Re-Ranking the 2012 Recruiting Classes with Davonte Neal's Notre Dame Commitment

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IFebruary 26, 2012

Re-Ranking the 2012 Recruiting Classes with Davonte Neal's Notre Dame Commitment

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    With Davonte Neal making his commitment to Notre Dame on Tuesday, that was a significant shoes to drop in the 2012 recruiting class. Neal is one of the best overall prospects in the 2012 crop and Notre Dame has a top 10-caliber class.

    So we decided to go ahead and re-examine the top 50 recruiting class rankings and re-rank everything based on the fact that Neal has pledged to the Irish.

    So this is it folks, this is the final 2012 recruiting class rankings. Here we go!

50. Cincinnatti

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    Cincinnati makes it here because, well, they signed 30 players. I do not like to reward numbers in a class, especially in this instance because they're are not any 4-star prospects in the Bearcat haul.

49. Nebraska

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    I was a bit disappointed in Big Red's 17-man class this year. I felt the move to the Big Ten and other factors would have them inside the top 25, but nope.

    There's a solid talent in this class, as I like dual threat QB Tommy Armstrong and LB Michael Rose. I just thought Nebraska would have a bigger year on the trail. 

48. Penn State

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    Bill O'Brien's first class nestles here at this slot. It's a 19-man class that is headlined by WR Eugene Lewis, who showed great loyalty by his support for PSU during the storm.

    It'll be interesting to se how O'Brien does with a full year to recruit, but for 2012, his class is 49th in my rankings.

47. Northwestern

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    This class starts and ends with one player: DE/OLB Ifeadi Odenigbo. He's one of the best 50 players in the country and could leave NU as the school's best pass rusher ever.

    4-star OG Adam DePietro is another solid player in a 21-player class, as the 6'4", 275-pounder will be starter for Pat Fitzgerald sooner than later.

46. Arizona

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    'Zona had a chance to surge up the rankings if they had landed Davonte Neal on Tuesday, but they didn't so here is about right. 4-star OLB Dakota Conwell is the headliner of Rich Rodriguez's 24-man class.

    It's going to be interesting to see what Rich Rod does in Tuscon this cycle.

45. Iowa

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    25 players have signed with Kirk Ferentz's program this year and will be Hawkeyes. Iowa has three players in particular that get me fired up:

    RB Greg Garmon is a 6'2", 200-pound athletic rock toter that should be solid. DL Faith Ekakitie is a 6'3", 275-pound solid DT and Jaleel Johnson is a nother playmaking DT at 6'3", 290-pounds.

44. Oregon State

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    Oregon State has a 24-commit class that has two players I really like in OL/DL Isaac Seumalo and WR Malik Gilmore.

    Seumalo is one of the best OG in the nation at 6'3", 275-pounds and can also play DT. Gilmore is a tall and long 6'4", 200-pound WR that should be redzone terror on the Pac-12. 

43. Louisville

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    I knew Charlie Strong would use his Florida prowess to lure Sunshine State talent to Louisville when he got the job. Out of 22 recruits in this class, seven are from Florida.

    Strong's pull in Florida dates back to his days as a DC for Florida and he recruits the state hard.

42. Arizona State

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    The Sun Devils come in here at No.42. They signed 23 prospects earlier this month in Todd Graham's first haul.

    The headliner of course is a 4-star RB D.J. Foster, who has been a touchdown machine in his career. 6'0", 185-pounds, Foster is a slick style runner with good wiggle and instincts.

41. North Carolina

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    The Tar Heels named Larry Fedora their HC and he hauled in a 23-man class for them earlier this month. There are no 4-star prospects in this class, but it still has solid depth.

    Watch out for 6'0" CB Tyreece Jiles out fo Florida.  

40. Pitt

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    Pitt has named Paul Chryst, the former OC at Wisconin as it's coach. With the Badgers running the ball so effectively, you know out of all 18 signees, Chryst has to be especially stoked about 5-star BR Rushell Shell.

    I expect the 5'11", 215-pound Shell to contribute right away and develop into one of the better backs in the nation by his junior year. 

39. Michigan State

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    I know the Spartans lost Se'Von Pittman to Ohio State, but they still signed Demetrious Cox, a 6'1", 190-pound DB that they bea OSU for.

    WR Aaazron Burbridge is the top prospect in Mark Dantonio's 18-man class, as the 6'2", 180-pounder is among the fastest players in the entire country.

38. Utah

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    The Utes have a 28-man class and three are 4-star prospects. What makes that so interesting is that all three are trench players.

    OC Hiva Lutui is a solid pivot man from Texas, OT Jeremiah Poutasi is a 6'6", 33-pound mammoth from Las Vegas and DE Sione Tupouate is a 6'5", 255-pounder from Utah.

    QB Travis Wilson is an intriguing 6'6", 210-pounder from California. 

37. Kentucky

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    With Tee Martin heading to USC, Joker Phillips will need to hire a new assistant on offense but he does have 29 players coming to Lexington.

    The headliner is 6'5", 230-pound QB Patrick Towles. If Phillips can develop him, Towles has the ceiling to become a solid SEC QB.

36. Colorado

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    The Buffs have 29 commits headed for Boulder and the headliner is a 6'2", 180-pound CB Yuri Wright. Wright is an excellent athlete, has loose hips and should be able to crack the line up early in Boulder.

35. Oklahoma State

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    I felt kind of sorry for the Pokes, not really on the field because I mean at one point they were No.2 in the country.

    But on the trail, they were hit with some critical de-commitments that effected them. It's almost a miracle they ar ein the top 50. 

    The headliner is WR Brandon Sheperd from Missouri, as the 6'3", 190-pounder has a chance to be a real good one.

34. Virginia Tech

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    Tech signed 28 players this 2012 cycle and you know Frank Beamer and his staff will work to get the most out of them. 

    WR Joel Caleb is a 6'2", 200-pounder with great strength on the perimeter and solid athleticism. RB Drew Harris is a 6'1", 205-pound rock toter with big back size and little back speed.

    DE Ken Ekanem should be a starter for Bud Foster soon. 

33. Maryland

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    I put the Terps here as their 24-man class is supported by two players: WR Stefon Diggs and RB Wes Brown.

    Diggs is simply electric as a RAC player and will be dynamic in College Park. Brown is a rock solid RB that I think could see himself develop into an every down back for Randy Edsall.

32. Baylor

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    Baylor has a 28-man class that Art Briles should be proud of. It's led by DE Javonte Magee, who at 6'5", 275-pounds could grow into a DT for the Bears.

    DB Kiante Griffin, OLB Brian Nance, WWR Corel Coleman and S Avion Edwards are names to watch. This is a great class for the Bears. 

31. Virginia

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    The Wahoos check in at No. 31, as they have a 26-man class that is led by OLB Eli Harold. Harold can play the flanks on defense and stands 6'3", 230-pounds.

    Mike London also ha sa QB in Greyson Lambert that is 6'5", 195-pounds, a 6'4", 255-pound DE in Michael Moore and a 6'1", 245-pound LB in Kwontie Moore.

30. Mississippi State

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    The Bulldogs signed 28 recruits and two are 5-star prospects, three are 4-star prospects and I think OC Devin Desper could deserve a fourth star too.

    DT Quay Evans is a 6'2", 320-pound explosive mammoth in the middle and JC DE Denico Autry is a terror on the edges. I also really like 330-pound DT Nick James' size and strength and Beniquez Brown will be a strter at OLB soon.

29. Rutgers

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    With the whirlwind that hit him, Kyle Flood handled it great. Greg Schiano is now gone to Tampa Bay and Flood still convinved 5-star DL Darius Hamilton and 4-star WR Leonte Carroo to stay home.

    Also look out for OL JJ Denman, LB Quanzell Lambert, OL Brandon Arcidiacono and QB Blake Rankin.

28. West Virginia

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    Dana Holgorsen nabbed 28 commitments for his first haul as head man in Morgantown. Ford Childress is a big QB prospect from Texas at 6'5", and well over 220-pounds.

    Chldress has a strong arm and could be the man to replace Geno Smith going forward. I also really like 6'4", 290-pound OG Tyler Orlovsky, as I feel he could become an all-conference OL.

27. Vanderbilt

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    James Franklin has 20 commitments, and although he lost Josh Dawson, Brian Kimbrow is still in the fold. Big expectations await Kimbrow, as he can play RB, WR or DB for Franklin.

    Vandy isn't a must-see for many recruits on the trail, but I'll go out on a limb: This is the greatest recruiting class in school history. Salute to James Franklin.


26. Arkansas

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    Bobby Petrino may have missed out on Dorial Green-Beckham, but he still has a good class nonetheless. The Hogs have a 24-man class that has solid talent.

    WR Jalen Cobb is a solid addition that should be a good SEC pass catcher under Petrino, and RB Jonathan Williams is a future starter. There's not a dominant 5-star player in this class, but it's got good depth.

25. TCU

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    This class is led by big-time DE Devonte Fields, who has a chance to develop into a complete player. Fields flashes excellent anchor strength against the run and can get upfield in a flash.

    Gary Patterson holds 18 pledges,and two are inside the ESPNU 150, which is a good look. TCU has done a great job the past few years attacking higher-profile recruits as it moves to the Big 12.


24. Washington

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    The Dawgs signed a great 25-man class and obviously it is led by 5-star DB Shaquille Thompson. Thompson was the best player at the Army game and will start very soon in Seattle.

    QBs Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist are two of the best 15 signal callers in the nation and WR Jaydon Mickens may be another version of DeAnthony Thomas.

23. Tennessee

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    I really like Tennessee's class, and I think I may even be underrating it. The player I really like is safety LaDarrell McNeil, a 6'2", 190-pounder that hits like a truck from the back end.

    Other standouts include WR Drae Bowles, TE Justin Meredith and DE LaTroy Lewis. Derek Dooley has 21 commits, and three are inside the ESPNU 150.


22. Texas Tech

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    It's not that I wanted to drop Texas Tech from my previous mark of in the teens, but it's just some other schools have risen up.

    However, Tommy Tuberville has 25 commitments, and the class is led by WR Dominique Wheeler, OL/DL Michael Starts and WR Reginald Davis. These are three of the top 150 players nationally as ranked by various publications and will help immediately in Lubbock.


21. Missouri

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Missouri was out of the top 25 classes, but then it just simplywent out and signed Dorial Green-Beckham, which fused it back in the top 25.

    Aside from DGB, there are two other big-time talents in the 17-man class that Mizzou should be giddy about: QB Maty Mauk and OL Evan Boehm. Boehm could play OC for the Tigers, while Mauk comes with a sick résumé of passing numbers.


20. UCLA

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    What a job Jim Mora and his staff have done, eh? Wow. Mora has immediately dispelled questions about him as a recruiter with a great 28-man class.

    The headliner is Ellis McCarthy, a big stud DT who was committed to Cal. The Bruins also nabbed ATH Devin Fuller from New Jersey and snatched T.J. Millweard, a 6'5" QB, from Arizona State's class.

    Plus they've flipped WR Jordan Payton from Washington.

    Great initial class for Mora.


19. Oregon

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    It was just a short time ago that I had Oregon as a recruiting disappointment. Now, the Ducks are back to where they usually are: among the top classes.

    I really dig QB Jake Rodrigues, but the headliner is Arik Armstead, a 6'8", 280-pound DE/OT. The Ducks also landed WR Bralon Addison today, as he switched from Texas A&M. 

    Other standouts in the 19-man class are WR Dwayne Stanford, TE Evan Baylis and RB Byron Marshall.


18. Auburn

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Gene Chizik has 17 pledges, and it's a quality compilation.

    The headliner is 5-star OT Avery Young, a 6'6", 275-pounder that could become special on The Plains. Ricardo Louis has garnered the same talk from me as a WR prospect.

    QB Zeke Pike is a 6'6" gunslinger, Ricky Parks and Darrion Hutcherson are solid TE prospects, JaQuay Williams will give the Tigers a big-time target and Josh Holsey is one of the best cover corners in the country.


17. California

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Boy, Cal had the flash, but then it left as soon as it came. However, let's not dwell on the recruits that left but who the Bears got, shall we?

    Jeff Tedford currently has a 17-man class, and four are in the ESPNU 150. The headliner for me is early-enrolled QB Zach Kline, whom I feel is talented enough to play as a true freshman. Bryce Treggs and Darius Powe are other names to brag about.

16. LSU

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    LSU lost Gunner Kiel last week, buttoday it gained Kwon Alexander, an elite OLB prospect. The Tigers beat out Alabama and Auburn for him.

    Les Miles has 22 commitments, and five are ESPNU 150 kids. Avery Johnson is Patrick Peterson's brother and is a speedy WR, Vadal Alexander is an elite-level OL and Jeremy Liggins gives Miles the QB he wanted to sign in this class.


15. South Carolina

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    The Gamecocks haven't been overly flashy this cycle, but they've been steady and solid. They boast 24 commitments, and three are inside the ESPNU 150.

    The headliner for Steve Spurrier is Shaq Roland, a speedy WR that also can play DB. Brock Stadnik is a solid OT prospect that should be sound in Columbia, and LB Kaiwan Lewis is a ferocious hitter.

14. USC

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    USC can only sign 15 players to this class. Right now it sits with 16 commitments, but a few will enroll early to count back to last year's class.

    USC got word it landed WR Darreus Rogers, as well as ATH Nelson Agholor and DT Leonard Williams, which is a huge coup to pry them out of Florida. Scott Starr is already enrolled, and the LB will be at spring ball.

    Jabari Ruffin is one of the top 30 players on my overall board, and Jordan Simmons, a big OG, is in my top 100. Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick will be a big-time TE in a few seasons.


13. Texas A&M

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    A&M was about to be dropped down by me, as it lost Bralon Addison to Oregon, but a short time later, it added Thomas Johnson, so it evened out.

    The Aggies have some stellar talent in this class. QB Matt Davis could be a future superstar in Kevin Sumlin's offense. LB Jordan Richmond is a steal, and Trey Williams, a small RB, is one of the fastest players in the nation.

    Solid job for Kevin Sumlin.

12. Oklahoma

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Things haven't been so hot in Norman, but Bob Stoops has wrestled in another solid class. Right now he has 18 commitments, and that includes the enrollment of 2011 5-star WR Trey Metoyer.

    The Sooners have five players inside the ESPNU 150, and top players in the class include RB Alex Ross, WRs Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal and OLs John McGee and Ty Darlington.

11. Miami

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Miami may have 32 committed players, which is a lot, and numbers may be helping its national ranking, but it's talent in this class.

    Al Golden landed CB Tracy Howard, and that adds to a class that boasts RB Duke Johnson and DE Jelani Hamilton. Another top-tier standout is DB Deon Bush.

    Golden has done well for himself in his first full cycle.


10. Stanford

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    I've moved Stanford into my top 10 now with commitments from OT Kyle Murphy and DL Aziz Shittu.

    David Shaw did just fine in his first cycle. He has 17 commitments, and three are inside the ESPNU 150.

    The Stanford class is also led by OL Andrus Peat, RB Barry Sanders, LB Noor Davis, S Alex Carter and OL Josh Garnett.


9. Clemson

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Dabo Swinney has found his recruiting groove, as Clemson will likely finish in the top 10 for the second consecutive year. It's a 20-commit class, and six are in the ESPNU 150.

    Travis Blanks is a big-time DB that can double as a safety or CB, while DT Carlos Watkins has big-time potential. WR Germone Hopper has elite athleticism, and QB Chad Kelly has good smarts, instincts and moxie.


8. Notre Dame

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    With the commitment of Davonte Neal, I have moved the Irish up a spot in the new recruiting class rankings, to No.8. Neal gives the Irish a player to replace either Deontay Greenberry as a WR or Ronald Darby as a CB as commitment 19.

    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Obviously the headliner is QB Gunner Kiel, who's already enrolled and expected to compete for the starting job.

    Tee Shepard is one of the best CBs in the country, Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones are men in the trenches and Elijah Shumate can play SS or OLB, as could Nick Baratti and RB William Mahone.

    Great class for Brian Kelly. 


7. Ohio State

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Ohio State has a very good class in the fold, as Urban Meyer has 23 commitments and five inside the ESPNU 150.

    The Buckeyes have a great DL class in store, as they have DEs Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman, plus DT Tommy Schutt.

    Brionte Dunn will give Meyer the big back he never really had at Florida, and Joey O'Connor adds depth to the OL.


6. Michigan

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Big Blue has 24 commitments and a great LB class. Joe Bolden, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone and Kaleb Ringer are going to be a fearsome foursome in Ann Arbor.

    Kyle Kalis is a great OT, as is Erik Magnuson. Plus Brady Hoke has pledges from CB Terry Richardson, TE Devin Funchess, DT Ondre Pipkins and DE Chris Wormley.

    Solid, solid class for Hoke. 


5. Georgia

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Twenty-one commitments belong to Mark Richt, and he has done a great job yet again on the trail. Richt has landed standouts like RB Keith Marshall, OT John Theus and DE/OLB Jordan Jenkins.

    UGA got better today. A lot better.

    If it can get LB Josh Harvey-Clemons to stick with his pledge and not switch to Florida, that would be gravy.

    There is some serious talent in this class; I even forgot to mention 310-pound DT Jonathan Taylor.

4. Florida

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    The Gators' class is still an elite haul.

    CB Brian Poole has a chance to be a complete defensive player, OT D.J. Humphries could be the next D'Brickashaw Ferguson, they succeeded in flipping Dante Fowler to aid their DE class and DE Jonathan Bullard is fantastic.

    Plus Florida has RB Matt Jones and TEs Kent Taylor and Colin Thompson.

3. Texas

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    I have dropped Texas from the second spot to No. 3, but the Longhorns aren't out of the top-class running just yet. Mack Brown has 27 commits, and 11 are ESPNU 150 players.

    The headliner is RB Johnathan Gray, a phenom. WR Cayleb Jones, OLs Curtis Riser, Kennedy Estelle and Camrhon Hughes and DT Malcom Brown are among the best at their respective positions.

    Texas also has QB Connor Brewer, plus LBs Peter Jinkens and Dalton Santos.


2. Florida State

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    Jimbo Fisher is smiling ear to ear today. He kept DE Mario Edwards and also has landed DT Eddie Goldman and CB Ronald Darby.

    He'll await word on QB Jameis Winston, but Fisher has RB Mario Pender, DTs Justin Shanks and Dalvon Stuckey, WR Marvin Bracy and DE Chris Casher.

    This class has 18 commitments, and nine are inside the ESPNU 150.

    EDIT: QB Jameis Winston signed with Florida State.


1. Alabama

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    From the B/R NSD Top 25 Recruiting Classes:

    The national champions are No. 1 yet again. Alabama has the top class right now and holds 28 commitments.Thirteen are inside the ESPNU 150. The Tide are on fire.

    LB Reggie Ragland is a huge get, as are DB/ATH Eddie Williams and SS/DB Landon Collins. WR Cyrus Jones could be a great one in Tuscaloosa, and 'Bama got RB T.J. Yeldon to flip from Auburn.

    This class also boasts CB Geno Smith, LB Dillon Lee, WR Chris Black and a late addition in DL Korren Kirven.