Tide reigns supreme, claims Rivals’ top recruiting class

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The last time Alabama finished with the top recruiting class in the nation, the Tide went on to win that year’s BcS title.  The question after Signing Day 2011 is, can history repeat itself?

For the second time in three years, and barring any last-minute tweaking by the recruiting service, the Crimson Tide have claimed Rivals‘ mythical title of the country’s top recruiting class.  ‘Bama came into the day in the same position, and held off a late charge from USC that wasn’t stemmed until the Trojans lost five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas to Oregon.  USC tentatively finished with the No. 4 class.

Florida State (No. 1 in ESPN’s rankings) and Texas flipped positions from where they started today, with the Seminoles finishing No. 2 and the Longhorns No. 3.  Georgia rounded out the top five with their highest finish since coming in at No. 4 in 2006.

LSU, Auburn (No. 1 in Scout.com rankings), Clemson — which had arguably the best day of any school in the country, all things considered — Oregon and Notre Dame (No. 1 in MaxPreps rankings) were Nos. 6-10.  Clemson and Oregon earned their first top 10 rankings in Rivals history.

All told, the SEC, as expected, dominated the upper echelon of the rankings, putting a staggering nine of their 12 schools inside the Top 25.  Eight of those were Top 20 schools.  The Pac-10 and ACC were next with five and four, respectively, while the Big Ten — which included Nebraska — and Big 12 had three each.

At the opposite end of the spectrum were the schools from the non-automatic qualifying conferences.  TCU (No. 26) and Utah (No. 37) were the highest-ranked non-AQs, and both of those schools are headed for one of the Big Six conferences — the Utes to the Pac-10 this year, the Horned Frogs to the Big East in 2012.  SMU is the only school that will be in a non-AQ conference in ’12 ranked in the Top 50 — and they came in at No. 50.

Oh, and the Big East?  Their best finish in the rankings was Louisville at No. 30.  The conference, which is still an automatic BcS qualifier, saw just four of their eight schools finish inside the Top 50.

For the complete list of rankings, visit Rivals.com HERE.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.