With the early signing period, new coaches were behind a particularly formidable eight ball. Established coaches have been recruiting for a year or longer, identifying talent, building relationships, and putting together classes. By December 20, most of their classes were, for the most part, full. And they'd plucked a lot of the top talent from around the state. For Jimbo Fisher, Sonny Dykes, Mike Bloomgren, and Dana Dimel, putting their stamp on a new program starts with 2018's recruiting class and it started from behind.
So how'd the late arrivals do in putting together a class in less than two months and with a lot of the garden picked over? Let's find out.
Funny how fates can turn. On February 6th, the Aggies were already in damage control, explaining to anyone that would listen that 2018 was a jumping off point and 2019 was the real prize. By the end of February 7th, the Aggies were in the running as the best finishers in 2018's cycle. The Aggies flipped four-stars from Alabama, won recruiting battles with Florida State, and transformed their class in a six-hour period.
In spite of the defections and lack of momentum, Dykes and the Mustangs finished well. Dykes class isn't where he'd like it to be, but the 2018 Mustangs didn't fall off dramatically from Chad Morris' classes. Dykes' won recruiting battles with several Power Fives to bring in players like Treveon Johnson and Shabazz Dotson.
The new Rice coach expanded the Owls' recruiting reach, looking nationally for players and it paid off. Rice brought in players from six states in addition to Texas. The Owls lost a couple of commits late but picked reengaged a few players like Prudy Calderon from San Marcos. Bloomgren should improve the Owl's stock with more time to identify athletes who can meet Rice's high academic standards.
Dimel's success won't reflect in UTEP's 24/7 rankings because it was JC and grad transfer heavy, but the new UTEP staff worked overtime to put together a 27 man class. The Miners hope to get some immediate help from the JC influx. The more significant news is that for the first time since we can remember the Miners are utilizing young, aggressive recruiters who are engaged in social media. They're also creatively selling UTEP as a part of the El Paso community. That should pay dividends down the road.