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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Big East recruiting primer

By Mitch Sherman

ESPN RecruitingNation has signing day covered. Follow ESPNU’s coverage, chat with analysts and get breaking news on our Signing Day Live page beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET through 7 p.m. ET. For more on what to expect on signing day, check out the Big East conference breakdown Insider.

Bold Prediction for the Big East: The conference will continue its descent toward obscurity as fewer high-end prospects consider the Big East an attractive first option.

Cincinnati
Biggest need: The Bearcats need help in the secondary, at receiver and on the defensive line, where they lost anchor Dan Giordano at end.
Biggest recruit: Florida-bred quarterback Tyler Cogswell was recruited to play tight end for the Bearcats. Cincy landed him after Arkansas pulled its offer late.

Connecticut
Biggest need: Seniors Jory Johnson and Sio Moore are gone from the corps of linebackers. Depth is also needed at running back.
Biggest recruit: Outside linebacker Jalen Stevens is a steal for the Huskies, who went into SEC country and found a defensive playmaker who looked at schools from the South to the West.

Houston
Biggest need: The Cougars were young last season at most spots but lose a lot up front on defense, including three of their top four tackles. And they want another quarterback.
Biggest recruit: Joseph Glenn has a typical Texas running back pedigree. He’s productive, quick and he’s got a burst that makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

Louisville
Biggest need: Star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater returns for his junior year, but the Cardinals must find an heir apparent. They need to restock at running back, too.
Biggest recruit: A top athlete from one of the nation’s best prep programs in Charlie Strong’s backyard, receiver James Quick was a necessity for the Cardinals. He had offers from Alabama and Ohio State.

Memphis
Biggest need: The Tigers, moving to the Big East from Conference USA, are looking to replenish the secondary and the offensive line, where they return only six players with experience.
Biggest recruit: Quarterback Brayden Scott, a midterm signee, picked the Tigers over Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee, among others. He has a chance to be the future in Memphis.

Rutgers
Biggest need: The Scarlet Knights boasted plenty of experience at receiver and in the defensive backfield. Not next season.
Biggest recruit: Athlete Nadir Barnwell possesses the skill set that Rutgers will need to stay ahead in the Big East. He’s a difference-maker in the league’s best recruiting class.

South Florida
Biggest need: Under new coach Willie Taggart, the Bulls prioritized finding help at running back, in the secondary and at quarterback after the loss of top recruit Asiantii Woulard.
Biggest recruit: Eric Mayes’ long list of offers illustrates his potential. As a defensive end, he may mark the Bulls’ best athlete since Jason Pierre-Paul.

SMU
Biggest need: Running back Zach Line leaves a big hole for the Mustangs as they shift from Conference USA. Help is also needed up front on defense.
Biggest recruit: Running back Traylon Shead will play immediately out of junior college. He’s big, runs downhill and signed in December.

Temple
Biggest need: The Owls were young at receiver and on the offensive line last season but need depth in both areas. Lots of experience is gone from the secondary.
Biggest recruit: Running back Zaire Williams showed excellent big-play ability in New Jersey and should compete right away for time at the next level.

UCF
Biggest need: A Conference USA transfer, the Golden Knights want bodies on the defensive line and depth at quarterback.
Biggest recruit: Defensive end Seyvon Lowry fills a need and sends a message that UCF can compete for prospects in the Big East and even occasionally beat an SEC team.