College Football Recruiting 2013: The Top 5 Defensive Recruiting Classes

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IOctober 31, 2012

College Football Recruiting 2013: The Top 5 Defensive Recruiting Classes

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    Assembling a great defense in college football can work wonders for the overall success of your football team. Alabama and Notre Dame have built great defenses, and today, they stand unbeaten and have a chance to square off in the national title game.

    For this read, we at Bleacher Report are going to give you the top five defensive recruiting classes for 2013 recruiting. These five programs have hauled in an excellent collection of defensive studs that will help combat college offenses.

    Playing great defense can lead to many wins, so here are five programs with potentially winning defensive classes.

5. Michigan

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    Top Defensive Commit: Gareon Conley, CB

    The Wolverines have a great defensive class working this cycle, just as they did in 2012 recruiting. The top prospect is a 6'1" CB Gareon Conley, who is joined by LB Mike McCray II, DE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon and DT Henry Poggi.

    All of those players are ESPNU 300 members. Based on their last two classes, Big Blue will definitely be able to play stout Big Ten defense.

4. Ohio State

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    Top Defensive Commit: Eli Woodard, CB

    The Buckeyes have six defensive commitments in the ESPNU 300. The group is led by a pair of elite CB prospects in Eli Woodard and Cam Burrows.

    Burrows has great size at 6'2", 200 pounds, while Woodard has excellent instincts and natural feel for the game. DT Joey Bosa could be the next John Simon, I really like DT Michael Hill's strength at 6'2", 315 pounds, and S Jayme Thompson and DT Billy Price are also future standouts.

3. Auburn

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    Top Defensive Commit: Reuben Foster, LB

    Auburn may not have as many ESPNU 300 defensive commits as other programs on this list, but three of its five defensive studs are top 10 overall national prospects, per ESPNU.

    Obviously, it starts with All-World LB Reuben Foster, who may be the best LB prospect since Manti Te'o. DE Carl Lawson is a 6'2", 255-pound explosive edge defender that can also play the run, and Dee Liner stands 6'3", weighs 294 pounds and has as much snap quickness as any DL prospects in America.

    I also really like DE Tashawn Bower, as the New Jersey native can set the edges with ease. If they hold onto LB Trey Johnson, Auburn could have a fantastic incoming LB tandem with him and Foster.

2. Florida

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    Top Defensive Commit: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB

    The Gators have a defensive-minded head coach in WIll Muschamp, so as long as he's there, expect for them to have strong defenses. This year's defensive class is led by the nation's top CB prospect in Vernon Hargreaves III, and he's the most complete CB to come out in years.

    LB Daniel McMillan, DT Caleb Brantley, S Nick Washington, LB Quinton Powell and S Keanu Neal are all also ESPNU 300 members. These players are going to be the foundation to a defense that is among the best in the country in a few seasons.

1. USC

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    Top Defensive Commit: Su'a Cravens, S

    The Trojans boast an astonishing 10 ESPNU 300 defensive commitments in their recruiting class. The group is headlined by S Su'a Cravens, but DT Kenny Bigelow, CB Jalen Ramsey and DT Eddie Vanderdoes could be the top guy.

    Other notable names include CB Chris Hawkins, DE Kyle Fitts, S Max Redfield, DE Jason Hatcher, DE Torrodney Prevot and OLB Michael Hutchings. 

    With a class like this, the Trojans defense should improve and ascend back to where it was under Pete Carroll.

    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 and 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, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.