College Football Recruiting 2013: Ranking the Top 15 Recruiting Classes

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IOctober 24, 2012

College Football Recruiting 2013: Ranking the Top 15 Recruiting Classes

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    It's October folks, so that means Fall is under way, football season has all engines going, the BCS standings are out and of course recruiting has begun to position itself for the home stretch run to February. This is a great time of year and recruiting, like I always say, has not stopped.

    Schools have assembled the gist of their classes and they have just a few more targets that they want as the season wears on and Signing Day approaches. For this piece, we're just going run down the top 15 recruiting classes at the moment.

    Nothing fancy, just straightforward rankings of the top 15 recruiting classes for 2013 right now.

15. Virginia Tech

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    Top Commitment: Kendall Fuller, CB

    This is a very solid class for Frank Beamer, made up of 18 commitments that will surely help Hokie Football. It starts with 5-star CB Kendall Fuller, who's one of the premier cover corner prospects in the country due to world class athleticism.

    QB Bucky Hodges has the size and skill set to remind Blacksburg of a better version of Logan Thomas. If they can hang on to him, Virginia Tech could be getting a defensive stud in S/OLB Holland Thomas.

14. South Carolina

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    Top Commitment: Matt Rolin, LB

    This 21 commit-deep class is the product of building a good program and then reaping the benefits of good recruiting within a talent rich region. The Gamecocks have firmly put their flag in the Southeast and recruit the region well.

    However, their top prospect actually comes from Virginia in LB Matt Rolin. LB Larenz Bryant, QB Connor Mitch and OT D.J. Park are just the tip of the iceberg of other notable recruits in this class. 

13. Texas A&M

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    Top Commitment: Derrick Griffin, WR/TE

    Something keeps telling me that I need to rank this Aggie class higher, but I have to caution myself to not get caught up looking at the 28 commitments as the focal point. Yet, this is a good class and Kevin Sumlin has done well.

    His best incoming player in Derrick Griffin, a 6'6", 228 pound pass catcher that can play WR but could grow into a TE. WR LaQuvionte Gonzalez is one of the top speedsters in the nation and there are several defensive prospects that will help, particularly at LB.


12. LSU

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    Top Commitment: Jeryl Brazil, CB

    Les Miles may clean up around his state better than any other coach in America. Sans a prospect or two if you're elite in Louisiana, you become a Tiger.

    This year's class has 23 commitments and Miles has reached out nationally as well by getting Hayden Rettig from California to play QB and Ethan Pocic from Illinois to join the LSU OL unit. 

11. Florida State

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    Top Commitment: Ryan Green, RB

    The Seminoles are having a solid season on the field and their recruiting has been steady as well. Jimbo FIsher has a smaller class at 16 commitments, but 11 of those are inside the ESPNU 300.

    With impressive quality, FSU has commitments from players like speedy RB Ryan Green, OT Austin Golson and OG Ira Denson. 


10. Clemson

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    Top Commitment: Robert Nkemdiche, DE

    The big storyline in Clemson's 2013 recruiting class is, of course, the saga that is Robert Nkemdiche. It seems the 6'5", 270 pound beastly DE is fine with his commitment, but family pressure could force him to Ole Miss.

    That would be a shame if Nkemdiche were to bolt from Clemson, as he is the crown jewel of Dabo Swinney's 19-man recruiting class that also features commits like DE Elijah Daniel, WR DeMarcus Robinson, RB Tyshon Dye and DT Scott Pagano. 

9. Georgia

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    Top Commitment: Shaq Wiggins, CB 

    Georgia has been another school on the recruiting scene who has flexed it's muscle. The Dawgs boast 27 pledges to date and have an impressive list of incoming talent.

    QB Brice Ramsey has a great amount of potential, there will be an internal fight over which side of the ball speedy ATH Tramel Terry plays, and CB Shaq Wiggins is as instinctive and skilled a DB as there is in the Southeast region. 

8. Auburn

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    Top Commitment: Reuben Foster, LB

    I'm not dropping Auburn a couple of notches because of their poor record this year, I just like a few other classes a bit more than the Tigers' right now. However, Gene Chizik has still hauled in a very talented class and I hope he is there to see these guys through.

    LB Reuben Foster is the No. 2 overall prospect on my board and I have not ruled out moving him ahead of Robert Nkemdiche before NSD is over. DE Carl Lawson and DT Dee Liner are two future stars on the DL and I'm very intrigued by QB Jeremy Johnson. 

7. Notre Dame

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    Top Commitment: Jaylon Smith, OLB

    The Irish have used their on-field momentum as a tool to bring in a great recruiting class. 12 commitments out of their 21 total are members of the ESPNU 300.

    The headliner is OLB Jaylon Smith, who has outstanding athleticism and cover skills. The OL class could be the best in country and is led by Colin McGovern, plus Torii Hunter will add more speed on offense as a WR. 

6. Texas

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    Top Commitment: Darius James, OC

    If Les Miles locks down his state the best on the recruiting trail, then Mack Brown could be No. 1A. Texas usually gets all of the top players in the Lone Star State and leaves the rest of the other programs scrambling for scraps.

    You have to be impressed with 11 of Brown's 15 commitments being in the ESPNU 300. C Darius James is a top 20 prospect on a bad day. Toss in names like OT Jake Raulerson, QB Tyrone Swoopes, OT Kent Perkins and LB Deoundrei Davis and you see why this this is so highly touted. 


5. Urban Meyer

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    Top Commitment: Eli Woodard, CB

    They say anyone can recruit well at Florida in their sleep because of the stature of the program (and it being in Florida). Well, Meyer is proving that he himself is one of the best of all-time as he's recruiting well at Ohio State.

    He has 17 total pledges and 11 of them are ESPNU 300 players. CB's Eli Woodard and Cam Burrows will make a fine back end perimeter tandem, QB J.T. Barrett could be the next Braxton Miller, DT Joey Bose will be a John Simon type of player and Meyer could make Jalin Marshall his Buckeye version of Percy Harvin. 

4. Michigan

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    Top Commitment: Shane Morris, QB

    I've dropped Big Blue down to this slot since it lost stud OG David Dawson and also because I believe the two SEC programs have a better quality ratio (No. of commits vs. Top List/All-Star members).

    Brady Hoke has brought in 22 recruits and they will add to a young roster that will position Michigan among the top Big Ten teams in a few seasons. QB Shane Morris leads an outstanding class and could start as a true freshman next season. 


3. Alabama

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    Top Commitment: O.J. Howard, TE

    Nick Saban recruits well every year and this year is no different. Alabama has 20 commitments and 14 of them are ESPNU 300 prospects.

    With commits like TE O.J. Howard, QB Cooper Bateman, CB Maurice Smith, DE DeMarcus Walker, OL Grant Hill, and the RB triplets of Derrick Henry, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny among many others, this class is another terrific one for 'Bama. 


2. Florida

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    Top Commitment: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB

    Will Muschamp hasn't messed up Gator recruiting at all, and he's put his spin on it. That has led to two good classes thus far leading up to this year's 20 commit class that will definitely finish in the top five for 2013.

    Vernon Hargreaves III is the top CB prospect on my board and could leave Gainesville in the same stature as Joe Haden. RB Kelvin Taylor is an elite RB prospect, WR Ahmad Fulwood is a good 6'4" WR with speed and LB Daniel McMillan will be a leader on defense. 

1. USC

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    Top Commitment: Max Browne, QB

    The Trojans only have 18 commitments but 17 of them are in the ESPNU 300. The headliner is basically a toss up between QB Max Browne, DT Kenny Bigelow, RB Ty Isaac and S Su'a Cravens.

    Yet the class doesn't stop there as WR Steven Mitchell, CB Chris Hawkins, OT Nico Falah, RB Justin Davis, CB Jalen Ramsey and DT Eddie Vanderdoes are not scrubs. They'll have to work to keep stud S/ATH Max Redfield from committing to Notre Dame, but give a salute to the Trojans as they have the top class in the country.

    Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.