Is it ever. The University of Florida might want to update its popular chant after National Signing Day. On Wednesday, it wasn't just great to be a Florida Gator, instead "it's never been greater to be a Florida Gator."
Despite the uncertainty involving Coach Urban Meyer's health during the past two months, the Gators not only signed the nation's consensus No. 1 recruiting class, but arguably one of the greatest recruiting classes in recent history.
"It's hard to say best of all-time, but it's up there in recent years," said Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg. "On paper, Florida's class is outstanding, especially on the defensive side of the ball."
Among Florida's top recruits included Moreno Valley (Calif.) defensive end Ronald Powell, Philadelphia defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Staten Island (N.Y.) defensive tackle Dominique Easley, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) running back/linebacker Matt Elam and Bradenton (Fla.) safety Jon Dowling.
They were all ranked among the best at their respective positions. Powell was rated as the nation's No. 1 overall recruit by Rivals.com and also was named MVP of the 10th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Floyd and Easley were rated as the nation's top two defensive tackles.
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"The Pac-10 ... you can't compare it to playing in the SEC, back down South."
Florida's class included 11 of the ESPN's top 50 rated players, four Parade All-Americans and both MVPs from the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game (Easley and Atlanta linebacker Michael Taylor).
"I've gotten myself in trouble in the past by hyping up players who were not yet deserving of it," Meyer said. "But I'm not sure I've seen a defensive front as good as this one. When you look at Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd, Leon Orr, Dominique Easley and Lynden Trail, those are some serious guys. I just think in certain areas, it's the best we've ever done."
While Florida's class was rated as the nation's best by FanHouse, here are the rest of the nation's Top 10 classes:
8. Florida State
9. Penn State
Florida's top-rated class was not a surprise, but the biggest shockers were a couple of the Gators' SEC rivals: Auburn and Tennessee, Newberg said.
"Auburn was the big surprise," Newberg said. "Tennessee and [new coach Derek] Dooley did incredibly well considering the circumstances."
Auburn's class was highlighted by Little Rock (Ark.) running back Michael Dyer, who was considered the nation's top running back after rushing for 2,484 yards in only 12 games.
"It's nice that on this day that the class, by the people that are 'experts' or along the lines know that this is a good class," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "But anyone that knows football knows that it will be two or three seasons away before you can judge the class.
"I feel good for our coaches, the Auburn Family and the good people that worked so hard right now during this past year to make this recruiting class special. I feel good that people can look at that and others can recognize how hard our people worked. But at the end of the day, those rankings really won't pan out for a few years where in terms of how good the classes really were."
Dooley, previously coach and athletic director at Louisiana Tech the past three years, was hired at Tennessee on Jan. 15, three days after Lane Kiffin left to become coach at USC. Dooley was offered the job after a handful of other coaches passed on the job, but managed to secure -- and maintain -- one of the nation's top classes in less than three weeks.
"First of all, 19 days on the job feels like it's been already two years," Dooley said. "I guess I was hired on a Friday [Jan. 15] and that next Saturday - I guess it's an understatement to say that the program was in a fragile state.
"We had so much to do and a short time to get there. We really just had to focus in one step at a time."
Texas' class, the best in the Big 12, was impressive. The Longhorns' incoming class featured Plano (Texas) defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, the son of former Dallas Cowboys lineman Jim Jeffcoat, and West Chester (Ohio) linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Texas was a model of efficiency -- all 25 recruits that made official visits to Austin, Texas, signed with the Longhorns. Seven were Parade All-Americans.
"Of our 13 classes at Texas, this group addresses every position more so than any other class we've had," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We were fortunate enough to sign a talented young player at every position, which is very unusual for a class."
With Kiffin, USC had a top five class. The Trojans literally picked up a huge signing with the addition of 6-foot-8 offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, the nation's top offensive lineman from Saint Paul, Minn.
"It never goes down like you think," said Newberg, a recruiting analyst for two decades. "This is my 18th one, this might be the craziest one. With all the kids that changed their mind and went elsewhere and some surprising decisions. A very, very interesting day, to say the least.
"USC working its way up [the recruiting rankings] and getting Seantrel Henderson. I think the Pac-10 had a phenomenal day. What USC did. What Cal did. UCLA, Washington picked up a couple of kids. I thought Oregon made a big statement today. In the SEC, typical five or so teams in the top 10. Those were the story lines and it's good to see Florida State back inside the top 10 - that always makes things interesting in that neck of the woods."
The top classes by BCS conference: Florida (SEC), Texas (Big 12), USC (Pac-10), Florida State (ACC), Penn State (Big 10) and West Virginia (Big East).
FanHouse's recruiting classes ranked within each conference:
ACC: 1. Florida State, 2. Clemson, 3. Virginia Tech, 4. Miami, 5. North Carolina, 6. Maryland, 7. Georgia Tech, 8. N.C. State, 9. Boston College, 10. Wake Forest, 11. Virginia, 12. Duke.
Big East: 1. West Virginia, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Louisville, 4. Rutgers, 5. Cincinnati, 6. South Florida, 7. Syracuse, 8. Connecticut.
Big Ten: 1. Penn State, 2. Michigan, 3. Ohio State, 4. Michigan State, 5. Iowa, 6. Purdue, 7. Wisconsin, 8. Northwestern, 9. Illinois, 10. Minnesota, 11. Indiana.
Big 12: 1. Texas, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Texas A&M, 4. Oklahoma State, 5. Missouri, 6. Nebraska, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Baylor, 9. Iowa State, 10. Kansas, 11. Colorado, 12. Kansas State.
Conference USA: 1. Houston, 2. UCF, 3. Southern Miss, 4. Marshall, 5. SMU, 6. Memphis, 7. Tulsa, 8. UTEP, 9. East Carolina, 10. UAB, 11. Tulane, 12. Rice.
Mid-American: 1. Temple, 2. Toledo, 3. Akron, 4. Western Michigan, 5. Ball State, 6. Bowling Green, 7. Kent State, 8. Miami (Ohio), 9. Northern Illinois, 10. Central Michigan, 11. Buffalo, 12. Eastern Michigan, 13. Ohio.
Mountain West: 1. Utah, 2. BYU, 3. TCU, 4. San Diego State, 5. Colorado State, 6. New Mexico, 7. Air Force, 8. Wyoming, 9. UNLV.
Pac-10: 1. USC, 2. UCLA, 3. Oregon, 4. California, 5. Washington, 6. Stanford, 7. Arizona State, 8. Arizona, 9. Washington State, 10. Oregon State.
SEC: 1. Florida, 2. Auburn, 3. Alabama, 4. LSU, 5. Tennessee, 6. Ole Miss, 7. Georgia, 8. South Carolina, 9. Arkansas, 10. Mississippi State, 11. Kentucky, 12. Vanderbilt.
Sun Belt: 1. Florida International, 2. Troy, 3. Western Kentucky, 4. Middle Tennessee, 5. Louisiana-Monroe, 6. North Texas, 7. Louisiana-Lafayette, 8. Arkansas State, 9. Florida Atlantic.
WAC: 1. Fresno State, 2. Hawaii, 3. Louisiana Tech, 4. Boise State, 5. San Jose State, 6. Nevada, 7. New Mexico State, 8. Utah State, 9. Idaho.
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at email@example.com