After a week off for Christmas, the MWC Recruiting Roundup is back. As you can see, recruiting is moving at a snail’s pace, but thankfully, it is still moving. And we have you covered. This week seemed like as good of a time as any to release the latest edition of our recruiting rankings. With many players, signed, see who made moves up or down the list and who remains firmly entrenched where they are at, for better or for worse.
MWConnection Recruiting Rankings:
For the purposes of these rankings, emphasis will first be placed on the signed recruits in each team, then verbal pledges will be considered. This is not to say the verbal pledges won’t sign or should be considered “soft commits.” Rather, proper weight will be given to those commits who are now officially part of the program and should be seen as the core of the class. Those verbally committed but not yet signed simply carry less weight until they become official. (Ex. A team with 5 non-signed verbal commits may be lower in these rankings, but may rise a few spots when they end up signing in our final rankings in Feb).
- Boise State: Their top 5 signees would arguably be the top 1 or 2 players for most other teams. That show the divide between how well the Broncos recruit compared to the rest of the conference. The rich got richer here.
- San Diego State: They get the edge over CSU because they signed 17 players, including star recruit JR Justice. In addition to that gem, the Aztecs did what they always do: find talented players who fit their system perfectly, and the whole will be greater than the sum of their parts. Not many holes in their class aside from OL at the current moment.
- Colorado State: They dropped a spot here, mainly because their best recruit, Jammal Houston, didn’t sign. If/when he does, the Rams will probably move back up to the #2 spot that they occupied for most of the fall. Still, they signed 17 players and the top half of that are as high quality as most others in the conference. It was a good year for the Rams in recruiting and something that will be explored in-depth more come February.
- Fresno State: The Bulldogs are a clear 4th here, but closer to third than they are to 5th. They really cleaned up on both sides of the line and added some intriguing players at the skill positions. Their depth at certain positions allowed them to concentrate on more pressing areas of need. They still get a knock for not taking a RB (personal preference) or another LB yet, but admittedly, that’s knit-picky. This class is a big win for Fresno State.
- Wyoming: They made the jump up to 5th mainly because they signed 20 players. For now, this puts them ahead of Hawaii, Nevada, and UNLV, as any of them have the potential to jump up come February. The Cowboys WR group is diverse and talented, and their crop of DBs also has a nice balance to it. They also bring in a QB who belongs in the discussion for one of the top in the conference in this recruiting class. The class as a whole is balanced and not much to gripe about. Solid, if not spectacular.
- Hawaii: It was a big for the Rainbow Warriors as they signed 15 players (more than expected by this site’s best estimation), including two extremely talented QBs. They added some potential talent at the WR, DL, and LB positions. There’s still some work to be done, especially at OL and the secondary, but Hawaii was able to secure some great talent to build on going forward.
- Nevada: If you didn’t notice, they dropped the most on this list from the last edition. Mainly because they only signed 14 players out of their 19 verbals. The ones who haven’t signed are a big deal too; two WRs and two CBs. The WRs especially matter considering Nevada’s air-raid scheme depends on having inside/outside receivers, each with specific skills. There is still a lot to like about their class currently (quarterback, the wide-receivers they did sign, many of their defensive recruits) and if/when they sign the rest, the Wolfpack should move back up to the 4th or 5th best class.
- UNLV: They were considered for lower spots due their small number of signees (13) as well as their leaning a bit too much on JUCO players (3 plus an announced transfer). But actually looking at the talent coming in and a case could be made for them to be higher if they can boost their numbers come February. The 4 non-high school players they brought in all have great talent that should play right way. Their high school talent is nothing to scoff at either, especially at RB and the secondary. The hope would be the Rebels aren’t slowing down and can add to this class in February and find a way to sneak into the top half of the conference.
- Air Force: It was hard to know where exactly to put them since there isn’t a clear number on how many players actually signed. Their class of verbal commits is comparable to a middle of the pack MWC team, which is a positive for an academy school. But since none of their new players will be on campus before the summer and without knowing an exact number, this is as high as they will be, at least until February.
- San Jose State: The Spartans really made up a lot of group on the recruiting trail in December. However, it wasn’t enough for them to jump to many teams in the rankings. That being said, they brought in some intriguing pieces and signed all but one of their verbals.
- Utah State: Like the Spartans, they were one of the hottest teams during December recruiting. Also like SJSU, they were a team that had much work to do in order to “catch up” to the rest of the conference. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they didn’t do enough to climb out of the bottom of the list just yet.
- New Mexico: They get knocked here for having only 12 signees and having 10 of those be from the JUCO ranks. While many of the players they brought in are expected to make an immediate impact, very few are expected to produce game-changing results. Sadly, much of their recruiting is resorting to middle of the road JUCO talent. (This is not a knock on the players, but rather the strategy of the program)
It’s been said before, but re-structing this list into tiers sometimes paints a more accurate picture of the rankings. If someone wanted to move a team up or down the rankings but within the same tier, an argument could certainly be made.
Tier 1: Boise State
Tier 2: SDSU, Colorado State, Fresno State
Tier 3: Wyoming, Hawaii, Nevada
Tier 4: UNLV, Air Force
Tier 5: Utah State, SJSU
Tier 6: New Mexico
- DB/WR Eli DeRoon was offered by Air Force
- JUCO Kevin Scott was offered by Nevada
- DB Demarcus Griffin was offered by New Mexico (JUCO?)
- LB Kilifi Leadetoa was offered by Colorado State
- RB/SS DJ Johnson was offered by UNLV (preferred walk-on)
- DE Johnson Hansen committed to Utah State
- JUCO DB Luqman Barcoo committed to SDSU
- OL Jaden Hoyt committed to Air Force
- DL Baraka Beckett decommitted from Hawaii
On the other side of the mountain (a look ahead):
Coming Wednesday: Commitment Spotlight on the recent commits.
Next Week: A look at the best uncommitted players with Mountain West offers
Please, feel free to weigh in the comments below, explaining what is right, wrong, brilliant, or just plain stupid.
As always, follow along on Twitter: @Mike_SBN