College Football Recruiting 2012: Power Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes

Michael PintoSenior Writer INovember 26, 2011

College Football Recruiting 2012: Power Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes

0 of 25

    As we head into the homestretch of the 2011 college football season, most of our attention is dedicated to the field, but before you know it, we'll be in February tracking the chaos of National Signing Day. 

    College football recruiting moves fast, especially in December and January when high schoolers no longer have practices and games of their own to attend.

    The month of football ahead can and will be critical to a ton of teams' recruiting efforts as the nation's top talents travel the country visiting schools and narrowing down lists.

    Here's a look at the top 25 college football recruiting classes as they stand today. 

25. Arkansas

1 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 3

    3-star Recruits: 14

    What immediately stands out about Arkansas' class is how offensively-oriented it is, with nine of the top 10 recruits coming on that side of the field.

    A borderline top-15 running back, Jonathan Williams, headlines a below-average class for the Razorbacks. 

24. Oklahoma State

2 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 4

    3-star Recruits: 11

    Oklahoma State's class is headlined by 4-star quarterback Wes Lunt and 4-star wide receiver C.J. Curry.

    Two of the top prospects in the country at their respective positions, Lunt and Curry have the chance to be another solid QB-WR duo in Stillwater. 

23. West Virginia

3 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 4 

    3-star Recruits: 12

    With an expected move to the Big 12, West Virginia will soon be able to stretch its recruiting arm much further across the country, but that hasn't happened quite yet.

    Though with 22 commitments on the books, things aren't exactly going poorly, either. 

22. Oregon

4 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 7

    3-star Recruits: 5

    The Ducks are still hunting for 2012's first 5-star recruit, but right now Oregon is doing exactly what it normally does, quietly collects quality skill-position talent on both sides of the field.

    Oregon's class has top-15 talent at quarterback, wide receiver, running back, linebacker, defensive end and tight end. 

21. USC

5 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 9 

    3-star Recruits: 2

    In its final year of NCAA sanctions, USC is looking to get back on track, though the 2012 class isn't exactly up to Trojans standards.

    Shorthanded on scholarships, USC only has 11 commitments, but nine of them are 4-star recruits. They still need to land a signature talent or two to make this class competitive. 

20. Virginia Tech

6 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 6 

    3-star Recruits: 18

    Depending on who you're asking, Virginia Tech has between one and seven 4-star recruits, with the rest of the class grading out at 3-star levels.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to two players, though: running back Drew Harris and outside linebacker Deon Clark. Both of them have major star potential. 

19. Pittsburgh

7 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 3 

    3-star Recruits: 11

    Pitt might not have a whole lot of top-end talent, but where they lack in quantity they make up for in quality with running back Rushel Shell.

    A top 10 overall prospect from the 2012 class, Shell has the potential to be as good as any running back prospect in years. 

18. Penn State

8 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 4

    3-star Recruits: 10

    We might have considered putting Penn State higher in the rankings if not for the uncertainty surrounding the program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

    The reality is the Lions could lose a huge chunk of what was turning out to be a very talented recruiting class, so at this point it's a wait-and-see situation. 

17. Texas Tech

9 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0 

    4-star Recruits: 5 

    3-star Recruits: 12

    In the usual spirit of Texas Tech football, the Red Raiders have collected most of their talent on offense.

    All five of the school's 4-star rated talents are either receivers or offensive linemen, with top five-rated guard Michael Starts and top 10-rated receiver Dominique Wheeler headlining the bunch.  

16. Virginia

10 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1 

    4-star Recruits: 2 

    3-star Recruits: 14

    Virginia, in recent years, seems to be that team that keeps sneaking into the top 25 recruiting classes, and the school's 8-3 record this season speaks to that.

    For 2012, the Cavaliers class doesn't have a whole lot of talent that pops, but it does have one of the nation's top defenders in OLB Eli Harold and a top 10 QB in Grayson Lambert.

15. Tennessee

11 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 9

    3-star Recruits: 8

    If you're using Tennessee's 2012 recruiting class as a measuring tool, the Vols' biggest holes this season have come at defensive back and along the defensive line.

    Of course, that doesn't take into account the loss of QB Tyler Bray, but you get the point. Of the 9-10 recruits to be excited about if you're a Vols fan, seven play defensive line or secondary. 

14. Ohio State

12 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 2

    4-star Recruits: 5

    3-star Recruits: 8

    What Ohio State really needs is the Urban Meyer deal to become official. Expect this class to shoot up the rankings within days of the announcement.

    Already with a couple of the nation's top individual recruits in place (DE Adolphus Washington and RB Brionte Dunn) expect the Buckeyes to be big players in and around National Signing Day. 

13. South Carolina

13 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1 

    4-star Recruits: 4

    3-star Recruits: 15

    With Alshon Jeffery headed to the NFL in 2012, the Gamecocks will need a new stud wide receiver to pair with star running back Marcus Lattimore.

    That player just might be 5-star receiver Shaq Roland; one of the top overall prospects and the superstar of SC's 20 commitments. 

12. Oklahoma

14 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 9 

    3-star Recruits: 5

    Oklahoma will finally get star 2011 recruit Trey Metoyer on the roster after academic issues forced him to attend Hargrave Military Academy for a year.

    The 5-star receiver has the potential to be the best in the country at his craft. He headlines a class with top 25 talent at QB, RB, C, OG, DE and CB as well. 

11. Miami (Fla.)

15 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 4 

    3-star Recruits: 17

    Miami was one of the fastest schools out the gate but lost some serious steam with the Nevin Shapiro scandal and a subpar season on the field.

    There's still a lot of talent here, especially on offense with running back Duke Johnson, but it's quickly slipping out of contention for a top 10 ranking. 

10. Auburn

16 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0 

    4-star Recruits: 11

    3-star Recruits: 4

    Auburn surprisingly doesn't have any 5-star talent committed for 2012, but don't look into that too much.

    The Tigers have a top 10 quarterback in Zeke Pike, arguably the nation's top tight end in Ricky Parks and one of the nation's top middle linebackers in Cassanova McKinzy.

    At running back, T.J. Yeldon is the type of highlight reel all-purpose back who will be the perfect complement to Michael Dyer. 

9. Notre Dame

17 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 3

    4-star Recruits: 6

    3-star Recruits: 5

    Notre Dame has the chance to improve its secondary drastically next season with 5-star CBs Ronald Darby and Tee Shepard; the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects at their position from the 2012 class. 

    Add in 5-star defensive talent Sheldon Day, and top 15 talent at defensive end, middle linebacker, offensive tackle and safety, and the Irish could be on their way to a monster class...assuming, of course, they can maintain position in the Gunner Kiel race. 

8. LSU

18 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 10

    3-star Recruits: 9

    None of LSU's current 2012 recruits have a 5-star rating, but that won't be the case for too much longer. Linebacker Torshiro Davis is an under-appreciated 5-star talent, as is tight end John Thomas. 

    With top 25 talent at defensive end, cornerback, outside linebacker and wide receiver in addition to those two, LSU is a couple of marquee pickups away from a top-five class. 

7. Clemson

19 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 0

    4-star Recruits: 10

    3-star Recruits: 9 

    Unlike last year, when Clemson surprisingly brought in a class riddled with a ton of top-rated talent, this year's class is more even.

    With 19 commitments covering needs on both sides of the field, the Tigers' 2012 class isn't as glamorous as last year's, but it's solid nonetheless. 

    No, there's no Sammy Watkins to turn the college football world on its head, but Travis Blanks is one of the nation's top safeties, Carlos Watkins and Marvin Aiken could be a devastating pair of defensive linemen.  

6. Texas A&M

20 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 9 

    3-star Recruits: 11

    The Aggies probably needed a strong recruiting class as much as any team in the nation, considering they're about to head to the SEC, and the outlook doesn't look too bright if this season was any sort of example. 

    With over 20 commitments and top-rated talent at running back and quarterback with Trey Williams and Matt Davis, A&M is in solid position, though the Aggies aren't really in the running for much more notable talent. 

5. Alabama

21 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 9

    3-star Recruits: 10

    Let's just put it this way: if half of Alabama's defensive recruits pan out, the Tide will have the most talented defense in the country...which many will tell you is already the case. 

    With top 10 linebackers Reggie Ragland, Dillon Lee and Tyler Hayes and top 10 defensive backs Eddie Williams and Geno Smith, the five additional 4-star rated talents on the offensive side of the ball are really a bonus at this point. 

4. Florida

22 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 2

    4-star Recruits: 9

    3-star Recruits: 6

    If Florida's class is anything, it's well-rounded. The Gators have a top-five cornerback in Brian Poole, arguably the nation's top two tight ends in Kent Taylor and Colin Thompson, and top-five talent at offensive tackle and safety with D.J. Humphries and Marcus Maye, respectively. 

    With talented 4-star running backs Matt Jones and Mike Davis in place as well, all Florida is really missing from this year's class is top-rated talent at quarterback and wide receiver; though with Jeff Driskel in place, QB isn't so much of an issue. 

3. Michigan

23 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 1

    4-star Recruits: 12

    3-star Recruits: 10

    Some might consider Michigan's class to be the finest in the nation. With the number of talented recruits in place, we can see why. The Wolverines have 12 players rated as top-25 talents at their respective positions.

    But of that group, only offensive tackle Kyle Kalis is rated as a 5-star talent, and only MLBs James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone are rated top 5 at their position.

    That's what separates Michigan from the likes of Florida State and Texas. 

2. Florida State

24 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 4

    4-star Recruits: 8

    3-star Recruits: 3

    Jimbo Fisher has really done a tremendous job recruiting since taking over for Bobby Bowden a couple of years ago. The Seminoles have been racking up talent, and 2012 is no different. 

    Only Texas has more 5-star commitments and with top 10 talent at QB, RB, TE, DE, DT, LB and S, there's a huge chance this turns out to be the nation's best class when we look back in a few years.

    Of course if top-rated QB Jameis Winston pans out, we could also be talking about national championships. 

1. Texas

25 of 25

    5-star Recruits: 5

    4-star Recruits: 9 

    3-star Recruits: 5

    As is almost always the case at Texas, Mack Brown delivers yet another supremely talented recruiting class.

    The problem is the school doesn't seem any closer to a championship after similar recruiting efforts year after year. 

    Nevertheless, the Longhorns have the nation's most 5-star commitments, headlined by a trio of superstars who could become staples of Texas football: RB Johnathan Gray, DT Malcolm Brown and WR Caleb Jones...all rated top 3 at their positions.