- Travis Haney, ESPN Staff Writer
When we do our coaching hot-seat rankings later in the year, there is little doubt that Florida’s Will Muschamp and Virginia’s Mike London will be near the top. Yet Florida finished with RecruitingNation’s sixth-ranked class, and, despite going oh-for-the-ACC last season, Virginia was a respectable 25th.
The staffs undoubtedly sold prospects on the idea of turning around troubled programs. Some incoming freshmen might be asked to do it right away -- or they might be playing for someone else (or somewhere else).
That’s where we begin the Takeaways from signing day, with the most intriguing signees in situations where they will most be needed.
Other Takeaways include USC’s strong finish, Alabama’s class impressing other coaches, and nice work at Tennessee and by the Stoops brothers (Bob and Mark).
I’ll be curious to see how Muschamp manages the amount of tension that will surround him and the program. Some are able to remove the hot-seat tag; Mark Richt and Gary Pinkel are recent examples. Others, Lane Kiffin being one, are gone by October.
Two freshmen to monitor for immediate impacts, to potentially help ease the stress: running back Brandon Powell, who flipped from Miami to UF, and cornerback Jalen Tabor. The Gators are losing Jaylen Watkins, Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy from a talented secondary, so there might be early opportunity for Tabor.