Ranking 10 Biggest Recruiting Rivalries in Class of 2015
Recruiting rivalries are all over the place nowadays in college football. Many teams do not stick to recruiting inside their regions anymore, which has birthed new rivalries on the recruiting trail.
For the 2015 class, several rivalries have formed due to the pursuit of several top recruits. Florida State and Alabama are in the middle of an arms race, while things have gotten even more intense between Auburn and Georgia.
Plus, USC and UCLA have renewed their rivalry on the California recruiting trail.
10. Michigan vs. Michigan State
For Michigan, Ohio State is usually its chief rival on the recruiting trail. While the Buckeyes are still a big thorn in the Wolverines' side, this year they find themselves battling harder for recruits with "little brother" Michigan State.
9. Ohio State vs. Penn State
These two programs have been among the flagships in the Big Ten for quite some time. However, Penn State has never been this hot on the recruiting trail.
The Nittany Lions pose a huge threat to Ohio State under new head coach James Franklin. The Buckeyes have been a dominant recruiting program, but it is PSU with the higher ranking in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings.
This looks like the start of the new "it" recruiting rivalry in the Big Ten.
8. Florida State vs. Clemson
While Florida State has the superior history and higher profile, Clemson isn't afraid of the Seminoles when it comes to recruiting.
The Tigers have won some recruiting battles over FSU in recent years, and they're trying to pull off a few more coups this year. Recruits such as 5-star defensive back Tarvarus McFadden, 5-star receiver George Campbell and 4-star defensive tackle Tim Settle all are involved in this recruiting rivalry between the two ACC powerhouses.
7. Florida State vs. Florida
This rivalry shouldn't come as a surprise, as Florida State and Florida bump heads every recruiting cycle. The pair of programs do not like each other and have been involved in some heated recruiting battles.
This year, recruits such as 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, 5-star receiver George Campbell, 4-star running back Jacques Patrick, 4-star defensive end Jalen Dalton, 4-star receiver Da'Vante Phillips and 4-star offensive lineman Christian Pellage are players both schools are fighting over.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
6. Auburn vs. Georgia
Rivalries are fierce and intense on and off the field in the SEC. Among the rivalries starting to heat up even more on the recruiting trail is Auburn versus Georgia.
The most notable recruit in the middle of this one is 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson.
However, prospects such as 5-star defensive back Tarvarus McFadden, 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith, 4-star safety Rashad Roundtree, 4-star defensive end D'Andre Walker and 4-star receiver Darius Slayton all are being recruited by both schools.
Thompson, who is from Georgia, said the following about Auburn to Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com (subscription required) on July 21:
"It's always a good visit. Coach (Gus) Malzahn is always saying that I can be a big part of what they're doing. Coach (Rodney) Garner, he's a big part of it, too. He's a great coach."
5. Florida vs. Auburn
Auburn is also involved in a big recruiting rivalry with SEC foe Florida. The recruiting rift appears to revolve around a couple of big-time prospects.
4. Florida State vs. Alabama
Alabama has been the gold standard in college football for the past several years. However, Florida State is the defending national champion, and it has also recruited extremely well over the past few cycles.
This rivalry isn't so much about particular recruits. It's more about an arms race, or perhaps a cold war even. These are two superpower programs with a ton of talent that have similarities in their approaches.
Disciplined, thorough evaluation-based recruiting. Big-time talent acquisition. Sooner or later, these two programs will meet in a playoff or national title game.
3. USC vs. UCLA
Gone are the days of USC dominating the Los Angeles and California recruiting trails. UCLA has established itself as a great recruiting program under head coach Jim Mora, and the Bruins have beat the Trojans for several recruits over the past few years.
It'll be interesting to see which of the two Pac-12 schools win over recruits such as 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall, 5-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green, 5-star linebacker John Houston, 4-star linebacker Osa Masina, 4-star safety Marvell Tell, 4-star receiver Cordell Broadus and 4-star defensive back DeChaun Holiday.
Adam Gorney of Rivals.com (subscription required) wrote the following about Marshall on July 14:
As for the local schools, UCLA and USC are also under close watch. Marshall said he loves the job UCLA coach Jim Mora is doing and he's intrigued to see how young talent like John Smith, Adoree' Jackson and Jonathan Lockett are used at USC this season.
2. Alabama vs. Auburn
If the Iron Bowl itself wasn't intense enough, Alabama and Auburn also have an intense rivalry going on on the recruiting trail.
Auburn already beat out 'Bama for 4-star athlete Kerryon Johnson, but the No. 1 class in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings belongs to the Crimson Tide. Auburn continues to stay hot on the trail, but it hasn't surpassed Alabama just yet.
1. Alabama vs. Texas A&M
Alabama and Texas A&M are No. 1 and No. 2 in the 247Sports Recruiting Rankings, respectively. What makes this a rivalry is that both teams are in the same division.
The Aggies have been scorching on the recruiting trail, as their class is led by 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack and 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray. However, 'Bama has three 5-star commitments in receiver Calvin Ridley, quarterback Blake Barnett and cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.