Update: Memphis is now second in the Group of 5 and in the AAC. UCF signed four star Cordarrian Richardson, puting the Knights atop the Group of 5 and AAC.
If National Signing Day has a direct effect on the upcoming season, Memphis fans are going to have plenty to celebrate. Mike Norvell’s staff brought in the 58th best class in the nation, best in the AAC, and best Group of 5 class for 2017 according to 247Sports. Memphis was also ranked higher than eight Power Five teams, while signing more four star recruits than 17 Power Five teams.
2017 should be an exciting year for the Tigers on the field, and Norvell ensured there would be plenty to be excited about off the field as well. Holding the top spot in the conference, they survived signing day spurts by UCF and Cincinnati to stay on top.
2017 Memphis Recruiting Class
|Tito Windham||CB||5-9||170||Northwest Mississippi C.C.||⭐⭐⭐|
|Marcus Green||CB||6-1||181||Northeastern Oklahoma A&M||⭐⭐⭐|
|Obinna Eze||OT||6-5||279||Davidson Academy||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Nick Robinson||WR||6-3||205||Putnam City West||⭐⭐⭐|
|TJ Carter||CB||5-10||180||Stratford Comprehensive||⭐⭐⭐|
|Cade Mashburn||OLB||6-2||210||Norman North||⭐⭐⭐|
|Mikhail Hill||OG||6-3||300||West Jefferson||⭐⭐⭐|
|Tyce Daniel||TE||6-4||238||McCracken County||⭐⭐⭐|
|Zay Cullens||S||5-11||190||North Pontotoc||⭐⭐⭐|
|Tamaurice Smith||CB||5-9||165||St. Paul's Episcopal||⭐⭐⭐|
|Jared Edwards||TE||6-4||255||Rhea County||⭐⭐⭐|
|Elijah Harris||DE||6-5||222||Libery Technology Magnet||⭐⭐⭐|
|Tanis Joseph||OT||6-4||285||Ellsworth C.C||⭐⭐|
|Preston Brady||LS||6-1||205||Evangelical Christian School||--|
The gem of the class is Obinna Eze, the Nashville native turned down multiple offers from Power Five schools to go to Memphis. With Eze committed in August, the Tigers were able to find other recruits to add to their class before signing day. Just six of their recruits were added on National Signing Day, so the Tigers didn’t have to scramble to find recruits to fill the class.
Memphis addressed a big need at quarterback by adding two quarterback recruits to the class. With just three quarterbacks on the roster, the Tigers needed some youth added to the roster. La’andre Thomas and Connor Adair both signed and should give the Tigers two future options with different abilities. Thomas (dual-threat) and Adair (pro-style) won’t see the field as long as Riley Ferguson is healthy, but it’s good to have insurance just in case.
Norvell also targeted the secondary by signing six recruits at either corner or safety. Two corners, Tito Windham and Marcus Green, should compete for playing time right away. Green is transferring from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and has good size for a corner at 6’1”. Windham is transferring from Northwest Mississippi Community College, and is a little smaller but should compete for time with his quickness.
In a curious move, Norvell also signed two long snappers to the class. Specialists are people too, but one has to wonder what he has up his sleeve by doing this. Connor Choate was considered a top long snapper out of the Kohls kicking camp, and fellow recruit Preston Brady will provide some competition. Speaking of specialists, three star Riley Patterson signed and should be in contention for the kicking job immediately. With just one kicker and two punters on the roster (all seniors), Patterson finds himself in a great situation to prove he can be a reliable option at one, if not both, positions.
In his second year, Norvell has brought the Tigers to the top of the conference and Group of Five recruiting. Memphis’ stock for 2017 is on the rise and this recruiting class gave it an extra boost. Norvell’s staff is proving they can bring talented kids to campus and is eager to prove they can develop those players into championship competitors.