TCU, BYU among top non-AQ classes
Here is a look at the best recruiting classes from teams that are not in BCS conferences.
Blake Renaud (Concord, Calif./De La Salle). Renaud, a three-star linebacker, is a steal for the Broncos. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder is one of the best downhill fillers in the country and has BCS tools and talent.
Name to remember: Jimmy Laughrea (Rocklin, Calif./Rocklin). Laughrea is a very efficient underneath passer with the athleticism and confidence to become very productive for Boise State.
Breakdown: Not a lot of immediate-impact type of players, except Renaud, but the Broncos have won by developing system-fitting prospects and this class has plenty. This class filled needs and really added quality prospects to the Broncos' defensive front seven. End Sam Ukwuachu (Pearland, Texas/Pearland) needs to add bulk but has good speed as an edge rusher.
Colby Jorgensen (Provo, Utah/Timpview). A great in-state signing as we feel the 6-foot-7, 215-pound tight end and athletic pass-catcher has a ton of upside.
Name to remember: OT Ryker Mathews (American Fork, Utah/American Fork). The tall, lean, well-balanced tackle may take some time to develop physically, but we feel he could be the anchor on BYU's offensive line three or four years down the road.
Breakdown: The Cougars' class focused on linemen, tight ends and retaining the state's best players. In addition to good up-front talent highlighted by disruptive edge rusher Baker Pritchard (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham), BYU is bringing in a stout group of linebackers.
Jacques Mackeroy (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen). A bit of a sleeper out of Florida with very good hands, quickness and competitiveness for the football that is coveted at the position.
Name to remember: Center Tarik Cook (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson). Don't underestimate the significance of a 300-pound center prospect with quickness and polished snapping skills out of shotgun.
Breakdown: UCF is winning on the field and off. The Knights signed several prospects with BCS-level talent and really upgraded their future receiving corps, which was a need, highlighted by Mackeroy. Defensively, they focused on linemen and linebackers, like fast pursuer Willie Mitchell (Deltona, Fla./Pine Ridge), to reload their front seven. UCF has also landed help in the secondary with a group of athletic defensive backs.
Bram Kohlhausen (Lamar, Texas/Lamar). He's an accurate and athletic quarterback who should flourish in Houston's system.
Name to remember: RB Kenneth Farrow (Hurst, Texas/L.D. Bell). On film, Farrow shows flashes of BCS quickness through the hole and shows good downhill strength.
Breakdown: The Cougars signed a well-balanced class from a positional standpoint. They also inked a solid group of junior college prospects to go with their Texas-laden prep class. Keep your eye on ATH C.J. McElroy (League City, Texas/Clear Creek), an undersized utility back who is extremely quick, shifty and productive. He has outstanding receiving skills and can also make plays returning kicks.
Armonze Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) The four-star linebacker is a steal in our opinion for the Thundering Herd. He can stack the run with striking downhill strength as well as match up in space with great athleticism.
Name to remember: DE Jarquez Samuel (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta). Look for Samuel to add good versatility and value during his career with his ability to anchor the run at defensive end and potentially take reps inside.
Breakdown: Coach Doc Holliday is regarded as one of the better recruiters in the country and this class reflects that. It's large and deep with three-star talent, but we do expect several players will be placed in prep school. The front seven has some prospects like Daniel and Samuel who can contribute right away. Whether at QB or an offensive skill position, Conelius Jones (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg) has BCS-level athleticism and should make an impact sooner than later.
Chauncy Smith (LaGrange, Ga./LaGrange). A stout inside run-stopper, Smith also shows good lateral agility sifting through the fast-moving traffic to make the tackle.
Name to remember: TE Max Mason (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb). A big, versatile target who will create one-on-one matchup problems in the passing game with his ability to play tight end or receiver.
Breakdown: The Eagles addressed needs on the defensive line, tight end and at corner. We also feel like they added good speed and athleticism to the offensive skill positions, most notably receiver. Dynamic athlete Emmanuel Johnson (McKenzie, Ala./McKenzie) could contribute early at a few different skill positions. While just a two-star recruit, quarterback Rick Lloyd (Concord, Calif./Concord) could be the quarterback of the future. He has the athleticism and quick release to put up good numbers in this offense.
Devon Moreland (Los Angeles, Calif./Salesian). A disruptive vertical attacker, Moreland is a tweener defensive end/outside linebacker with a lot of upside as a pass-rusher.
Name to remember: RB K.C. Nlemchi (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch). A running back who could carry the load with great size and power but fits well in this offense with his surprisingly good hands and receiving skills.
Breakdown: This is one of SMU's best classes in recent years with a focus on the offensive and defensive lines. Aside from Moreland, we like versatile and physical defensive tackle Zach Wood (Rowlett, Texas/Rowlett). On the offensive front, projected three-star guard Dontae Levingston (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) is quick and agile enough to also remain at tackle.
LaDarius Brown (Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie). This dynamic receiver passed on major BCS offers to play for the Horned Frogs and is a big-time land with his supreme blend of size, speed and quickness.
Name to remember: OLB Deryck Gildon (Arlington, Texas/James Martin). We say remember this name because Gildon will likely challenge for early playing time as a true freshman. He has the size, range and athleticism to make plays all over the field.
Breakdown: It's not shocking TCU fell just outside the Top 25. It is one of the better programs in the entire country and now is recruiting like it. The Horned Frogs' Rose Bowl season carried over on the recruiting front with big-time recruits like ESPNU 150 receiver Brown, top-10 outside linebacker Gildon and near top-25 offensive tackle Jamelle Naff (Del City, Okla./Del City). They also snagged wide receiver Brandon Carter (Euless, Texas/Trinity) away from Oklahoma and have a great-looking future QB in Dominic Merka (Crosby, Texas/Crosby). Expect recruiting to continue to improve when TCU is officially in a BCS conference.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Ex-PSU prez seeks dismissal of criminal charges
- Harwell, nation's No. 2 WR in '11, off to Kansas
- Oregon releases additional docs in NCAA probe
- Lions launching Ford Field bowl, sources say
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
2011 NATIONAL SIGNING DAY
ESPN Recruiting has national signing day covered. From college announcements to class rankings, ESPN's writers, analysts and scouts break down the latest news. Recruiting home