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February 4, 2010

Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the Big East

More Conferences: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

West Virginia finished with a top-20 class on National Signing Day after landing four-star WR Ivan McCartney and lands at No. 1 in the Big East.

Check out the breakdown of the conference in a special edition of the Big East Blitz.

Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia

Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the Big East
1. West Virginia

• Commit List
• WVSports.com
• Message Board
Headliner: Latwan Anderson is a five-star prospect, but until he actually signs with West Virginia, we'll go with Ivan McCartney, the four-star wide receiver from state-champion Miramar (Fla.) High. Last year, the school produced WVU's top recruit in quarterback Eugene Smith. McCartney (6-3/180) is one of the top playmakers in the Class of 2010. His rare combination of size, agility and body control make him a unique prospect.
Sleeper: Dante Chambers, also from Miramar, hasn't received the same type of headlines or attention as McCartney, but there's a reason for Mountaineers fans to be excited. Chambers could develop into a quality slot receiver, and he almost matched McCartney's numbers at wide receiver in 2009.
Overview: It doesn't appear as if there will be a drop-off in talent for the Mountaineers anytime soon, as Bill Stewart has proven himself on the recruiting trail. West Virginia leads the way for the Big East in the Class of 2010. As was the case last year, West Virginia loaded up at wide receiver with four-star prospects such as McCartney and Deon Long. Bruce Irvin (6-2/235) is a physical specimen and one of the top linebacker recruits to head to Morgantown in quite a while. Offensive lineman Quinton Spain is a load at 330 pounds and could contribute early, while quarterback Barry Brunetti appears to be an excellent fit in this offense.
2. Pittsburgh

• Commit List
• PantherLair.com
• Message Board
Headliner: Todd Thomas is one of the top prep-school prospects in the nation coming out of New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy, and he should be an early-impact player for the Panthers. He has a college-ready frame (6-3/216) and a physicality that will serve him well in college. We aren't sure whether Thomas will line up on offense or defense at Pitt, but either way, the coaching staff has to be glad he'll be on campus.
Sleeper: Most of Khaynin Mosley-Smith's offers came from MAC schools, but the Panthers saw something in the three-star defensive tackle. Mosley-Smith is in good shape and could stand to carry a little more weight on his athletic frame. He has a good burst and is impressive in the weight room.
Overview: Like West Virginia, Pitt loaded up at wide receiver. Thomas, Andrew Carswell, Eric Williams, Kevin Weatherspoon and Salath Williams should be dynamic down the road. Perhaps just as important was the work Pitt got done at defensive end. Four-star ends T.J. Clemmings and Bryan Murphy, both from New Jersey, are two of the best in the nation at their position, and it was huge for the Panthers to land the No. 2 and 3 players, respectively, in the Garden State. Once again, Dave Wannstedt and his staff made running back a high priority, signing three, all of whom are three-star prospects.
3. Louisville

• Commit List
• CardinalSport.com
• Message Board
Headliner: The commitment of four-star Miami Northwestern wide receiver Michaelee Harris got the Cardinals off to a great start under their new staff, and that momentum helped them the rest of the way. Though Harris lacks great size, he has some of the best natural ability in the class when it comes to making plays.
Sleeper: At 6 feet 4 and 310 pounds, Jamaine Brooks already has excellent size for a defensive tackle. The Cardinals withstood a late push from Minnesota and were able to hold onto the lineman from Miami Palmetto.
Overview: Charlie Strong got off to a fast start. Signing Harris was huge for the program, as he has incredible ball skills. He should be a go-to player early in his college career. Joshua Bellamy and Stephan Robinson are other quality receivers in this class. The 11th-hour commitment of Dominique Brown, ranked as the No. 20 athlete in the nation, gave the class a boost. Kamal Hogan, Corvin Lamb and Senorise Perry, running backs from New Jersey, Florida and Georgia, respectively, could compete for early playing time.
4. Cincinnati

• Commit List
• BearcatReport.com
• Message Board
Headliner: Without a doubt, it's Dyjuan Lewis, a four-star wide receiver from Indianapolis Pike. He committed to the Bearcats in November, only to re-open his recruitment a few weeks later. It didn't take him long to decide Cincinnati is where he wanted to be after all. That's good news for the new coaching staff, as Lewis is a game-changer. He has good size and adequate strength, and he is gifted when the ball is in the air.
Sleeper: Deven Drane could end up being one of the biggest surprises in UC's class. The south Florida prospect committed late in the process, and he may have received more attention if he hadn't moved to wide receiver from defensive back as a senior. He has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Overview: Any time there's a coaching change, recruiting becomes complicated. But the Bearcats did a good job of salvaging some of what they had gained after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame. Cincinnati reached into the state of Florida for four prospects and, as you might expect, signed several prospects from Cincy. Quarterbacks Cody Kater and Munchie Legaux bring something to the table and help solidify the Bearcats behind center for the future. Linebacker Solomon Tentman is one of the most talented prospects to come into this program in quite a while.
5. USF

• Commit List
• USFBullseye.com
• Message Board
Headliner: USF is another school that had to deal with a coaching change, and there was some good news and bad news for the Bulls late in the recruiting process. Undoubtedly the best news came late, when Tampa Hillsborough four-star cornerback Terrence Mitchell decommitted from Florida State and switched to hometown USF. Mitchell will arrive at USF as one of the most highly ranked recruits in school history, and his lofty ranking is well-deserved. He is one of the fastest defensive back prospects you will come across in the high school ranks.
Sleeper: At 6-0 and 210 pounds, there may be some questions about Hans Louis' size, but you can't question his production. He had 77 tackles and eight sacks as a senior. He originally committed to Marshall, but when his stock started to rise shortly after his commitment, other schools started to get involved. Marshall's loss was USF's gain, as Louis is one of the more aggressive prospects you'll come across.
Overview: With just 19 signees, it would be unreasonable to expect this class to rank high on the national charts, but new coach Skip Holtz addressed some key areas. Junior college defensive end Claude Davis looks the part at 6-5 and 260 pounds, and he will be complemented on the edge by three-star end Brandon Wilkinson, who had one of the more impressive offer lists in this class. As with some other Big East schools, USF signed several running backs and the Bulls are hoping at least one can contribute as a freshman. Marcus Shaw and junior college back Mike Hayes are fast and shifty, while Tiger Powell is a tough runner between the tackles.
6. Rutgers

• Commit List
• ScarletNation.com
• Message Board
Headliner: The commitment of four-star wide receiver Brandon Coleman of Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara just before National Signing Day was huge and gives this class a little more star power. A member of the Rivals250, Coleman sported offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and others, but his decision ultimately came down to Rutgers and Maryland. At 6 feet 6, Coleman has tremendous size and moves well for a young man of that build.
Sleeper: Tampa Jefferson linebacker Fred Overstreet may not have been one of the more highly rated prospects from the talent-rich Sunshine State, but he has the athleticism to leave a mark at Rutgers early in his career. His frame (6-2/225) is ideal for an outside linebacker at this stage of his development. Overstreet had 158 tackles and five sacks as a high school senior.
Overview: This isn't necessarily Greg Schiano's most heralded class at Rutgers, but he and his staff continue to improve the program by building quality depth at key positions. Returning starting quarterback Tom Savage has to be excited about the additions of Coleman and three-star receiver Jawaun Wynn. Jacksonville Trinity Christian defensive back Rashad Knight is one of the top incoming recruits in the Big East, while Lorenzo Waters and Gareef Glashen are other playmakers in the secondary. Keep an eye on the four incoming running back recruits, including Casey Turner. He had a tough time making up his mind, first committing to Rutgers, then switching to UNC before signing with the Scarlet Knights.
7. Syracuse

• Commit List
• CuseConfidential.com
• Message Board
Headliner: Each year, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy sends out plenty of talented prospects to schools across the country. This year, Syracuse is a beneficiary, as the Orange will welcome Marquis Spruill into their program. Spruill, a four-star linebacker, is the No. 13 prep school prospect in the nation. His grades never were an issue, and he went to Fork Union to get more exposure after playing on a high school team that struggled mightily.
Sleeper: Woodbury (N.J.) High wide receiver Dyshawn Davis committed to Syracuse last summer, so he didn't receive as much attention in recruiting circles as he otherwise might have had he waited before making his choice. Davis (6-3/190) has OK speed and is a nice-sized target.
Overview: Syracuse's recruiting had taken a bit of a dip in recent years, but the Orange started to reassert themselves this year. The 'Cuse searched near and far for prospects, signing high schoolers from, among other states, Colorado, California, Texas, Virginia, Florida and Delaware. Spruill is joined at linebacker by talented three-star prospects Malcolm Carter and Myles Davis. Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University School defensive end Max Beaulieu is one of the top recruits in the class and sported an offer list that was impressive. He runs well for a 240-pounder. Keep an eye on another Floridian, defensive back Jeremi Wilkes of Tampa.
8. Connecticut

• Commit List
• UConnReport.com
• Message Board
Headliner: Defensive end Reuben Frank has good quickness coming off the edge and should develop into a quality pass rusher for Connecticut. He was the No. 7 prospect in New York and the No. 40 weakside defensive end in the nation. He gave an early commitment to UConn and never seriously considered other schools.
Sleeper: Ty-Meer Brown waited until near the end of the recruiting process to make his decision. Brown was a quarterback in high school, but that's probably not where he will be playing in college. Despite that, he had a nice offer list.
Overview: Though this class ranks at the bottom of the Big East, UConn did a good job of filling holes and finding prospects that fit what it is trying to do. UConn signed seven prospects from below the Mason-Dixon line, including three-star defensive end Andrew Opoku, who will travel north from Fork Union, Va. (although he hails from New Jersey). Defensive end is a position Huskies coaches spent a lot of time targeting in this class. The coaching staff believes they have found a nice wide receiver in Geremy Davis, from Georgia. Greg McKee and Bryan Paull are offensive linemen who should provide quality depth right away. The secondary has three three-star defensive backs.

More Conferences: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC



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