College Football Recruiting: Initial Top 25 Classes for 2022

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2021

College Football Recruiting: Initial Top 25 Classes for 2022

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    Ohio State commit Quinn Ewers
    Ohio State commit Quinn EwersCredit: 247Sports (Collin Kennedy)

    Though a few 2021 prospects will announce their decisions in the coming weeks, the college football recruiting world's focus can officially move to the 2022 cycle.

    Coaches have already been hard at work for next season's class. They were permitted to contact high school juniors at the beginning of September, and some of that communication has already led to verbal pledges.

    Ohio State currently stands atop the nation, boasting a 10-man class that includes the No. 1 player and two more 5-stars.

    Because the early signing period is 10-plus months away, the order reflects the current 247Sports composite rankings. Consider this an introduction to hot-starting teams and recruits to know.

25-21: Cal, Stanford, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Auburn

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    Cal coach Justin Wilcox
    Cal coach Justin WilcoxAssociated Press

    25. California Golden Bears

    Class size: 2 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: Justyn Martin wasted little time joining Cal's class. After receiving an offer in late December, he took an unofficial visit in January and committed a week later. Right now, the 4-star quarterback is ranked No. 257 overall.

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    24. Stanford Cardinal

    Class size: 2 (two 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: Stanford is looking for Sam Roush to continue a strong tradition of tight ends, and he's carrying on an impressive family line. Both his parents played college sports, and his great uncle is legendary NFL defensive end Merlin Olsen.

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    23. Arkansas Razorbacks

    Class size: 3

    Recruit to know: Arkansas boss Sam Pittman is a longtime offensive line coach, so it's fair to expect he'll fortify the blocking unit. Three-star Eli Henderson is the No. 17 guard in the class.

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    22. Oklahoma State Cowboys

    Class size: 3 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: The latest additionβ€”3-star running back Ollie Gordonβ€”pushed Oklahoma State into the Top 25, and he's coming off a huge season. Gordon rushed for 2,083 yards and 28 touchdowns, adding two receiving scores.

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    21. Auburn Tigers

    Class size: 3

    Recruit to know: Although he's the lowest-rated prospect of the trio, Holden Geriner is the most recent commit. The 3-star pro-style quarterback threw for 2,770 yards and 25 touchdowns with only three interceptions in the fall.

20-16: Maryland, Rutgers, Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan

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    Oregon coach Mario Cristobal
    Oregon coach Mario CristobalAmanda Loman/Associated Press

    20. Maryland Terrapins

    Class size: 5 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: Local recruiting is always important, but especially for a Maryland program trying to compete in the Big Ten. The Terps have landed wide receiver Amari Clark, one of five 4-star prospects in New Jersey this cycle.

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    19. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

    Class size: 4

    Recruit to know: All four, really. Rutgers holds verbal commitments from 3-star receivers Rashad Rochelle, Addison Copeland and Jojo Bermudez, as well as 3-star offensive tackle Taj White. Building up the offense is paramount to any potential rise in the Big Ten hierarchy.

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    18. Oregon Ducks

    Class size: 3 (three 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: For the Ducks to continue their reign in the Pac-12, having a large presence in California is crucial. Oregon has reeled in San Diego area defensive end Gracen Halton, a 4-star who is considered the 14th-best player in the state.

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    17. North Carolina Tar Heels

    Class size: 3 (two 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: Perhaps feeling the holiday spirit, Tayon Holloway announced his commitment to UNC on Christmas Day. Rated 136th overall, he's a 4-star cornerback from Virginia.

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    16. Michigan Wolverines

    Class size: 4 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: Alex VanSumeren committed to Michigan as a sophomore. After taking an unofficial visit in November 2019, the 4-star defensive tackle joined the class a month later. VanSumeren is the fourth-best prospect from Michigan.

15-11: Cincinnati, Clemson, Washington, Missouri, Texas A&M

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    Clemson coach Dabo Swinney
    Clemson coach Dabo SwinneyAssociated Press

    15. Cincinnati Bearcats

    Class size: 4 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: At this moment, 4-star defensive tackle Derrick Shepard is the fourth-highest-rated commit in program history. He picked the Bearcats over offers from Florida State, Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State, among others.

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    14. Clemson Tigers

    Class size: 3 (three 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: Clemson's recruiting territory is Florida, Georgia and wherever top players are. Still, the Tigers haven't signed a blue-chip prospect from their own state since 2018. But for the 2022 class, they hold South Carolina-based commitments from 4-star offensive tackle Collin Sadler and 4-star wideout Adam Randall.

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    13. Washington Huskies

    Class size: 4 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: The top-rated player in the class is Germie Bernard, a 4-star receiver from Nevada with a valuable connection. Bernard was a seven-on-seven teammate of 5-star quarterback Sam Huard, the top player in Washington's 2021 haul.

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    12. Missouri Tigers

    Class size: 4 (two 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: Missouri has a potential class cornerstone in Isaac Thompson. Considered the No. 160 player in the cycle, he's a 4-star safety who would be Missouri's top signee since 2016.

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    11. Texas A&M Aggies

    Class size: 3 (three 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: After signing top-40 prospects Shemar Turner and Tunmise Adeleye in 2021, the Aggies have another possible star defensive end on the way. Malick Sylla is currently one-upping Adeleye (No. 38) as the No. 37 prospect in the country.

10-6: Texas, Boston College, USC, Oklahoma, Florida State

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    10. Texas Longhorns

    Class size: 3 (three 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: New head coach Steve Sarkisian retained wide receivers coach Andre Coleman, and the decision paid off quickly. Texas landed a commitment from 4-star Armani Winfield, who's listed as the 12th-best wideout in the class.

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    9. Boston College Eagles

    Class size: 7 (one 4-star)

    Recruit to know: Boston College must be ready for Phil Jurkovec's eventual departure, and landing a 4-star quarterback is a promising start. Peter Delaportas is the 12th-ranked pro-style option in the cycle entering his senior year.

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    8. USC Trojans

    Class size: 4 (one 5-star, two 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: USC added defensive end and No. 1 prospect Korey Foreman in 2021, and cornerback Domani Jackson from nearby powerhouse Mater Dei ranks third overall in 2022.

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    7. Oklahoma Sooners

    Class size: 4 (four 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: While the Sooners already have a trio of 4-star wideouts, the other commitment is from enemy territory. Oklahoma plucked 4-star inside linebacker Kobie McKinzie from Lubbock, Texas, the home of Big 12 foe Texas Tech.

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    6. Florida State Seminoles

    Class size: 5 (one 5-star, two 4-stars)

    Recruit to know: Travis Hunter put up ridiculous stats in his junior year. The 5-star cornerback snagged eight interceptions but also thrived on offense. He caught a comical 137 passes for 1,746 yards and 24 touchdowns, helping Collins Hill finish as the 7A runner-up in Georgia.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Class size: 5 (three 4-stars)

    Notre Dame boasted one of the nation's best offensive lines last season, and that strength helped the Irish reach the College Football Playoff. They signed three 4-star linemen in the 2021 class, and two more are slated to join the roster in 2022.

    Joey Tonana is the No. 139 overall prospect, and Ty Chanβ€”the top-rated player from Massachusettsβ€”is No. 182. Both are listed as offensive tackles, and at 6'5"-plus, they will likely stay there.

    They'll be the foundation of the class alongside 4-star defensive end Tyson Ford, who's ranked 117th in the nation.

4. LSU Tigers

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    Class size: 9 (five 4-stars)

    As usual, LSU is dominating its home state.

    The Tigers already have commitments from quarterback Walker Howard and offensive tackle Will Campbell. They're the top-rated players from Louisiana and rank 34th and 56th overall, respectively.

    Also from the state are 4-star cornerback Laterrance Welch and 3-star receivers Aaron Anderson and Decoldest Crawford.Β Bo Bordelon, a 3-star offensive tackleΒ who blocks for Arch Manning, the nephew of NFL greats Peyton and Eli Manning, at Isidore Newmanβ€”rounds out the strong Louisiana contingent.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Class size: 8 (eight 4-stars)

    Although the Nittany Lions haven't yet landed a top-100 player, they're positioned to stack offensive talent in 2022.

    Penn State holds commitments from quarterback Beau Pribula, receivers Mehki Flowers, Kaden Saunders and Anthony Ivey, offensive tackle Drew Shelton and tight ends Holden Staes and Jerry Cross. Four of them are in-state prospects, too.

    The final verbal pledge is from defensive end Ken Talley, who might be endearing himself to Penn State fans thanks to some social-media jabs at Ohio State.

2. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Class size: 8 (two 5-stars, five 4-stars)

    Similar to LSU, Georgia has done an excellent job with in-state talent so far. Seven of the eight verbal commits are from the state, led by 5-star athlete Deyon Bouie.

    Recently, though, Kirby Smart and Co. landed their second 5-star of the cycle. The top-rated dual-threat quarterback, Gunner Stockton announced for UGA in late January. He totaled 4,709 yards and 71 touchdowns as a junior.

    Defensive tackle Tyre West (No. 47), cornerback Marquis Groves-Killebrew (No. 92) and inside linebacker C.J. Washington (No. 109) are each currently top-15 players in Georgia.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Class size: 10 (three 5-stars, six 4-stars)

    After landing the No. 2 class in 2021, Ohio State is making an early charge for the nation's top haul in 2022.

    Quarterback Quinn Ewersβ€”the No. 1 overall player right nowβ€”is clearly the headliner. Previously committed to Texas, he flipped to the Buckeyes in November. Texas will undoubtedly remain in contact with the Dallas-area prospect.

    Ohio State also holds verbal pledges from 5-star cornerback Jaheim Singletary, 5-star wide receiver Caleb Burton and top-50 talents Gabe Powers and C.J. Hicks, who are both outside linebackers.

    Expect another spectacular class for Ohio State in 2022.

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    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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