FORT WORTH, Texas -- Bowl season officially has come to a close. But the fallout on the recruiting front from those games, and even those programs that watched from home, is just beginning to unfold. Here’s a look at some notable winners and losers:
Auburn: The Tigers should reap the benefits of their national championship for years to come. But they were already feeling the effects of their title-game appearance when five-star linebacker Brent Calloway of Russellville, Ala., switched his commitment from Alabama at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Gene Chizik’s program also got commitments from Under Armour All-Americans Quan Bray (athlete) and Robenson Therezie (safety) at that game.
Alabama: Auburn might have gotten the better of Alabama on the field, but the Tigers still have a ways to go before they turn the Tide on the recruiting front. Alabama coach Nick Saban has once again hauled in another top-3 class, which solidified its place among the nation’s elite with the commitment of Orlando, Fla., running back Demetrius Hart at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Hart, who switched his commitment from Michigan, is this year’s recipient of the Ken Hall Trophy, which honors the nation’s top high school player. He’ll team up with defensive back Hasean Clinton-Dix, his high school teammate from Dr. Phillips High School (Orlando), who is rated as the top player in Florida.
Cal: The Golden Bears finished 5-7 and were sitting at home during bowl season. But they’ve still managed to compile what might end up being the best class they’ve ever had, one rated No. 10 on Rivals.com.
Florida State: The Jimbo Fisher era has gotten off to a great start in Tallahassee. The Seminoles picked up their 10th win of the season over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and will enter 2011 as a top-10 team with a recruiting class that could be the best in the country.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are a popular pick as the preseason No. 1 team, and with good reason. All-America wide receiver Ryan Broyles, linebacker Travis Lewis and quarterback Landry Jones return with four starters on the offensive line. Joining them will be a group of talented ball carriers, including five-star recruit Brandon Williams of Brookshire Royal and Danzel Williams of Arlington Martin. These players should make the transition to co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell a seamless one.
Oklahoma State: What’s not to like about the direction the Pokes are headed? They earned their school-record 11th win by dismantling Arizona in the Alamo Bowl, which only strengthened their presence on the Texas recruiting front. Biletnikoff Award-winning receiver Justin Blackmon and All-Big 12 quarterback Brandon Weeden recently announced that they’d both return next season to join a recruiting class that features U.S. Army All-Americans RB Herschel Sims of Abilene and QB J.W. Walsh of Denton Guyer.
Oregon: The Ducks are coming out winners on the recruiting front. Oregon picked up a huge commitment when athlete Colt Lyerla, Oregon’s No. 1 player, committed to them at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. They’ve also continued their success in Texas with the commitment of Dallas Skyline LB Anthony Wallace.
Stanford: Jim Harbaugh’s decision to take over the San Francisco 49ers hasn’t dampened a top-15 recruiting class for the Orange Bowl champs. Nine of its 20 commitments are four-star recruits, including Dallas St. Mark’s wide receiver Ty Montgomery.
TCU: Its move to the Big East in 2012 will open a lot of doors for the Horned Frogs. Of course, so will going undefeated and finishing No. 2 in the nation. Waxahachie athlete LaDarius Brown is the jewel of this 23-man class that might be on the verge of adding Euless Trinity athlete Brandon Carter. Recruited to Oklahoma as a defensive back, Carter is interested in the opportunity to play offense at TCU and be close to his family, according to a report by ESPNDallas.com.
Texas: The Longhorns didn’t go to a bowl game and underwent a massive overhaul on their coaching staff, but they have managed to hold on to their 23 commitments that Rivals believes makes up the top class in the nation.
Baylor: The Bears got blown out by Illinois in the Texas Bowl and just found out that former Midlothian wide receiver Eddie Johnson Jr., one of Baylor’s two four-star recruits, will enroll at Navarro College instead of in Waco, according to SicEmSports.com. They could get a boost if Fort Worth Arlington Heights wide receiver Marquis Jackson chooses them over Kansas.
Boise State: The Broncos’ sustained success has yet to translate in high-profile recruits. There aren’t any four-star prospects among their 21 commitments, which feature five Texans.
Miami: The Hurricanes, who got thoroughly outplayed by Notre Dame in El Paso, have only eight commitments -- two four-star recruits.
Michigan: Only time will tell if Brady Hoke can lead the Maize and Blue away from looking dazed and confused. The Wolverines better hope so, because having a recruiting class as mediocre as their 2011 haul just won’t cut it in the Big Ten. The class of 12, which features three four-star recruits and eight three-star prospects, is rated No. 38 on Rivals, just behind Minnesota and Cincinnati. Not only did Michigan, which got blown out by Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl, lose Demetrius Hart’s commitment, but they also lost out on the battles for North Carolina athlete Kris Frost and Wayne Lyons, a four-star linebacker from Oakland Park, Fla., who pledged to Stanford.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes picked up a huge victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, but suffered a big setback at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl when defensive tackle commitment Michael Bennett broke his left forearm late in the third quarter. Bennett is rated as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 3 player out of Ohio.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies got knocked out by Stanford in the Orange Bowl, and are struggling to find their footing in the recruiting ring. A class with only four four-star recruits is rated six spots behind No. 28 Virginia on Rivals.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers are following a dismal showing against North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl with an equally unimpressive class that features zero four-star commitments.