Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
20. Stanford Cardinal: D+
Stanford always seems to have a smaller class than most schools, resulting in a much different overall rank than if you slotted teams by the average number of stars per commitment. That’s because the Cardinal usually land some can’t-miss prospects. Last year, head coach David Shaw signed three of the country’s top 15 players and a total of eight in the top 200.
This year? Not so much. Jack West, a 4-star quarterback, was Stanford’s top signed recruit heading into national signing day, and he only ranks No. 235 on the 247Sports composite list. The Cardinal did add No. 46 overall recruit, QB Tanner McKee—who will take a two-year LDS mission before joining the program in 2020—but this is still a subpar class, both for Stanford and for a team that almost always competes for a Power Five conference title.
19. Mississippi State Bulldogs: B
Despite going from Dan Mullen to Joe Moorhead at head coach and needing to compete with Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Tennessee for local talent, Mississippi State did well, snaring six 4-star recruits. Though this is nowhere close to a top-five SEC class, it’s a borderline top-25 national class. That’s about what we’ve come to expect from the Bulldogs.
18. LSU Tigers: C+
LSU operates on a different level from any team we’ve encountered thus far. The Tigers ranked in the nation’s top seven in each of the last five years, including inking the No. 2 class in 2014 and 2016. There’s an expectation LSU will sign at least five of the country’s top 100 recruits every year.
Thus, at No. 14, it’s the highest-ranked class in the back half of the AP Top 25, but it’s a disappointment compared to what the Bayou Bengals normally do. That said, there’s serious talent here, led by 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. The Tigers ended up with 12 4-star recruits.
17. Northwestern Wildcats: F
Failing grades rub people the wrong way, but when you rank dead last in your conference in recruiting, sorry, that’s what you get. Granted, Evanston, Illinois, hasn’t been a popular destination for highly touted recruits, but the Wildcats usually fare a little better than this. Four years ago, they got four top-220 recruits. This year, they entered NSD with just one top-650 recruit and didn’t improve upon that.
16. Washington Huskies: A
Chris Petersen has turned Washington into A) an annual threat for the College Football Playoff and B) a place where top-100 recruits want to sign. Hard to believe it was only a decade ago that Tyrone Willingham hit this program like a meteor and left it the laughingstock of the power conferences.
Though the Huskies whiffed on the 5-star talent, they landed 11 4-star recruits, including quarterbacks and top-100 overall prospects Colson Yankoff and Jacob Sirmon. Petersen gets one more year of Jake Browning before he hands the keys to one of those guys.
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