Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes in 2018 After High School All-American Games

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2018

Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes in 2018 After High School All-American Games

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    All-star showcases brought the second of three major commitment stretches for college football programs, shaking up the 2018 cycle's recruiting rankings one last time before national signing day.

    Oklahoma brought in a pair of coveted recruits, and eight more schools secured a verbal pledge from a 4- or 5-star prospect.

    Four players revealed their college choice at the Under Armour All-America Game, while six others announced their intentions at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

    Georgia entered and exited the all-star week atop the national rankings, but there was plenty of movement behind the Bulldogs.

25-21. Baylor, Michigan State, NC State, Mississippi State, Texas A&M

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    25. Michigan State Spartans

    Class size: 20 (Four 4-stars)

    Mark Dantonio built the program on under-the-radar prospects and in-house development. This type of class is nothing new for Michigan State. Cass Tech cornerback Kalon Gervin leads a quartet of 4-star signees that also features Ohio high school teammates Trenton Gillison and Xavier Henderson. The remainder of the class is loaded with 3-stars, a Dantonio special.


    24. Texas A&M Aggies

    Class size: 14 (Six 4-stars)

    Jimbo Fisher is still targeting a few high-end talents, but the class has a great foundation. The best signees are defensive end Max Wright and offensive guard Luke Matthews, a pair of top-200 prospects. Wide receiver Jalen Preston, ranked No. 94 nationally, is unsigned but committed. Fisher's main goal for 2018 should be keeping the group intact, and he's done a commendable job to date.


    23. Mississippi State Bulldogs

    Class size: 20 (Four 4-stars)

    The departure of wide receiver Fred Ross created a massive hole on the Mississippi State offense, which this class should address. Led by one-time Kansas commit Devonta Jason, the Bulldogs signed a trio of 4-star wideouts. Overall, eight of the nine highest-rated signees play offense. New coach Joe Moorhead has five unsigned commits to retain leading up to NSD.


    22. North Carolina State Wolfpack

    Class size: 22 (Four 4-stars)

    NC State's top three players are from North Carolina, and outside linebacker Payton Wilsonthe No. 68 prospectis the program's highest-ranked signee since 2010. Running back Ricky Person and defensive tackle Alim McNeill complete the in-state group, and quarterback Devin Leary is also a 4-star. NC State is hoping Chris Dunn saves a kicking game that is a pitiful 26 of 51 on field goals over the last three seasons.


    21. Tennessee Volunteers

    Class size: 18 (Six 4-stars)

    Boosted by Army All-American commit JJ Peterson, the Vols edged into the top 25. Exactly half of the current class for incoming coach Jeremy Pruitt is composed of offensive or defensive linemen, including 4-star DTs Greg Emerson and Brant Lawless. Tennessee also dipped into the JUCO ranks for three of the level's 25 best players.

20-16. Maryland, Virginia Tech, TCU, South Carolina, Florida

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    20. Maryland Terrapins

    Class size: 24 (Three 4-stars)

    Maryland ranked 69th in rush offense and 93rd in stopping the run. Knowing that, it's not surprising six of the Terps' seven top-rated signees play up front. Defensive tackle Austin Fontaine is the nation's No. 144 prospect, and JUCO transfer Byron Cowart was a 5-star in the 2015 class. Three-star Tyler DeSue will join the quarterback room and attempt to settle the position's ongoing carousel.


    19. Virginia Tech Hokies

    Class size: 24 (Four 4-stars)

    Since the offensive line and secondary will lose several starters, Virginia Tech made those units a clear priority. The Hokies added four offensive linemen and six defensive backs in the early signing period. Four-star receiver Tre Turner and quarterback Quincy Patterson own the highest rankings in Tech's haul.


    18. TCU Horned Frogs

    Class size: 19 (Five 4-stars)

    Kenny Hill has exhausted his eligibility, but TCU is looking forward to the arrival of Justin Rogers. The No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country headlines a class that includes 4-star receiver Tevailance Hunt and running back Fabian Franklin. The Horned Frogs padded the trenches with five offensive linemen, including coveted 4-star JUCO tackle Anthony McKinney.


    17. South Carolina Gamecocks

    Class size: 23 (Five 4-stars)

    South Carolina boasts a large crop of early enrollees in this cycle, most notably 4-star quarterback Dakereon Joyner and defensive end Kingsley Enagbare. The January-arriving freshmen will get a head start on cracking the depth chart before wideout Josh Vann and cornerback Jaycee Horn, two of the highest-rated signees, arrive in the summer.


    16. Florida Gators

    Class size: 15 (Eight 4-stars)

    New head coach Dan Mullen had about three weeks before the early signing period arrived, but he scored a massive victory in flipping 4-star quarterback Emory Jones from Ohio State. Florida signed four other top-250 prospects in tight end Kyle Pitts, safety Amari Burney, running back Dameon Pierce and safety Trey Dean. Four-star offensive tackle Richard Gouraige is committed, but he did not sign in December.

15-11. Oregon, Michigan, Washington, LSU, Auburn

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    15. Oregon Ducks

    Class size: 20 (Nine 4-stars)

    Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt helped the unit improve substantially in his first season, but 2017 was a small step in a long process. Oregon signed 4-star safety Steve Stephens, safety Jevon Holland and outside linebacker Adrian Jackson, and inside 'backer Eli'jah Winston is committed. Tyler Shough, rated the No. 6 pro-style passer, will boost a quarterback room desperate for usable depth.


    14. Michigan Wolverines

    Class size: 19 (Eight 4-stars)

    Michigan is positioned well to strike on signing day, but there will be nervous moments in the meantime. Otis Reesethe lone top-100 player in the classremains unsigned, and a few key targets are uncommitted. Four-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad, cornerback Myles Sims and quarterback Joe Milton highlight the current group of signees.


    13. Washington Huskies

    Class size: 19 (Nine 4-stars)

    Jake Browning will exhaust his eligibility in 2018, so Washington has prepared for the future with 4-star quarterbacks Colson Yankoff and Jacob Sirmon. Fellow 4-stars Marquis SpikerAustin Osborne and Trey Lowe may eventually surround Yankoff or Sirmon. The Huskies are thin on highly rated defenders, but linebacker Brandon Kaho and cornerback Kyler Gordon are top-200 players.


    12. LSU Tigers

    Class size: 22 (One 5-star, 11 4-stars)

    LSU picked up a commitment from 4-star safety Kelvin Joseph at the Army All-American Bowl. He's the highest-rated player in the Tigers' class behind 5-star receiver Terrace Marshall. Defensive end Jarell Cherry is the only other top-200 prospect, but linebacker Micah Baskerville and defensive tackle Chasen Hines are among 11 players ranked between 201 and 500plus two valued JUCO linemen.


    11. Auburn Tigers

    Class size: 21 (16 4-stars)

    Gus Malzahn and Co. added elite speed at the Under Armour game with 4-star wideout Anthony Schwartz. Auburn holds signatures or commitments from three of the nation's best 13 athletes, including future quarterback Joey Gatewood. Schwartz, Matthew Hill and Seth Williams will supply even more talent to the receiver position.

10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Class size: 22 (11 4-stars)     

    Notre Dame's recruiting class features an impressive haul of coast-to-coast talent. Cornerback Houston Griffith, receiver Kevin Austin and tight end George Takacs are from Florida, while linebacker Jack Lamb is from California and athlete Braden Lenzy lives in Oregon.  

    For good measure, linebacker Shayne Simon and defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola are teammates at St. Peters Prep in New Jersey. Dual-threat quarterback Phil Jurkovec headlines the remainder of the unit, which is hoping for a 5-star boost on signing day.

9. USC Trojans

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    Class size: 15 (Three 5-stars, 11 4-stars)

    USC doesn't have a massive class, but it's loaded with respected prospects. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, linebacker Palaie Gaoteote and quarterback JT Daniels are 5-stars, while only one player is ranked below 351st nationally.

    In addition to St. Brown (CA) and Gaoteote (NV), the Trojans plucked the highest-rated talent from Oregon in athlete Tanaloa Hufanga and Hawaii in linebacker Kana'i Mauga. USC hopes 4-star center Justin Dedich will improve its offensive line, too. 

8. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Class size: 23 (12 4-stars)     

    The Sooners controlled in-state recruiting, attracting four of Oklahoma's top seven talents. Offensive tackle Brey Walker highlights the group, which includes three 4-star defensive linemen in Ron Tatum, Jalen Redmond and Jordan Kelley.

    Cornerback Brendan Radley-Hines committed at the Army All-American Bowl, and outside linebacker Nik Bonitto joined the fold at the Under Armour game. Running back T.J. Pledger also attended high school in Florida, giving the Sooners a trio of 4-stars from the Sunshine State. 

7. Clemson Tigers

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    Class size: 15 (Four 5-stars, six 4-stars)

    Clemson has already signed four of the country's best nine prospects in quarterback Trevor Lawrence, defensive end Xavier Thomas, defensive end KJ Henry and offensive lineman Jackson Carman. That isn't fair, but fair doesn't matter here.

    It's a defense-heavy haul, considering four of the six 4-stars are cornerback Kyler McMichael, defensive tackle Josh Belk, defensive end Justin Mascoll and outside linebacker Mike Jones Jr. Wide receiver Derion Kendrick, the nation's No. 43 overall prospect, is the highest-rated skill position player on offense behind Lawrence. 

6. Miami Hurricanes

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    Class size: 20 (One 5-star, 13 4-stars)

    Along with prioritizing defensive backs this cycle, Miami has stocked up on players who score. Lorenzo Lingard, a 5-star running back, leads the haul on offense. Four-star prospects include wide receiver Mark Pope, tight end Brevin Jordan, quarterback Jarren Williams, running back Cam'Ron Davis and wideout Brian Hightower.

    The 'Canes lost Josh Jobe to Alabama, but they still have a quartet of 4-star defensive backs. Miami legacy and cornerback Al Blades Jr. is the top player, followed by safety Gurvan Hall, corner Gilbert Frierson and corner D.J. Ivey.  

5. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Class size: 18 (One 5-star, 12 4-stars)

    For the first time since 2014, Alabama won't rank No. 1 nationally in season sacks. This class, highlighted by 5-star defensive end Eyabi Anoma, could help the Crimson Tide regain that spot. Stephon Wynn, Jordan Davis and Cameron Latu are all 4-star ends, too.

    Other top-200 prospectscenter Emil Ekiyor, offensive tackle Tommy Brown and defensive tackle Christian Barmorewill also bolster the trenches. Four-star corners Josh Jobe and Saivion Smith will help the Crimson Tide replace a talented group of outgoing defensive backs.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Class size: 23 (Three 5-stars, 10 4-stars)

    Georgia and Clemson attracted much of the attention during the early signing period, but Penn State inked a trio of 5-stars. After decommitting in April, versatile defender Micah Parsons rejoined the class in December, and he will team up with receiver Justin Shorter and all-purpose back Ricky Slade

    Defensive end Jayson Oweh chose the Lions at the Under Armour game, joining four other top-200 prospects in offensive tackle Nana Asiedu, defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, tight end Zack Kuntz and wide receiver Jahan Dotson. Also, seven of Pennsylvania's top 13 recruits have either signed or committed to the program.

3. Texas Longhorns

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    Class size: 20 (One 5-star, 16 4-stars)

    Texas may become the defense Big 12 offenses dread to encounter. The rebuilding program signed three of the nation's top six safeties in BJ Foster, Caden Sterns and DeMarvion Overshown. The Longhorns also added Anthony Cook, Jalen Green and D'shawn Jamison, three of the best 14 cornerback prospects.

    Four-star quarterbacks Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson will strengthen the quarterback room, and top-100 wideouts Brennan Eagles and Al'vonte Woodard could be their future targets.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Class size: 22 (Two 5-stars, 17 4-stars)

    Ohio State doesn't have a flashy recruiting class, but it's loaded with highly valued players. Defensive tackle Taron Vincent and all-purpose back Jaelen Gill are 5-stars, and 4-star defensive end Tyreke Smith picked OSU during the Under Armour game.

    Additionally, tight end Jeremy Ruckert, linebacker Teradja Mitchell and safety Tyreke Johnson are top-50 talents. Though the Buckeyes missed on Jackson Carman, they landed a couple of much-needed offensive linemen in 4-stars Matthew Jones and Max Wray.

1. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Class size: 23 (Six 5-stars, 12 4-stars)

    The amount of high-end talent in this recruiting haul is borderline ridiculous. Justin Fields is the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, and running back Zamir White, guard Jamaree Salyer and outside linebacker Adam Anderson are each rated No. 1 at their positions. Offensive tackle Cade Mays and defensive end Brenton Cox are also 5-stars.

    Georgia has four more top-100 players in running back James Cook—the brother of former Florida State star Dalvinguard Trey Hill, tight end Luke Ford and inside linebacker Channing Tindall. Kirby Smart has the program eyeing its first-ever No. 1 recruiting class in the 247Sports composite rankings.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.comcfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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