Signing Day needs: Independents
Got talent? Here is a breakdown of where your favorite college football team stands going into National Signing Day on Wednesday, according to CollegeFootballNews.com (Rankings based on CFN’s preseason team rankings within the conference):
1. Notre Dame (8-5)
What’s Needed Now: A star quarterback. Head coach Brian Kelly brought in some nice options over the years, but he didn’t get anyone like Gunner Kiel, Scout.com’s No. 1 ranked quarterback, who switched from Indiana to LSU to the Irish. The talent level is quickly improving over the last two classes with the most noticeable difference on the lines from the last two years. This year, if everything goes according to plan, the secondary will provide the biggest boost with a few nice safety prospects and corner Tee Shepard out of Fresno to soon be the team’s shutdown cover man on one side.
Team Concerns: Besides solidifying the quarterback situation, the Irish have to work on the secondary that loses Harrison Smith and all the key starters. The defensive front won’t have Ethan Johnson and Darius Fleming on the ends, but last year’s class – led by Aaron Lynch – will take care of that. There’s receiver talent to work with, but losing Michael Floyd will be a problem.
2. BYU (10-3)
What’s Needed Now: After losing former super-recruit quarterback Jake Heaps to Kansas, BYU needed to find a new quarterback for the future. While there isn’t anyone coming in with Heaps’ hype, Tanner Mangum is highly regarded and could be in the starting hunt next year when Riley Nelson is done. The linebacking corps is getting the most talent, but overall the skill players should make the class.
Team Concerns: The Cougars have to find a new left tackle to replace Matt Reynolds, and two other starters are gone off a line that needs to do more for the running game. Backs J.J. Di Luigi and Bryan Kariya are gone, but Nelson is a good enough runner to take off from time to time to help the production. The defense has to replace corner Corby Eason and free safety Travis Uale.
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3. Army (3-9)
What’s Needed Now: Is head coach Rich Ellerson doing anything to help the woeful passing game? He’s getting a few receiver prospects, but the class will mostly revolve around a defense that needs bigger and better bodies up front. Defensive tackle will be a big key to the class, while the secondary get an influx of prospects with the idea to become faster and more athletic in the back seven as soon as possible.
Team Concerns: More of a passing game is a must, but that’s going to be a problem with starting receivers Austin Barr and Davyd Brooks done. The backfield is loaded and the line is strong in the interior, but tackles Robert Kava and Mike McDermott are gone. The defense gets nine starters back, but hitting machine Steven Erzinger is gone from the secondary.
4. Navy (5-7)
What’s Needed Now: More running backs. If you’re going to run an offense like Navy’s, options at running back are a must. Speed is coming in to fit the Midshipman type of smallish scooters, but there isn’t a thumper of a fullback to rely on. The linebacking corps gets some help, but a few years in the weight room will be a must to beef up the safety-sized prospects.
Team Concerns: Quarterback. Kriss Proctor is gone after a decent year, and now it’s time for Trey Miller and Jarvis Cummings to show what they can do. The defensive front can’t afford to lose size, but it’s losing size with Jabaree Tuani and Jared Marks gone. Kwesi Mitchell was a steady safety whose experience will be missed, but the bigger issue is the lack of depth in the secondary.