College Football

5 Non-SEC Teams That Could Finish with the No. 1 Recruiting Class

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystAugust 21, 2014

5 Non-SEC Teams That Could Finish with the No. 1 Recruiting Class

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Florida State ended the SEC’s run of on-field dominance by capturing the 2013 BCS title, and Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles are among the handful of non-SEC clubs who are capable of ending the league’s dominance on the recruiting trail.

    The ‘Noles are one of three non-SEC teams whose classes are currently ranked in the top 10 of 247Sports' team rankings.

    Aside from FSU, a fellow ACC power, a pair of Big Ten titans and a Pac-12 juggernaut are among the schools capable of ending Alabama’s streak of No. 1 classes.

    Which non-SEC teams have the best chance to finish with the nation’s top recruiting class?

5. Clemson

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    Florida State isn’t the current non-SEC school with the highest-rated class. Instead, that distinction belongs to the ‘Noles Atlantic Division rival, Clemson.

    Dabo Swinney and his staff have assembled a loaded class with 22 commitments. The headliners are 5-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt and 5-star receiver Deon Cain.

    In particular, the Tigers have made waves in SEC recruiting hotbeds such as the metro Atlanta and Central Florida areas.

    While the class has little room to expand, the Tigers are still in the mix with standouts such as 4-star defensive tackle Albert Huggins and 4-star athlete Nyheim Hines

    If Swinney can close with a handful of the Tigers’ top targets, Clemson will be in running for the top spot on signing day.

4. Penn State

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    After finding success by raising Vanderbilt out of the SEC’s cellar, James Franklin has hit the ground running after landing at Penn State in January. 

    The Nittany Lions have assembled the best class in the Big Ten and one that checks in at No. 6 nationally.

    Franklin and his staff have done a great job of locking up the top talent in-state and hitting the most talent-rich areas along the East Coast such as New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.

    If the Lions can match this hot start in Franklin’s first season on the field, look for PSU to keep climbing up the rankings as signing day approaches.

3. Ohio State

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    Urban Meyer is no stranger to signing top-rated recruiting classes. Even though Ohio State’s 2015 currently checks in at No. 15, the Buckeyes have positioned themselves to close this cycle with a monster flurry. 

    As Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts notes (subscription required), the Buckeyes’ 2015 board is littered with a number of top-100 prospects.

    Meyer is known as one of the top closers in the country, and Ohio State is almost certain to land a top-10 class when all is said and done.

    While getting to the top may be too tough of a climb, don’t be shocked if the Buckeyes get hot enough to make things interesting in February.

2. Florida State

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    If there’s one team that has proved it can compete with the SEC on the field and on the recruiting trail, it’s Florida State.

    It’s true that Florida State hasn’t had a No. 1 class in Fisher’s tenure. However, as Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation details, the argument could be made that no one has done a better job of evaluating talent since 2010.

    The ‘Noles have 18 commitments and are trending with elite prospects such as the nation’s No. 1 overall player—5-star defensive end Josh Sweatand 5-star receiver George Campbell.

    In addition to the buzz that comes with being the preseason No. 1 team and the defending national champion, FSU could have another sizable exodus to the NFL following this season, as noted by Rob Rang of CBS Sports.

    With that kind of momentum and room to take in a full class, look for Fisher and the ‘Noles to be in the thick of the race to land the nation’s top haul.

1. USC

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    USC was a recruiting force during Pete Carroll’s tenure in Los Angeles. Judging by the early returns of new coach Steve Sarkisian’s arrival, the Trojans are poised to become the premier option for the nation’s elite recruits on the West Coast. 

    After Sarkisian salvaged the Trojans 2014 class with a flurry on signing day, USC capitalized on its momentum and got off to a fast start in the 2015 cycle. 

    Headlined by 5-star offensive tackle Chuma Edoga and 4-star quarterback Ricky Town, the Trojans' 16-man group currently rates as the country’s No. 8 class.

    Plus, USC is the heavy favorite to land 5-star talents such as corner Iman Marshall, defensive tackle Rasheem Green and linebacker John Houston

    With the potential to add a number of impact recruits, USC is primed to emerge as a legitimate threat to land the nation’s top class in February.

     

    Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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