College Football Recruiting 2013: Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes
Here we go folks! Today we're unveiling the first edition of ranking the top 25 recruiting classes for 2013. Surely these rankings will look nothing like this come next February, but classes are starting to take shape and we're going tor rank them.
Having a No. 1 recruiting class or a top 25 class is just how your class is viewed coming into your program. I've seen schools sign a crop of all-stars and never win anything, while a class ranked extremely low won a BCS bowl game.
So with that said, we're going to rank the top 25 schools assembling the best group of talent for 2013.
25. Ole Miss
Hugh Freeze has eight commitments thus far for 2013, showing that he'll be able to sign good talent in Oxford. His top prospect is DB Antonio Allen, who will be an excellent starting SS for the Rebels in a few seasons.
Freeze also has a pledge from 6'3', 205 pound DT Marquel Combs out of the JC ranks. Look for Ole Miss to hover around the top 25 recruiting rankings all year.
24. South Carolina
Steve Spurrier has been recruiting well the past few years in Columbia and he has no plans to stop. The Gamecocks have become one of the better programs in the SEC East the last few years and that's thanks to recruiting.
OL D.J. Park is the headliner, as the 6'5", 305 pounder has the size to play OG and the agility to play OT for South Carolina. This class is heavy on defense and linemen so far.
This class and its aspirations will be tied to the development of QB Chris Johnson. 6'4", 210 pounds, Johnson has all the tools to be a great dual threat QB in Waco.
Quan Jones is a big WR at 6'3", 200 pounds, so Johnson will have weapons around him. Toss in RB Johnny Jefferson and three stout defensive players and this seven man class grows on you.
The Bruins are still trying to find a QB for the 2012 season on the field, but off the field they hold five commitments from some good talent.
I really dig Dashon Hunt, as the SoCal native is a 5'9", 175 pound CB that plays like he's 6'3". Eddie Printz will come from Georgia to Westwood to throw his name in the QB rings next year and Erik Bunte is a 6'7", 300 pounder OT prospect with starting potential.
The Cornhuskers need a huge recruiting year because last cycle is not going to get it done for Bo Pelini. However, he has more pledges (six) right now than he had this point last year, so that's a trending sign.
The headliner right now is 6'2", 215 pound LB prospect Josh Banderas and 6'1", 215 pounder Courtney Love. So far, this class is virtually all defense.
Now, I know I called Miami's class a bit overrated last year as I just felt they had some talent in the class but when you sign 30 players, your ranking will go up due to the quantity.
This year, they hold six commitments at this point, including one from 2012 prospect Angelo Jean-Louis, who is at a prep school now.
Jayron Kearse is a 6'4", 190 pounder that can play WR or OLB, while Ray Lewis III is a 5'9", 175 pound RB that is the son of Ray Lewis. Yet the player that fires me up the most is 5'11", 205 pound RB Alex Collins, as he can do it all for an offense.
Clemson has recruited so well the past couple cycles that I expect them to make a ton of noise for the next several seasons. Dabo Swinney has put talent on that roster and now he must get the most out of it and win.
This year on the trail, he already has seven future Tigers.
RB Wayne Gallman is a 6'1", 195 pounder with solid speed and will grow into a quicker big back. LB Dorian Daniel is 6'2', 205 pounds and has excellent play speed, instincts, and athleticism to headline the class.
18. North Carolina
Larry Fedora is really motivated to be on Chapel Hill and with the resources he now has that he didn't have access to at Southern Miss, look for his profile to expand.
The Tarheels currently have nine commitments already and the class is led by a pair of cover corners in Brian Walker and Desmond Lawrence.
Vanderbilt better be prepared to pay James Franklin more money soon enough because the coach is a growing star. He got the Commies to a bowl game and nearly a top 25 class last year.
This is Vanderbilt we're talking about here.
This 2013 cycle, Franklin has eight commitments, including one from elite dual threat QB Johnathon McCrary, a 6'4", 200 pounder from Georgia. Nigel Bowden is a 6'1", 230 pound LB that will be a stand out for Vandy in a season or two.
The Tigers had a great class last cycle and will need to consistently add quality talent to the roster to compete in the SEC moving forward.
This year, Gary Pinkel has snatched up 10 players already. Nick Ramirez is the headliner as the 6'2", 230 pound LB is a future defensive leader at the Mike 'backer position.
Versatility and athleticism seems to be the theme of the class thus far.
The Sooners have six commitments for 2013 and are fresh off another pretty good recruiting class in 2012. Bob Stoops has a pair of commitments from a tandem of running backs that's pretty impressive.
Keith Ford is the best RB in Texas, as the 5'11", 200 pounder has excellent vision. Greg Bryant is a top tier rock toter from Florida and goes 5'11", 195 pounds.
D.J. Ward is the top pass rusher in the state and Dalton Rodriguez is a 6'6", 260 pound DE that could grow into a DT.
14. Florida State
The Seminoles have seven commitments right now, but they are in on some of the best elite talent around the nation that they'll get into the top 10 as we move closer to February.
Austin Golson and E.J. Levenberry are the two headliners, as Golson is a 6'6", 290 pound OT prospect with the tools to be a starter on either side. Levenberry is a versatile 'backer that goes in the 6'2", 230 pound range.
13. Virginia Tech
11 players have committed to Frank Beamer so far for the 2013 recruiting class. The headliner is a 6'6", 225 pound dual threat QB Bucky Thomas.
Thomas has the size and potential of Logan Thomas, to which he draws comparisons to.
Holland Fisher is a 6'1", 200 pound OLB prospect with sideline to sideline range and CB Charles Clark is a 6'0", 180 pound defender with good length.
12. Penn State
The Nittany Lions have gone through some unbelievable times the past several months, but, based on recruiting, Bill O'Brien is the man to lead them back.
Perhaps the smartest staff move O'Brien made was quickly retaining ace recruiter Larry Johnson Sr. PSU holds eight pledges right now and the headliner is Adam Breneman, the top TE in the country.
Penn State also has its QB of the future in Christian Hackenburg and that's just the tip of the iceberg of this solid class.
Auburn checks in at No. 11, as the Tigers have had three consecutive top 20 classes under Gene Chizik.
For 2013, the Tigers have eight commitments and there is solid talent up and down this list. DE Carl Lawson is a 6'3", 240 pounder that is athletic enough to play LB. DT Dee Liner is a monster in the middle, WR Earnest Robinson will start on The Plains soon and LB Trey Johnson is another good one.
Getting a couple more linebackers will be imperative for this class.
10. Texas A&M
The Aggies had a great 2012 class and moving into the SEC will clearly force them to keep the ship steady in recruiting.
WR Derrick Griffin is the headliner, as the 6'6", 217 pounder is a dynamic play maker. Kohl Stewart is a solid QB, while Isaiah Golden has the potential to be the best player out of this 15 commit class.
LSU is always among the best recruiting programs in the nation, year in and year out. It's not a shock they're at this slot.
Les Miles and his staff have gobbled up nine players so far and more than half the class is among the top tier at their positions.
Jeryl Brazil can play CB or WR, John Diarse isa big 6'0", 205 pound WR, Josh Boutte is a solid OG, Tre'Davious White is a 5'10', 170 pounder that can play RB, WR or CB and Jeremy Curtrer is a big 6'3" safety.
The Trojans could be ranked higher if they really, really value quality. They only hold five pledges right now, but all of them are rated four stars or higher, including two five star prospects.
Of course this class starts with five star QB, Max Browne, the top signal caller in the country. 6'5", 210 pounds Browne has a quick release and all the tools to be a great one.
5-star DT Kenny Bigelow is just fantastic and athletic, as the 6'3", 285 pounder can play both DT and DE. Chris Hawkins is a physical 6'0" corner, Kylie Fitts is a high motor DE and Eldridge Massington is a 6'3", WR from Texas.
7. Ohio State
The Buckeyes get slotted here, as they have 11 commitments for 2013 and boy is it a star studded haul.
They got hit with a surprising decommitment late last week from Alex Anzalone, but Urban Meyer is still doing quite well.
I really like Jalin Marshall, as the 6'1", 190 pounder can play QB, RB or WR. Cam Burrows is a big 6'2" CB prospect and Eli Woodard also can cover with the best of them.
This class will be full of high profile names.
6. Notre Dame
The Irish may not have the star power and high profile names that Ohio State has, but their 12 commit class is nothing to scoff at.
With players like QB Malik Zaire, ATH Reggie Kinlaw, OLs Steve Elmer and Hunter Birvin among many more, this class looks pretty darn good for Brian Kelly.
Look for the Irish to sprinkle in more talent and finish in the top 10 next February.
Will Muschamp has shown that he's a prime threat to everyone around the country, as the Gators have recruited pretty well during his tenure.
Florida sits here at No. 5 now, but UF could easily move up. Florida holds 15 commits right now and this is a star studded assembly.
RB Kelvin Taylor is the headliner, along with DT Caleb Brantley, LB Daniel McMillan, WR Ahmad Fullwood, DB Nick Washington and OG Josh Outlaw.
The Dawgs are off to an excellent start, with 15 commitments and are in the hunt for some more top talented prospects.
The headliner is a 6'3", 240 pound RB Derrick Henry, who could play LB in Athens. Brice Ramsey's arm strength is in the same breath as Matt Stafford and all the 6'3", 195 pounder needs is more reps.
Tramel Terry is among the fastest players in the country and he could be dynamic as a WR or as a CB.
The Tide has netted 11 commitments and the class is led by five star, all-world LB Reuben Foster.
If you want to use the term "plug in and play" for a high school player, then look no further than the 6'2", 246 pound Foster. TE O.J. Howard is an athletic marvel and Altee Tenpenny can tote the rock as good as anyone in the country when he's healthy.
This class is just another typical Alabama class, which is excellent.
Texas is perennially among the top five recruiting programs nationally and they do it by locking down their state. If you're an elite prospect from Texas, then basically the Longhorns draft you.
Mack Brown has 14 commitments and at least 12 of them are from four star prospects. QB Tyrone Swoopes and WR Ricky Seals-Jones are the headliners.
There's a ton of talent and high profile names in this class, as always with a Longhorn group.
Michigan has 17 commitments and this class is just loaded. Brady Hoke and his staff have topped their last class already, and the 2012 class was a top five-ten haul.
QB Shane Morris is the headliner, as the 6'3", 185 pound five star recruit is helping lead the Big Blue charge on the trail.
With top names like Dymonte Thomas, DeVeon Smith, Patrick Kugler, Chris Fox, Kyle Bosch, David Dawson, Logan Tulley-Tillman and Michael McCrary among a slew of others, you see why Michigan is No. 1 right now in recruiting.