College Football Recruiting: Initial Top 25 Classes for 2024February 2, 2023
College Football Recruiting: Initial Top 25 Classes for 2024
If you're sick of Georgia and Alabama having good recruiting classes, well, you'd better get over it because both SEC powerhouses are off to terrific starts in the 2024 cycle.
So are perennial strong recruiting programs such as LSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
But some surprises lurk near the top of the rankings too.
So, even though national signing day was Wednesday, recruiting never sleeps (and recruiters rarely do). If you aren't already getting a start on the next cycle, well, you're behind.
Coaches around the nation get paid big bucks to lure recruits to their programs, and with name, image and likeness benefits now a massive deal, money is thrown into an already complicated equation. The transfer portal is, too, but that comes later for prospects.
For now, we glance at the teams that are already making waves in the '24 class. Plenty can change, but it's always good to see that your message resonates.
Rankings are courtesy of the 247Sports composite.
25-21: USC, Penn State, Louisville, Arizona, BYU
25. USC Trojans
Class size: 2
Impact player: Joey Olsen, 6'5", 220-pound 4-star TE
Analysis: Surprise! Offensive-minded head coach Lincoln Riley only has a pair of '24 pledges so far, but both of them are pass-catchers. If you haven't already realized it, USC is never going to have a dearth of those dudes.
Olsen is the nation's 12th-rated tight end recruit, and wide receiver Jason Robinson gives the Pac-12 (and soon-to-be Big Ten) power a quality start to next year.
24. Penn State Nittany Lions
Class size: 2
Impact player: Cooper Cousins, 6'5", 285-pound 4-star IOL
Analysis: James Franklin solidified Penn State's biggest weakness in the 2023 cycle with a pair of legitimate future star offensive linemen in J'ven Williams and Alex Birchmeier, and Cousins gives him a great start to next year. He's the eighth-rated player at his position.
Linebacker Anthony Speca from Pittsburgh is another 4-star prospect, giving Franklin a couple of big, early in-state wins.
23. Louisville Cardinals
Class size: 2
Impact player: TJ Capers, 6'2", 230-pound 5-star Edge
Analysis: There's no doubt about it: For Jeff Brohm's young program to go into Miami and pull a 5-star, top-10 player such as Capers is a stunner and proves the Cardinals mean business. It'll be a battle to hang on to him, but it's massive.
Running back Isaac Brown of Homestead, Florida, gives Louisville a pair of Sunshine State commits in a state they've traditionally had success pulling players. But getting guys of this caliber is new.
22. Arizona Wildcats
Class size: 3
Impact player: Jordan Washington, 5'10", 170-pound 4-star RB
Analysis: The 2022 season was a colossal step forward for coach Jedd Fisch's program, which didn't make a bowl game but added four wins. Recruits are at least paying attention, and some are pulling the trigger.
Washington is a speedy back from Long Beach, California, who is a big, early pull. Linebacker Kingston Lopa is another California product, and wide receiver Brandon Phelps rounds out the trio of early pledges heading to the desert.
21. BYU Cougars
Class size: 5
Impact player: Chance Harrison, 6'1", 175-pound 3-star ATH
Analysis: It's not a group that will turn many heads from an individual rankings perspective, but Kalani Sitake had four early commitments, and all of them are 3-star prospects.
Harrison is an athlete from Oxnard, California, who likely will play defensive back, and the other four Cougars commits are Utah natives. Defensive lineman Dallin Johnson, linebacker Adney Reid, athlete Easton Baker and edge-rusher Siosefa Brown are the other BYU pledges ready to head to Provo.
20-16: Colorado, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Texas, Tennessee
20. Colorado Buffaloes
Class size: 3
Impact player: Omar White, 6'3", 307-pound 4-star DL
Analysis: Everybody will be watching Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders' first full class in Boulder very closely. He's getting tons of high-caliber visitors, and you know several will pull the trigger.
White is a big, early commitment as a Valdosta, Georgia, native who is the nation's No. 108-ranked overall prospect. His teammate, 3-star defensive lineman Eric Brantley, appears to be headed across the country too. Daijon Calimon is a 3-star wide receiver who rounds out the early class.
19. Wisconsin Badgers
Class size: 3
Impact player: Mabrey Mettauer, 6'5", 215-pound 4-star QB
Analysis: Several teams tried to pry coach Luke Fickell from Cincinnati, and Wisconsin was finally successful. Expect recruits to take notice.
Though the Badgers have just three pledges, two are 4-star players in Illinois tight end prospect Grant Stec and Mettauer, who is coming all the way from Texas to try to be Tanner Mordecai's heir apparent. It's a great, early start for the Badgers as they build back toward respectability in Camp Randall.
18. Texas A&M Aggies
Class size: 3
Impact player: Dealyn Evans, 6'4", 260-pound 4-star DL
Analysis: There's no question this is a make-or-break season for coach Jimbo Fisher in College Station. He's making too much money to miss bowl games, but the lack of wins isn't hurting recruiting.
The Aggies have a trio of 4-star commits, led by Longview, Texas, native Evans. Debron Gatling is a nice early pledge from Georgia, and offensive tackle Ashton Funk gives Fisher three great building blocks before the 2024 cycle really gets off the ground.
17. Texas Longhorns
Class size: 3
Impact player: Hunter Moddon, 6'0", 175-pound 4-star ATH
Analysis: One of the best classes in the 2023 cycle is Texas', which is clearly behind Alabama and Georgia but easily ahead of the rest. Coach Steve Sarkisian's team has pieced together a strong trio for start next year too.
Moddon is a versatile athlete who likely will start his career in Austin catching passes, and cornerback Jaden Allen is the nation's No. 201 prospect. While the Longhorns may have a difficult time convincing a star QB to join the '24 class with Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning on campus, high-ceiling 3-star Trey Owens already is in the class.
16. Tennessee Volunteers
Class size: 3
Impact player: Jonathan Echols, 6'4", 230-pound 4-star ATH
Analysis: Tennessee is already off to a strong start, and with a better-than-usual crop of in-state talent in the Volunteer State, it could be a big year recruiting on Rocky Top.
IMG Academy athlete Echols is committed to play tight end for the Vols, but other schools are after him heavily. UT has a big pledge from in-state cornerback Kaleb Beasley, and 3-star defensive lineman Carson Gentle rounds out a good-looking early group. Coach Josh Heupel is making inroads into another big class.
15-11: Michigan State, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson
15. Michigan State Spartans
Class size: 3
Impact player: Nick Marsh, 6'3", 195-pound 4-star WR
Analysis: An atrocious season for coach Mel Tucker after getting a big raise in East Lansing may have been a warning sign, but recruits don't care. Tucker is an awesome relationship-builder, and with him entrenched at Michigan State, the prospects are playing the long game.
Marsh is a top-100 recruit who would have been a fit at essentially every program. The cornerback duo of Jamari Howard (Florida) and Jaylen Thompson (Tennessee) are terrific early commitments from the Southeast who join in-state prospect Marsh.
14. Duke Blue Devils
Class size: 5
Impact player: Hauss Hejny, 5'11", 185-pound 3-star QB
Analysis: Had it not been for Sonny Dykes' improbable run at TCU, you'd have heard much more about Mike Elko for national coach of the year. In his first year at hapless Duke, he turned the Blue Devils into a nine-win team. This ain't basketball.
Elko is assembling a head-turning early class with five 3-star players, led by undersized dual-threat quarterback Hejny, who is heading to Duke despite offers from TCU, Cal and others. Landan Callahan likely will play cornerback for the Blue Devils, and there are other quality developmental players too.
13. Ohio State Buckeyes
Class size: 3
Impact player: Jeremiah Smith, 6'3", 185-pound 5-star WR
Analysis: Nobody stacks receivers like offensive coordinator Brian Hartline and the Ohio State Buckeyes, who had the nation's top-ranked class at that position in '23 and now have Smith, the top-ranked receiver and No. 2 overall player in the '24 class committed from Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida.
Garrett Stover is a 4-star athlete who likely will play defensive back for the Buckeyes, and Ian Moore is the No. 3-rated interior offensive lineman in the nation who won't leave the Midwest after departing his Indiana home.
12. Michigan Wolverines
Class size: 5
Impact player: Mason Curtis, 6'4", 200-pound 4-star LB
Analysis: Michigan is in deep with the nation's third-ranked QB prospect, Jadyn Davis, which would be a gargantuan coup early in the class, but he isn't committed yet.
Still, even with NFL rumors around head coach Jim Harbaugh lingering, this is a much, much better start to the '24 cycle for Big Blue after a pedestrian haul this year. The Wolverines have commitments from Tennessee linebacker Curtis, who is an athletic second-level defender, as well as other 4-stars in offensive tackle Luke Hamilton, tight end Hogan Hansen and defensive lineman Ted Hammond.
11. Clemson Tigers
Class size: 5
Impact player: Christian Bentancur, 6'5", 240-pound 4-star TE
Analysis: Dabo Swinney pulled off a fantastic hire when he got Garrett Riley from national runner-up TCU to be the Tigers' new offensive coordinator, and he's hoping that's the first step in turning his program back into title contender. A great class would be another.
Bentancur is an Illinois tight end who is the fourth-rated player at his position and the only offensive 4-star on Clemson's commit list. The safety tandem of Tavoy Feagin and Noah Dixon look like a strong duo, and recent defensive line pledge Champ Thompson is a nice addition too.
10. South Carolina Gamecocks
Class size: 4
Impact player: Cam Pringle, 6'7", 338-pound 4-star OT
Whether you like Shane Beamer's antics or you think they're hokey, the coach is beginning to see recruiting dividends in Columbia, where the Gamecocks are off to a strong start to next year's class.
Getting Pringle to stay home was massive. The nation's top-ranked offensive tackle prospect could be a 5-star recruit before the cycle concludes, and he has major upside and is nimble for a guy his size.
Additionally, Beamer has convinced a pair of top-150 prospects to commit to the Gamecocks in Marietta, Georgia, linebacker Wendell Gregory and tight end Michael Smith, also a Peach State native.
Beamer went all the way up to Connecticut to get his QB of the 2024 class in Dante Reno, a 6'1", 195-pound signal-caller who is the son of Yale head football coach Tony Reno. This is the type of early group that will have heads around the recruiting world turning.
Can Beamer sustain it and build?
9. Iowa Hawkeyes
Class size: 6
Impact player: Cody Fox, 6'4", 275-pound 4-star IOL
In the 2023 recruiting cycle, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz had a long-time commitment from an elite offensive lineman in Kadyn Proctor but couldn't hold on to him as an eleventh-hour trip to Alabama turned into a flip.
Fox isn't anywhere near that caliber of a prospect, but he's still a top-200 player from the state of Iowa who could help anchor the Hawkeyes line for years. They just have to hang on to him.
It's a bit of a surprise to see Iowa up this high on the list, but Ferentz and Co. are off to a great start for 2024 despite last year's offensive woes. Four players (Fox, linebacker Cam Buffington, and athletes Derek Weisskopf and Preston Ries) will all remain in the state.
Florida QB James Resar is already committed to the Hawkeyes, as is Illinois interior offensive lineman Josh Janowski. All are in the nation's top-600 players, and while there's just one 4-star player, it's a nice start.
8. Florida Gators
Class size: 4
Impact player: DJ Lagway, 6'2", 225-pound 5-star QB
One look at Florida's roster appears like 2023 may be a rocky second season for Billy Napier unless Wisconsin transfer quarterback Graham Mertz can recapture some of the magic that made him a one-time top prospect.
But the woes should be short-lived for the Gators, as it appears Napier is making inroads with prospects.
Make no mistake: The Jaden Rashada drama was a black eye for the Gator Collective NIL group, but Florida hasn't had much difficulty with luring top-shelf talent, boasting a top-13 class in the '23 cycle and a great start to next year too.
Lagway is the star, a top-rated quarterback from Willis, Texas, who could truly change the Gators' fortune at the position. Linebacker Myles Graham is the nation's No. 30 prospect, and edge-rusher Adarius Hayes checks in not much farther behind at No. 61.
Add 4-star running back Chauncey Bowens, and this looks like one of the best starts to any class in the country. Napier just needs to win a few games, bridge the gap to Lagway and get some momentum going.
7. Oregon Ducks
Class size: 5
Impact player: Jordan Anderson, 6'0", 165-pound 4-star WR
With the last year of the Bo Nix era having everybody in Eugene excited, the future of the passing game under coach Dan Lanning looks like it's in good hands.
Whether it's Ty Thompson or Austin Novosad who takes the reins at quarterback in 2024, he'll have a lot of weapons around him with the way Lanning recruits. During the '23 cycle, the Ducks have Jurrion Dickey, Kenyon Sadiq, Ashton Cozart and others.
For the '24 class, the pass-catchers rule the day for the Ducks. Anderson is a speedy dynamo who, once he adds weight, will be a terror in the open field. Lanning went all the way to Philadelphia to land Tyseer Denmark, another receiving prospect, and tight tend A.J. Pugliano rounds out the trio.
Fox Crader is a 4-star OT pledge, and Jaxon Jones will come off the edge for Oregon in the future. Lanning knows how to lure guys to UO, and it's going to be another strong class if this jump-start is any indication.
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Class size: 7
Impact player: Johann Cardenas, 6'0", 215-pound 4-star RB
It's unclear if second-year Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire will ever be able to lure elite players from the Lone Star State to Lubbock, but maybe it's just a matter of giving him time to build his program.
A certainty, however, is that the long-time, legendary Texas high school coach can use his reputation, ties and relationships to get kids he wants to buy into the Red Raiders early.
Last year at this time, TTU was off to a great start to a class that's going to finish in the top 40. While he'd love for that to be a little higher-ranked, it's the same this year. The Red Raiders have seven pledges, and every one of them is from Texas.
Without a doubt, Cardenas is the star: a big-bodied, every-down runner who looks like he could be a big-time player very soon.
Quarterback Will Hammond is getting a lot of Power Five love, and he is pledged to the Red Raiders, too, as other schools go after him. Don't be surprised if he ends up ranked higher than the No. 42 QB nationally.
Interior offensive lineman Holton Hendrix and wide receiver Ivan Carreon are also quality prospects in a class that is all offense.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide
Class size: 5
Impact player: Julian Sayin, 6'1", 195-pound 5-star QB
Maybe this Nick Saban guy at Alabama is going to be able to recruit.
In case you've been on a deserted island with Wilson for the past several years, it's not a surprise to see the Alabama Crimson Tide high in the recruiting rankings.
However, they're off to a better start than usual, which is scary considering they're always in contention for the top-ranked class.
The quarterback of the future is already committed in Sayin, a silky-smooth California signal-caller who may appear undersized, but the last UA quarterback from that state who wasn't uber-tall was the 5'11 Bryce Young, and we all know what happened.
Cornerback Jaylen Mbakwe is the nation's No. 33 recruit, and Perry Thompson is a top-100 wide receiver. Both of those guys are from the state of Alabama, which continues to produce elite players at a high volume. Sterling Dixon, a 4-star edge-rusher, is another Yellowhammer state prospect.
Throw in Georgia athlete Martavious Collins, and it doesn't matter that the Tide don't have any coordinators. Prospects know as long as Saban is there, that train is just going to keep on rolling.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Class size: 7
Impact player: CJ Carr, 6'2.5", 195-pound 4-star QB
Notre Dame is loading up on a strong class early for the 2024 cycle, and the catalyst for the bunch is Carr, a Saline, Michigan, product who is better than his ranking. Yes, he's the No. 5-rated signal-caller, but he's better than that.
Carr possesses all the tools to start in South Bend once Sam Hartman's one season is done, so Fighting Irish fans should be excited about his potential.
Coach Marcus Freeman is surrounding him with stellar playmakers on offense too.
Aneyas Williams is listed as an athlete but is a do-it-all running back who can be special in the Irish offense. Wide receiver Cam Williams and tight end Jack Larsen will develop a rapport with Carr and be big weapons early in their career.
Interior offensive lineman Peter Jones, edge-rusher Owen Wafle and cornerback Karson Hobbs round out a class where all seven early pledges are 4-star prospects and ranked in the top 400 players nationally.
Carr spearheads the class, but this early group is deep and strong.
3. Florida State Seminoles
Class size: 9
Impact player: Kameron Davis, 5'10", 200-pound 5-star RB
It wasn't that long ago that Mike Norvell was having to answer questions about his future at Florida State, failing to win big on the football field and enduring large recruiting losses and flips in living rooms.
Those days are over.
Following a 10-win season, the Seminoles are a sleeper pick for the 2023 College Football Playoff with QB Jordan Travis returning. After putting together a pair of solid recruiting classes the past two years, Norvell's best work has come in the transfer portal.
Now, FSU has a great roster and is supplementing that with what looks like a loaded 2024 recruiting haul, led by Davis, the nation's No. 2 running back and a guy who can carry the load on every down.
Jordan Pride is the other top-100 prospect at safety, and a pair of wide receivers (Camdon Frier and Tawaski Abrams) are the next two in line, along with 4-star QB Luke Kromenhoek of Savannah, Georgia.
There are some top-tier targets heavily considering the 'Noles, too, in what looks like it could be a program-leap-inducing class.
2. LSU Tigers
Class size: 8
Impact player: Maurice Williams Jr., 6'2", 205-pound 4-star LB
Brian Kelly once noted one of the things that drew him from South Bend to Baton Rouge to coach the LSU Tigers was the ability to lure the nation's top talent and better compete for national titles.
He's proving in a short time that he can sell everything to do with the program.
The Bayou Bengals have a great group of players committed for the '24 class, led by Williams, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who can make plays at all levels, looks great against the run and holds his own in coverage.
The more Colin Hurley plays, the more the QB looks like an early steal, and he is showing out already and drawing headlines. The Jacksonville, Florida, product appears locked in with the Tigers, and wide receivers Joseph Stone and tight end Tayvion Galloway are pledged too.
Of the eight players Kelly has committed, six are 4-star prospects, and a couple of those might even wind up ranked higher. This is a deep, solid start to another upper echelon class for a program recruiting at the very top of the heap.
1. Georgia Bulldogs
Class size: 10
Impact player: Landen Thomas, 6'4", 230-pound 5-star TE
Nobody is hotter on the football field than the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, and there aren't many teams looking better on the recruiting trail.
The Dawgs finished second to Alabama in the 2023 recruiting rankings, but they are at the top of the standings for '24, already having 10 pledges, including two 5-stars and seven 4-stars.
Thomas' commitment adds to an embarrassment of riches for Georgia in the tight end room, and wide receiver Ny Carr is an explosive pass-catcher too.
Georgia's reputation is built on defense, and the class already has an abundance of playmakers on that side of the ball such as the safety tandem of Peyton Woodyard and Jaylen Heyward, as well as linebacker Demarcus Riddick.
Wednesday's national signing day produced a massive pickup for the next cycle when Ellis Robinson IV, a 5-star CB from IMG Academy, became Georgia's 10th commit.
Throw in a top-100 tandem of runners in Dwight Phillips Jr. and Tovani Mizell, as well as 4-star QB Ryan Puglisi, and coach Kirby Smart has the best start on the trail of any program for the '24 class.
Could this be a continuation of a dynasty?
All stats courtesy of cfbstats and Sports Reference. Player rankings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
Follow Brad Shepard on Twitter, @Brad_Shepard.