National Signing Day 2015: Grading Every Top 25 Team's Recruiting Class

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 5, 2015

National Signing Day 2015: Grading Every Top 25 Team's Recruiting Class

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    Butch Jones continues to build a strong foundation at Tennessee.
    Butch Jones continues to build a strong foundation at Tennessee.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The dust is finally beginning to settle in the aftermath of a frenzied national signing day. Results include several surprises, a few letdowns and some seriously talented classes.

    We examined the country's top 25 recruiting hauls, as rated by 247Sports' composite rankings, handing out grades to each program. Our assessments are based on realistic expectations that were placed on each coaching staff at the outset of this cycle, with extra credit rewarded to regimes that closed strong despite duress.

25. Missouri: A-

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    QB Drew Lock
    QB Drew LockCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DT Terry Beckner Jr. (East St. Louis, Illinois): He proved his status as an elite lineman last summer at The Opening, surging over and around top-tier blockers. A first-team All-American selection by USA Today, Beckner amassed 235 tackles as an upperclassman.

    4-star QB Drew Lock (Lee's Summit, Missouri): The Tigers legacy flashed a big-time arm at Elite 11 finals last summer and has one of the largest physical frames (6'4", 205 lbs) in this quarterback class. Lock threw for 5,759 yards and 63 scores as an upperclassman.

    Synopsis

    Missouri put together the kind of class that will enable the program to continue making strides in SEC action. The signature from Beckner in particular served up a statement to rival teams.

24. Stanford: B+

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    WR Trent Irwin
    WR Trent IrwinCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star WR Trent Irwin (Newhall, California): He finished his high school career as California's all-time leader in catches and receiving yards. Irwin, who hauled in 106 passes for 1,974 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2014, chose the Cardinal over Arizona State, where teammate and quarterback Brady White landed.

    4-star RB Bryce Love (Wake Forest, North Carolina): The 5'10", 180-pound playmaker is a speed demon who opted to travel across the country for an opportunity to produce early in California. Love broke out as a junior, rushing for 1,914 yards and 24 scores.

    Synopsis

    Stanford did an outstanding job addressing skill positions throughout the field. You continually hear players across the country speak about the Cardinal's recruiting approach with respect, and it pays off with a surprisingly wide reach.

23. Arkansas: B-

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    DT Hjalte Froholdt
    DT Hjalte FroholdtCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star DT Hjalte Froholdt (Bradenton, Florida): The 6'4", 282-pound Danish defender impressed as a senior at IMG Academy in Florida, where he faced elevated competition. He shows enough strength to set the edge and patrols the perimeter with authority. The Razorbacks' fanbase will quickly grow fond of his relentless motor.

    4-star QB Ty Storey (Charleston, Arkansas): The in-state star stands 6'3", 216 pounds and represents the future at quarterback in Fayetteville. He racked up ridiculous numbers in high school, compiling three consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons.

    Synopsis

    Arkansas set itself up well along the front line and found a promising passer in its backyard. But a lack of perimeter playmakers ultimately hurts the level of potential here. Top Arkansas wide receiver K.J. Hill (Ohio State signee) was a huge loss late in the cycle.

22. Michigan State: B

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    OL Kyonta Stallworth
    OL Kyonta StallworthCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star OL Kyonta Stallworth (Detroit, Michigan): He remains relatively raw, but lofty expectations are in place for eventual development. The 6'4", 275-pound recruit has all-conference potential at guard as he cleans up fundamentals and develops strength in East Lansing. 

    4-star RB Larry Scott (Hubbard, Ohio): His approach is a perfect fit for the weather that often overtakes Big Ten territory late in the season. The 6'2", 228-pound rusher rams the ball between tackles, runs north to south and registered three straight 1,000-yard seasons at Hubbard.

    Synopsis

    The Spartans continue to focus on building from the inside out, supplementing solid interior talent with above-average defensive back additions. This class isn't flashy, but it helps reinforce an already solid depth chart.

21. Florida: A-

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    OL Martez Ivey
    OL Martez IveyCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star OL Martez Ivey (Apopka, Florida): The country's top-rated offensive lineman is a plug-and-play talent at tackle and projects as an eventual high-end NFL pick. His length and athleticism set the stage for him to rapidly develop in college, where he stands to pack on 20-30 pounds of good weight. 

    5-star DE CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, Florida): Jefferson brings brute force and a nice arsenal of power/finesse pass-rushing moves off the edge. Jefferson secured 40.5 sacks through his junior season, per USA Today, but a shoulder injury ruled him out for much of 2014.

    Synopsis

    An onslaught of late additions—highlighted by Ivey and Jefferson—dramatically improved the stock of this class. It was a quality quarterback away from earning the highest of marks, considering the limited amount of time Jim McElwain had to work with in Gainesville.

20. Arizona State: B

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    QB Brady White
    QB Brady WhiteCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star QB Brady White (Santa Clarita, California): The Army All-American has the makings of a Pac-12 difference-maker and maintains composure under pressure. He threw for 10,835 yards and 109 touchdowns as a three-year starter, per MaxPreps, and possesses underrated mobility.

    4-star LB Davon Durant (Greenwood, South Carolina): Durant is a thumper at linebacker who arrives via the junior college route. Expect him to see plenty of action during his first season on campus after earning ratings as one of America's premier JUCO prospects. He could challenge at "Devil-backer"

    Synopsis

    Arizona State hit on several key targets, especially with a future superstar in White at quarterback. A stronger collection of offensive weapons around him would have helped elevate this class.

19. South Carolina: C

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    DE Shameik Blackshear
    DE Shameik BlackshearCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star DE Marquavius Lewis (Greenwood, South Carolina): Lewis was among the most feared defenders in junior college last season. He gives the Gamecocks a pass-rushing element the program sorely missed last year. 

    4-star DE Shameik Blackshear (Bluffton, South Carolina): Steve Spurrier landed an early commitment from the in-state defender. Blackshear shows enough range to flourish in a stand-up role or bulk up and bully opponents from a three-point stance.

    Synopsis

    South Carolina failed to reel in a strong contingent of explosive offensive talent, though the defensive front is better equipped to chase after quarterbacks in 2015. By Spurrier standards, this was a so-so result.

18. Mississippi State: B+

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    LB Leo Lewis (40)
    LB Leo Lewis (40)Credit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star LB Leo Lewis (Brookhaven, Mississippi): The nation's top-rated inside linebacker landed in Starkville after initial commitments to Ole Miss and Alabama. The 6'3", 225-pound prospect is a ferocious defender who could set the tone as a leader down the road.

    4-star DB Jamal Peters (Bassfield, Mississippi): The Army All-American helped turn the tide in Mississippi State's favor, leading to a slew of in-state commitments. He should challenge for a role on the two-deep in 2015, eventually emerging as a stalwart at safety.

    Synopsis

    Dan Mullen and his squad rode the wave of momentum created by a strong season to build an excellent class. There's no denying the Bulldogs have gained increased traction in Mississippi and SEC country at large.

17. Ole Miss: C+

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    WR Damarkus Lodge
    WR Damarkus LodgeCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star WR Damarkus Lodge (Cedar Hill, Texas): The two-time state title game MVP caught 135 passes and 47 touchdowns as an upperclassman. Lodge, a former Texas A&M commit, won't be needed immediately but must become a reliable go-to receiver for the Rebels by 2016. His catch radius really impresses, as he plucks passes in traffic.

    4-star OL Javon Patterson (Petal, Mississippi): He provides versatility across the offensive front but figures to play in an interior role. Patterson is a balanced blocker who can already drive downhill or backpedal with effectiveness. His power is also impressive at this stage.

    Synopsis

    Ole Miss left a few opportunities unanswered late and lost a commitment from top-ranked inside linebacker Leo Lewis. The team secured a nice haul on offense, but more was desired along the defensive front seven.

16. Oregon: B+

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    RB Taj Griffin
    RB Taj GriffinCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DE Canton Kaumatule (Honolulu, Hawaii): The 6'7", 290-pound defender sets the edge with elite strength. He is one of the top defenders to ever commit to the Ducks and should hit the field for extensive reps as a true freshman.

    4-star RB Taj Griffin (Powder Springs, Georgia): The speedster will help set the tone for an offensive attack that likes to pick up the pace. He suffered a season-ending knee injury early as a senior but ranks among the shiftiest running backs in America and offers promise as a slot receiver.

    Synopsis

    Oregon continues to extend its reach beyond the West Coast, building depth it hasn't seen on campus before. Those pickups should pay off with further perennial contention in Pac-12 play.

15. Oklahoma: A-

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    LB Ricky DeBerry
    LB Ricky DeBerryCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star LB Ricky DeBerry (Mechanicsville, Virginia): The 6'2.5", 240-pound playmaker is a punishing run-stuffer who offers immediate support up the middle. He chose the Sooners from a vast collection of colleges that took him across the country on visits. DeBerry projects as a player who should improve as a pass-rusher in the Sooners scheme.

    4-star RB Rodney Anderson (Katy, Texas): Anderson enjoyed a prolific high school career, registering 6,744 rushing yards as a four-year starter. He topped out at 2,684 yards and 39 scores on the ground in 2014, bringing a blend of toughness and breakaway burst to the backfield.

    Synopsis

    Oklahoma was a letdown during the 2014 season, but that didn't deter top recruits from heading to Norman. This class may be a bit defense-heavy but should address areas that need repair. 

14. Penn State: B

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    WR Juwan Johnson
    WR Juwan JohnsonCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star WR Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, New Jersey): The younger brother of Detroit Lions defensive end George Johnson earned All-American honors after a breakout senior season. He established career-best totals in a run-heavy offensive scheme, catching 42 passes for 804 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6'4", 216-pound prospect draws comparisons to former Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews, who enjoyed success under James Franklin.

    4-star RB Saquon Barkley (Whitehall, Pennsylvania): He's one of two additions to the Penn State stable of running backs and offers help in both dimensions of offense. Barkley flashed legitimate receiving skills last summer at The Opening and could quickly challenge for third-down duties in Happy Valley by developing as a pass-blocker.

    Synopsis

    James Franklin started out on fire in this recruiting cycle, as the Nittany Lions rose to No. 1 overall in national rankings briefly this spring. Penn State peaked early, eventually losing commitments from quarterback Brandon Wimbush and top Maryland defensive lineman Adam McLean, but the roster is in much better shape than when Franklin took over the program.

13. Notre Dame: B+

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    QB Brandon Wimbush
    QB Brandon WimbushCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    4-star quarterback Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City, New Jersey): The 6'2", 205-pound passer flipped his commitment from Penn State midway through the 2014 season. He already features the poise, fundamentals and arm strength to enter the equation for snaps as an underclassman in South Bend. He threw for 3,151 yards, 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 2014 while also threatening defenses with rushing abilities.

    4-star tight end Aliz'e Jones (Las Vegas, Nevada): He capped off an illustrious career at Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School by posting career-high totals. Jones caught 41 passes for 930 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to a state championship, validating his top national ranking among tight ends. He flipped from UCLA after his senior campaign.

    Synopsis

    Notre Dame welcomes an abundance of offensive firepower to South Bend this year, though several pursuits on defense fell shy this cycle. The Fighting Irish infuse immediate-impact talent in the passing game, highlighted by Jones and California receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.

12. Texas A&M: A

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    QB Kyler Murray
    QB Kyler MurrayCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star QB Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas): He won all 42 games he started in high school, claiming three state titles. Murray tallied 10,000 passing yards, 4,000 rushing yards and 186 touchdowns in three seasons. He was named the 2014 Gatorade National Player of the Year.

    5-star DT Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas):  The Under Armour All-America Game defensive MVP returned to this class on signing day after a December decommitment. He secured 89 tackles for loss and 17 sacks during the past three seasons.

    Synopsis

    More defensive help at the second level would've been a big plus, but Kevin Sumlin took care of business on signing day. He prevented a possible Murray flip to Texas and brought Mack back on board, huge testaments to him and the Aggies staff.

11. Texas: B

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    LB Malik Jefferson
    LB Malik JeffersonCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star LB Malik Jefferson (Mesquite, Texas): He was awarded the 2014 Butkus Award as America's top linebacker in 2014, following a season that featured 83 tackles and 12 sacks. Jefferson can do anything you ask of a linebacker, and he does it fast (clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash last July at The Opening). His decision to join the Longhorns over Texas A&M was a turning point for this class.

    4-star RB Chris Warren (Rockwall, Texas): Texas desperately needed to come away with an immediate-impact offensive contributor and found one in Warren. The 6'2", 240-pound bruiser offers impressive burst and pass-catching ability out of the backfield. He rushed for 2,329 yards and 34 scores as a senior.

    Synopsis

    Texas lost a promising quarterback recruit late in the cycle and whiffed on key in-state offensive targets. Still, there's no denying Charlie Strong is putting together a special defensive unit and tapping into his Florida roots as a recruiter, bringing a new element to the program's strategy.

10. Georgia: B+

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    DT Trent Thompson
    DT Trent ThompsonCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DT Trent Thompson (Albany, Georgia): The 6'2.5", 313-pound prospect finished atop 247Sports' composite rankings. He earned No. 1 overall billing by wreaking havoc on opponents with athleticism typically reserved for elite linebackers. Thompson used this burst to collect 74 tackles for loss as an upperclassman. 

    5-star ATH Terry Godwin (Hogansville, Georgia): He kept things close to the vest as signing day approached, keeping Auburn and Alabama under consideration. Ultimately, the Bulldogs retain a dynamic athlete who could see time on both sides of the ball. Though he earned All-American honors at cornerback, expect Godwin to take plenty of snaps at receiver as a freshman.

    5-star DE Jonathan Ledbetter (Tucker, Georgia): The former Alabama commit flipped to Georgia this summer and fits in nicely alongside Thompson. The 6'4", 265-pound prospect is absolutely relentless and flashes enough range to line up across the Bulldogs defensive front. Ledbetter enrolled early and will battle for reps this spring.

    Synopsis

    Georgia secured a haul of defensive linemen that measures up against any program in America. Late decommitments put a dent into the Bulldogs' offensive stockpile, but Godwin helped immensely by staying put.

9. Auburn: A

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    DE Byron Cowart
    DE Byron CowartCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DE Byron Cowart (Seffner, Florida): The imposing edge-rusher didn't make things easy on the nerves of Auburn fans but eventually landed in the Tigers' class. Will Muschamp recruited him at Florida and will now have an opportunity to work with him elsewhere in the SEC. Cowart collected 140 tackles and 24 sacks as an upperclassman. 

    5-star RB Jovon Robinson (Memphis, Tennessee): Robinson initially joined the program in 2012 but didn't make it through his first collegiate training camp before high school academic issues cost him a spot on the roster. He has a shot at immediate redemption following a dominant junior college journey. Robinson, who played at Georgia Military College, set NJCAA records for single-season rushing yards (2,387) and touchdowns (34) in 2013.

    4-star ATH Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Alabama): The team's top in-state target is a sensational player regardless of position, exhibiting elite potential at running back, receiver, defensive back and kick returner. He projects as an eventual all-conference safety candidate. He racked up incredible high school statistics, including 5,169 rushing yards, 1,616 receiving yards, 74 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, per Daniel Boyette of AL.com.

    Synopsis

    The Tigers took several top targets from Florida, due in large part to the presence of Muschamp. Auburn climbed rankings on signing day with a flurry of commitments in the morning and claimed one of the day's biggest prizes in Cowart.

8. Clemson: A

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    OL Mitch Hyatt
    OL Mitch HyattCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star OL Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Georgia): The sturdy 6'5", 272-pound tackle has the potential to start on his first day. He committed on signing day 2014 and arrived on campus early last month. His presence should allow him to impress and prove his capabilities during a pivotal spring camp.

    5-star WR Deon Cain (Tampa, Florida): He may have lined up at quarterback during his days at Tampa Bay Tech High School, but Cain has kept scouts busy discussing his capabilities along the perimeter. He shined at wide receiver last summer during The Opening and caught a touchdown pass in U.S. Army All-American Bowl action. Cain showcased his ball skills in 2014, rushing for 1,892 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns in 2014, per MaxPreps.

    5-star DT Christian Wilkins (Suffield, Connecticut): The 6'4", 290-pound prospect leads a strong collection of defensive linemen headed to Clemson. He maximized experiences at All-American events and showcases, validating the hype of his game film. Wilkins collected 71 tackles, including 22 for loss, and eight sacks as a senior, per TigerNet.com.

    Synopsis

    Dabo Swinney continues to recruit at a high level, assembling championship-caliber talent at Clemson. An infusion of downfield threats on offense and increased defensive bulk inside should pay immediate dividends.

7. UCLA: A+

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    RB Soso Jamabo
    RB Soso JamaboCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star RB Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas): UCLA reached into Texas and beat out the Longhorns for this versatile back. Jamabo, who rushed for 2,279 yards and 44 touchdowns in 2014, is also an outstanding receiver. He figures to play a key role for the Bruins' revitalized attack, regardless of position.

    5-star QB Josh Rosen (Bellflower, California): The local phenom rose to prominence at Southern California powerhouse St. John Bosco, leading the team to an undefeated state title season as a junior. Rosen ascended to the top of quarterback rankings and remained there on signing day. He threw for 6,386 yards and 68 scores as an upperclassman. 

    5-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, California): The 6'4", 208-pound prospect packs immense promise into a long frame. He has the makings of an elite speed-rusher off the edge. Lucier-South compiled 85 tackles, including 18 for loss, and 17 sacks as an upperclassman, per MaxPreps.

    Synopsis

    UCLA was a signing day winner, securing a flurry of commitments that changed the complexion of this class. Upgrades along the offensive line also bode well for a program that could potentially play a true freshman at quarterback on opening day next season.

6. Ohio State: A

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    QB Torrance Gibson
    QB Torrance GibsonCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star LB Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati, Ohio): He provides natural leadership and every-down abilities at the heart of a stout Buckeyes defense. He earned first-team All-American honors from USA Today in 2014, collecting 107 tackles and eight sacks, per the Telegraph-Forum (Bucyrus, Ohio).

    4-star RB Michael Weber (Detroit, Michigan): Urban Meyer won his first publicized recruiting showdown against Jim Harbaugh, holding onto Weber despite a late Wolverines push. The 5'9.5", 215-pound prospect is a punishing runner who rarely stops at the point of first contact. He gained 2,268 yards and 29 touchdown on the ground as a senior.

    4-star QB Torrance Gibson (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): Ohio State withstood late official visits to Miami, Auburn and LSU, securing a signature from the 6'4", 204-pound playmaker. Gibson is a special talent who will start his collegiate career at quarterback, though he carries serious potential at receiver. He accounted for 34 total touchdowns in 2014, leading American Heritage High School to a second straight state title.

    Synopsis

    It's a great time to be in Columbus, where the national champs bring in a balanced recruiting class that is clearly the best among Big Ten competitors. Meyer continues to show his dynamic recruiting reach, utilizing the Southeast region as a resource for key additions along the offensive line, defensive backfield and elsewhere.

5. LSU: A-

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    DB Kevin Toliver
    DB Kevin ToliverCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DB Kevin Toliver (Jacksonville, Florida): The shutdown cornerback committed to LSU as a sophomore and arrived on campus in January. The Tigers withstood pursuits from several other programs, including four official visits, in order to secure the 6'2", 185-pound cornerback. He led Trinity Christian Academy to a state title in 2014, earning first-team All-American honors from USA Today. 

    4-star RB Derrius Guice (Baton Rouge, Louisiana): The hometown speedster offers immense options for LSU's offensive attack. Guice has the potential to spell star rusher Leonard Fournette as a change-of-pace back and do damage out of the slot. He earned MVP honors at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, catching a pair of touchdown passes.

    4-star RB Nick Brossette (Baton Rouge, Louisiana): Yes, the rich get richer at LSU when it comes to the offensive backfield. Brosette broke the all-time record for total touchdowns in Louisiana before the end of his junior season. He gained at least 2,000 rushing yards during each of his final three high school seasons, sticking with the Tigers after a late look at Texas.

    Synopsis

    It would have been ideal for LSU to land an elite passer and another stud linebacker in this class, but there's never much to complain about in Baton Rouge on signing day with Les Miles leading the way. This class sets the stage for an even scarier rushing attack and improved defensive front.

4. Tennessee: A+

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    DT Kahlil McKenzie
    DT Kahlil McKenzieCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DT Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, California): The 6'3", 354-pound prospect already possesses elite strength that's suited for collegiate trenches. His explosiveness and agility is incredibly rare to find while scouting an athlete of this stature. McKenzie's father, Reggie, is a former Tennessee player and serves as general manager for the Oakland Raiders.

    4-star DE Kyle Phillips (Nashville, Tennessee): Phillips committed to the Volunteers at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he played like the most dominant defensive end in attendance. His pass-rushing skills are already up to par for immediate playing time, and he should continue to expand on a 6'3.5", 250-pound frame. Phillips erupted for a career-best 13 sacks in 2014.

    4-star OT Drew Richmond (Memphis, Tennessee): He remained a coveted in-state recruiting target throughout the 2014 season despite his September commitment to Ole Miss. Rated third nationally among offensive tackles, Richmond has the ability to fortify a Volunteers front line with flaws. His signing day commitment punctuated another outstanding class in Knoxville.

    Synopsis

    Tennessee is set to stock its roster with an abundance of talent on both sides of the ball, giving Butch Jones an opportunity to help the team take another stride in SEC East action. His ability to assemble this kind of class after a sub-.500 season in conference play shouldn't be undervalued.

3. Florida State: A

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    DE Josh Sweat
    DE Josh SweatCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DE Josh Sweat (Chesapeake, Virginia): The 6'5", 240-pound defender runs a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash and lined up at wide receiver in high school. He missed the majority of his senior season due to knee surgery and is currently rehabilitating in Tallahassee as an early enrollee. Sweat secured 94 tackles and 22 sacks in 2013.

    5-star DB Derwin James (Auburndale, Florida): The violent safety prospect spent nearly three full years waiting for this day. He committed to the Seminoles as a freshman, serving as the catalyst for another strong Florida State class. James tallied 90 tackles, four interceptions and seven defensive touchdowns in 2014, per BigCountyPreps.com.

    5-star WR George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Florida): He belongs in consideration with Sweat as one of this class' most freakish athletes. The 6'3", 184-pound pass-catcher flies downfield, clocked at 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he continues to develop improved technique. Campbell caught a career-high 62 passes for 880 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior, per MaxPreps.

    Synopsis

    Florida State was able to sell itself as the "defending national champion" for a majority of this cycle, which never hurts recruiting efforts. The Seminoles lost a couple of key commitments late but assembled enough depth to prepare for possible departures. Quarterbacks De'Andre Johnson and Deondre Francois will fight for the right to compete early, each aiming to fill mighty big shoes left behind by Jameis Winston.

2. USC: A+

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    DB Iman Marshall
    DB Iman MarshallCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star DT Rasheem Green (Gardena, California): He maintains a strong pipeline between the program and Junipero Serra High School, which produced eventual Trojans Adoree' Jackson, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, among others. The 6'5", 275-pound prospect can play across the defensive front and registered 47 tackles for loss—including 20 sacks—as an upperclassman. 

    4-star RB Ronald Jones (McKinney, Texas): The former Oklahoma State commit bolstered this USC class by committing to the Trojans during Under Armour All-America Game action. He'll be counted on to contribute in a Trojans backfield with depth issues. Jones rushed for 4,015 yards and 67 scores as an upperclassman. 

    5-star CB Iman Marshall (Long Beach, California): "Biggie" brings the swagger, size and athleticism to instantly upgrade USC's pass defense. The 6'1", 191-pound playmaker didn't allow a single completion against league opponents as a junior. Marshall earned 2014 first-team All-American honors, securing 79 tackles and 16 pass breakups.

    Synopsis

    The Trojans identified five top targets during the final stretch of this cycle—Marshall, Green and a trio of elite linebackers (Porter Gustin, Osa Masina and John Houston). USC secured commitments from each, narrowly missing a national recruiting title. This could be remembered as the class that allowed Steve Sarkisian to move his program past an era of detrimental scholarship sanctions.

1. Alabama: A+

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    WR Calvin Ridley
    WR Calvin RidleyCredit: 247Sports

    Head of Class

    5-star QB Blake Barnett (Corona, California): The 6'4.5", 200-pound passer joined the class in June shortly after decommitting from Notre Dame. Barnett, the national Elite 11 MVP, threw for a career-high 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2014. He brings dual-threat talent to the field, evidenced by 1,174 rushing yards as an upperclassman.

    5-star WR Calvin Ridley (Pompano Beach, Florida): The nation's top-rated receiver teamed up with Barnett to win a seven-on-seven tournament title last summer at The Opening. He earned overall MVP honors at the star-studded event. Despite being limited to three games as a senior due to Florida high school age limits (19 years, nine months), Ridley racked up 18 receptions for 420 yards and six touchdowns. 

    5-star RB Damien Harris (Berea, Kentucky): We could have easily gone with an elite Alabama-bound defender in this third slot, but it's tough to pass on the country's No. 1 overall running back. Harris, who rushed for 6,717 yards and 111 touchdowns at Madison Southern High School, averaged 16.2 yards per carry in 2014.

    Synopsis

    Alabama locked up its fifth straight "national recruiting title." These classes don't ensure championships, but they perennially put Nick Saban's squad in position to compete at the highest level against anybody. The Crimson Tide finished with 12 prospects who rate among the top 10 players at their position.

    Recruit ratings and info courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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