Top 25 Recruiting Classes Headed into National Signing Day
The college-football-recruiting cycle of 2013 is quickly nearing its close, and programs are making their final pushes in an effort to bring in the best recruiting class possible.
Overall, this is an excellent group of recruits that features more than its fair share of star players, and there are also a few potential superstars in the mix as well.
Finishing with a top-ranked class does not always guarantee the success of a program, but it certainly is an indicator that good things may be on the way. In the end, recruiting comes down to coaching up the potential that a player possesses, but it does help when said player comes into a program with a ton of talent to begin with.
As national signing day draws near (Feb. 6), here is a look at my top-25 recruiting classes.
Note: All star rankings courtesy of the 247Sports Composite.
Al Golden's class doesn't stack up to the great Miami recruiting classes of the past, but this will still be a very respectable group when all is said and done.
Right now, Miami only boasts 14 commitments. That may not seem like a lot, but I look at it more as quality over quantity for the Hurricanes right now.
Of the 14 commitments, six are 4-star players and the rest are 3-star players.
Notable recruits Miami has landed so far include 4-star defensive end Alquadin Muhammad (No. 5 SDE, according to the 247Sports Composite), 4-star tight end Beau Sandland (No. 1 JUCO tight end, according to the 247Sports Composite) and Ray Lewis III.
Paul Chryst has done a great job on the recruiting trail in 2013, and Pittsburgh's class is deserving of a top-25 ranking.
The Panthers currently have 27 recruits committed and have picked up a few top-notch players along the way.
The marquee player from their class is 4-star offensive tackle Dorian Johnson, who is the No. 4 overall offensive tackle for 2013, according to the 247Sports Composite. He also represents a huge in-state recruiting win for Pittsburgh.
Another notable in-state recruiting achievement for Pittsburgh is 4-star wideout Tyler Boyd.
23. Mississippi State
Mississippi State's big commitment is 5-star strong-side defensive end Chris Jones.
Jones is the No. 2 strong-side defensive end in the 2013 class, and he's the No. 1 player from Mississippi, according to the 247Sports Composite. Holding on to his commitment is going to be integral for Mississippi State.
Aside from Jones, the Bulldogs have 21 other commitments, including three 4-star recruits.
Overall, this is a very solid class.
22. Penn State
The very fact that Penn State is even on this list is a huge testament to how good Bill O'Brien and his staff are on the recruiting trail.
The Nittany Lions won't be able to bring in huge classes under the NCAA sanctions, so they'll have to focus on quality. For the most part, this class is very strong.
Five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg is Penn State's main recruit, but this class also features the No. 2 overall tight end (247Sports Composite) in Adam Breneman and 4-star defensive end Garrett Sickels.
They have a chance to keep Penn State competitive for years to come.
21. South Carolina
Steve Spurrier's 2013 class is extremely solid, and many of South Carolina's recruits have a ton of potential.
The Gamecocks currently have 21 commitments, including 17 3-star players and four 4-star players.
Defensively, South Carolina landed huge commitments from 4-star defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin and 4-star outside linebacker Larenz Bryant. The Gamecocks may have also found their running back of the future in David Williams (No. 8 all-purpose back, according to the 247Sports Composite).
Nebraska is currently bringing in a very talented 2013 recruiting class.
Bo Pelini and his staff have landed 25 commitments so far, seven of which are 4-star recruits.
Amongst their notable commitments is 4-star running back Terrell Newby, who is the No. 11 running back recruit, according to the 247Sports Composite, and 4-star quarterback Johnny Stanton—who could be the quarterback of the future for the 'Huskers.
Dabo Swinney's 2013 class was the talk of the college-football world when the Tigers had the commitment of No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche.
After he decommited, Clemson had to weather somewhat of a storm, but since then, Clemson's class has stabilized and looks really respectable as is.
Overall, the potential is there, and Clemson can still get better before signing day.
Gus Malzahn has done a great job of stabilizing Auburn's 2013 class after Gene Chizik was fired.
Auburn struggled through a few decommitments at first, but since then, Malzahn has put together a great staff, and the Tigers are back in the running with some major recruits.
The Tigers still have 20 commitments, and that includes 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson, who will be a star for Auburn if he remains committed.
Oregon's recruiting class is another one that I judge by quality over quantity.
The future of the Ducks' recruiting was up in the air when Chip Kelly left for the NFL, but for all intents and purposes, Mark Helfrich was the perfect hire. If he can keep this class together until signing day, it will be very strong.
Steve Sarkisian and his staff have put together an impressive class up at Washington.
The Huskies have landed 21 recruits, and a few of those recruits have a chance to be very good.
Williams is the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite.
This is a class that has the potential to be very successful at Washington.
15. Florida State
Jimbo Fisher's 2013 class used to be one of the better in the nation, but it recently suffered a few decommitments.
That said, the Seminoles still boast a very impressive recruiting class. Seven of Florida State's 18 commitments are 4-star recruits.
The Seminoles also landed 4-star strong-side defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who was a big flip from Alabama.
14. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech and head coach Frank Beamer have quietly put together a very strong class.
The Hokies have 20 current commitments and that includes 5-star cornerback Kendall Fuller, who has superstar potential.
Fuller is the No. 3-ranked corner in the class of 2013, according to the 247Sports Composite. He's 6', 175 pounds and runs a 4.50-second 40 (247Sports). He's the marquee recruit for the Hokies, but they also have landed four other 4-star recruits and 15 3-star players.
The Sooners have a very solid 2013 class.
The featured recruit is undoubtedly 5-star running back Keith Ford, but overall, this class is going to be strong.
Oklahoma's class currently features 23 commitments.
12. Ole Miss
Hugh Freeze and the Rebels have one of the hottest programs in college-football recruiting right now.
If Ole Miss finishes strong (which seems like a distinct possibility), it will easily have a top-10 class and could even get into the top five.
As it stands, this is still a great class with 22 commitments, including seven 4-star recruits.
Jim Mora has done an excellent job on the recruiting trail in 2013, and he's setting UCLA football up for a successful run in the next few seasons.
Both players have superstar potential, and they represent huge recruiting wins.
UCLA also has an extremely impressive offensive-line group, so overall, this could end up being one of the better classes from 2013 when we look back on it.
Mora has landed 23 commitments, 15 of which are 4-star recruits.
Mack Brown and the Longhorns have a solid class. It's not elite like some Texas classes of the past, but overall, this is a good group of recruits.
Texas has 15 commitments so far, and one of them is 5-star offensive guard Darius James. As a whole, the Longhorns boast a very impressive offensive-line class.
The Longhorns also have eight 4-star commitments lined up, so this is a very talented class through and through.
USC has been cold on the recruiting trail in the past few months, but that does not take away from how good this class still is.
If anything, it should go to show you how elite USC's class was at one point.
Even after parting ways with a number of elite recruits, the Trojans still have one of the best classes in the country.
It features four 5-star recruits and eight 4-star recruits. Quite a few of USC's commitments have superstar potential, and that starts with 5-star quarterback Max Browne.
Browne is the No. 1 ranked pro-style quarterback, according to the 247Sports Composite, and he could end up being great for USC. At the very least, the expectations are extremely high.
Frankly, the expectations should be high for this class as a whole.
Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs have put together a very big class with a ton of talent. The scary thing is, it may very well get much better on national signing day.
Georgia currently has 30 commitments. Thirteen of those commitments are 4-star recruits, and that includes quarterback Brice Ramsey, cornerback Shaq Wiggins and safety Tray Matthews, among many others.
The Bulldogs are bringing in a ton of recruits, and they are still in the running for a few more elite commitments.
In the end, this could be a top-five class. Right now, though, Georgia fans still have plenty to be excited about.
Les Miles and his staff have done an excellent job of filling out their depth chart and dealing with some major needs, so from a value standpoint, this class is great.
The Tigers currently have 27 recruits. What's really impressive about that is 19 of those recruits are 4-star players.
A good number of these 2013 commitments are going to make an impact right away.
6. Texas A&M
The Texas A&M Aggies have put together a massive class. They are an extremely hyped-up program right now, and that's paid off on the recruiting trail.
The Aggies currently have 32 commitments, and that includes 14 4-star recruits and a 5-star player.
The 5-star commitment is none other than Ricky Seals-Jones, who is ranked as the No. 2 athlete in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He has superstar potential as a receiver in the Aggies' system. Speaking of receivers, the Aggies will be completely booked on the depth chart at the position, and this class will be a big reason why.
Kevin Sumlin has taken advantage of the Johnny Manziel hype and the Aggies' terrific 2012 season. This class will be a big part of any future success Texas A&M has.
5. Notre Dame
Notre Dame started 2013 on a rough note, and it may have lost some momentum on the recruiting trail.
That said, Brian Kelly's class is still elite, and it features players that will be a huge part of the future of Notre Dame's program.
All in all, the Fighting Irish have 23 commitments so far. And 17 of those players are 4-star recruits.
Five-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith is Notre Dame's marquee recruit, and he has superstar potential in the 3-4 scheme. He's the No. 1-ranked outside linebacker in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Safety Max Redfield is the other 5-star recruit, and he'll be an elite player, as well.
Four-star running back Greg Bryant is the Fighting Irish's other big-time commitment. He's an elite running-back recruit, and he'll eventually be the feature back for Notre Dame.
As a whole, this class is very impressive. If Notre Dame remains elite, the 2013 class will be a major reason why.
4. Ohio State
Urban Meyer is known as a good recruiter, and that's extremely evident when you look at Ohio State's 2013 class.
The Buckeyes currently have 24 commitments, and Meyer isn't done just yet.
As it stands, though, this class is extremely impressive. It features a plethora of players with immense potential, including 4-star cornerbacks Eli Apple and Cameron Burrows, 4-star wide receivers Corey Smith and Jalin Marshall and 4-star defensive end Joey Bosa.
This class is extremely talented, and when you combine that with Meyer's coaching ability, they could end up being elite.
Brady Hoke is an excellent recruiter and that's definitely his strength as a coach. Michigan is a natural recruiting draw, but when you couple that with Hoke's abilities on the recruiting trail, it's no wonder it has a top class.
The Wolverines boast 27 commitments, and that includes 17 4-star players. They also have the commitment of 4-star quarterback Shane Morris, who has incredible potential as a pro-style quarterback.
Speaking of potential, Michigan just landed 5-star running back Derrick Green, and he could end up being a superstar back for the Wolverines. He'll make a huge impact as a freshman, and he should only get better with more experience in the system.
Michigan is going to be an elite program if this class lives up to its potential.
Will Muschamp has put together an elite defensive class.
The Gators feature 25 commitments, and 13 of those commitments are defensive players.
Florida was able to get linebacker recruit Alex Anzalone to flip from Notre Dame, and it boasts the commitment of 5-star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who looks like he can be a superstar at the college level. He's the No. 1-ranked corner in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite.
That's not to say Florida didn't recruit any offensive stars as well, though. The Gators also have a commitment from 5-star running back Kelvin Taylor, who is the No. 2-ranked running back in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking.
I literally only mentioned just a few of the marquee players that Florida has lined up for 2013. All said, we could be looking at an all-time great class if the recruits play up to their expectations.
Nick Saban is the best recruiter in college football, and he's arguably the best coach in college football.
The Crimson Tide are a marquee program, and when you combine all that it has to offer, Alabama is a natural draw for just about any elite recruit.
Speaking of elite recruits, Alabama's 2013 class is full of them. The Tide have 23 commitments so far, and they aren't even done. They can still potentially add a few more elite recruits.
Alabama boasts five 5-star recruits and 10 4-star recruits. Derrick Henry is ranked as the No. 1 overall athlete, O.J. Howard is the No. 1 tight end, Robert Foster is the No. 2 overall wideout and Jonathan Allen is the No. 3 ranked outside linebacker in the 2013 class (all according to the 247Sports Composite rankings).
Literally, all of those players have superstar potential.
Alabama is bringing in great depth at just about every position on the football field, and these recruits will be able to step on up when their number is called and keep on winning for the Crimson Tide.
The class is already the best in the nation, and Alabama is still in the running for multiple elite recruits.
This could be another all-time-great Alabama class when all is said and done.