National Signing Day 2017: Grading Every Top 25 Team's Recruiting Class

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 1, 2017

National Signing Day 2017: Grading Every Top 25 Team's Recruiting Class

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    Clemson is among the programs that have had a strong recruiting class in the 2017 cycle.
    Clemson is among the programs that have had a strong recruiting class in the 2017 cycle.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    With the 2016 season officially in the rearview mirror, the next big event for programs around the nation is National Signing Day.

    Clemson finished atop the final AP poll, and the Tigers will look to capitalize on their second national title in school history.

    However, a majority of the schools in the Top 25 have ample momentum surging toward national signing day.

    How is each Top 25 team faring and what is the outlook on their recruiting classes?

    We have graded each team's class based on a few critical factors such as recruiting tradition, momentum from the regular season, conference and the success of the class versus the program's normal expectations on signing day. 

    Let’s take a look and grade each Top 25 program’s 2017 recruiting class.

25. San Diego State: B-

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    Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

    Number of Commits23

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 3 Mountain West, No. T-No. 70 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    3-star DE Anthony Luke, American River College (Sacramento, California)

    Luke is a JUCO product who is already enrolled and will take part in spring practice for the Aztecs. The 6'3", 250-pounder could be an instant-impact performer. Over the last two seasons, Luke registered 109 tackles—including 29 tackles for loss with 7.5 sacks, per 247Sports.

     

    3-star CB Darren Hall, Rancho Cucamonga High School (Rancho Cucamonga, California)

    According to MaxPreps, Hall registered 47 tackles with one forced fumble and another fumble recovery as a senior. Hall chose the Aztecs over Pac-12 schools such as Colorado, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State.

     

    3-star QB Cam Roane, Colleyville Heritage High School (Colleyville, Texas)

    In Roane, the Aztecs potentially have a candidate to be the program’s quarterback of the future. According to 247Sports, Roane threw for 8,882 yards with 93 touchdowns while adding another 1,475 yards and 21 scores on the ground during his four-year prep career.

     

    Synopsis

    The 2017 class is a solid foundation for head coach Rocky Long and his staff to build on. The bulk of the class—12 commitments to be exact—come from the state of California. Adding a big-time quarterback prospect such as Roane should help the Aztecs continue to compete for titles in the Mountain West.

24. Auburn: B+

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    Number of Commits: 22

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 6 SEC, No. 11 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star OL Calvin Ashley, St. John's College High School (Washington, D.C.) 

    In Ashley, the Tigers landed a big-time recruit over schools such as Florida, Florida State, Maryland and Miami. The Under Armour All-American rates as the nation’s No. 6 offensive tackle in a deep class. He anchors what is a strong offensive line class heading to the Plains.

     

    4-star LB Tadarian Moultry, Jackson-Olin High School (Birmingham, Alabama)

    Another strength for the Tigers' 2017 class is the crop of linebackers brought in to assist defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. At the head of that list is Moultry, who is one of the fiercest thumpers in the 2017 cycle. The 6'2.5", 227-pounder has a chance—and the skill set necessary—to contribute early in his career on the Plains.

     

    5-star QB Jarrett Stidham, McLennan Community College (Waco, Texas)

    Originally a Baylor signee, Stidham was arguably the biggest prize from the JUCO ranks in the 2017 cycle. The Tigers beat out Florida and Texas A&M to land him. Stidham will compete to become the Tigers' starting quarterback this fall.

     

    Synopsis

    Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn and his staff did a great job of filling needs at linebacker, defensive back and offensive line in the 2017 cycle. However, the arrival of Stidham is what could make or break this class. If he can live up to his lofty billing, the Tigers could once again make noise in the SEC and on a national level this fall. Landing 4-star defensive end Markaviest Bryant late was a nice surprise.

23. Utah: C+

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    Number of Commits: 20

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 7 Pac-12, No. 33 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    4-star CB Jaylon Johnson, Central High School (Fresno, California)

    Johnson is a big, rangy corner at 6'2", 185 pounds who fits the mold of what the Utes love to do in the secondary. He’s a physical player who also has the type of speed to keep up with quick outside receivers. He selected Utah over Arizona, Arizona State, California and Oklahoma, among others.

     

    4-star WR Tyquez Hampton, El Dorado High School (El Paso, Texas)

    The Utes dipped into Texas to land a versatile playmaker in Hampton. According to 247Sports, Hampton hauled in 73 receptions for 977 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. He also added another pair of scores rushing and one via kickoff return. The 6'2", 200-pounder brings a nice package of size and athleticism to the Utes receiving unit.

     

    4-star LB Marquise Blair, Dodge City Community College (Wooster, Ohio)

    The Utes have four players currently committed from the JUCO ranks, with Blair being the headliner of that group. Blair is a versatile defender who could play safety or linebacker in the Utes defensive scheme. According to 247Sports, Blair totaled 64 tackles—including 14 for loss with eight sacks and two interceptions during his freshman season.

     

    Synopsis

    Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff are excellent at evaluating and developing the talent they land. While it’s a small class numbers-wise, it is rounded out nicely with recruits who have talent and upside to help the Utes continue to compete in the Pac-12.

22. Tennessee: B

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    Number of Commits: 28

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 7 SEC, No. 15 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star OL Trey Smith, University School of Jackson (Jackson, Tennessee)

    The Volunteers have had a rough time in recent years keeping the top in-state prospects from escaping the state, but they hit a home run with Smith—who is already enrolled at Tennessee and is the state’s top overall prospect in 2017. Smith chose the Vols over Alabama, Notre Dame and Ole Miss, among others.

     

    4-star DT Eric Crosby, Ocean Lakes High School (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

    The Vols have fared well with prospects from the Mid-Atlantic region in the 2017 cycle, with Crosby representing the biggest catch among that group. The nation’s No. 6 defensive tackle, Crosby selected Tennessee over Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, among others.

     

    4-star RB Ty Chandler, Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, Tennessee) 

    One of Smith’s main tasks during his time in Knoxville will be to open holes for Chandler. The U.S. Army All-American was a monster during his senior season as he rushed for 2,252 yards and 39 touchdowns, according to 247Sports.

     

    Synopsis

    Vols head coach Butch Jones and his staff did a good job of meeting needs at defensive line, defensive back and receiver. However, losing elite talents such as 4-star receiver Tee Higgins and 4-star quarterback Hunter Johnson—both of whom initially committed to Tennessee before flipping to Clemson—hurts what could’ve been a signature class for the Vols.

21. Louisville: B+

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    Number of Commits: 22

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 5 ACC, No. 30 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    4-star RB Colin Wilson, Clay High School (Green Cove Springs, Florida)

    Wilson arrives at Louisville after a stellar prep career in which he rushed for 3,931 yards and 67 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. After piling up more than 30 offers, Wilson chose the Cardinals over Auburn, Clemson and Notre Dame, among others.

     

    4-star S C.J. Avery, Grenada High School (Grenada, Mississippi)

    Avery is an Under Armour All-American who has already enrolled at Louisville and will take part in spring drills. He selected the Cardinals over Auburn, Clemson, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, among others.

     

    4-star ATH Russ Yeast, Center Grove High School (Greenwood, Indiana)

    Yeast is the son of former Kentucky receiver Craig Yeast. As a senior, the younger Yeast rushed for 1,525 yards and 19 touchdowns while adding 32 catches for 602 yards and another eight scores as a receiver, according to MaxPreps.

     

    Synopsis

    Louisville has built a solid class that features quality and quantity at receiver, defensive back and on both lines of scrimmage. Additionally, it’s sprinkled with a few elite, high-ceiling talents capable of competing early in their careers. The class should help the Cardinals continue to fight powerhouses Clemson and Florida State in the ACC's Atlantic Division. 

20. Miami: B

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    Number of Commits: 22

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 2 ACC, No. 16 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

     

    4-Star WR Jeff ThomasEast Saint Louis High School (East Saint Louis, Illinois)

    The Hurricanes won big on signing day by landing Thomas, who announced on ESPNU's live telecast. The 5'10", 167-pounder selected Miami over Illinois, Oregon and Tennessee among others. As Bleacher Report's Damon Sayles detailed, Thomas was among the standouts at the Under Armour All-American Game.

    4-star DE D.J. Johnson, Burbank Luther High School (Sacramento, California)

    Miami fought a host of other programs to land Johnson, who will make the long trek from California to South Beach for college. Over the course of his sophomore and junior seasons, Johnson racked up 140 tackles and 23.5 sacks, according to 247Sports. Johnson chose the Hurricanes over USC, Utah and Washington, among others. 

    4-star OL Navaughn Donaldson, Central High School (Miami, Florida)

    One of the lynchpins of Miami’s 2017 class is Donaldson, who represents one of the top players in the loaded South Florida area. Donaldson has already enrolled at Miami, and he selected the 'Canes over Florida, Florida State, Mississippi State and North Carolina, among others.

     

    Synopsis

    Miami’s class is a solid effort for head coach Mark Richt in his first full cycle since returning to his alma mater. There is a distinct Florida flavor to the class, but the 'Canes were able to cherry-pick and land players from other fertile territories such as California, Georgia, New Jersey and Texas. If there's one knock on the class, it's that it only has one top-100 prospect (Thomas) in the country.

19. South Florida: C-

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Number of Commits: 17

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 9 AAC, No. 96 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    3-star OL Jean Marcellus, Jefferson High School (Tampa, Florida)

    Marcellus has been committed to the Bulls since July. He’s an athletic lineman who projects as a tackle in college. He selected USF over Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Miami, among others.

     

    3-star CB Nick Roberts, Oakleaf High School (Orange Park, Florida)

    Roberts is an in-state defensive back who was once committed to Miami. However, he selected the Bulls shortly after opening up his recruitment. Over the first three years of his prep career, Roberts tallied 130 total tackles and 11 interceptions, per 247Sports.

     

    3-star S Naytron Culpepper, Carol City High School (Miami, Florida)

    Head coach Charlie Strong landed a trio of talented teammates from Carol City High School in Miami on signing day, with Culpepper being the biggest prize of the group. According to 247Sports, Culpepper had 30 offers, including tenders from Maryland, Michigan State and South Carolina, among others. 

     

    Synopsis

    Anytime a school undergoes a coaching change near the end of a cycle, there's always a scramble to land players who have developed relationships with other coaching staffs. Strong has been lauded in the past for his ability to close classes, but he wasn’t able to pull off the type of flurry that creates excitement about the future. The 2018 cycle will be critical for the success of his program moving forward.

18. West Virginia: C

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    Number of Commits: 21

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 8 Big 12, No. 53 nationally

     

    Top of the Class 

    3-star S Derrek Pitts, South Charleston High School (South Charleston, West Virginia)

    Originally committed to Penn State, West Virginia won out for one of its top in-state prospects in Pitts. Over the last two seasons, Pitts recorded 117 tackles and five interceptions, according to MaxPreps.

     

    3-star CB Exree Loe, Greater Johnstown High School (Johnstown, Pennsylvania) 

    Loe was originally committed to Pittsburgh before flipping to the rival Mountaineers. He selected West Virginia over Boston College, Louisville, Maryland, Rutgers and Temple, among others.

     

    3-star S Kenny Robinson, Imani Christian Academy (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

    Another versatile athlete who could play safety or linebacker, Robinson is one of four players committed to the Mountaineers from the state of Pennsylvania. He chose West Virginia over Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Temple and Virginia Tech, among others.

     

    Synopsis

    Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff have hit on a few key areas of need in the 2017 class at offensive line, defensive line and in the secondary. They were also able to net 10 prospects who enrolled early. Overall, it’s a solid, if not spectacular, group.

17. Colorado: A-

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    Number of Commits: 27

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 6 Pac-12, No. 29 nationally

     

    Top of the Class 

    4-star OL Jake Moretti, Pomona High School (Arvada, Colorado)

    Moretti represents the top overall prospect in the state of Colorado for the 2017 cycle. Originally committed to Big Ten power Ohio State, Moretti flipped to the Buffaloes in November.

     

    4-star WR KD Nixon, DeSoto High School (DeSoto, Texas)

    Nixon was originally committed to Tennessee before opting to commit to Colorado in October. As a senior, Nixon accounted for 1,534 yards of total offense and 16 total touchdowns, according to 247Sports.

     

    4-star WR Laviska Shenault Jr., DeSoto High School (DeSoto, Texas)

    The Buffaloes scored big at DeSoto High School by landing Nixon and his running mate Shenault. As a senior, Shenault hauled in 48 receptions for 834 yards and nine touchdowns, per 247Sports.

     

    Synopsis

    On the heels of a 10-win season, Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre and his staff have done an excellent job in capitalizing on the program’s success on the field and turning it into wins on the recruiting trail. In particular, the Buffaloes have found success in California and Texas—landing eight players from each of those talent-laden states. They also hit big on need spots such as receiver, offensive line and defensive line with quality and quantity. Overall, it’s an excellent group for a program on the rise.

16. Virginia Tech: B+

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    Number of Commits: 26

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 3 ACC, No. 20 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star S Devon Hunter, Indian River High School (Chesapeake, Virginia)

    Hunter is the top overall prospect from the state of Virginia and the top safety in the 2017 cycle—which makes him an absolute monster addition for the Hokies. The U.S. Army All-American has the type of size and athleticism to be an impact performer in defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s scheme.

     

    4-star LB Nathan Proctor, Lackey High School (Indian Head, Maryland)

    Proctor is another athletic defender who should thrive in the middle level of Foster’s defense in Blacksburg. As a senior, Proctor recorded 74 tackles—including 16 for loss and eight sacks, according to MaxPreps. The Under Armour All-American chose the Hokies over Florida, Pittsburgh and Penn State, among others.

     

    4-star LB Dylan Rivers, Sherando High School (Stephens City, Virginia)

    After originally committing to Big Ten power Penn State back in November 2015, Rivers took an official visit to Virginia Tech this past December. The Hokies were able to get him to flip his pledge late in January. Rivers also held offers from Clemson, LSU, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, among others.

     

    Synopsis

    Hokies head coach Justin Fuente and his staff have done a solid job re-establishing Virginia Tech’s presence in-state. Additionally, they have hit territories such as Florida, Georgia, Maryland and North Carolina and found talented prospects. Fuente’s first full cycle was a productive one in terms of quality and quantity.

15. Western Michigan: C

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Number of Commits: 22

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 2 MAC, No. 77 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    3-star LB Dwayne Chapman II, St. Mary’s Prep High School (Orchard Lake, Michigan)

    Chapman is an inside linebacker who chose Western Michigan over Central Michigan, Navy and Toledo, among others. Chapman rates as the No. 31 inside linebacker in the country.

     

    3-star LB Derrick Hubbard, Pioneer High School (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

    Hubbard is another in-state linebacker who elected to sign with the Broncos. He chose Western Michigan over offers from Ball State, Iowa State and Toledo.

     

    3-star WR Luke Sanders, Cathedral High School (Indianapolis, Indiana)

    As a senior, Sanders caught 30 passes for 502 yards and six touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. He chose the Broncos over offers from Harvard, Indiana and Purdue among others.

     

    Synopsis 

    With former head coach P.J. Fleck leaving for Minnesota in the middle of the cycle, the Broncos' class has suffered from a rash of decommitments. New head coach Tim Lester salvaged what he could. Needs were met along the trenches and at linebacker. Considering the circumstances, landing one of the top classes in the MAC should help the Broncos remain among the conference’s elite.

14. Florida: B-

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    Number of Commits: 24

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 5 SEC, No. 10 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star OL Tedarrell Slaton, American Heritage High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

    The Gators won out late for Slaton, who selected Florida over Georgia, Miami and Michigan, among others. The U.S. Army All-American rates as the nation’s No. 2 offensive guard, but he could also play defensive tackle in college. 

     

    4-star DE Zachary Carter, Hillsborough High School (Tampa, Florida)

    Carter represents one of the top in-state commits for the Gators. He selected Florida over Alabama, Clemson, Miami and Ole Miss, among others. Over the course of his sophomore and junior seasons, Carter tallied 149 tackles—including 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, per 247Sports.

     

    4-Star CB Brad Stewart, McDonough 35 High School (New Orleans, Louisiana)

    Florida closed strong down the stretch of the 2017 cycle, especially with defensive backs. Over the final week, the Gators pulled Stewart and 4-star athlete Christopher Henderson, who is projected to land in the secondary. According to 247Sports, Stewart held 40 offers and committed to the Gators over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, LSU and TCU, among others. 

      

    Synopsis

    A strong close helped salvage a class that is still a notch below the standard the Gators program is used to enjoying on signing day. Slaton is the only Top 100 signee, which puts a spotlight on the dip in talent level that head coach Jim McElwain and his staff have to get corrected starting with the 2018 cycle. 

13. LSU: A

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    Number of Commits: 23

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 3 SEC, No. 7 nationally

     

    Top of the Class 

    5-star S JaCoby Stevens, Oakland High School (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) 

    Stevens rates as the nation’s No. 2 safety in the 2017 cycle and No. 2 player out of the state of Tennessee. The Under Armour All-American is already enrolled at LSU and will take part in spring practice.

    5-star DE K'Lavon Chaisson, North Shore High School (Houston, Texas)

    Chaisson, who is the nation's No. 5 defensive end, selected LSU over Florida, Texas and USC on signing day. According to 247Sports, recorded 84 tackles and 21 sacks as a junior. He is the No. 5 overall prospect from the state of Texas in the 2017 cycle.

    4-star OL Austin Deculus, Cy-Fair High School (Cypress, Texas) 

    LSU was able to find success in the state of Texas, with Deculus being one of the main prizes pulled out of the Lone Star State. The Under Armour All-American is already on campus as an early enrollee.

     

    Synopsis

    New Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron has always been lauded for his abilities as a recruiter. His first cycle since taking over for Les Miles was a smashing success. The Tigers landed two stud quarterbacks, restocked both lines of scrimmage with talent and depth and landed four elite defensive backs.

12. Stanford: B+

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    Number of Commits: 14

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 5 Pac-12, No. 24 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star OL Foster Sarell, Graham Kapowsin High School (Graham, Washington) 

    Stanford landed Sarell when he committed to the Cardinal during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He selected Stanford over Alabama, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Washington. He is rated as the nation’s top offensive tackle in the 2017 cycle.

     

    5-star OL Walker Little, Episcopal High School (Bellaire, Texas)

    Little chose Stanford over Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Texas. The U.S. Army All-American rates as the No. 2 offensive tackle in the 2017 cycle and should team with Sarell to form the foundation of the Cardinal’s offensive line moving forward.

     

    5-star QB Davis Mills, Greater Atlanta Christian School (Norcross, Georgia)

    Mills represents the top-rated passer in the 2017 cycle. He chose Stanford over Alabama, Georgia and USC. As a junior, Mills accounted for 3,398 yards of total offense and 39 total touchdowns, according to 247Sports.

     

    Synopsis

    Despite Stanford taking a relatively small class, its quality stacks up with anyone's in the country. The Cardinal signed elite players at every offensive position and their share of national-level prospects with lengthy offer lists on defense. It’s another class that should help Cardinal head coach David Shaw and his staff continue to compete annually to win the Pac-12.

11. Oklahoma State: B-

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    Number of Commits: 22

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 5 Big 12, No. 41 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    4-star WR LC Greenwood, Lakewood Centennial High School (Garland, Texas)

    As a senior, Greenwood caught 65 passes for 1,091 yards and 16 touchdowns, per 247Sports. He selected the Cowboys over Iowa, Mississippi State, TCU and Utah.

     

    4-star WR Tylan Wallace, South Hills High School (Fort Worth, Texas)

    Wallace and his brother, 3-star athlete Tracin Wallace, both committed to the Cowboys back in March 2016. Tylan chose Oklahoma State over Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon.

     

    3-star QB Jelani Woods, Cedar Grove High School (Ellenwood, Georgia)

    The Cowboys went into SEC territory to land the talented Woods. He chose Oklahoma State over Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina and South Carolina.

     

    Synopsis

    The bulk of the Cowboys class comes from Texas, which has proved to be a fruitful area for head coach Mike Gundy and his staff. The Cowboys hit on needs at running back, receiver and defensive line with quality and quantity. Overall, it’s a solid class that has a few prospects with high upside.

10. Michigan: A

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    Number of Commits: 29

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 1 Big Ten, No. 3 nationally

        

    Top of the Class

    5-star WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cass Technical High School (Detroit)

    The Wolverines beat Florida, Florida State, Michigan State and Ohio State to land the state's top prospect in Peoples-Jones. The nation's top receiver is already on campus and will take part in spring drills.

     

    5-star DT Aubrey Solomon, Lee County High School (Leesburg, Georgia)

    One of the biggest wins on signing day came when Michigan beat out a field that included Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and USC for Solomon. The U.S. Army All-American is a dominant interior lineman who could have an immediate impact in Ann Arbor.

     

    4-star CB Ambry Thomas, King High School (Detroit) 

    Thomas is a versatile athlete who excelled at both corner and receiver during his prep career. One of 11 early enrollees already on campus, he's likely to begin his college career in the secondary.

     

    Synopsis

    All the hype Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh generated in the offseason paid off in the form of one of the top classes in the country. The Wolverines landed elite prospects across the board, and they went all over the country to do it.

9. Wisconsin: C

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    Number of Commits: 18

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 12 Big Ten, No. 51 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    4-star OL Kayden Lyles, Middleton High School (Middleton, Wisconsin) 

    Lyles is one of seven Badgers signees who are already on campus as early enrollees and will go through spring drills. He chose Wisconsin over Arizona State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others.

     

    3-star TE Jake Ferguson, Memorial High School (Madison, Wisconsin)

    In Ferguson, the Badgers found a stud in their backyard. The 6'5", 189-pounder selected Wisconsin over Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska. As a junior, he caught 64 passes for 991 yards and eight touchdowns, according to 247Sports.

     

    3-star RB Jonathan Taylor, Salem High School (Salem, New Jersey) 

    Taylor could be next in line to continue Wisconsin’s tradition of bruising, dominant rushers. Taylor originally committed to Rutgers before he reopened his recruitment and pledged to the Badgers days later.

     

    Synopsis

    Wisconsin's staff evaluates players who fit its system and develops the talent it attracts to campus. While the rankings may not reflect a top-tier group, there is some intriguing talent that seems like it will mesh well with what the Badgers do on both sides of the ball. Overall, head coach Paul Chryst and his staff met their most pressing needs at receiver, offensive line and defensive line.

8. Florida State: A

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    Number of Commits: 22

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 1 ACC, No. 8 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star RB Cam Akers, Clinton High School (Clinton, Mississippi)

    The Seminoles hit the equivalent of the recruiting lottery when they landed Akers—who was named U.S. Army Player of the Year. As a senior playing quarterback, Akers accounted for 5,233 yards of offense and 65 touchdowns. He selected FSU over Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

    5-star DT Marvin Wilson, Episcopal High School (Bellaire, Texas)

    Over the course of his career, Wilson recorded 200 tackles—including 71 tackles for loss with 42 sacks, per 247Sports. Wilson was arguably the biggest prize on the board going into signing day. He chose the Tigers over Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma. 

    5-star CB Stanford Samuels III, Flanagan High School (Pembroke Pines, Florida)

    The son of former FSU corner Stanford Samuels Jr., the younger Samuels rates as the nation’s No. 4 corner. He chose the Seminoles over Alabama, Georgia and Michigan, among others. Like Akers and Kaindoh, Samuels enrolled early and will take part in spring practice.

     

    Synopsis

    It was once again a furious close for Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff. The 'Noles landed elite players across the board at positions of need such as running back, defensive line and linebacker. Perhaps more impressively, they won out on players such as Akers and Kaindoh, who were once long shots to land in Tallahassee. Overall, FSU brought in one of the nation's elite classes.

7. Penn State: B+

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    Number of Commits: 21

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 4 Big Ten, No. 14 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star CB Lamont Wade, Clairton High School (Clairton, Pennsylvania)

    Penn State won a fierce battle for Wade over Ohio State, Pittsburgh, UCLA and West Virginia. The Under Armour All-American is already on campus as an early enrollee. Wade rates as the nation's No. 3 corner.

     

    4-star S Jonathan Sutherland, Episcopal High School (Alexandria, Virginia)

    The Nittany Lions landed four players from the state of Virginia, with Sutherland representing the highest-rated prospect among that group. He selected PSU over North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

     

    4-star OL C.J. Thorpe, Central Catholic High School (Pittsburgh)

    Penn State had great success in its home state, and Thorpe was one of the main prizes for head coach James Franklin and his staff. The Under Armour All-American selected PSU over Auburn, Michigan, Pittsburgh and UCLA, among others.

     

    Synopsis

    Franklin and the Big Ten champions were successful on the recruiting trail. The Lions met needs at positions such as receiver, offensive line, defensive line and defensive back. They also landed a quarterback in Sean Clifford who could be the heir apparent to Trace McSorley.

6. Ohio State: A+

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    Number of Commits: 21

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 2 Big Ten, No. 4 nationally

     

    Top of the Class

    5-star DE Chase Young, DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Maryland)

    Young was the top overall prospect from the state of Maryland and the No. 2 defensive end in the 2017 cycle. The U.S. Army All-American selected Ohio State over Alabama, Maryland and Penn State, among others.

     

    5-star CB Jeffrey Okudah, South Grand Prairie High School (Grand Prairie, Texas)

    Okudah is the nation's No. 2 corner and the No. 3 player from the state of Texas. He selected Ohio State over Florida State and Oklahoma, among others. The U.S. Army All-American is already on campus as an early enrollee.

     

    5-star OL Wyatt Davis, St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, California)

    Davis is the nation's top offensive guard prospect and the No. 5 player from the state of California. He selected Ohio State over Alabama, Michigan, UCLA and Washington, among others.

     

    Synopsis

    We all know of Urban Meyer's prowess as a recruiter, but the 2017 class is the latest evidence that he's in rare air in that category. The Buckeyes signed five 5-star prospects, 12 Top 100 players and a 5-star JUCO cornerback. Overall, it's another star-studded group that should help Ohio State remain a fixture in the College Football Playoff picture.

5. Oklahoma: A

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    Number of Commits: 27

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 1 Big 12, No. 6 nationally

        

    Top of the Class 

    4-star S Robert Barnes, Carroll High School (Southlake, Texas)

    Barnes is the No. 5 safety in the 2017 class. He selected Oklahoma over Baylor, Notre Dame and Texas, among others. Barnes was selected to play at The Opening over the summer summer and was also named a U.S. Army All-American.

        

    4-star LB Levi Draper, Collinsville High School (Collinsville, Oklahoma)

    Draper is one of the top inside linebackers in the 2017 class. The U.S. Army All-American was once committed to rival Oklahoma State. He selected the Sooners over Florida State, Notre Dame and Texas A&M, among others.

        

    4-star WR CeeDee Lamb, Foster High School (Richmond, Texas)

    Lamb enjoyed a ridiculous senior season in which he caught 99 passes for 2,046 yards and 33 touchdowns, per 247Sports. Lamb selected Oklahoma over TCU, Tennessee and Texas, among others.

        

    Synopsis

    Sooners head coach Bob Stoops and his staff brought in a group that is far and away the best of any Big 12 school. Oklahoma landed elite hauls at positions such as receiver, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and defensive back. Overall, Oklahoma's 2017 class rates among the nation's best in quality and quantity.

4. Washington: B

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    Number of Commits: 18

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 4 Pac-12, No. 23 nationally

         

    Top of the Class

    4-star TE Hunter Bryant, Eastside Catholic High School (Sammamish, Washington)

    Bryant caught 56 passes for 959 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior, according to MaxPreps. He is rated as the No. 2 tight end in the 2017 cycle and chose the Huskies over Penn State, UCLA and USC, among others.

        

    4-star CB Elijah Molden, West Linn High School (West Linn, Oregon)

    Over the last two seasons, Molden recorded 74 tackles and four interceptions, according to MaxPreps. Molden chose the Huskies over Oregon, Stanford and USC, among others.

        

    4-star ATH Salvon Ahmed, Juanita High School (Kirkland, Washington)

    Ahmed, who rates as the nation's No. 15 athlete, chose Washington over Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford and USC. Ahmed is a versatile talent who could play running back, corner or safety in college.

        

    Synopsis

    Head coach Chris Petersen and his staff did a decent job capitalizing on their Pac-12 title and appearance in the College Football Playoff. However, they suffered a big blow in losing out on Sarell—the state's top overall prospect who elected to leave for Pac-12 rival Stanford. Still, the Huskies brought in a strong group that has an opportunity to be the best overall group that Peterson has brought in during his tenure in Seattle.

3. USC: A+

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    Number of Commits: 25

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 1 Pac-12, No. 5 nationally

        

    Top of the Class

    5-star RB Stephen Carr, Summit High School (Fontana, California)

    Carr rushed for 2,123 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior, according to MaxPreps. The U.S. Army All-American, who rates as the nation's No. 3 running back, chose the Trojans over Michigan, Oregon and UCLA, among others.

        

    5-star WR Joseph Lewis, Hawkins High School (Los Angeles)

    The Trojans recorded a huge win on signing day when they kept Lewis from escaping the city limits. The U.S. Army All-American chose USC over Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska and Oregon, among others.

     

    5-star DT Jay TufeleBingham High School (South Jordan, Utah)

    USC won out over the likes of BYU, Michigan, Ohio State and Utah to land Tufele, who is the nation's No. 3 defensive tackle in the 2017 class. Over the course of his sophomore and junior seasons, Tufele recorded combined totals of 114 tackles and 16.0 sacks, according to MaxPreps.   

     

        

    Synopsis

    Head coach Clay Helton and his staff parlayed the momentum they earned from finishing the season on a nine-game win streak into a strong close to the 2017 cycle. The trenches were the main focus, as USC signed nine players along the line of scrimmage. It also landed elite talents at quarterback, running back, receiver and in the secondary. Overall, this class is the cream of the crop in the Pac-12 and one of the best nationally.

2. Alabama: A+

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    Number of Commits: 28

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 1 SEC, No. 1 nationally

        

    Top of the Class

    5-star RB Najee Harris, Antioch High School (Antioch, California)

    According to MaxPreps, Harris finished his prep career with 7,948 yards and 94 touchdowns while averaging 9.5 yards per carry. The No. 1 overall prospect in the 2017 cycle, he selected Alabama over Michigan, UCLA and USC, among others. He is already on campus as an early enrollee.

        

    5-star OL Alex Leatherwood, Washington High School (Pensacola, Florida)

    Leatherwood rates as the nation’s No. 3 offensive tackle prospect in the 2017 cycle. He selected Alabama over Florida, Florida State and Michigan, among others. The Under Armour All-American is one of 12 early enrollees already on campus.

        

    5-star LB Dylan Moses, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)

    Moses is the top inside linebacker in the 2017 cycle. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Moses initially committed to LSU before reopening his recruitment. He picked Alabama over LSU, Ohio State and Texas, among others.

        

    Synopsis

    Nobody reloads better than Alabama head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide recruiting machine welcomes a class with five 5-star prospects, 12 Top 100 recruits and two blue-chip JUCO signees. Simply put, Alabama has the best overall class in the 2017 cycle.

1. Clemson: B+

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    Number of Commits: 14

    Scout.com Class Rank: No. 4 ACC, No. 26 nationally

        

    Top of the Class

    4-star WR Tee Higgins, Oak Ridge High School (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) 

    Higgins initially committed to in-state power Tennessee before reopening his recruitment. He selected Clemson over Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State, among others. As a junior, Higgins caught 46 passes for 841 yards and 16 touchdowns, according to 247Sports.

        

    4-star QB Hunter Johnson, Brownsburg High School (Brownsburg, Indiana)

    Like Higgins, Johnson was also initially committed to Tennessee before he flipped to Clemson. Johnson held offers from Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State, among others. As a senior, he threw for 2,235 yards and 25 touchdowns while adding another 528 yards and three scores on the ground, according to 247Sports.

        

    4-star S A.J. Terrell, Westlake High School (Atlanta)

    Terrell selected the Tigers over Auburn, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, among others. He recorded 53 tackles, two interceptions and 16 passes defended as a junior, according to MaxPreps. Terrell rates as the nation's No. 10 safety in the 2017 cycle.

        

    Synopsis

    While the Tigers took a relatively small class with only 14 commitments, head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff packed it with quality at important positions such as quarterback, receiver, offensive line, defensive line and defensive back. Additionally, they were able to sign prospects from 10 different states. Overall, it's a strong group whose best players stack up favorably to any other group in the country.

        

    Sanjay Kirpalani is a national recruiting analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of Scout.com.