Ranking the Top 50 Early CFB Recruiting Signees

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2019

Ranking the Top 50 Early CFB Recruiting Signees

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    Spencer Rattler
    Spencer RattlerCredit: 247Sports

    February's edition of national signing day will place the spotlight on unbound players, and those talented athletes deserve every moment of attention.

    The college football world, however, should be careful not to stare at the shiny objects in front of them.

    During the early signing period last month, a majority of the top-rated prospects locked in their college choices. The paperwork is finalized, and a good number of them have already enrolled. They still merit another look as Feb. 6's NSD approaches.

    The rankings factor in expert opinions of the 247Sports composite but include adjustments from personal observation.

50-46: Hinton to Cine

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    50. Chris Hinton, DT, Michigan

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 280 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    The 4-star defensive tackle is the son of Chris Hinton, a former NFL offensive lineman. The elder Hinton was the No. 4 overall pick of the famed 1983 NFL draft that produced John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Matthews, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

                                                 

    49. Jeremiah Payton, WR, Miami

    Height/Weight: 6'0 ½", 186 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Payton is the highest-rated signee in Miami's 2019 class. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he's the 10th-best wideout in the country and the No. 54 overall prospect.

                                       

    48. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 190 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    As a senior in high school, Hamilton posted an impressive stat line. A finalist for multiple national defensive player of the year awards, he amassed 72 tackles with eight for loss, broke up eight passes, intercepted four and recovered two fumbles.

                   

    47. DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 289 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Leal spent much of 2018 in the backfield. The Judson High School product amassed 83 takedowns, 16 tackles for loss and six sacks. He also forced four fumbles and recovered two.

                                                           

    46. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 180 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    For his final year in high school, Cine transferred from Everett High in Massachusetts to Trinity Christian in Cedar Hill, Texas. His coach? Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.

45-41: Barnett to Whittington

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    45. Julian Barnett, CB, Michigan State

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 189 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    MSU head coach Mark Dantonio couldn't narrow down where Barnett will play for the Spartans. "Just all over the place," he said of the athlete listed at cornerback, per Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News. Barnett was also a running back, receiver, safety, linebacker and kick returner in high school.

                  

    44. Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

    Height/Weight: 6'4 ½", 324 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Rhyan is the top-rated signee in UCLA's classso much that it's mildly concerning for head coach Chip Kelly. Considered the No. 69 prospect, Rhyan is 350 spots higher than 3-star cornerback Shamar Martin, who checks in at 419.

                        

    43. Jacob Bandes, DT, Washington

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 315 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    The Washington Huskies have showcased an excellent defense for three straight years, but the unit is rebuilding for 2019. Bandes has a real opportunity to earn immediate snaps following the departures of Greg Gaines, Jaylen Johnson and Shane Bowman.

                                    

    42. Jeffery Carter, CB, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 186 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Carter will challenge his cousin's team annually. Taurean Carter, a 3-star defensive end, is headed to fellow SEC West school Arkansas. The Crimson Tide have 12 straight wins over Arkansas.

                          

    41. Jordan Whittington, WR, Texas

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 198 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    In the Class 4A Texas state championship, Whittington became a legend. The early enrollee totaled 334 rushing yards, 43 receiving yards, scored six touchdowns and notched 11 tackles. He broke Eric Dickerson's 4A state title game rushing record and won both offensive and defensive MVP honors.

40-36: Charbonnet to Karlaftis

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    40. Zach Charbonnet, RB, Michigan

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 215 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Charbonnet won't be the starter immediately but is looking at a favorable depth chart in Ann Arbor. Chris Evans and Tru Wilson will be seniors, leaving Charbonnet as the favorite to start in 2020.

                                        

    39. Baylor Cupp, TE, Texas A&M

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 240 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Glenn Beal is the lone returning scholarship tight end at Texas A&M. It's safe to say Cupp will be expected to help replace huge production. Jace Sternberger had team-high marks of 48 catches, 832 yards and 10 touchdowns before entering the 2019 NFL draft.

                                     

    38. Devontae Dobbs, OG, Michigan State

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 304 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    For the first time in five recruiting cycles, the Spartans have landed a top-50 recruit. Dobbs is ranked 48th nationally. Michigan State's most recent top-50 player was Malik McDowell in 2014.

                                                                                    

    37. Pierce Quick, OT, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 287 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Quick, who committed to Alabama in April 2017, is joining the powerhouse along with a notable teammate. Paul Tyson, a 4-star quarterback, is the great-grandson of Alabama legend Bear Bryant. Quick and Tyson played together at Hewitt-Trussville High.

                            

    36. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 265 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Purdue's highest-rated high school signee of the 247Sports era (since 2000) is also a local kid. Karlaftisthough he lived in Greece for 13 yearsstarred at West Lafayette High and is the No. 56 overall prospect.

35-31: Blaylock to Webb

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    35. Dominick Blaylock, WR, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 195 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Blaylock is the son of a former professional athlete, but his father played a different sport. Mookie Blaylock appeared in 889 games over a 13-year NBA career and holds Atlanta Hawks franchise records in both steals and three-pointers.

                                 

    34. Harry Miller, OC, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'3 ½", 305 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Miller was a finalist for All-American Bowl Man of the Year, an award given to prospects who excel in the classroom and the community. Miller shared the final-six stage with future Ohio State teammates Zach Harrison and winner Garrett Wilson.

                

    33. Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 187 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Although it was expected within recruiting circles, Battle flipped from Ohio State to Alabama during the early signing period. While the Crimson Tide's appeal is obvious, he also cited Urban Meyer's retirement as a key factor, per Hank South of 247Sports.

                                              

    32. Chris Steele, CB, Florida

    Height/Weight: 6'1 ½", 187 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    One of nine early enrollees at Florida, Steele had a winding recruitment before landing with the Gators. He was committed to both UCLA and USC before announcing for Florida at the All-American Bowl.

                       

    31. Clay Webb, OC, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 295 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    In the 247Sports era (since 2000), Georgia had never signed the top-rated player from Alabama. That has changed with Webb, who is the No. 25 overall prospect in the country.

30-26: Eboigbe to Brooks

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    30. Justin Eboigbe, DE, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'4 ½", 263 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    According to MaxPreps, Forest Park High managed a 6-36 record over the last four seasons. Eboigbe still emerged as a coveted 4-star recruit and landed 28 offers before picking Alabama.

                        

    29. Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'0 ½", 202 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Georgia signed a handful of 5-stars in the 2019 cycle, and Stevenson narrowly missed making it six. Per 247Sports' composite rankings, he's the second-highest-rated 4-star in the class.

                             

    28. Mykael Wright, CB, Oregon

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 180 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Not only did Oregon land the best recruit in program historymore on that laterthe Ducks also set a benchmark for another position. Ranked No. 42 in the country, Wright surpassed Cliff Harris (No. 54, 2009) as the top corner Oregon has signed.

                     

    27. Amari Kight, OT, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'6 ½", 315 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    While his future teammate Pierce blocked for Bear Bryant's great-grandson, Kight protected another well-known Alabama-bound quarterback. Taulia Tagovailoa, the brother of Tua, is a 4-star who starred with Kight and led Thompson High to a state runner-up finish.

                                         

    26. Marcel Brooks, LB, LSU

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 195 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    There's no shortage of expectations for Brooks. LSU coaches "feel like [they] are going to have two Grant Delpits," Brooks said, per Amos Morale III of NOLA.com. Delpit, a first-team All-SEC safety in 2018, had 74 tackles with five sacks and five interceptions.

25-21: Ladson to

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    25. Frank Ladson, WR, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 190 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Ladson set a South Dade High School record as a senior, gathering 1,133 yards and 13 touchdowns on his 50 catches. The 5-star receiver has enrolled early at Clemson.

                  

    24. Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 192 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Before heading to Oklahoma for the current semester, Rattler broke several career records in the state of Arizona. He ended his high school days with 11,083 yards and 116 touchdowns. Rattler threw only 33 interceptions in 1,228 attempts.

                

    23. Travon Walker, DT, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 285 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    In addition to being a 5-star football prospect, Walker is a double-double machine on the basketball court. According to MaxPreps, through 81 career games at Upson-Lee High, he's averaged 10.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

                   

    22. John Emery Jr., RB, LSU

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 206 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Shortly before the 2018 season began, Emery committed to Georgia. However, the pledge lasted just three months while his continued evaluation landed on LSU. It probably didn't hurt that Ed Orgeron took a helicopter to visit Emery.

              

    21. Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 210 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    He's a Georgia kid, but there's little doubt an appealing depth chart at Auburn enticed Pappoe to the Plains. The Tigers must replace weak-side linebacker Montavious Atkinson, and Pappoe's combination of coverage skills and speed may lead to an immediate starting job.

20-16: Dent to Pickens

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    20. Akeem Dent, CB, Florida State

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 180 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Dent is joining a family member in Tallahassee. Following a stellar high school career, he's enrolled early at Florida State and teaming up with his brother, Adarius, a walk-on receiver.

                     

    19. Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 228 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    The state of Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018, he obliterated the box score on a regular basis for Louisa County High. Smith, who is already on campus at Penn State, collected 135 tackles, nine forced fumbles and five sacks.

                 

    18. Theo Wease, WR, Oklahoma

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 202 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Having signed three of the top 11 receivers in the class, Oklahoma is bringing in a star-studded crop of wideouts. Wease, one of two 5-star additions, amassed 164 catches for 2,342 yards and 38 touchdowns over the last three seasons.

                      

    17. Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 188 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Booth has the talent to make an immediate impact, but that's only one factor of contributing as a true freshman. Trayvon Mullen's decision to declare for the 2019 NFL draft created even more opportunity behind likely starters A.J. Terrell and Kyler McMichael.

             

    16. Zacch Pickens, DE, South Carolina

    Height/Weight: 6'5 ½", 285 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    South Carolina hopes the 5-star will follow in the footsteps of Jadeveon Clowney, the last defensive player to win the state's Mr. Football honor before Pickens did in 2018. But the potential star also rushed for 889 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior.

15-11: Brown to Dean

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    15. Logan Brown, OT, Wisconsin

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 305 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Wisconsin rarely signs top-100 prospects, so a 5-star talent choosing the Badgers is an even scarcer occurrence. Brown is the first such player since Josh Oglesby in 2007.

                        

    14. Kenyon Green, OT, Texas A&M

    Height/Weight: 6'4 ½", 322 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Jimbo Fisher has a track record of outstanding recruiting, and he's already helped break a mini-slump at Texas A&M. Not since 2014 (Myles Garrett) had the Aggies signed the top recruit from the state.

                

    13. Wanya Morris, OT, Tennessee

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 312 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    If the name sounds familiar, it does for good reason. According to ESPN's Tom VanHaaren, the 5-star tackle is named after Wanya Morris, a singer in R&B group Boyz II Men.

             

    12. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'7 ½", 360 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Though it took longer than expected, Neal landed where he first committed. He pledged to Alabama in May 2016 but backed off nine days later. He finally signed in December 2018.

             

    11. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 220 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    By adding Dean, Georgia made an exceptionally rare splash in Mississippi. Since 2000, the Bulldogs had only signed one of the state's top-five prospects in a given year once (Blake Barnes, 2004)let alone Mississippi's top overall player.

10-6: McCoy to Sanders

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    10. Bru McCoy, ATH, USC

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 205 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    McCoy was a nightmare to defend as a senior at powerhouse Mater Dei. En route to a California state championship, he amassed 78 catches for 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns.

             

    9. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 5'11 ½", 175 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    In the 2019 All-American Bowl, he caught both of the West team's touchdowns. Wilson, who has enrolled early at Ohio State, snared four passes for 89 yards and two scores.

           

    8. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 253 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Also on campus with Wilson, Harrison is expected to contribute immediately in 2019. The Buckeyes struggled to fill Nick Bosa's void after his core muscle injury, so Harrison should have an opportunity to start as a freshman opposite Chase Young.

              

    7. Antonio Alfano, DE, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 285 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Alfano received his first scholarship offer in eighth grade, and it came from then-Rutgers coach Kyle Flood. Alabama recently hired Flood as its new offensive line coach.

             

    6. Trey Sanders, RB, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 214 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Najee Harris is the apparent starter in 2019, but Sanders has an enormous goal anyway. "My freshman year at Alabama I will win the Heisman; I will be a finalist," he said after committing to the Tide, per AJ Spurr of WVUA.

5-1: Hill to Smith

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    5. Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

    Height/Weight: 6' ½", 186 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    As one Hill leaves college football, another arrives. The safety's brother is now-former Oklahoma State standout Justice, who piled up 3,843 yards from scrimmage and 31 touchdowns in three years.

               

    4. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

    Height/Weight: 6'4 ½", 239 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Boasting a .9982 rating, Thibodeaux is the highest-ranked signee in Oregon history. He surpassed Haloti Ngata, who owned a .9962 rating before an NFL career with five Pro Bowl appearances.

                   

    3. Jadon Haselwood, WR, Oklahoma

    Height/Weight: 6'2 ½", 196 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Once pledged to Georgia, the 5-star wideout quietly submitted his paperwork to Oklahoma during the early signing period. Haselwood then announced his college intentions at the All-American Bowl.

             

    2. Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

    Height/Weight: 6'0 ½", 188 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Trying to contain Stingley in high school was a futile effort. The 2018 Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year snagged 27 interceptions and gathered 15 touchdowns as a kick and punt returner.

             

    1. Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 232 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Smith committed to Georgia nearly two years before he'd enroll in Athens, but he scared a bunch of Bulldogs fans along the way. On April 1, 2018, Smith posted on social media that he'd backed off the pledge to UGA. It was an April Fool's joke.