With the football season in the books, it is time to turn our attention to recruiting. National Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 1. Here is a look at the top classes in the nation, and what might happen going forward.
Alabama will probably sign the No. 1 class for the seventh consecutive year, and maybe its best ever.
Alabama’s class has 25 current commitments, including five five-stars and 15 four-stars; a ridiculous 80 percent of the class is comprised of blue-chip prospects.
Najee Harris, of California, is the nation’s No. 1 running back. Dylan Moses, of Baton Rouge, is the No. 1 linebacker. The Tide also added the No. 1 JUCO offensive lineman in Elliot Baker, and the No. 1 JUCO defensive lineman in Isaiah Buggs.
And it could get even better. Alabama is contending for Georgia five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon.
It is in a strong position for four-star Alabama prospects like wide receiver Henry Ruggs and LaBryan Ray. The Tide are also still in it for four-star Louisiana prospects like Devonta Smith, Todd Harris, and Phidarian Mathis. And the Tide are still considered the top contender for four-star defensive end Jarez Parks out of Florida.
Plus, the Tide are still nominally contending for four-star Florida cornerback Chris Henderson.
This is just getting silly. Alabama is having to slow play, or flat out deny spots to players who would otherwise be the best recruit for many other schools.
With almost any combination of four or five of the above-mentioned prospects committing to the Tide, Alabama would finish with 320+ points on the 247Sports Composite scale, which no team has done since the Florida Gators in 2010.
Ohio State’s incredible class has a (slim) chance to grab the top spot if the Tide falter.
Like Alabama, Ohio State is set to sign its best recruiting class in over a decade. An incredible 18 of Ohio State’s 19 commitments are rated four or five-stars, and the Buckeyes lead the nation in five-star prospects, with a ridiculous seven. Wyatt Davis, of California, is the best guard in the nation. Chase Young, of Maryland, is one of the most dangerous prep pass rushers. The Buckeyes also have Kendall Sheffield, the No. 1 JUCO CB in the country. And paired with the No. 1 and No. 4 cornerback recruits nationally, in Jeffrey Okudah, and Shaun Wade, the Buckeyes have the nation’s best secondary class.
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And they might not be done. This class is limited only by its quantity, not its quality. With most of Ohio State’s roster coming back, OSU’s class is going to be smaller than normal. In-state four-star offensive tackle Thayer Munford could join the class. The Buckeyes are also involved with Texas five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, Iowa four-star receiver Oliver Martin, and Florida four-star receiver James Robinson.
Land Grant Holy Land does a great job covering all things Ohio State recruiting.
Georgia has the inside track on the No. 3 spot.
In most any other year, Georgia’s class could well be talked about as the nation’s best. 20 of Kirby Smart’s 23 commitments are rated four or five-stars. The rest of the SEC East has 20. Combined. That dominance relative to the rest of the division is far greater than what Alabama does to the SEC West.
The strength of Georgia’s class is its offensive line. Georgia’s six offensive linemen rank Nos. 2, 5, 6, 9, 22, and 22 at their positions nationally. It’s a great job of addressing what was the biggest hole on the roster left by former head coach Mark Richt.
And Georgia has the No. 2 and 4 safety recruits nationally, in Richard LeCounte III, and Deangelo Gibbs, both of Georgia.
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The Bulldogs are locking down the state like never before. Seventeen of its 23 commitments are from the Peach State. And they might not be done. They have a shot to land the state’s No. 3 player in Solomon (discussed above in the Alabama section), as well as No. 9 in cornerback Jamyest Williams (South Carolina commitment), No. 17 in linebacker Leonard Warner, and No. 18 in defensive end Markaviest Bryant.
A final piece could come from Alabama four-star receiver Nico Collins, Florida four-star lineman Tedarrell Slaton, Florida three-star cornerback Ameer Speed, or Georgia three-star cornerback Eric Stokes. Georgia looks to have three spots left in its class. It is going to be turning down some talented players.
Will Michigan’s clubhouse lead be enough to hold on to the No. 4 spot?
Michigan currently enjoys a comfortable lead over Florida State and LSU, who are hard charging.
With 18 of 26 commitments rated four-stars or better, the Wolverines are quickly restocking the cupboard. Five commitments are rated within the top five at their positions nationally, another four in the top 10, and another four in the top 15. This includes the nation’s No. 1 receiver in Donovan Peoples-Jones, of Michigan, and No. 1 center Cesar Ruiz, of Florida by way of New Jersey.
Michigan is running out of spots, which limits its upward mobility. The top targets remaining on the board are defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, and receivers Nico Collins and Oliver Martin (discussed in the Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia sections, above). The Wolverines are also still pursuing defensive tackle Jay Tufele (discussed in the Ohio State section, above).
As you may have noticed, everyone is pursuing a select few group of defensive tackles. This is not a strong year for defensive tackles.
Michigan is also still in contention for four-star linebacker Willie Gay, of Mississippi. Gay is an awesome prospect and could be in line for a bump to five stars.
Florida State has a lot of targets remaining.
The Seminoles have just 21 commitments, with 10 ranked four or five-stars. As currently comprised, the class is very top heavy, with three five-stars in Mississippi running back Cam Akers, Florida defensive end Josh Kaindoh, and Virginia running back Khalon Laborn.
FSU might be adding to that in a big way, though, with five or six spots left to fill.
The Seminoles are contenders for Marvin Wilson, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country, out of Houston.
They are Alabama’s main competition for Jarez Parks and Henry Ruggs. The Seminoles are also after receiver Devonta Smith. FSU could flip four-star Tennessee safety commitment Maleik Gray, or Georgia four-star defensive end commitment Robert Beal. Florida State is also a strong contender to hold off Florida and Texas A&M for four-star Texas linebacker Levi Jones. The Seminoles are also trying to land Mississippi four-star linebacker Willie Gay, and four-star Georgia linebacker Leonard Warner.
If FSU can’t leapfrog Michigan, LSU might.
The Tigers have 21 commitments total, and 13 are blue-chippers. LSU has Tennessee five-star Jacoby Stevens, the No. 1 safety in the country, and nine players ranked in the top-10 at their positions nationally.
More importantly for Tiger fans, LSU is bringing in two four-star quarterbacks in Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse.
And there are several elite prospects left on the board. LSU will be with Florida State for Wilson down the stretch. The Tigers are still in the mix for Louisiana four-stars like receiver Devonta Smith, safety Todd Harris, defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis, and Texas defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson.
Linebacker is a huge need in the class, and the Tigers are also looking outside of Louisiana to fill the need.
LSU is targeting Mississippi four-star Willie Gay, Virginia four-star Ellis Brooks, and Georgia four-star Tyler Taylor.
LSU could take as many as 27 players, if the right combination of recruits want to commit.
Oklahoma has its best class in a long time
The Sooners have 18 four-star commitments, and 27 total. Without gaining any other commitments (the Sooners seem to be running out of spots), this would still be the best Oklahoma class in the last seven years.
One of the big keys to this class being much better than the recent Norman hauls is the work the staff is doing in Texas. The Sooners have nine commitments from Texas, and six are four-stars. They are recruiting Texas as well as any school, including the in-state programs.
So, what about Clemson?
The Tigers did just win a national title. It’s generally believed, however, that teams get more of a recruiting bump from the class that signs 13 months after winning, than they do with the class signing a month after a team takes home the trophy. This is because coaches only have a month to sell the national title to the current class, but a full year to do it to the next class.
Clemson’s class is very small, but it’s packed with elite players, consisting of two five-stars, nine four-stars, and three three-stars. Tennessee five-star receiver Tee Higgins might be the nation’s best wideout. Indiana five-star QB Hunter Johnson has a ton of talent. Georgia four-star cornerback AJ Terrell has great length. And Tennessee four-star receiver Amari Rodgers is like a running back once he catches the football.
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The Tigers may still get a safety, after four-star Xavier McKinney unexpectedly chose the Tide over the Tigers in early January.
With its new football facility, a national championship, and playing time to sell, Clemson very well could put together its best recruiting class ever come 2018.