Dark horses, recruiting and respect 

March, 19, 2007
03/19/07
12:01
PM ET
Due to the final stages of wrapping up the recruiting book, or at least turning in the manuscript's first version, I shifted the mailbag this week to Monday, instead of the normal Friday slot.

From Terry in NYC: Since it's the offseason, who do you think are some real dark horses that could surprise in 2007 and maybe make a title run?
Bruce Feldman: Watch out for Penn State, which finished 25th last season. The Nittany Lions have a lot of talent coming back, led by LB Dan Connor, a QB with some experience and a very favorable schedule. The big question will be replacing TB Tony Hunt. A few others worth tracking: UCLA (The Bruins return almost everyone); Arizona (Lots of talent back plus Sonny Dykes should do wonders for this offense) and Nebraska (Sam Keller has NFL tools and the Huskers get USC at home.) Of that mix, I think the Huskers and Penn State probably have the most realistic shot of making it to the title game, although both are very big long shots.

From Lori in Chapel Hill, N.C.: How long before Butch Davis has the Tar Heels back in the top 10?
Feldman: I'll say it'll happen before 2010. He's a good recruiter and he has a staff with aggressive recruiters in place, as well as being in a conference that is really up for grabs right now. I think the class he just signed was one of the best stories of the 2007 recruiting season. It was a phenomenal first start.

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