Re-ranking 2006 recruiting classes (cont.)
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 4
2008 Starters: CB Asher Allen, DT Geno Atkins, G Chris Davis, OT Josh Davis, LB Akeem Dent, WR Kris Durham, S Reshad Jones, CB Prince Miller, RB Knowshon Moreno, QB Matthew Stafford.
Analysis: Stafford was the nation's top-ranked quarterback in 2006, ahead of eventual Heisman winners Tebow and Bradford. Three years later, Stafford could be the No. 1-overall pick in the NFL draft. Classmate Moreno -- and possibly Allen -- will join him in the first round. Meanwhile, back in Athens, the rest of the class will likely notch double-digit wins again in 2009.
5. Oklahoma State
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 22
2008 starters: DE Derek Burton, DE Ugo Chinasa, WR DeMarcus Connor, CB Perrish Cox, LB Patrick Lavine, LB Orie Lemon, OT Russell Okung.
Analysis: Quarterback Zac Robinson (2005), receiver Dez Bryant (2007) and tailback Kendall Hunter (2007) were the stars of the Cowboys' 2008 rise, but plenty of credit for that improvement should go to left tackle Okung, the cornerstone of the 2006 class. And don't forget 2006 signee Dantrell Savage, a junior college transfer who rushed for 1,272 yards in 2007 before heading to the NFL.
6. Ohio State
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 20
2008 Starters: OT Bryant Browning, CB Chimdi Chekwa, S Kurt Coleman, DE Thaddeus Gibson, LB Ross Homan, RB Beanie Wells.
Analysis: The Buckeyes were a drastically different team without Wells, who missed three games early in 2008. Still, he rushed for 1,197 yards and helped bridge the gap in a "rebuilding" season that ended with a near-miss against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl. Thaddeus Gibson, who terrorized Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark when the teams met last season, is another potential star from this class.
7. Ole Miss
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 16
2008 Starters: RB Cordera Eason, LB Jonathan Cornell, C Daverin Geralds, DE Greg Hardy, WR Shay Hodge, OT John Jerry, DE Kentrell Lockett, RB Dexter McCluster, DE Marcus Tillman, CB Cassius Vaughn, LB Allen Walker.
Analysis: The trendy 2009 preseason top 10 pick gathered most of its stars in 2006. Tennessee fans should be thrilled to read this, because Ed Orgeron, the coach who put this class together, is now the Volunteers' recruiting coordinator. McCluster, the ultimate Wild Rebel, was a 2006 signee. So was speed rusher Hardy. Another signee was 340-pound defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, who finally saw the field in 2008 after a long fight with the NCAA over his eligibility.
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 47
2008 Starters: C Tim Barnes, CB Castine Bridges, DE Tommy Chavis, WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Jared Perry, LB Sean Weatherspoon.
Analysis: Missouri's recruiting classes will receive higher rankings from 2008 forward because the 2005 and 2006 classes made the Tigers sexy. In 2005, the Chases (Daniel and Coffman) came to Columbia. In 2006, Maclin picked Missouri over Nebraska and Colorado. Meanwhile, Missouri's staff had to beat out Tulane, TCU, Houston and Iowa State for Weatherspoon, who grew into one of the Big 12's best linebackers.
9. Penn State
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 6
2008 Starters: DE Aaron Maybin, DT Jared Odrick, DE Maurice Evans, RB Evan Royster, LB Navorro Bowman, CB A.J. Wallace.
Analysis: The big news a few weeks before National Signing Day in 2006 was offensive lineman Antonio Logan-El's switch from Maryland to Penn State. Logan-El quit the team before playing a down. The focus should have been on Maybin, another Maryland native. Maybin committed to the Nittany Lions in October 2005 and grew into the Big Ten's most dominant defender. Royster, who chose Penn State over Nebraska and Virginia, flew even further under the radar.
10. Texas Tech
2006 Rivals Rank: No. 25
2008 Starters: WR Michael Crabtree, LB Brian Duncan, DT Ra'jon Henley, WR Lyle Leong, DE Brandon Williams, LB Marlon Williams.
Analysis: Red Raiders coach Mike Leach got a big assist from hoops coaches Bob and Pat Knight, who helped bring Crabtree to Lubbock. Crabtree came to college expecting to play football and basketball. He quickly learned the brighter future lay on the gridiron, though, and matured into college football's best receiver.