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February 7, 2013

Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the Big East

MORE: Top 25 teams | Signing Day Central

More Conferences: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | Best of the Rest

Rivals.com ranks the Big East recruiting classes coming out of National Signing Day.

Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | Temple

Big East Blitz
1. Pittsburgh

Commit List
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Headliner: Five-star Dorian Johnson has a lot of potential and will be an important piece on the offensive line.
Sleeper: Jaryd Jones-Smith has good skills but needs to be coached to have a positive impact.
Overview: Johnson might be the highest-rated player committed to Pitt, but most Panthers fans are overjoyed that hometown favorite Tyler Boyd decided to stay. Getting four-star quarterback Tra'von Chapman was big. Most of Pitt's commitments are on the offensive side of the ball. Other than Johnson and Jones-Smith, offensive lineman Alexander Officer, Aaron Reese and Carson Baker committed to the Panthers. In addition to Boyd, there are three receivers committed: Zach Challingsworth, Jester Weah and Boyd's high school teammate Terrish Webb. There are also five tight ends committed, but some of them are likely to change positions.
2. Rutgers

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Headliner: Nadir Barnwell is a great athlete who can be a difference-maker on defense for the Scarlet Knights.
Sleeper: Dontea Ayres is a big, bruising running back with surprising speed who could excel in the Rutgers offense.
Overview: Rutgers put together a class filled with local talent. Some of the bigger names who have signed, other than Barnwell, are wide receiver Andre Patton, safety Anthony Cioffi, offensive lineman Dorian Miller, quarterback Christopher Laviano and athletes TJ Taylor and Myles Nash. Nash is one of the more intriguing prospects in this class because he can play so many positions. In high school, Nash saw time at quarterback, defensive end, linebacker and safety. Miller is a player with consistency issues. On one play he will dominate his man, but on the next he might totally miss. With proper coaching, Miller could become a quality player.
3. USF

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Headliner: Derrick Calloway is a run-stuffing defensive tackle with a great motor.
Sleeper: Jeremi Hall out of the Atlanta area is a mammoth road-grader who finishes blocks and fires off the ball with tenacity.
Overview: Willie Taggart landed four-star defensive back Lamar Robbins. Robbins is a tall, rangy corner with long arms and great size. He could step in as a nickel corner during his freshman year. Taggart flipped Calloway from Louisville late in the process.Nate Godwin provides versatility in the secondary after lining up at corner and safety in high school. Mike White could emerge to be the future quarterback for the Bulls. White led his team to a state title by throwing for more than 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns against two interceptions. Nigel Harris, Eric Mayes, and Deadrin Senat provide help on the defensive side. Stafon McCray is a nice back to go with Darius Tice as USF added depth to the running back position.
4. Louisville

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Headliner: James Quick, one of the top wide receivers in the country, highlights the class for the Cardinals. Keeping such an in-state talent is a big win for Charlie Strong & Co.
Sleeper: Terrence Ross is a defensive back with good size who comes from a high school with a reputation for producing quality players.
Overview: With a solid number of returning scholarship players from a BCS bowl-winning team, Cardinals fans came into signing day with managed expectations. No more players were added, but Quick signed as expected, as did the rest of the class. As usual, the group has a Southeastern flavor, with five players coming from the state of Florida. Despite getting players the staff believes fit well in the Louisville system, Quick is the only one in the class rated four stars or higher. One of the prime candidates to be a star three years from now is De'Asian Richardson, a defensive end with good size and a solid skill set. Kyle Bolin is the only other player in the class from the state of Kentucky, and the coaches hope he can be the heir to do-everything quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
5. Connecticut

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Headliner: Dhameer Bradley is a dynamic player in the open field and should provide excitement in Storrs.
Sleeper: Once Tommy Hopkins gets better coaching, he could be a solid contributor.
Overview: The Huskies put together a balanced class. UConn pulled in commitments from two defensive backs, five defensive linemen, three linebackers, three offensive linemen, two running backs, four tight ends, three wide receivers and one quarterback. The late additions of quarterback Tim Boyle and wide receiver Brian Lemelle were huge. Offensive lineman Chasz Wright has the potential to be a quality starter once he fills out his frame and has a better understanding of the game. Offensive lineman Kyle Schafenacker and defensive ends Sha-ki Holmes and Jalen Stevens have the chance to be early contributors.
6. Cincinnati

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Headliner: Florida quarterback Tyler Cogswell was originally committed to Arkansas before the Razorbacks went through their own coaching change.
Sleeper: Local product Rasheen Jones is a big, athletic linebacker at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds.
Overview: Butch Jones' departure from Cincinnati was bad news for a large number of the Bearcats' early recruits. New head coach Tommy Tuberville came in and pulled scholarship offers from several on their commitment list after he was hired in early December, burning bridges with some high school programs in the process. Tuberville replaced those prospects with a large number of JUCO players and also hit the state of Florida hard. Their final commitment list includes just three players from Ohio, but five from Florida and six from the prep and JUCO ranks.
7. Syracuse

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Headliner: Linebacker Luke Arciniega was a big get for the Orangemen because it fills an area of need.
Sleeper: Chauncey Scissum can play on either side of the ball but could contribute earlier if he plays on the defensive side.
Overview: Syracuse doesn't have the biggest class, but there are bright spots. Chicago (Ill.) Simeon offensive lineman Kendall Moore committed to the Orangemen the day before signing day and should provide depth along with John Miller and Jonathan Burton. The Orangemen also got important depth at quarterback with commitments from Austin Wilson and Mitch Kimble. Losing out on Augustus Edwards really hurt this class, but it could have been a lot worse considering the coaching change. Coach Scott Shafer should be applauded for keeping the majority of this class together.
8. Temple

Commit List
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Headliner: Zaire Williams is an every-down back who should be a difference-maker.
Sleeper: Todd Jeter has good speed, and once he can read offenses better and gets more aggressive he could see time as a defensive back for the Owls.
Overview: The Owls have the worst class in the Big East which might be attributable to the coaching change. That said, there are a few players with potential. Linebacker Buddy Brown has good speed and room to fill out his frame, but he needs to be more aggressive and has to make his reads faster. Matt Barone from McKees Rocks (Pa.) Montour is an offensive lineman with good size and strength, but he needs to refine his technique and play with better leverage. A few other players who could be key contributors down the line are PJ Walker, Jarred Alwan and Jihaad Pretlow.

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