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February 2, 2012

Signing Day Blitz: Best of the non-BCS

MORE: Top 25 teams | Signing Day Central

More Conferences: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

We've ranked the recruiting classes in every major conference, but some of the most talented classes belong to schools that aren't in a BCS conference. Here's a look at the best outside of those conferences.

Signing Day Blitz: Best outside the Big Six
Notre Dame - No. 22 in the nation

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Headliner: The quarterback position is one you have to get right to have success, and the Notre Dame-Gunner Kiel match up looks like a great fit.
Sleeper: College coaches have been raving about Texas athlete Nicky Baratti since his junior year.
Overview: The class Notre Dame signed on Wednesday is far different from the one it looked as if they would a few weeks back. The Irish were in on a number of big recruitments late, but failed to connect on any in the final weeks of the process. Then the big disappointment happened on Signing Day when Rivals100 wide receiver Deontay Greenberry sent his letter to Houston after being committed to the Irish for the past eight months. This class has several big-time talents in it, but finishes with just 16 total signees.
Houston - No. 1 in C-USA

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Headliner: Deontay Greenberry surprisingly flipped from Notre Dame to Houston on National Signing Day. The four-star receiver from Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union could contribute immediately.
Sleeper: Jontrey Tillman had been committed to Stanford since June but things didn't work out with the Cardinal. It could be a tremendous pickup for Houston since Tillman is a 5-foot-9 athlete with great speed.
Overview: Houston's class got a tremendous boost with the shocking switch of Greenberry on signing day and the Cougars, dealing with a coaching change recently, landed 16 three-star prospects. Greenberry is the only four-star prospect in Houston's recruiting class.
Boise State - No. 1 in Mountain West

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Headliner: Nick Patti has been on the radar for years as the dual-threat quarterback from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips has impressed over many seasons. He's undersized but Patti, a three-star prospect, has a strong arm and had offers from Big East and Big Ten schools.
Sleeper: Boise State's class is filled with sleepers including Mario Yakoo, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound prospect who had been committed to UCLA for months. Things didn't work out and it could work out for the Broncos' benefit.
Overview: Rarely does Boise State's recruiting class get the credit it deserves but coach Chris Petersen and his staff works wonders with the players to have one of the top-rated teams in the country. Patti, linebacker Ben Weaver, defensive back Chris Santini, running back Shane Rhodes, defensive back Chaz Anderson and many others could become special players in the coming years.
Arkansas State - No. 1 in Sun Belt

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Headliner: Michael Flint is a three-star offensive guard who played in the Under Armour game and reported offers from numerous SEC schools. He's rated among the top 40 players in Alabama by Rivals.com.
Sleeper: Dual-threat quarterback Fredi Knighten threw for 4,557 yards and 66 touchdowns and also rushed for 16 scores. He's a two-star prospect by Rivals.com but can clearly make things happen when the ball is in his hands.
Overview: First-year coach Gus Malzahn has made Arkansas State relevant again. The coaching staff landed some top three-star prospects from the Southeast and can do much better next recruiting cycle once Malzahn and his staff get grounded and meet with 2013 prospects. Flint was a big commit late in the recruiting process and Arkansas State landed some other outstanding athletes like Knighten, running back Michael Gordon and a few junior college prospects.
Louisiana Tech - No. 1 in WAC

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Headliner: Kentrell Brice had been committed to Oregon State for a while but decided to stay closer to home and it could benefit Louisiana Tech in many ways. Brice is a three-star defensive back who has the talent to get on the field early.
Sleeper: Could Grant Childress be a big-time player for Louisiana Tech in the coming years? The 6-foot wide receiver from Tyler (Texas) Grace Community School standout caught 67 passes for 1,145 yards and nine touchdowns in his senior season. Childress can catch the ball and could help him get on the field early.
Overview: Louisiana Tech did a solid job getting Brice to flip - after Ole Miss was also considered in his recruitment - plus having a couple standout athlete sign with them on Wednesday. Adairius Barnes is one player to watch. Others are running back Kenneth Dixon and linebacker Lloyd Grogan. This could be a solid class since half of Louisiana Tech's class is rated as three-stars.

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