- Adam Finkelstein
Here's a breakdown of the top recruiting classes from teams in non-BCS conferences after the early signing period.
To call James Dickey's class a home run would be an understatement. Convincing a pair of local ESPNU 100 products to stay home and spurn dozens of high-major offers to play in Conference USA was a grand slam. Danuel House (Sugarland, Texas/Hightower) is a high-flying athlete with a college-ready body who is going to put numbers from day one in Houston. Danrad "Chicken" Knowles (Houston/HCYA) is just beginning to tap into his tremendous potential as a skilled 6-foot-9 power forward. Valentine Izundu (Katy, Texas/Lamar Consolidated) is almost flying under the radar in this group, but he's another guy with tremendous upside, who has the size and length to make an immediate impact on the defensive end of the floor. Put the three of them together, and there might not be another program in the country that achieved more relative to its conference affiliation.
It has been an up-and-down 10 days for coach Josh Pastner. He started the period with a bang, landing a commitment from the No. 19 overall prospect in Shaq Goodwin (Decatur, Ga./Southwest Dekalb), only to face disappointment a few days later when Goodwin announced that he would remain verbally committed, but not sign during the early signing period. On Wednesday, he changed his mind yet again and sent Pastner his letter of intent. Goodwin is a powerful interior presence with deceptive versatility who joins another ESPNU 100 prospect, Damien Wilson (Austell, Ga./Oak Hill Academy), who is an athletic scoring forward expected to make an immediate impact next season.