When Lane Kiffin and Charlie Strong were hired in December to add to the prestigious head coaches already in Florida - Scott Frost (UCF) Butch Davis (FIU) Jim McElwain (UF) Jimbo Fisher (FSU) Mark Richt (Miami) - for days the talk of the college football world centered around how great the recruiting battles in Florida would be.
In a limited amount of time it’s safe to say Frost, Strong, Kiffin and Davis were able to live up to the hype.
Despite facing a mass exodus of recruits leaving to join Willie Taggart at Oregon, Charlie Strong was able to bring in the fifth best recruiting class in the American. Five of their commits are among the 150 best players in Florida.
Butch Davis is the oldest of the bunch and perhaps the one most forgotten in the new crop of head coaches to join Florida but in the end FIU was able to do what they should have been doing all along in keeping coveted kids from leaving Miami. Ten of their signees are from Miami and four of them are three star recruits that held P5 offers. FIU was able to snag two players from the top 150 in the state and finish sixth in Conference USA.
FAU and Lane Kiffin caught a ton of flack from having a less-than inspiring promo video but it worked into FAU’s advantage. The Owls signed their best recruiting class ever, finishing first in Conference USA. The #KiffinEffect extended all over the country as the Owls not only signed two players from the top 150 of Florida but also nabbed a coveted recruit from California who was considering UCLA.
In less than three months Strong, Davis and Kiffin were able to flash their respective schools’ potential on the recruiting trail and make a strong case that their 2018 recruiting class will be even better. The schools that lived off Florida recruiting had it tough this cycle but will be in for a rude awakening next year.
In the end however, it was Scott Frost who reached the apex as the Knights finished with the best 2017 recruiting class in the G5. Frost landed four star running back Cordarrian Richardson and also signed six players ranked in Florida’s top 150 which edged USF as the most for all G5 schools in Florida. In one year Frost has turned UCF into a recruiting juggernaut in the G5.
The 2017 class for USF, UCF, FAU and FIU will go down as one that helped strengthen the state of college football in Florida. With each now capable of recruiting to their full potential with established head coaches leading the way things are only going to get better for them and tougher for their competition.
It shouldn’t be long before we see one of these schools hoisting a conference championship and appearing in a New Year’s Six bowl.