Most improved teams in recruiting from 2019 to 2020
The second National Signing Day has come and gone, and the 2020 team rankings are done for the most part save for a few stragglers. Here’s a look at the Power Five teams that improved the most from 2019 to 2020.
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
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Louisville +46 (From No. 86 to No. 40)
The skinny: The most surprising thing about the Cardinals being in the top spot is that they finished 86th in the country in 2019. With this, they were in position to make a huge move in 2020. With the arrival of new coach Scott Satterfield and then a very surprising 8-5 season last fall, after a disastrous 2-10 campaign in Bobby Petrino’s final season, Louisville was able to piece together the No. 40 class in the country. Headlined by four-star linebacker Kameron Wilson, the class had 22 three-stars, including promising athletes such as offensive lineman Trevor Reid, cornerback Jamie Vance and wide receiver Christian Fitzpatrick. Satterfield has righted the ship quicker than people expected and this class should continue to lay the foundation for continued improvement.
Farrell’s take: Louisville has taken a huge step under Satterfield and the best appears to be coming. This is a strong collection of potential impact players and he’s known as a guy who coaches kids up so keep an eye on the Cardinals moving forward. In one short recruiting year he has brought Louisville back to becoming a legit option in state and in the ACC.
Maryland +30 (From No. 61 to No. 31)
The skinny: Mike Locksley has always been known as an elite recruiter, so when he took over the Terps in December, 2018, everyone knew it would only be a matter of time before the talent level would improve. And that has already begun to happen with the class of 2020 possessing several players who should make an immediate impact in College Park. Leading the charge is five-star wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, who stunned many by flipping from LSU to the Terps. While Jarrett received the most attention, other additions such as four-star running backs Peny Boone and Isaiah Jacobs, and four-star linebacker Ruben Hyppolite, should make their mark in the Big Ten.
Farrell’s take: Locksley has taken a program entrenched in controversy and put together a very solid group in 2020 and in-state recruiting will only improve if they can win some games. The Maryland/DC area is always loaded with talent and keeping it in-state will be key. From a recruiting standpoint, Locksley is that guy.
Utah +30 (From No. 60 to No. 30)
The skinny: This one is a bit more surprising than Louisville, mainly because Utah has established itself as a perennial winner and has a stable coaching situation. The class of 2019 finishing at No. 60 was more of an abnormality though as the Utes have generally seen their recent classes fall in the 25-40 range. Moving back to No. 30 in 2020, the Utes reeled in four four-stars, including the gem of the class, Clark Phillips, who is the No. 67 recruit in the nation. And aside from missing out on five-star Noah Sewell, the Utes ruled their home state by picking up four-stars Van Fillinger, Xavier Carlton and Nate Ritchie. Look for the class of 2021 to once again fall into this range instead of the the 2019 dropoff.
Farrell’s take: Utah does a good job evaluating talent and finding players that fit their system and this class is a great example of that. Getting a flip from Ohio State is always impressive and the in-state recruiting has been solid. But with California as wide-open as it’s been for years the Utes will continue to make waves there as well.
Miami +23 (From No. 35 to No. 12)
The skinny: Recruiting at Miami continues to be difficult to figure out. As on-field success has been difficult to come by, recruiting has also continued to fluctuate in recent years. This once again continued, but at least this time it has moved in a positive direction. The Canes also waited until the end to reel in their biggest prize, four-star safety Avantae Williams. However, he is far from the only recruit with star potential, with players such as four-star defensive backs Jalen Harrell and Keshawn Washington, four-star wide receiver Michael Redding and four-star defensive end Chantz Williams likely to make an early impact in Coral Gables.
Farrell’s take: No. 12 in the country is very good for Miami after a rough year last season and the Hurricanes have the chance to push even further if they can turn things around on the field. In-state recruiting has been solid and Williams will turn a lot of heads with his decision to choose the ‘Canes over Florida.
Kansas +23 (From No. 70 to No. 47)
The skinny: With the depths that Kansas’ recruiting had sunk, getting to No. 47 is definite progress. The arrival of coach Les Miles brought optimism to the program, with this being one major reason why. Known as a top-level recruiter, Miles and has staff worked overtime to plug holes while hitting high schools from coast-to-coast. While not a star-studded class, players such as defensive backs Duece Mayberry, JaCobee Bryant and Johnquai Lewis, and wide receivers Lawrence Arnold and Steven McBride should add immediate athleticism and speed to their positional groups.
Farrell’s take: This is a huge jump for Kansas and if Miles can continue to have success the results will eventually show on the field. This is arguably one of the best recruiting jobs you’ll never hear about in 2020.