College Football Recruiting 2014: Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IOctober 22, 2013

College Football Recruiting 2014: Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes

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    With November right around the corner, the college football season is moving along at a brisk pace. That also means that recruiting is starting to become more important, so now is a good time to update the Top 25 recruiting classes.

    While waiting for many uncommitted recruits to make their decisions, programs still have constructed a large portion of their 2014 recruiting classes. And some schools have put together better recruiting assemblies than others.

    The SEC leads the way, as several of its schools have great classes. Yet, the ACC and the Big Ten also boast multiple schools in the rankings.

    NOTE: No. of 4-and-5-star recruits in each class is based on the 247Sports composite rankings.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals247Sports and ESPNU. 

25. Oklahoma State

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    Total commitments: 22
     
    5-star recruits: None
     
    4-star recruits: Five

    Oklahoma State has become a better recruiting program in recent years. The Cowboys have a solid 22-man class led by 4-star running backs Tyreek Hill and Devon Thomas. The defense is led by 4-star linebacker Gyasi Akem, who also flashes some pass-rushing ability on the edges.

    An interesting note about this class is that 12 commitments are from Texas. Adding more depth to the back-seven unit of the defense appears to be the theme, as Oklahoma State has eight commitments from recruits who play linebacker or defensive back. 

24. Rutgers

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    Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

    Total commitments: 24 

    5-star recruits: None
     
    4-star recruits: Three

    Head coach Kyle Flood has built one of the best Rutgers recruiting classes in modern memory. The Scarlet Knights have 24 commitments, with 11 in-state prospects from New Jersey.

    A pair of 4-star receivers are the top prospects; Saeed Blacknall and Adonis Jennings both stand 6'3" and have good speed. Safety Kiy Hester, a 4-star defender, is a versatile prospect who could also find himself playing on offense for Rutgers.

    With Flood being an offensive line coach at heart, it's not shocking that the offensive front has the most commitments in the class with five. 

     

23. North Carolina

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    Total commitments: 22

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Three

    The Tar Heels are a sleeping-giant program, and it appears they are waking up. North Carolina has a talented recruiting class that will bring great depth to its program.

    Each of UNC's three 4-star prospects are offensive recruits, with running back Elijah Hood the group's best player. At nearly 6'0" and 222 pounds, Hood has the power and speed to be exceptional in the ACC. Quarterback Caleb Henderson has great physical tools, and offensive lineman Bentley Spain will help protect him.

    North Carolina also has four safeties in this class. 

     

     

     

22. Arizona

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    Total commitments: 27

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Six

    The Wildcats have a large class, approaching the 30-player mark. Head coach Rich Rodriguez trusts his evaluations, going after players who fit his systems; he is building a solid program in the desert.

    The majority of the group is from either Arizona or California, with 4-star athlete Cameron Denson the headliner. Other 4-star prospects such as running back Nick Wilson and cornerback Naijiel Hale are also future stars.

    Plus, 'Zona boasts three 4-star linebackers in Marquis WareJamardre Cobb and Antonio Smothers 

21. Virginia Tech

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    Total commitments: 23

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Three

    The Hokies know home is where the heart is, as 13 commitments are from Virginia. Holland Fisher, who was once a 2013 recruit, is now considered part of the 2014 class due to the 4-star safety enrolling at a prep school.

    Javon Harrison, a 4-star Florida native, can play safety or receiver with his 6'1", 187-pound frame. Marshawn Williams is a 5'11", 215-pound 3-star running back who has a good skill set. C.J. Reavis is a 3-star prospect with the ability to make plays at safety and outside linebacker.

    Also, do not overlook 3-star quarterback Andrew Ford. Virginia Tech also has five offensive line pledges. 

20. Vanderbilt

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    Total commitments: 20

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Two

    Head coach James Franklin is one of the hardest working recruiting head coaches in the country. He's done a remarkable job at Vanderbilt, as the Commodores are now respected on the trail.

    They have secured commitments from 20 players, and 10 different states are represented in the class. Quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels and safety Kyle Gibson are the top players in the group, as they are both 4-star prospects.

    Out of Vanderbilt's 20 commitments, 13 play either offensive line or in the secondary. 

     

19. Arkansas

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    Total commitments: 17

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Four

    Bret Bielema is now in charge of the Hogs, and he is enjoying a good 2014 recruiting cycle. Arkansas has a smaller class with 17 pledges, but it has found good value.

    Jermaine Eluemunor and Jovan Pruitt are 4-star offensive linemen who both stand 6'6". Quarterback Rafe Peavey, a 4-star prospect, has an "it" factor about him. Plus, 4-star defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson stands nearly 6'2", weighs 334 pounds and is a load in the trenches.

    Bielema also has a pair of commitments from sleeper 3-star cornerbacks Kweishi Brown and Henre' Toliver, who both stand 6'1".

18. Baylor

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    Total commitments: 23

    5-star recruits: One

    4-star recruits: Three

    Baylor is a program on the rise, and it needs to do everything it can to keep head coach Art Briles in Waco. The Bears have ascended up the Big 12's pecking order, and they also command more respect on the trail.

    KD Cannon, a 5-star receiver, is the headliner. He has great speed, plays with good awareness and has fantastic ball skills. Davion Hall, who is 6'2" and 186 pounds, is a 4-star athlete who can do damage as a receiver or safety.

    T'Kevian Rockwell leads the defensive class; the 4-star linebacker has impressive range, instincts and short-area quickness. Outside of one commitment from Pennsylvania, all prospects are from Texas. 

17. Stanford

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    Total commitments: 17

    5-star recruits: One

    4-star recruits: Four

    Stanford may not be flashy on the trail, but it gets the job done every year. Head coach David Shaw is passionate about his alma mater, has a poised demeanor and has recruited well on The Farm.

    Stanford's top prize is 5-star quarterback Keller Chryst. The Northern California native has the potential to be an All-American for the Cardinal. Running back Christian McCaffrey has an athletic running style, as the 4-star Colorado native shows good quickness and elusiveness.

    Defensively, Stanford has commitments from 4-star prospects such as defensive lineman Nifae Lealao, linebacker Joey Alfieri and safety Brandon Simmons

16. Kentucky

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    Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

    Total commitments: 25

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Six

    Kentucky is another program under new management with new head coach Mark Stoops. The program is recruiting with more confidence.

    Quarterback Drew Barker is the group's centerpiece—and not because he's a 4-star recruit. Barker is from the state, plays a crucial position and has leadership qualities. He'll work well with 4-star running back Stanley Williams.

    With Stoops being a defensive-minded coach, having 4-star defenders such as defensive end Denzel Ware, safety Darius West and JUCO defensive tackle Cory Johnson will help his scheme operate better in the coming seasons.

15. Clemson

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    Total commitments: 17

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Eight

    Although it suffered a bad loss to Florida State last weekend, Clemson still is one of the nation's top programs. Head coach Dabo Swinney is a great recruiter, and his staff does a good job of finding players.

    The Tigers' top recruit is 4-star quarterback Deshaun Watson. However, 4-star prospects such as receiver Artavis Scott, linebacker Korie Rogers, running back Adam Choice and tight end Milan Richard are also among the nation's best.

    Korie Rogers and Chris Register are 4-star linebackers who will help on defense and special teams early in their careers. 

14. Ole Miss

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    Total commitments: 21

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Five

    Ole Miss has assembled its second consecutive impressive recruiting class. Although this group may lack the sizzle of the 2013 haul, it still features good talent.

    Safety C.J. Hampton, a 4-star prospect, is one of the best in the country.

    Roderick Taylor and Andy Bauer are 4-star offensive linemen who will be All-SEC blockers in Oxford. D.K. Buford has rare quickness—the 4-star recruit can play receiver and running back. Demarquis Gates is a 4-star linebacker who has great range, and 3-star receiver Dayall Harris will use his 6'4" frame to help in the red zone.

13. Notre Dame

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    Total commitments: 16

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: 11

    The Irish don't have a big class, but they have great quality. Head coach Brian Kelly has nine commitments from players who play offensive or defensive line.

    Quenton Nelson, a 4-star blocker leads the way. Keep an eye on 4-star receiver Corey Holmes. The Florida native has solid hands, displays great speed and is a smooth athlete. He will be joined on the perimeter by Justin Brent, another 4-star receiver.

    Although he may not play early, 4-star quarterback DeShone Kizer has a high ceiling. Other notable 4-star recruits include linebacker Richard Yeargin III, tight end Nic Weishar and defensive tackle Jay Hayes

12. Texas

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    Total commitments: 24

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Eight

    The Longhorns have 24 commitments, and 20 are from Texas. Head coach Mack Brown also has two prospects from Louisiana and traveled to Florida and North Carolina to get a player from each state.

    Dual-threat 4-star quarterback Jerrod Heard is the headliner, but 4-star prospects such as defensive end Derick Roberson and running back Donald Catalon are also important commits.

    Receiver Armanti Foreman, a 4-star prospect, has excellent quickness, plus 4-star lineabcker Otaro Alaka can play on all three downs.

     

11. Auburn

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    Total commitments: 16

    5-star recruits: One

    4-star recruits: Six

    Fresh off a huge win over Texas A&M, Auburn appears to be on the fast track back to the top of the SEC. The Tigers have just 16 commitments, but this class is loaded.

    Running back Racean Thomas is a 5-star prospect who can also help in the passing game. JUCO 4-star receiver D'haquille Williams should help immediately on The Plains, and the reps he'll get versus 4-star cornerback Nick Ruffin in practice will make both players better on Saturdays.

    Derrick Moncrief is a 4-star safety from the JUCO ranks who has the size of a linebacker at 6'3" and 226 pounds. Linebacker Tre' Williams, quarterback Sean White and defensive end Justin Thornton are also notable 4-star pledges. 

10. Florida State

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    Total commitments: 24

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: 10

    Florida State knows it sits in a pool of talent, which is why it's not a surprise that 15 of its 24 commitments are from Florida.

    Head coach Jimbo Fisher has commitments from 4-star recruits such as linebackers Kain DaubJacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy. They will be joined in Tallahassee by other 4-star recruits such as explosive receiver Markell Pack, safety Trey Marshall, athlete Treon Harris and quarterback JJ Cosentino.

    Also keep an eye on 4-star defensive tackles Dexter Wideman and Demarcus Christmas

9. LSU

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    Total commitments: 15

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: 10

    LSU is waiting on several elite prospects to make their decisions, so its recruiting class could be ranked higher in February.

    As of now, the Tigers have 15 commitments, and 10 are 4-star recruits. Edward Paris, a 4-star defensive back, is the headliner. The Texan has great size at 6'1" and 190 pounds, and exhibits outstanding short-area quickness.

    Brandon Harris is a 4-star quarterback with a cannon for a right arm. He'll love throwing to 4-star receivers Trey Quinn and Tony Upchurch, plus 4-star tight end Jacory Washington is also in this class.

    Davon Godchaux is a 4-star defensive end who will likely grow into a defensive tackle in Baton Rouge. He'll get great reps in practice by facing 4-star guards Will Clapp and Garrett Brumfield

8. Florida

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    Total commitments: 14

    5-star recruits: Three

    4-star recruits: Five

    The Gators have done quite well for themselves during this recruiting cycle. They boast three 5-star prospects in running back Dalvin Cook, receiver Ermon Lane and quarterback Will Grier.

    All three players have a shot to get early snaps in Gainesville. Yet, the class does not end with the talented trio. Florida has pledges from 4-star recruits such as defensive tackle Khairi Clark, receiver J.C. Jackson, safety Quincy Wilson and cornerbacks Chris Lammons and Duke Dawson  

7. Miami

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    Total commitments: 26

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Eight

    With 26 commitments, Miami is bringing in a large class. Head coach Al Golden has become more confident with each recruiting class, plus he has won some key games.

    The most talented player in the group is 4-star running back Joseph Yearby, an electric player with premier quickness and instincts. Kc McDermottReilly Gibbons  and Trevor Darling are 4-star blockers who will open up holes for Yearby in Coral Gables.

    Chad Thomas, a 4-star defensive end, is one of the most explosive pass-rushers in the country. He'll be joined in the defensive trenches by 4-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine. A sleeper in this class is 3-star cornerback Nigel Bethel

     

6. Tennessee

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    Total commitments: 27

    5-star recruits: One

    4-star recruits: 12

    Tennessee's class has two cornerstones in 5-star running back Jalen Hurd and safety Todd Kelly. Hurd is a 6'3", 220-pound runner with great speed. Kelly stands 6'1", weighs 200 pounds and hits like a truck.

    Head coach Butch Jones has 13 states represented in his class, and also has a commitment from a player from Washington, D.C.

    Dillon Bates is from Florida, and the 4-star linebacker has terrific straight-line speed. He'll be joined on the second level of the defense by 4-star recruits Kevin MouhonChris Weatherd and Gavin BryantDominique Booth is a 4-star receiver who could help immediately, as the Indiana native has good quickness.  

5. Michigan

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    Total commitments: 16

    5-star recruits: One

    4-star recruits: Seven

    Big Blue has put together another excellent recruiting class under head coach Brady HokeJabrill Peppers, a 5-star athlete, is the best player Hoke has brought to Ann Arbor.

    Peppers, who is 6'1" and 205 pounds, can play cornerback, running back, receiver and safety. Michigan also has a commitment from high-end 4-star receiver Drake Harris

    Bryan Mone is a beast of a 4-star defensive tackle, while 4-star offensive linemen Juwann Bushell-Beatty and Mason Cole will add depth to the offensive front.

    Lawrence Marshall, a defensive end, tight end Ian Bunting and linebacker Michael Ferns are other notable 4-star recruits in this group.

4. Texas A&M

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    Total commitments: 15

    5-star recruits: Two

    4-star recruits: Eight

    Head coach Kevin Sumlin has turned Texas A&M into one of the best recruiting programs in the country. He has two 5-star commitments in quarterback Kyle Allen and defensive end Myles Garrett.

    There is a chance that both players could be starters in 2014.

    Linebacker Hoza Scott, cornerback Nick Harvey, safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, running back Varshaun Nixon and defensive end/linebacker Josh Walker are 4-star recruits who will be difference-makers in College Station.

3. Georgia

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    Total commitments: 17

    5-star recruits: One

    4-star recruits: 11

    Georgia has put in a great deal of work to build its fantastic recruiting class. Head coach Mark Richt has 13 commitments from players who are from Georgia or Florida.

    Running back Sony Michel is the best player in the class, as the 5-star prospect has a great combination of speed, quickness, strength and vision. Nick Chubb, a 4-star running back, is not far behind.

    The defensive line will get a boost from a pair of 4-star recruits in Dontavius Russell and Lamont Gaillard, while 4-star defensive end Keyon Brown will take pleasure in getting after passers in the SEC.

    Quarterback Jacob Park, cornerback Malkom Parrish, guard Isaiah Wynn and Jeb Blazevich are also notable 4-star commitments for UGA. 

2. Ohio State

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    Total commitments: 18

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: 13

    A recruiting juggernaut, Ohio State has a great group of recruits coming to Columbus. Head coach Urban Meyer is one of the best recruiting head coaches in history, and he's done nothing to ruin his reputation during this cycle.

    The Buckeyes have gone to 11 different states for prospects, and 4-star linebacker Dante Booker leads the class.

    However, 4-star prospects such as athlete Curtis Samuel, cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Jalyn Holmes, linebacker Kyle Berger and running back/receiver Parris Campbell are also great talents. 

    Ohio State also has commitments from 4-star offensive linemen such as Jamarco JonesMarcelys JonesDemetrius Knox and Kyle Trout.

1. Alabama

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    Total commitments: 21

    5-star commitments: Two

    4-star commitments: 13

    The nation's top recruiting class belongs to the folks in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is a bully on the recruiting trail, rarely gets turned down by elite prospects and routinely signs exceptional classes.

    Without question, the headliner of the class is 5-star left tackle Cameron Robinson. Yet, 4-star recruits such as linebacker/defensive end Christian Miller and quarterback David Cornwell are also important players.

    Cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent, receiver Cameron Sims, guard Viane Talamaivao and linebacker Zach Whitley are also outstanding 4-star commitments. 

     

2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

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    Many of the top recruits in the nation's best recruiting classes can be found on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map! This is a great tool for recruiting fans!

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.