Bleacher Report's Early Top 25 Recruiting Class Rankings for 2014
A major powerhouse is back on top as "the leader and the best," and an SEC program with a new coach just may surprise some people with its lofty ranking.
The state of Texas is represented well throughout the rankings (especially at the top), Miami is poised to make a huge splash and Alabama is only ranked No. 5?
Two dominant basketball schools, Duke and Kentucky, also made the Top 25.
In regard to Bleacher Report's early Top 25 rankings, there's plenty to discuss.
Do you need to hear more in order to be intrigued?
Didn't think so.
Note: All information, star rankings, interest lists and position rankings courtesy of 247Sports.com and the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted. Both total number of recruits and star rankings were factored into Bleacher Report's class rankings.
For more of Bleacher Report's exclusive CFB Recruiting 200 Signature Series content check out the hub page.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 24
Breakdown: Three 4-stars, Five 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Dallis Todd, 4-star WR
Oklahoma squeaked into the Top 25 rankings right now, but there's a great chance Bob Stoops and his program will only move up from here on out.
The Sooners consistently bring in top recruits, and this recruiting cycle should be no different, especially if they have a good year on the field in 2013.
Some major targets with high interest in Oklahoma include 5-star weak-side defensive end Myles Garrett (top three), 4-star wide receiver Armanti Foreman (top three, Texas leads) and 4-star safety Steven Parker (top three).
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 25
Breakdown: 10 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Alonzo Saxton, 3-star CB
Duke is certainly a surprise team on these rankings, and it would be shocking if the Blue Devils remain in the Top 25 once national signing day comes and goes.
That's not to take away from the job that David Cutcliffe and his staff are doing, though. Ten recruits, no matter their ranking, is pretty impressive for the beginning of June.
The chances of Duke remaining a Top 25 recruiting program are small, but stranger things have happened.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 23
Breakdown: 11 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Justin Nelson, 3-star OLB
All 11 of Rutgers' commitments are 3-star recruits, with an average ranking of 84.84.
That's not bad for quality, but it would be good for Kyle Flood to make a few big splashes later on in the year to stay in the Top 25.
22. Texas Tech
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 21
Breakdown: 11 3-stars, One 2-star
Marquee Commitment: Derrick Neal, 3-star ATH
It's going to be interesting to see what Kliff Kingsbury can do in his first season as head coach. He comes in with a ton of hype after a season coaching Johnny Manziel as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.
But will that hype survive the season?
The usual catalyst is winning, and if the Red Raiders have a successful season, look for Kingsbury to finish with a solid class.
21. Boston College
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 20
Breakdown: 12 3-stars, One 2-star
Marquee Commitment: Thaddius Smith, 3-star ATH
It's nice to see Boston College in the Top 25, but it's going to be tough for the Eagles to maintain such a lofty ranking.
It's hard to see the likes of South Carolina, Georgia, Oregon and other marquee recruiting programs staying out of the Top 25, so BC may not be here for long.
Once the big four and 5-stars start committing to these other programs, however, it will be hard for BC to compete from a pure rankings and numbers perspective.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 17
Breakdown: Two 4-stars, Nine 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Drew Barker, 4-star pro-style QB
It's hard not to notice what Mark Stoops is doing with the Kentucky football program. That football is more relevant now says it all, at least in recruiting.
Another bad year though could ruin Stoops' momentum and hurt recruiting.
This 2013 season will define the direction of Kentucky football during the early years of the Stoops era.
19. Virginia Tech
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 22
Breakdown: Two 4-stars, Seven 3-stars, One 2-star
Marquee Commitment: Javon Harrison, 4-star ATH
Virginia Tech is only getting started on the recruiting trail, but the Hokies are poised for a huge year. The state of Virginia has three 5-star recruits and a multitude of other talented players.
Five of the state's top 20 recruits are already committed to VT.
The big target on the board is undoubtedly 5-star strong-side defensive end Da'Shawn Hand. According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball, most experts seem to think that Hand will end up with Virginia Tech.
Landing Hand would be huge for Frank Beamer and his staff, and it could help them out-recruit Virginia for other big in-state names such as defensive tackles Andrew Brown and Derrick Nnadi, who are a 5-star and 4-star, respectively.
18. Penn State
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 19
Breakdown: Three 4-stars, Seven 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: DeAndre Thompkins, 4-star ATH
Bill O'Brien faces a tough task recruiting at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and subsequent NCAA sanctions. Kudos to him for sticking with the Nittany Lions.
Despite the obstacles, there is no denying that Penn State remains an attractive option for many recruits.
Remember, O'Brien and the Nittany Lions were able to land elite 5-star quarterback recruit Christian Hackenberg in the last cycle, so the draw is undoubtedly there for Penn State football.
Another competitive year on the field will put PSU back in the national spotlight—this time for good reasons—and that should help recruiting.
His class is impressive, bolstered by three talented 4-star commitments.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 16
Breakdown: Two 4-stars, Nine 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Justin Jackson, 4-star all-purpose back
So far, so good for Northwestern, and things can only go up if the Wildcats have a successful 2013 season in the Big Ten.
Outside of Ohio State and Michigan, the balance of power in the conference is in flux. Northwestern can make big strides in recruiting with a good showing on the field. The school's academic program speaks for itself, so being able to make a splash in the Big Ten could create positive momentum for the Wildcats.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 18
Breakdown: One 5-star, Two 4-stars, Five 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Dalvin Cook, 5-star RB
Five of Will Muschamp's recruits are from the state of Florida, and that's huge for the Gators, considering the talent pool of players found in the state and the in-state competition for commitments.
Florida will compete for some of the country's better recruits, and the Gators are certainly targeting many.
Muschamp's defense has elite potential, and a dominant defensive year as well as a run at the SEC title in 2013 should keep Florida hot in recruiting through the season and into February.
15. Ole Miss
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 14
Breakdown: Five 4-stars, Five 3-stars, One not rated
Marquee Commitment: Andy Bauer, 4-star OT
Recruiting success for Ole Miss during the 2014 cycle will be determined by how much on-field success it has in 2013.
Hugh Freeze put together a great 2013 class, and Ole Miss was the talk of the recruiting world as a result. Legitimacy will come from taking the talent he recruited and producing big SEC wins. If Ole Miss can compete and even win against major SEC opponents in 2013, that hype will carry over.
The Rebels' class features five 4-stars, with an average rating of 87.05.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 11
Breakdown: 15 3-stars
Marquee Commitments: Isaiah Ford, 3-star WR
Louisville is one of the hot schools in the college sports world. The football team finished 2012 strong, and the basketball program won the NCAA tournament. That momentum has carried into the recruiting trail, as the Cardinals have been able to land an impressive 15 commitments.
Keeping them from being ranked higher on this list, though, is that all 15 commitments are just 3-star recruits.
That can change with another big year on the field. With Teddy Bridgewater leading the show, Louisville can be an exciting team to watch.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 13
Breakdown: Two 4-stars, 12 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Davion Hall, 4-star S/WR
Landing Cannon would give Baylor a huge boost.
Overall, this class has solid potential to finish strong.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 12
Breakdown: Five 4-stars, Four 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Tre' Williams, 4-star ILB
If Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers have a year that even resembles anything close to progress, Auburn will finish with a great class. Malzahn has put together an elite staff, and his high-powered offense should draw in recruits.
Five of the nine recruits in Auburn's class are in-state players, and the Tigers are high on the interest lists of major recruits including—but not limited to—5-star running back Racean Thomas and 4-star outside linebacker Ronnie Clark.
Beating Alabama in recruiting this year is unrealistic. Landing a Top 10 recruiting class is not.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 15
Breakdown: Two 5-stars, One 4-star, Six 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Joseph Yearby, 5-star RB
Miami has experienced a recruiting revival in the 2014 cycle, and credit head coach Al Golden for that. The Hurricanes have eight commitments, but two are 5-star recruits in running back Joseph Yearby and offensive tackle Kc McDermott.
Recruits like 5-star wideout Ermon Lane, 4-star defensive tackle Khairi Clark and 4-star defensive end Chad Thomas all have high interest in Miami, so don't be surprised if the Hurricanes finish with a great class.
Succeeding in the ACC will be a must to haul in such a stellar class, but Miami has the tools and coach to do it.
10. Ohio State
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 10
Breakdown: Seven 4-stars, Two 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Damon Webb, 4-star CB
Don't expect Ohio State to be this far away from No. 1 for that long. If Ohio State can put together a national championship run, a Top Five recruiting class or better should follow.
9. Florida State
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 8
Breakdown: One 5-star, Six 4-stars, Three 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Kain Daub, 5-star ILB
Look for Jimbo Fisher and his staff to finish strong on the 2014 recruiting trail. The Seminoles are already on track.
Kain Daub is the featured recruit for its class, but Florida State is in the running for highly ranked recruits such as 4-star offensive tackle David Sharpe, 4-star defensive end Jalyn Holmes, 4-star receiver Markell Pack and 4-star safety Trey Marshall.
As it stands, Fisher's class has an average rating of 90.42, with six 4-stars to go along with Daub.
Still, expect FSU to have a big recruiting year, especially if it has an equally big year in the ACC and nationally.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 6
Breakdown: Seven 4-stars, Three 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Deshaun Watson, 4-star pro-style QB
Clemson skyrocketed into the Top 25 courtesy of a great end of March that saw the Tigers land three commitments in two days, including 4-star wide receiver Demarre Kitt, a former Georgia commit.
Dabo Swinney is known as a great recruiting head coach, and Clemson has a ton of upside on the 2014 recruiting trail. Clemson may not be making the Robert Nkemdiche-fueled headlines of last recruiting cycle, but the Tigers are slowly but surely putting together a great class.
A big run at the ACC title in 2013 could really put this class over the top.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 9
Breakdown: One 5-star, Five 4-stars, Three 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Edward Paris, 5-star S
LSU has had a great start on the 2014 recruiting trail, but the future is even brighter.
Top recruit Leonard Fournette is high on LSU, as is No. 1 tackle Cameron Robinson. The same could be said for 5-star corner Tony Brown, 5-star safety Laurence Jones, 5-star defensive end Gerald Willis and 5-star linebacker Clifton Garrett.
Simply put, LSU is poised to pull in an epic recruiting class.
6. Notre Dame
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 5
Breakdown: Eight 4-stars, Two 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Elijah Hood, 4-star ATH
While it will be important to see how Notre Dame bounces back after last season's BCS championship game loss, there's no doubting that Brian Kelly has his program stocked to continue competing.
Athlete/running back recruit Elijah Hood has star potential as a power runner with 4.51 speed, and Notre Dame once again has a solid offensive line group.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 7
Breakdown: One 5-star, Five 4-stars, Three 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Bo Scarbrough, 5-star ATH
Enjoy seeing Alabama on the low side of the Top Five while it lasts, because it's not going to last for long. Nick Saban has already put together a solid group of nine recruits, led by Bo Scarbrough—who will be a great running back or outside linebacker—but he's just getting started.
Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter, 5-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, 5-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey and No. 1 overall recruit Leonard Fournette are all players with a high interest in 'Bama.
Finishing with the No. 1 recruiting class is yet again a realistic goal and expectation for the Crimson Tide.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 4
Breakdown: Five 4-stars, Nine 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Jerrod Heard, 4-star dual-threat QB
Texas started hot, but will Mack Brown and the Longhorns be able to hold that momentum—let alone its recruits? As ESPN reports (subscription required), decommitments have already plagued the 2014 cycle.
To make things worse, Texas A&M looks poised to take over the state as far as recruiting is concerned, so Texas desperately needs to win on the football field.
If Brown can lead a resurgence and Texas makes national noise on the field in 2013, the Longhorns can hold things together and finish strong.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 3
Breakdown: One 5-star, Three 4-stars, 11 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Jalen Hurd, 5-star RB
Butch Jones represents a fresh start for Tennessee football, and the Volunteers are one of the hottest programs in college football recruiting. Credit Jones for pitching a rebuild and the chance to be part of a new era of Tennessee football.
Tennessee made a huge splash when Jalen Hurd committed, and 15 commitments before summer is nothing to scoff at.
This could all be for naught if the Volunteers don't improve on the football field. If Jones' system does lead to an immediate turnaround, though, look for the Volunteers to be the surprise program of this recruiting cycle.
2. Texas A&M
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1
Breakdown: One 5-star, Eight 4-stars, Three 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Hoza Scott, 5-star OLB
Texas A&M is riding high after last season, and Kevin Sumlin has his program poised to do great things in recruiting. If Johnny Manziel leads the Aggies to another exciting season, Texas A&M can compete for the No. 1 spot in these rankings.
Hoza Scott represents the Aggies' biggest commitment, and Sumlin has also landed eight 4-star recruits—12 in all.
With players like 5-star defensive end Myles Garrett, 4-star wide receiver Speedy Noil and 5-star safety Jamal Adams all showing interest in the Aggies, this could be the start of a great recruiting cycle for Texas A&M.
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2
Breakdown: One 5-star, Seven 4-stars, Four 3-stars
Marquee Commitment: Jabrill Peppers, 5-star ATH
Brady Hoke has shown the college football world that he can be an elite recruiter. Now, he needs to fully transition Michigan to the pro-style offense. If he can do so and Michigan looks like a contender in 2013, the Wolverines could be back on the road to powerhouse status—both on the field and the recruiting trail.
Hoke's class is already impressive, with seven out of 12 recruits checking in with 4 stars. He was also able to flip Drake Harris away from Michigan State and land the nation's No. 1 athlete, Jabrill Peppers.
Peppers' commitment could very well draw in other elite recruits, so look for Michigan to contend for the No. 1 spot in February.