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March 1, 2012

Biggest recruiting needs for the class of 2013

Arkansas, Arizona State, Louisville and USF need quarterbacks.

Florida State and Michigan State? They're searching for defensive ends.

And Cal and Miami would love to find the next great tight end.

Now that a month has passed since National Signing Day, college football programs across the country must concentrate on fortifying the positions where they came up short.

With that in mind, Rivals.com is taking a look at some of the biggest 2013 recruiting needs for programs across the nation.

Remember, these are not the needs of the team the school will put on the field this fall - but the needs they will address during the recruiting season.

For instance, Florida State returns most of the pass rushers who helped the Seminoles rank among the nation's top 10 teams last year in sacks and tackles for loss. So it would seem foolish to list defensive end as Florida State's major recruiting priority.

But many of those quality Florida State pass rushers may no longer be on the team in 2013, which means the Seminoles must find their eventual replacements. They got a good start on that process with their 2012 class, but they may need even more help at that position.

In the cyclical world of college football, today's strength could be tomorrow's weakness.

With that, a look at some top needs:

Arizona State quarterback
Arizona State will enter the spring with only three scholarship quarterbacks on its roster. The Sun Devils didn't sign a single quarterback last month, as three-star prospect TJ Millweard of Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal switched his verbal commitment to UCLA after the Bruins hired former Sun Devils offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The Sun Devils must sign at least one quarterback next year. Frankly, one might not be enough.
Get more Arizona State coverage at ASUDevils.com

Arkansas quarterback
Arkansas has only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster who will still have some eligibility remaining in 2013. Arkansas didn't include a quarterback in its 2012 recruiting class, and Jacoby Walker's decision to transfer to Central Arkansas further cut into the Razorbacks' depth at the position. Arkansas probably needs to sign two quarterbacks next year. The Razorbacks also have signed a total of two defensive tackles over the last two years - and that's if you include 2012 DT/DE recruit Darius Philon - so they need to upgrade there as well.
Get more Arkansas coverage at HawgSports.com

California tight end
California's only returning tight ends of note are Richard Rodgers and Jacob Wark, unless you include Spencer Hagan, a former walk-on wide receiver who now is on scholarship as an H-back. Cal wanted to address this position in its 2012 signing class, but the only tight end it added was Sacramento (Calif.) American River College's Harrison Wilfley, who hasn't played football the last two years while participating in a church mission in Uruguay.
Get more Cal coverage at BearTerritory.net

Florida State defensive end
Brandon Jenkins, Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner give Florida State a trio of formidable pass rushers for the moment, but the Seminoles won't have them much longer. Jenkins and Carradine will be seniors this fall. Werner will be a junior, but he could opt to enter the 2013 draft. The Seminoles also will have to replace backup Toshmon Stevens, a senior this fall. Dan Hicks recently moved from defensive end to tight end. There's a realistic possibility Florida State could head into 2013 with only three defensive ends on scholarship if they don't add any recruits. The Seminoles signed Chris Casher (the nation's No. 36 prospect) last month. Florida State also added the nation's No. 3 overall 2012 prospect in Denton (Texas) Ryan's Mario Edwards Jr., who can play defensive tackle or defensive end. But the Seminoles still would like to acquire even more defensive ends.
Get more Florida State coverage at Warchant.com

Georgia inside linebacker
Georgia, which runs a 3-4 defense, didn't sign a single inside linebacker last month. Georgia also will lose at least two key inside linebackers after next season when Michael Gilliard and Christian Robinson complete their eligibility. That makes this spot the obvious choice as the Bulldogs' biggest need in the upcoming recruiting cycle.
Get more Georgia coverage at UGASports.com

Indiana defensive tackle
Indiana figures to rely heavily this fall on senior defensive tackles Larry Black Jr., Adam Replogle and Nicholas Sliger. All three will be gone after this season, forcing the Hoosiers to retool at this spot. The first-team and second-team defensive tackles for Indiana's 2011 regular-season finale were all upperclassmen.
Get more Indiana coverage at Peegs.com

Louisville quarterback
The return of 2012 Rivals.com Freshman All-American selection Teddy Bridgewater gives Louisville plenty of reason for confidence, but the Cardinals lack depth at this position. Louisville's other three returning quarterbacks are walk-ons or former walk-ons. Louisville signed three-star recruit Will Gardner of Douglas (Ga.) Coffee County last month, but the Cardinals need to sign at least one more quarterback next year. Louisville already has an early commitment from 2013 quarterback recruit Kyle Bolin of Lexington (Ky.) Catholic.
Get more Louisville coverage at CardinalSports.com

Maryland defensive tackle
All-ACC selection Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis are heading into their senior seasons this fall, which means Maryland will have to replace two of its top three defensive tackles in 2013. Maryland didn't sign a single defensive tackle last month, so there's no question this is an area the Terps must address in their 2013 class.
Get more Maryland coverage at TerrapinTimes.com

Miami tight end
Miami has been a training ground for future NFL tight ends from Jeremy Shockey to Kellen Winslow Jr. to Greg Olsen to Jimmy Graham. But the Hurricanes didn't sign a single tight end this year, which means they're definitely going to be in the market for at least one in this upcoming recruiting cycle. Miami also could use some reinforcements at running back and defensive tackle.
Get more Miami coverage at CaneSport.com

Michigan wide receiver
Junior Hemingway and Kelvin Grady completed their eligibility last season, while Roy Roundtree is heading into his final year and Darryl Stonum has been dismissed from the team. Michigan signed four-star prospect Amara Darboh of West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling and three-star recruit Jehu Chesson of St. Louis (Mo.) Ladue Horton Watkins last month, but they need to add more firepower. The commitment of 2013 recruit Jaron Dukes of Columbus (Ohio) Marion Franklin represents a nice start.
Get more Michigan coverage at TheWolverine.com

Michigan State defensive end
The Spartans have to prepare for the likelihood that star pass rusher William Gholston will head to the NFL Draft after his junior season. Michigan State suffered a big recruiting loss when 2012 Rivals100 defensive end Se'Von Pittman backed out of his verbal commitment and signed with Ohio State instead. Pittman's decision left Michigan State without any true defensive ends in its 2012 signing class. Although four-star recruit Jamal Lyles from Southfield (Mich.) Lathrup is listed as an end, the Spartans plan to use him as a linebacker.
Get more Michigan State coverage at SpartanMag.com

Nebraska defensive end
Nebraska's top four defensive ends this fall will include three seniors (Eric Martin, Cameron Meredith and Joseph Carter) plus one junior (Jason Ankrah). The Huskers signed Rivals250 defensive end Greg McMullen of Akron (Ohio) Hoban and three-star prospect Avery Moss of Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol last month, but they'd like to add even more help at this position.
Get more Nebraska coverage at HuskerOnLine.com

Notre Dame cornerback
Notre Dame hoped to sign three cornerbacks this year in an attempt to fortify the position now that 2011 starters Robert Blanton and Gary Gray had completed their college careers. And for most of the recruiting season, the Irish figured they'd have at least two Rivals100 picks in Tee Shepard and Ronald Darby. As it turned out, Shepard became the only cornerback to join the Irish as Darby changed his mind and eventually signed with Florida State. Notre Dame also needs plenty of help in the offensive line, but the Midwest has plenty of quality offensive line prospects in the 2013 class. The area doesn't have nearly as many talented cornerbacks, so the Irish's attempts at an upgrade will require a national search.
Get more Notre Dame coverage at IrishIllustrated.com

Oregon defensive tackle
Oregon's 2012 signing class included five defensive ends, but the only defensive tackle in the 21-man group was three-star prospect Stetzon Bair of Iowa Western Community College. Those totals are somewhat misleading because some of the ends, such as Rivals100 prospect Alex Balducci, conceivably could move inside. But the Ducks would love to add more pure defensive tackles to the mix next year.
Get more Oregon coverage at DuckSportsAuthority.com

Tennessee offensive line
The Volunteers' 2012 signing class didn't include a single offensive lineman, which makes it imperative that they stock up in that area next year. Tennessee added plenty of offensive linemen in the previous two cycles to give itself a bit of a buffer zone, but it's rare to see any school fail to sign a single offensive lineman in a given year. Tennessee does have an early 2013 verbal commitment from Rivals250 offensive tackle Austin Sanders of Cleveland (Tenn.) Bradley Central.
Get more Tennessee coverage at Volquest.com

TCU defensive tackle
The Horned Frogs were seeking help here even before D.J. Yendrey was dismissed from the team two weeks ago. TCU's move to the Big 12 means the Horned Frogs will need more depth in order to match the success they enjoyed in the Mountain West. Nowhere is that more critical than on the defensive line. The Frogs are young at defensive tackle at the moment - sophomores Chuck Hunter and David Johnson are currently atop the depth chart - so they likely won't have to replace any senior starters next year. But they do need to add reinforcements. Joey Hunt, a three-star prospect from El Campo (Texas) High, was the only defensive tackle to sign with the Frogs last month. Cornerback also figures to be a priority for the Frogs.
Get more TCU coverage at PurpleMenace.com

Texas Tech offensive line
Texas Tech likely will have three senior starters on its offensive line this year. The Red Raiders signed three offensive linemen last month, but they actually were hoping to include as many as five linemen in that class. Don't be surprised if they sign five or six linemen next year. They may need to pursue some early enrollees who can participate in spring practice and challenge for immediate playing time.
Get more Texas Tech coverage at RedRaiderSports.com

USC running back
Amir Carlisle's transfer to Notre Dame has left USC with only three scholarship tailbacks on its roster. USC's 2012 recruiting class didn't include a single tailback, though the Trojans did add the nation's No. 1 fullback prospect in Jahleel Pinner. Curtis McNeal came on strong late last season and rushed for 1,006 yards, but he's about to enter his senior season. USC needs to add depth here as it prepares for McNeal's departure.
Get more USC coverage at USCFootball.com

USF quarterback
USF went hard after Jupiter (Fla.) High dual-threat quarterback Tyler Cameron last year. Cameron signed with Wake Forest instead, leaving the Bulls without a quarterback in their 2012 signing class. The Bulls already have taken steps to rectify the issue by getting an early verbal commitment from Asiantii Woulard, a 2013 quarterback prospect from Winter Park (Fla.) High. Even if Woulard sticks to that commitment, it wouldn't be a surprise if USF pursues a second quarterback as well. B.J. Daniels, the Bulls' incumbent starter at the position, enters his senior year this fall. Junior Bobby Eveld and redshirt freshman Matt Floyd are competing for the right to back him up.
Get more USF coverage at USFBullseye.com

Virginia Tech quarterback
Logan Thomas has been so effective as Virginia Tech's quarterback that it could lead to some problems down the road. What happens if Thomas turns pro after his junior season? The only other returning scholarship quarterback on the roster is Mark Leal, who played 36 snaps as a redshirt freshman last fall. The Hokies wanted to sign a couple of quarterbacks last month. The only one they got was Brenden Motley, who ran a Wing-T offense at Christianburg (Va.) High and may need a couple of years to develop.
Get more Virginia Tech coverage at HokieHaven.com

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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