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What are college football recruiting’s most loaded positions in 2018?

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And which positions don’t quite measure up?

Trevor Lawrence Student Sports

National Signing Day is just eight days away. Each college football recruiting class is different from another. Some years provide great linebackers. Other years offer a ton of superstar running backs. But there is not the same amount of talent available at each position on a year-to-year basis.

Coaches know this, and they have to balance their needs with their wants. For example, if a staff knows that the coming year lacks elite players at a certain position, it might try to load up in the current class at that spot. Or vice-a-versa.

What does the 2018 recruiting class offer? Let’s take a look at which positions stand out compared to recent years, and which might not quite measure up.

Up: QB

This is a special QB class, probably the best in a decade. It is awesome at the top, and pretty deep.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Georgia’s Justin Fields, and USC’s J.T. Daniels could easily each be not only the top QB in many previous years, but the top players overall.

Lawrence is probably the most highly acclaimed passer ever. Fields is like a jumbo version of Russel Wilson. And Daniels was so good that he is skipping his senior year altogether to enroll at USC, where he might start.

But it’s also a deep year. On the 247Sports Composite rankings, there are 32 QBs with a four-star rating. That is way more than 2017 (24), 2016 (21), 2015 (23), or 2014 (24).

Down: Running back

We’ve been spoiled in recent years.

The 2014 class featured five five-star running backs, including Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Sony Michel, and Nick Chub — players who were no doubt NFL bound if they could stay healthy. The 2017 class was nearly as good, with four five-stars including Najee Harris, Cam Akers, Stephen Carr, and D’Andre Swift.

The 2018 class has just two five-star backs, Georgia’s Zamir White and Miami’s Lorenzo Lingrard. White tore his ACL recently. It’s also not a deep year for the position, with the fewest number of four- and five-star players (15) in the last five classes.

Up: Receiver

Justin Shorter, the No. 1 receiver is Penn State bound, and those who are fans of both the Eagles and Nittany Lions should be happy because his pro comp is Terrell Owens. USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the most technically advanced receivers I’ve ever scouted. LSU’s Terrace Marshall has great size, hands, and body control. And Clemson’s Derion Kendrick should be a nightmare in space.

But what makes this position up for 2018 is the depth. There are 64 receivers rated four- or five-stars, way more than the average of 49 from the previous four classes.

Up: Guard

The numbers don’t fully back me up on this, as the 17 blue-chip guards is right about the average of the last four classes. This argument is not about depth, however, it’s about the elite of the elite. Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer might be the best guard prospect in the history of modern recruiting rankings. Fellow Georgia signee Trey Hill could be an immediate starter at a lot of top schools. Penei Sewell, who is uncommitted as of Jan. 30, is also special and had a legitimate argument for five-star status.

Down: Defensive tackle

Where are the freaks? Not in 2018 at defensive tackle, I can tell you that. It’s not a bad year for the position in terms of depth, with 26 blue-chippers equaling the average of the previous for classes.

But over the last three classes, there have been 15 five-star DTs come through the ranks, and the vast majority of them would have easily been the No. 1 DT in the 2018 class. As it stands Ohio State’s Taron Vincent is listed as a five-star, but the services are fairly split on whether there should even be one in the class at all.

Up: Long corners

Teams want length at cornerback. This year, they can find it. 18 of the top 25 cornerbacks are listed at 6’0 or taller, with 13 of the 25 at 6’1 or more. That includes Pat Surtain Jr., and his American Heritage teammate Tyson Campbell, both of whom are uncommitted. This class is not incredibly polished, but for my money it has the most freakish athletes since the class of 2013.