The new S&P+ rankings for 2018’s pre-season are out and Miami leads the pack in the state of Florida. The Hurricanes are ranked 13th overall in the nation with a recruiting impact of 9 per Bill C’s data. The #Storm18 class for Miami finished 8th in the 247 Sports composite rankings led by five-star tailback Lorenzo Lingard. SOTU readers know their fair share about the Miami class, but what about the classes that the new coaches to Florida and Florida State have produced?
The Florida State Seminoles are ranked 18th in the S&P+ rankings with a recruiting impact of 5. The FSU class that Willie Taggart pulled in over the course of mere weeks wrapped up ranked 11th by 247 Sports and was led by Jaiden Woodbey of California. Woodbey, a four-star safety, is also an early enrollee looking to replace Derwin James immediately. FSU’s top 4 signees are on the defensive side of the ball with four-star prospects in Asante Samuel Jr, Anthony Lytton and Robert Cooper joining Woodbey.
FSU sits a spot behind the Central Florida Knights per Bill C’s rankings. The Knights lost defensive captain Shaquem Griffin to graduation and head coach Scott Frost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Coach Taggart has a lot of work to do, once again, to recover an ailing program. Taggart took over at USF after a decade of down seasons in Tampa and then at Oregon after a 4-8 season in Eugene. Taggart has a way about him that recruits well and garners optimism and engagement which are huge factors when needing a quick turn-around.
The Gators new head football coach is Dan Mullen. Mullen came to Gainesville, FL late from the Mississippi State Bulldogs and pulled that near-dead recruiting class up to 14th overall. While rankings of 11 and 14, for FSU and UF respectively, pale in comparison to expectations they’re fairly good rankings seeing how late those coaches were hired and with the impact of the early signing period. The Gators are ranked 32nd overall by Bill C’s pre-season data and had a recruiting impact of 13.
The University of Florida has been guided by an offensive-minded head coach the past three seasons but the Gators’ defense was far ahead in production. Mullen’s top prospect of the ‘18 class is Jacob Copeland, a four-star wide receiver. Copeland is joined by four other offensive weapons in their top five of the recruiting class. The key player to this class isn’t Copeland per se, but quarterback Emory Jones. Jones is a four-star dual threat quarterback from Franklin, GA. The Gators sit a spot behind the FAU Owls and head coach Lane Kiffin in the S&P+ rankings.
USF, FIU, UCF, and FAU
South Florida leads the pack of the non-big three in recruiting with a 62nd overall class in 2018. The Bulls’ class was led by Stacy Kirby, the defensive end from Jones High in Orlando, FL. Kirby is a three-star player per 247. The Bulls S&P+ ranking is 56th with a 69 in recruiting impact for ‘18.
The FIU Panthers finished the ‘18 recruiting cycle with the 66th overall class. FIU’s 2018 haul was led by 295 pound defensive tackle Teair Tart-Spencer from East Mississippi C.C. Tart-Spencer is a four-star prospect. FIU’s S&P+ ranking is 120th with an 83 in recruiting impact.
The Central Florida Knights have an S&P+ of 17 for the pre-season under new head coach Josh Huepel. Their recruiting class finished 71st overall led by Eriq Gilyard, a linebacker from Jacksonville Trinity Christian. Gilyard is a three-star prospect looking to replace Griffen’s production as he heads to the NFL.
The FAU Owls finished the 2018 recruiting cycle with the 79th ranked class per 247 Sports. Kiffin’s class was led by Nero Nelson, a JUCO transfer wide receiver. Nelson is a three-star prospect. Lane’s Owls are ranked 31st in Bill C’s S&P+ pre-season rankings.
With traditional powers like UF and FSU ranked behind the “other guys” in the state like UCF and USF, this is Miami’s time to shine. The Hurricanes can’t afford to slip up to the Seminoles in 2018. Miami can take off on a run like Florida did from 2006-2009 or like FSU did from 2013-2015 if they can find a quarterback to take hold of games and keep the defense improving heading into 2018.