1 Dream Scenario for Every Top-10 CFB Recruiting Class
Unless their favorite school is a proven championship contender, college football fans are never more optimistic than when they're talking about recruiting.
Coming off a winless season? Hey, this coach just landed the program's best class in a decade. Stuck in mediocrity? Don't worry. Every one of those 3-stars is actually an absolute diamond. Not quite elite? It's all good; this is the recruiting cycle that changes it.
Let's join the positive-thinking train.
About halfway through the calendar year, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State all boast top-10 classes for 2020. That much should come as a surprise to zero college football fans.
The remainder of the list―which reflects 247Sports' composite rankings―is packed with brand-name schools, including several with first- or second-year coaches.
10. Florida State Seminoles
Dream scenario: Steal a 5-star
Optimism surrounded Willie Taggart's first year in Tallahassee, but his second season arrives with a whole bunch of questions.
At least on the recruiting trail, though, one prized commitment can reshape the team's perception. While the 'Noles have eight 4-stars in the 2020 fold, they're still waiting on that marquee player.
Florida State is working to land 5-star linebacker Sav'ell Smalls, who is considered the No. 4 prospect in the nation. The cross-country connection gets a boost from wide receiver Tre'Shaun Harrison, a former teammate of Smalls and a current sophomore at FSU.
Reeling in Smalls would reaffirm the Seminoles' place as a destination for top recruits and give Taggart a cornerstone piece.
9. North Carolina Tar Heels
Dream scenario: Add talent, talent, talent
As a program, North Carolina isn't in a position to worry about missing on a local 5-star or another highly regarded player. The Tar Heels simply need whatever talent they can get.
Good thing Mack Brown is an outstanding salesman anyway.
The Tar Heels own a quartet of verbal pledges from 4-stars, including dual-threat quarterback Malik Hornsby. But they're also a primary contender in the race for 5-star defensive end Desmond Evans, who's the top-rated prospect in the state.
For a program with a combined 5-18 record over the last two seasons, UNC couldn't ask for a better position in recruiting.
8. Florida Gators
Dream scenario: Dominate available in-state players
Willie Taggart and Florida State are trying to recover from a 5-7 campaign, and Miami is transitioning from the old-school Mark Richt to a high-energy defensive-minded coach in Manny Diaz.
Dan Mullen has a terrific chance to keep a little separation between Florida and their in-state rivals.
Of the five uncommitted top-100 talents, the Gators are contending for Marcus Rosemy and considered a top choice for Chantz Williams and Xzavier Henderson. With pledges from Gervon Dexter and Leonard Manuel on the books, UF could land five of Florida's top 15 players.
That hasn't happened since 2010 when Urban Meyer and his staff compiled the nation's No. 1 class.
7. Ohio State Buckeyes
Dream scenario: Hoard top-rated offensive weapons
Consider this one about halfway accomplished.
Midway through June, the Buckeyes already own three commitments from coveted receivers. Julian Fleming is ranked atop the position and No. 5 nationally, while Gee Scott Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are both top-20 receivers and top-100 prospects.
Ohio State is pursuing 5-star running backs Kendall Milton and Bijan Robinson, as well as 4-star runner Blake Corum. All of them recently took official visits to Columbus. Other notable 4-star targets are running back Jaylan Knighton and slot receiver Mookie Cooper.
New head coach Ryan Day has a terrific chance to stockpile talent and build the foundation of his offense.
6. Miami Hurricanes
Dream scenario: Stockpile top-200 prospects
While the 15-man class features plenty of quality, that volume is helping Miami cling to a top-six class. Recruiting rankings don't mean everything, but the 'Canes only have three top-200 players.
On paper, that's passable for the ACC Coastal. It's not enough to compete nationally.
Current targets who fit the mold include Keshawn Lawrence (63rd), wide receiver Mookie Cooper (64th), running back Jaylan Knighton (108th), wide receiver Michael Redding III (131st) and South Carolina commit Issiah Walker (149th), among a few others.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Dream scenario: Avoid any decommitments
Compared to the other brand-name schools, Notre Dame is relatively thin on highly ranked prospects still on the board. As a result, ensuring none of the current pledges leave the fold is essential.
Most specifically, 5-star receiver Jordan Johnson. He committed to the Irish during an official visit in April.
Johnson headlines a top-heavy class that includes a slew of top-150 talents in Chris Tyree (34th), Tosh Baker (60th), Michael Mayer (77th), Jordan Botelho (114th) and Rylie Mills (133rd) and the most recent addition, Michael Carmody (134th).
If Notre Dame can protect the class and snag a few coveted players, 2020 should be a satisfying cycle for Brian Kelly and his staff.
4. Georgia Bulldogs
Dream scenario: Enjoy a 5-star flurry
The Bulldogs are a finalist for Zachary Evans and have continued to survive cuts for Justin Flowe and Arik Gilbert. They've received Crystal Ball predictions for Kelee Ringo and Darnell Washington, so the interest level is, at worst, very clear.
Landing any two or three of those players would constitute a major recruiting victory. Anything beyond that would be sheer dominance.
3. LSU Tigers
Dream scenario: Bolster the line of scrimmage with Plan A targets
The flashy side of recruiting is skill-position talent. But LSU's chief priority must be improving the offensive and defensive lines, which head coach Ed Orgeron acknowledged after the 29-0 loss to Alabama last November, per Brooks Kubena of The Advocate.
"We've got to recruit better defensive linemen," Orgeron said. "I got to get defensive linemen like them. I've got to recruit better offensive linemen. Same old thing: You've got to beat Alabama on the line of scrimmage."
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Dream scenario: Land a pair of 5-star tight ends
Alabama rarely has a glaring weakness on its roster, but Nick Saban and Co. must address a real void at tight end. Following the departures of Irv Smith Jr. and Hale Hentges, the Tide return eight catches and 115 yards of career production at the position. Incoming 4-star Jahleel Billingsley is a valuable piece, yet Bama needs more.
Perhaps this will be fixed in this most Saban-esque style imaginable.
Even if Alabama merely secures a verbal pledge from one player, Saban will have addressed a legitimate need on offense.
1. Clemson Tigers
Dream scenario: Finalize the best class ever
Aim high, right?
Since the beginning of April, the reigning national champions have added six commitments from top-50 prospects. That includes defensive linemen Bryan Bresee and Myles Murphy, who are ranked second and seventh overall, respectively, in the 2020 cycle.
Clemson is also a top contender for Jordan Burch, the nation's No. 1 overall talent. If he commits, the program would make a serious charge for the highest average player ranking in recruiting history.
Although Ohio State's 2017 class owns the record at 94.59, Clemson's current haul stands at 94.56.