. However, it takes talent to win, and it will be interesting to see how these players impact the local programs over the next couple of seasons.