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Halfway to National Signing Day 2017, Ohio State is still ahead of Alabama

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State already had the top-ranked 2017 recruiting class in college football. The Buckeyes didn’t need five-star defensive end Chase Young to put together the best group of talent in the country. But now they have Young anyway, after he committed to the Buckeyes at a camp in Columbus on Friday night.

But the Buckeyes weren’t done, as they landed Cincinnati four-star corner Amir Riep over the weekend as well. Add in a four-star 2018 running back, and it truly was an epic weekend at Friday Night Lights Camp.

It’s been seven years since anybody other than Alabama signed the top class in the country. The Crimson Tide are the best in show every year. But now, they’re ranked No. 2 behind Ohio State, though it is close.

Based on the 247Sports Composite’s average player ratings, Ohio State has a higher average star rating as well, with a 4.1 average vs. a 3.8 (Alabama has one more three-star recruit and is using a scholarship on a long-snapper).

Things could still get better for the Buckeyes. They’re widely considered the favorites for safety Jeffrey Okudah, one of top few defensive backs in the country, and Trevon Grimes, a four-star receiver from Florida.

Signing Day isn’t until February, and classes can add and subtract talent in a hurry. But Ohio State could potentially overthrow Alabama for this year’s No. 1 class.


LSU got top cornerback Kary Vincent, of Houston, and two more offensive linemen on board. I’ve seen Vincent several times, and he has legitimately elite speed. LSU is at 17 commitments with more four- and five-stars than two- and three-stars.

Florida flipped in-state four-star running back Adarius Lemons from North Carolina and got a commitment from three-star linebacker James Houston, who could be a good player for the Gators if he comes back strong from his torn ACL.

Mississippi State landed three talented big men at its "Big Dawg Camp," including Deion Pope, a four-star JUCO defensive lineman from Copial-Lincoln Community College in nearby Wesson (Miss). Mississippi State has always done a good job of mining the JUCO ranks.

Alabama landed two more commitments in four-star JUCO cornerback Jhavonte Dean and three-star offensive tackle Hunter Brannon.

Penn State went into Virginia to land talented safety Jonathan Sutherland. The Nittany Lions have 10 commitments with half rated as four-stars or better, which is a solid start somewhat overshadowed by the ridiculous work done by division rivals Ohio State and Michigan.