National Signing Day 2015: Ranking the Top 25 Classes Ahead of NSD

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 2, 2015

National Signing Day 2015: Ranking the Top 25 Classes Ahead of NSD

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    Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans are among a number of teams looking to make a push on national signing day for the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.
    Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans are among a number of teams looking to make a push on national signing day for the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.USA TODAY Sports

    With just a short time remaining until Wednesday's national signing day, top teams across the country have already done the majority of the legwork that they hope will land their programs a top-25 class. 

    Of course, there are plenty of fireworks reserved for the days leading up to the moment the nation’s top recruits can make their pledges official. 

    After it suffered a trio of decommitments Jan. 29, there’s some intrigue about whether Alabama can retain its stranglehold on the top spot in the recruiting-class rankings. Schools such as Auburn, Florida State, Texas and USC are among those lurking with a shot to unseat the Crimson Tide.

    The main criteria for this snapshot of rankings is based on the quality of top targets already committed in each school's class and the depth of each class as a whole as things currently stand. 

    Which programs make up the nation’s top 25 classes heading into national signing day?

25. Missouri

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 23 (three 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. 

    Best of the Bunch

    Missouri coach Gary Pinkel may have landed his quarterback of the future in 4-star in-state standout Drew Lock.

    Lock will be joined in Columbia by fellow skill-position studs such as 4-star running backs Natereace Strong and Chase Abbington, plus 3-star receiver Brandon Martin

    If the Tigers can snag Beckner on signing day, it will go a long way toward keeping alive their tradition of producing dominant defensive linemen.

24. North Carolina State

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Total Commitments: 22 (four 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: N/A 

    Best of the Bunch

    Dave Doeren and his staff have put together a strong class at North Carolina State, highlighted by the work they’ve done within state borders.

    Four of North Carolina's top seven prospects have committed to the Wolfpack, highlighted by the dynamic backfield duo of 4-star rushers Johnny Frasier and Nyheim Hines.

23. Miami (Florida)

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    Total Commitments: 18 (five 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star athlete Marcus Lewis

    Best of the Bunch 

    Al Golden and his staff have built a strong 2015 class, with their main emphasis being along the offensive line.

    A pair of 4-star offensive tackles in Bar Milo and Tyree St. Louis highlight the group of six big uglies heading to Coral Gables.

    Golden still has a small group of coveted targets remaining on the board in Lewis, 3-star offensive lineman Kendrick Norton and 3-star receiver Antonio Callaway.

22. Washington

4 of 25

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Total Commitments: 24 (five 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star running back Chris Warren 

    Best of the Bunch

    Chris Petersen’s 2015 class is headlined by 4-star quarterback Jake Browning, who has already enrolled and will take part in spring drills.

    The Huskies got the last crack at their remaining target, 4-star running back Chris Warren, when they hosted him on an official visit over the weekend.

21. Arizona State

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    Total Commitments: 19 (six 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star athlete Jay Jay Wilson 

    Best of the Bunch

    Todd Graham struck a huge blow with the commitment of 4-star California native and quarterback Brady White.

    A pair of 4-star athletes in Stanley Norman and Jaason Lewis are likely to team up with White to add more weaponry to the Sun Devils' offensive attack. 

    The Sun Devils still have targets, such as 4-star receiver Cordell Broadus and 4-star linebacker Porter Gustin, whom they hope to land on national signing day.

20. Arkansas

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Total Commitments: 20 (seven 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star wide receiver K.J. Hill 

    Best of the Bunch

    One of the staples of Bret Bielema’s clubs in recent years has been strong play from the tight end position, and Arkansas has two 4-star tight end commits in Will Gragg and C.J. O’Grady.

    Another big addition is 4-star defensive tackle Hjalte Froholdt, who has the ability to make an immediate impact along the Hogs defensive line.

    Bielema and his staff hope to close with Hill and 4-star offensive lineman Toby Weathersby.

19. Ole Miss

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    Total Commitments: 17 (seven 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson

    Best of the Bunch

    A pair of 4-star JUCO imports and a couple of 4-star offensive linemen are among the standouts currently committed to Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels.

    Defensive tackle D.J. Jones and corner Tony Bridges were poached from prior commitments and are already on campus, while talented linemen Javon Patterson and Drew Richmond hope to solidify the Ole Miss offensive line for years to come.

    If Freeze and his staff can close on Jefferson, it will be the Rebels' biggest victory on the recruiting trail in the Sunshine State since landing Laremy Tunsil a few years ago.

18. Mississippi State

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Total Commitments: 27 (six 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star linebacker Leo Lewis

    Best of the Bunch

    Dan Mullen and his staff have done most of the work in their 2015 class within state borders, with a trio of 4-star prospects in safety Jamal Peters, defensive end Fletcher Adams and athlete Malik Dear.

    The Bulldogs could be finished altogether, but they may be in position to earn a few flips, with Lewis being the main prize.

17. Oregon

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    Total Commitments: 21 (one 5-star, five 4-stars) 

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star all-purpose back Kirk Merritt

    Best of the Bunch

    A trio of Oregon’s six early enrollees highlight the standouts in the Ducks' 2015 class, with 5-star defensive end Canton Kaumatule, 4-star running back Taj Griffin and 4-star receiver Alex Ofodile already on campus in Eugene. 

    Mark Helfrich and his staff will try to add another explosive athlete to their class by pulling Merritt out of the state of Louisiana on national signing day.

16. Oklahoma

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    Total Commitments: 21 (10 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star offensive guard Josh Wariboko

    Best of the Bunch

    The main focus for Bob Stoops in the 2015 cycle is reloading the defense. The Sooners' top three pledges are a trio of 4-stars in defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, linebacker Ricky DeBerry and corner PJ Mbanasor

    Oklahoma's main focus heading into signing day will be trying to land Wariboko over UCLA and Ohio State.

15. South Carolina

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    Total Commitments: 30 (10 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star defensive end Arden Key

    Best of the Bunch 

    The biggest area of emphasis for Steve Spurrier and his staff in the 2015 class was adding some difference-makers along the defensive line. So far, they have succeeded in achieving that goal.

    A trio of 4-star defensive ends in Marquavius LewisDexter Wideman and Shameik Blackshear headline the Gamecocks' class.

    Spurrier hopes to lock up Key—who has previously been committed to South Carolina on two separate occasions—for a third and final time on signing day.

14. UCLA

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    Total Commitments: 16 (two 5-stars, nine 4-stars) 

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star running back Soso Jamabo

    Best of the Bunch

    The headliner for Jim Mora’s 2015 class is the nation’s top quarterback prospect, 5-star passer Josh Rosen. Rosen started his journey at UCLA by enrolling early.

    On defense, landing 5-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South was a huge coup for the Bruins.

    Signing day could also prove fruitful for UCLA, with top targets such as Jamabo and Josh Wariboko among the names Mora hopes to lure to Westwood.

13. Penn State

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 24 (13 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: N/A

    Best of the Bunch 

    Saquon Barkley, a 4-star running back, and a pair of 4-star corners in John Reid and Garrett Taylor are the cream of the crop in James Franklin’s 2015 class.

    Aside from holding onto their current commitments, the Nittany Lions appear to be done with the 2015 cycle, barring a late surprise.

12. Notre Dame

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Total Commitments: 22 (12 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star running back Dexter Williams

    Best of the Bunch 

    Brian Kelly’s offense should get a boost from the potential pass-catch duo of 4-star quarterback Brandon Wimbush and 4-star tight end Aliz’e Jones.

    The Irish hope to add to their offensive arsenal by landing a pair of 4-star skill standouts in Williams and receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.

11. Auburn

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    Total Commitments: 21 (14 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive end Byron Cowart

    Best of the Bunch 

    Auburn has produced its share of elite running backs in recent years, and Gus Malzahn is poised to add 4-star JUCO rusher Jovon Robinson—he is already enrolled in classes at Auburn—and 4-star athlete Kerryon Johnson, who is slated to play running back in college.

    The Tigers are also primed to be one of the biggest winners on national signing day if they can close on targets such as Cowart, 5-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey and 4-star linebacker Jeffery Holland.

    If they land some of their top remaining targets, expect the Tigers to shoot up this list Wednesday.

10. LSU

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    Total Commitments: 19 (two 5-stars, eight 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star receiver Daylon Charlot 

    Best of the Bunch

    Between 5-star corner Kevin Toliver II and 5-star receiver Tyron Johnson, LSU has landed two of the most explosive players in the 2015 cycle.

    LSU has a puncher's chance at standouts such as Jefferson and Key, but landing Charlot and 4-star athlete Derrick Dillon—currently committed to Florida—would go a long way toward replenishing the receiver position in Baton Rouge.

9. Texas

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    Total Commitments: 25 (one 5-star, 10 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack

    Best of the Bunch

    Charlie Strong and his staff scored a huge win on the recruiting trail when 5-star linebacker Malik Jefferson chose the ‘Horns over rival Texas A&M. Landing 4-star corners Kris Boyd, Holton Hill and Davante Davis was another critical step for Strong to turn his defense into a top-flight unit.

    Texas hopes to land another defensive stud in Mack, while 4-star receiver Damarkus Lodge and 4-star athlete and current FSU pledge Kai Locksley would add some firepower to the offense if they choose to attend school in Austin.

8. Texas A&M

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    Total Commitments: 23 (two 5-stars, 10 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack

    Best of the Bunch

    It looks like Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies have survived a huge push from Texas for 5-star quarterback pledge Kyler Murray, per Brian Perroni of GigEm247. Murray will have one of the nation’s top receivers in 5-star pass-catcher and early enrollee Christian Kirk

    Now, the Aggies will focus on trying to bring a pair of former commitments in Mack and 4-star receiver Damarkus Lodge back into the fold on signing day.

7. Ohio State

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    Pool/Getty Images

    Total Commitments: 24 (one 5-star, 12 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star linebacker Porter Gustin

    Best of the Bunch

    Urban Meyer has addressed the defensive side of the ball with the addition of 5-star linebacker Justin Hilliard, 4-star athlete Jerome Baker—likely a linebacker in college—and 4-star defensive end Jashon Cornell.

    The Buckeyes are still recruiting top targets such as Gustin, who visited Columbus officially over the weekend, and 4-star offensive lineman Isaiah Prince in hopes of adding to their class on signing day.

6. Clemson

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    Total Commitments: 25 (three 5-stars, nine 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: N/A

    Best of the Bunch

    Dabo Swinney has assembled another loaded class in 2015, with a trio of out-of-state 5-star prospects in offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and receiver Deon Cain.

    The Tigers are mainly done with the 2015 cycle, unless one of their prospects flips elsewhere or if they pull a surprise flip of their own.

5. Tennessee

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    Total Commitments: 29 (one 5-star, 14 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star offensive lineman Patrick Allen 

    Best of the Bunch

    Butch Jones has put together an elite class in the 2015 cycle, and it’s headlined by a strong crop of defensive linemen: 5-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, 4-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle and 4-star defensive end Kyle Phillips.

    The Vols are pretty full already, with Allen representing one of the last major targets on the board for Jones and his staff.

4. Georgia

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    Total Commitments: 25 (two 5-stars, 10 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith 

    Best of the Bunch

    The nation’s top athlete, 5-star Terry Godwin, and a crop of elite defensive linemen spearheaded by the nation’s top overall prospect in 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson are the headliners in Georgia’s 2015 class.

    However, Mark Richt and his staff are not done.

    They are firmly in the mix to land standouts such as Smith, 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw and 3-star corner Chris Williamson on signing day.

3. USC

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    Total Commitments: 20 (two 5-stars, 12 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star corner Iman Marshall

    Best of the Bunch

    Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans have already landed eight prospects ranked among the nation’s top 100 players overall, with 5-star offensive tackle Chuma Edoga and 5-star linebacker Osa Masina leading the way.

    However, with a handful of elite targets, such as Marshall, remaining on the board, the Trojans are poised to be one of the big winners on national signing day.

2. Florida State

24 of 25

    Total Commitments: 21 (four 5-stars, 10 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr.

    Best of the Bunch

    Jimbo Fisher has landed pledges from four of the nation’s top 20 prospects overall, with 5-star safety Derwin James, 5-star defensive end Josh Sweat, 5-star corner Tarvarus McFadden and 5-star receiver George Campbell leading another loaded class for the Seminoles.

    The ‘Noles have a puncher's chance at elite targets like Marshall and Beckner, and they are in a good spot with 3-star defensive end Shelton Johnson.

    However, Fisher and his staff will have to fight to hold on to players such as 4-star athlete and quarterback Kai Locksley and 4-star quarterback Deondre Francois—two of the three signal-callers currently committed in FSU’s 2015 class.

1. Alabama

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    Total Commitments: 23 (six 5-stars, 13 4-stars)

    Top Remaining Target: 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson

    Best of the Bunch

    Nick Saban has the Crimson Tide poised to land its fifth straight top-rated recruiting class, and this one may be the best group he’s landed since arriving in Tuscaloosa. 

    While that is saying a lot, the Tide have difference-makers across the board, with talents such as 5-star quarterback Blake Barnett, 5-star receiver Calvin Ridley, 5-star corners Kendall Sheffield and Minkah Fitzpatrick, 5-star defensive tackle Daron Payne and 5-star running back Damien Harris.

    Saban and his staff may be taking a swing for the fences with Jefferson, but they hope to close strong at the receiver position, with 4-stars Daylon Charlot and K.J. Hill at the top of the list.

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