Locker Room: Gift packages for 2020 will likely look the same

     Two weeks ago we looked at what programs won the college football recruiting wars for the 2019 class. Last week we looked where the top recruits in Virginia decided to go. This week we wrap up recruiting for a while by taking a look at what is likely to happen, or already happening for the class of 2020.
     But this will not be like that surprise gift you get at Christmas. It would be best to save the old wrapping paper and use it again. The order is not exactly the same at this juncture, and for sure it will change at times during the process over the next 11 months. But while the names may shuffle around a bit, they are still the same ol’ names.
      I do have a prediction, and ACC fans, other than Clemson, won’t like it. The Tigers have won two of the last three national championships and have done it without having a group of recruits over the past five years than ranks in the top seven in the country during that period. What do you think Dabo Swinney could do with the best class of recruits in the nation? After a bit of research, that’s my prediction. However, it should be noted that I have been wrong a time or two.
      The 2019 class was won by either Georgia or Alabama, depending which recruiting service you believe, but it doesn’t really matter that much. What matters is that it’s also why little is going to change. While most program’s coaching staffs and recruiting departments are trying to mount a serious recruiting effort after having to battle to the wire to fill the last class, the top programs are already long gone, and while most programs were battling down the stretch for leftover recruits, the big dogs were already well underway with recruiting the next class.
       Presently LSU has the top rated class with 11 commitments, one five star and 9 four star recruits. Alabama is second with 11, a five and 8 four stars. Miami is third with nine recruits, seven of which are four stars. I expect Miami to improve a great deal over last year’s poor recruiting effort, but I do not expect them to hold this ranking.
     Ohio State has seven commitments, one five and four, 4 stars. I predict the Buckeyes will finish second to Clemson when all the fish are fried for 2020. So no, Ohio State was just not about Urban Meyer, and it’s never simply been about who was the coach at the time. The top programs are the top programs for a lot of reasons, getting good coaches is just one of them. Clemson presently is fifth with seven recruits, six of them 4’s.
     Florida is ranked seventyhpresently with seven total recruits, five of which are four stars, Texas A&M has seven too, three of them are 4 stars and Jimbo Fisher will put the Aggies in the conversation at the top. A&M and Texas are starting to keep Texas talent at home. That will even out things a bit and put those two very much in the hunt for national honors in the coming years.
     Oklahoma is 8th with six recruits, four of them 4 stars, Carolina under Mack Brown is staring to make noise and the Tar Heels are off to a good start and UNC is currently 9th with six recruits, all four stars. Michigan is 10th with six players, three of them 4s, Notre Dame is 11th with five recruits, four of them 4-stars, Auburn is 12, Florida State 13th, Wisconsin 14th, and Texas 15th.
      Virginia Tech currently has the 30th rated class with three, 3-star recruits. Those are wide receiver Jalin Hyatt of Irmo, South Carolina, Tyreen Powell, an athlete from New Jersey, and Tyler Warren, a 6-5, 215 pro style quarterback from Mechanicsville. Virginia has one commitment so far, three-star Jahmeer Carter, a 6-3, 294 defensive tackle from Severn, Maryland.
      Now why my prediction of Clemson with the top class? I’ll go even farther. I think the Tigers are going to continue to be a dominant power in the country and maintain a firm grip on control of the ACC for the forseeable future. Why? Program stability. A head coach that has obvious moral values who cares for his players and that sort of thing is still big with families, great facilities, maybe the best in the nation, a great fan base, great weather, and the positive attitude surrounding Clemson football takes a backseat to nobody.
      And now why will they have the best 2020 recruiting class and solidify what I just said? Swinney is in on more talent than any coach in the nation. He’s like a magnate. At this moment Clemson is the choice to sign D.J. Uiagaleiel, a five star and top rated quarterback in the nation. That would make three times in five years the Tigers have signed the top dog. Also, the nation’s number one rated prospect, Bryan Bresee, a five-star defensive end does not hesitate to say Clemson is his top choice.
     It doesn’t stop there. Julian Fleming, another five star, and the top rated wide receiver is the nation says it’s Clemson somebody has to beat, so does five star defensive lineman Jordan Burch, and five star cornerback Fred Davis. If Clemson lands all those players, it might go down at the top rated class in the history of all recruiting classes. Remember, this past class was considered a bit down, 2020 is considered a crackerjack class.
QBs Off the Board Quickly:
      ​If your favorite program needs a quarterback, and many of them certainly do, they better get in a hurry. With all the transfer stuff going on, it seems programs have moved with alarming speed to get commitments from the top quarterbacks. All of these are four star QBs. Bryce Young will play for Southern Cal, Harrison Bailey has committed to Tennessee, Ohio State has Jack Miller, LSU who has struggled for years to get a good signal caller has seen the light and has already locked up two, Max Johnson and T.J. Finley. Texas has landed Hudson Card, top rated in the Longhorn state, Notre Dame has gotten a commitment from Drew Pyne, Luke Doty will take the snaps for South Carolina, Anthony Richards and Carson Beck just committed to Florida and Alabama this week.
Former Louisa Coach Passes:
     He put his Louisa Lions in the state championship game twice. His career record at Louisa was 94-41, pretty danged good. Mark Fischer was a dandy coach and a very good guy. I first met him when he agreed to bring his team to the “Touchdown Classic” in 2004 and 2005. Mark always ran out of his version of the old “single-wing” offense, and he did it well, very well. His last season as coach at Louisa was 2017. His final game was in the state championship game. A good place to end it. I just wish he had won.
     But I promise you Mark Fischer probably took that loss as well or better than anybody else. He was a swell fellow. He wanted to come to the “Classic” because he had heard about it, and also because it would take him back close to home for a couple days and he could see old friends and family. He was originally from the Princeton, West Virginia area.
     Mark Fischer passed away early this week from “Multiple Myeloma,” a rare cancer of the blood. He had to be tough to last as long as he did. The people of Louisa will miss Mark, and it’s never good to see a man like him gone from coaching and working with young people. I wish his family the best.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot