Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes Heading into 2021 Early Signing Period

Morgan MoriartyFeatured Columnist IDecember 14, 2021

Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes Heading into 2021 Early Signing Period

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    Derick Hingle/Associated Press

    The early signing period for the recruiting class of 2022 begins Wednesday Dec. 15 and goes through Dec. 17 this year. The new signing period arrived in 2017, and it allows players committed to certain schools to ink their scholarships earlier than National Signing Day in February. 

    While the period gives coaches an earlier start on solidifying their recruiting classes, it's also a hectic period for teams that go through a coaching change. In 2021, we've already seen 28 FBS teams make coaching changes, including notable Power Five ones like Oklahoma, USC, Oregon and Florida. 

    With the Early Signing Period quickly approaching later this week, let's rank the top 25 recruiting classes ahead of the fast three-day signing period in December.

    Author's note: 247Sports rankings mentioned throughout are based off the 247Sports' composite rankings. 

25-21: Iowa State, Boston College, LSU, Indiana and Oregon

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    25. Iowa State
    Class size: 19 (Two 4-stars)  

    Notable recruits: Matt Campbell's 2022 class is anchored by a pair of 4-stars in defensive lineman Hunter Deyo out of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and wideout Greg Gaines. Gaines was a big get for Campbell and his staff, managing to recruit him all the way from Tampa, Florida. 

    24: Boston College
    Class size: 23 (Two 4-stars)

    Notable recruit: Receiver Joseph Griffin Jr. is a 4-star recruit out of Springfield, Massachusetts, who is also the state's No. 2 overall prospect. 

    23. LSU
    Class size:
    11 (Two 5-stars) 

    Notable recruits: The biggest names in LSU's class are 5-star OT Will Campbell, who is the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana for the class of 2022, and 5-star QB recruiting Walker Howard, who also committed in June of 2020. New LSU head coach Brian Kelly has luckily been able to maintain most of the hard commits that former Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron had committed previously. 

    22. Indiana
    Class size:
    15 (Four 4-stars) 

    Notable recruit: Four-star defensive end Dasan McCullough headlines Indiana's 2022 class. The prospect out of Bloomington, Indiana, was actually once committed to Ohio State before flipping to Indiana in May 2021. 

    21. Oregon
    Class size:
    12 (Six 4-stars) 

    Notable recruit: Yep, another Power Five team that had a head coaching change, now that the Ducks have hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning. Oregon's 2022 class is headlined by four-star receiver  Tetairoa McMillan. McMillan, out of Anaheim, California, is the No. 5 receiver prospect in the class of 2022 and the No. 4 overall prospect in his state.

20-16: Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan State, Arkansas

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    20. Virginia Tech 
    Class size: 21 (Four 4-stars) 
    Notable recruits:
     Gunner Givens, a 4-star OT, verbally committed to the Hokies in July 2021, and he has stayed firm through the Hokies' coaching change from Justin Fuente to Brent Pry. The class also includes 4-star running back Ramon Brown, who is the No. 19 ranked running back prospect in the class of 2022. 

    19. South Carolina
    Class size: 20 (Four 4-stars) 
    Notable recruit: South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer is having one heck of a first season. He's led the Gamecocks to their first bowl since 2018, and his 2022 class is highlighted by former Oklahoma starting QB Spencer Rattler. The 2019 5-star prospect announced he was transferring to South Carolina on Dec. 13. The rest of the class is led by 4-star linebacker Jaishawn Barham, who verbally committed to the Gamecocks on Dec. 11. Barham is Beamer's highest-ranked recruit in his Gamecocks tenure. Barham is the No. 3 prospect from the state of South Carolina. 

    18. Tennessee
    Class size: 18 (Four 4-stars) 
    Notable recruits: Four-star OT Addison Nichols is the No. 4 ranked OT prospect in the class of 2022, who committed to the Vols in August of 2021. Four-star quarterback Tayven Jackson out of Greenwood, Indiana, is the No. 12 ranked signal caller in the class of 2022, as well. 

    17. Michigan State 
    Class size: 20 (Five 4-stars)
    Notable recruit: Despite the rumors of Sparty head coach Mel Tucker being floated as a head coach candidate with one of the many Power Five job openings, Tucker is staying put in East Lansing. That's likely a big reason for Sparty's big 2022 class, anchored by the state of Michigan's No. 3 overall prospect in defensive lineman Alex VanSumeren. 

    16. Arkansas
    Class size: 20 (Five 4-stars) 
    Notable recruit: Arkansas' 2020 class is ranked seventh in the SEC. Four-star receiver Isaiah Sategna, who committed to the Hogs in November 2021, is the No. 1 overall recruit out of the state of Arkansas. He is the 29th-ranked receiver in the class of 2022.

15-11: Oklahoma, Missouri, Clemson, Stanford and Kentucky

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    15. Oklahoma
    Class size: 14 (Nine 4-stars) 
    Notable recruits: Oklahoma's 2022 class lost a number of recruits to USC, thanks to Lincoln Riley heading to Los Angeles. But new Sooners head coach Brent Venables will likely still end up with a top-20 class. His current 2022 class is headlined by running back Gavin Sawchuk, Colorado's No. 1 ranked prospect, and the No. 5 ranked back in the class. Most recently, Venables was able to flip 4-star QB Nick Evers from Florida on Dec. 13. 

    14. Missouri
    Class size: 15 (One 5-star, six 4-stars)
    Notable recruit: Second-year Mizzou head coach Eliah Drinkwitz's 2022 recruiting class is shaping up to be a great one. The biggest name is 5-star receiver Luther Burden, who is the No. 1 receiver prospect in 2022, as well as the No. 1 prospect out of his home state of Illinois. Burden decommitted from Oklahoma in August before verbally committing to the Tigers in October.  

    13. Clemson
    Class size: 12 (One 5-star, eight 4-stars)
    Notable recruit: With longtime Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables leaving for Oklahoma, as well as offensive coordinator Tony Elliott heading to Virginia, Clemson has lost some verbal commits. Still, Dabo Swinney has been able to keep 5-star QB Cade Klubnik committed. Klubnik out of Austin, Texas, is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in next year's class. 

    12. Stanford
    Class size: 21 commits (Seven 4-stars) 
    Notable recruit: Stanford's 2022 class is currently ranked atop the Pac-12, even with David Shaw now having to compete with Lincoln Riley in the same state. The Cardinal's top-ranked commit is 4-star edge rusher David Bailey out of Santa Ana, California. Bailey is the No. 5 ranked prospect in the state, and he verbally committed earlier this month.  

    11. Kentucky 
    Class size:
    18 (One 5-star, seven 4-stars)
    Notable recruits: Mark Stoops' 2022 class is currently ranked fourth in the SEC, a big improvement from the Wildcats' 12th-ranked SEC class for 2021. Five-star OT Kiyaunta Goodwin out of Charleston, Indiana, verbally committed to UK in April 2021. Elsewhere, 4-star receiver Barion Brown is Tennessee's No. 3 ranked prospect and committed to UK in November.  

10. Florida State Seminoles

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    Class size: 16 (Two 5-stars, five 4-stars)

    Notable recruits: Florida State has the No. 2 ranked class in the ACC, behind North Carolina. FSU's 2022 group is headlined by 5-star cornerback Travis Hunter, who is the No. 1 CB and state of Georgia prospect, per the 247Sports. Mike Norvell's 2022 class also includes 5-star Sam McCall, the No. 3 ranked safety. 

    On the offensive side of the ball, FSU has 4-star quarterback AJ Duffy, the No. 8 ranked quarterback in next year's class out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The Noles also have two 4-star offensive linemen in Jaylen Early and Antavious Woody, who are ranked 14th and 15th in their position group, respectively. 

9. Michigan Wolverines

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

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

    Notable recruits: Jim Harbaugh has the Big Ten's No. 3 ranked class behind Penn State and Ohio State, highlighted by five-star cornerback Will Johnson, who is the No. 1 prospect out of the state of Michigan. The class also includes four-star receiver Tyler Morris, the No. 16 ranked wideout. 

    Michigan is also potentially in-play for four-star safety Keon Sabb out of IMG, as well as four-star defensive lineman Derrick Moore, who visited Michigan on Dec. 10.

8. North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Chris Seward/Associated Press

    Class size: 16 (Two 5-stars, nine 4-stars) 

    Notable recruits: North Carolina has the top-ranked class in the ACC, which is quite an accomplishment, since Clemson usually does the honors there. Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown's 2022 class is anchored by a pair of 5-stars. Defensive lineman Travis Shaw is the No. 1 prospect out of the state of North Carolina and the No. 2 ranked defensive lineman in next year's class. Shaw committed to UNC in August. He's joined by fellow 5-star offensive tackle Zach Rice out of Lynchburg, Virginia. 

    UNC is also targeting Virginia Tech OL commit Gunner Givens, 3-star ATH and UVA commit Will Hardy and 3-star receiver and Wake Forest commit Wesley Grimes. Even if UNC misses on all three of these guys, the Tar Heels' class is in great shape as it is.

No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Class size: 25 (One 5-star, 15 4-stars) 

    Notable recruits: Penn State's 2022 recruiting class is No. 2 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions' incoming group is pretty loaded offensively. The biggest name is 5-star QB Drew Allar out of Medina, Ohio, who is the No. 4 ranked signal-caller.  

    Head coach James Franklin also added four-star Nicholas Singleton, the No. 4 running back prospect, in July 2021. The class also includes 4-star wideout Kaden Saunders, who is the No. 4 ranked prospect in the state of Ohio. 

    If Penn State's class stays ranked where it is, this will be Franklin's highest-ranked recruiting class in his tenure. 

No. 6 Texas Longhorns

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    Class size: 23 (One 5-star, 15 4-stars) 

    Notable recruits: Steve Sarkisian, who is about to enter his second year as Texas' head coach, has done a good job building his 2022 class despite a disappointing 5-7 year. In fact, Coach Sark has gotten some big-time commitments in the last week.

    Perhaps the biggest news of Longhorns recruiting came on Dec. 12, as former five-star quarterback and Ohio State Buckeye Quinn Ewers announced his transfer to Texas. Ewers transferring from OSU isn't too surprising—he lost the starting job to Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud before the season and entered the transfer portal in early December. 

    Aside from Ewers, Texas' 2022 class includes five-star offensive tackle Kelvin Banks, who is the No. 2 ranked OT  and the No. 4 prospect from the state of Texas. Banks committed to the Longhorns on Dec. 11. Four-star receiver Brenen Thompson, the No. 12 ranked wideout, committed in early October. 

    We'll see if Sark can keep the positive momentum going over the three days of Early Signing Day.

No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Class size: 22 (One 5-star, 16 4-stars) 

    Notable recruits: Notre Dame's No. 5 ranked recruiting class is likely benefitting from the school replacing longtime Irish head coach Brian Kelly and elevating defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. 

    The biggest name in Freeman's 2022 class is 5-star linebacker Jaylen Sneed out of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Sneed is the No. 1 recruit out of South Carolina and the third-ranked linebacker for 2022. The class also includes 4-star linebacker Joshua Burnham. 

    Freeman added 4-star OT Billy Schrauth out of Wisconsin since Kelly's departure became official. 

    We'll see how Freeman's first recruiting class turns out by Signing Day, but being ranked fifth in the nation by 247Sports isn't a bad place to be for now. 

No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Class size: 18 (Two 5-stars, 14 4-stars) 

    Notable recruits: Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day has the top class inside the Big Ten, with most of it consisting of 4- and 5-star recruits. The Bucks have a pair of 5-star defensive commits in linebacker C.J. Hicks and safety Sonny Styles, with the safety committing to the Bucks on Nov. 13. 

    OSU also has a big-time quarterback commit in its class in 4-star Devin Brown, who is ranked as the No. 6 overall signal-caller. He is the No. 1 prospect out of the state of Utah, hailing from his home city of Draper. Both Brown and Styles have committed to the Buckeyes in the last month. 

    We'll see if Day can make some big additions to his 2022 class during Early Signing Day. 

3. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    Class size: 21 (Four 5-stars, 14 4-stars)

    Notable recruits: Although Texas A&M finished its season 8-4, highlighted by upsetting top-ranked Alabama, head coach Jimbo Fisher has been lighting things up on the recruiting trail. There's a chance the Aggies could end up with the top or second-best class by Signing Day. 

    As it stands now, though, TAMU's 2022 class is absolutely loaded. The Aggies have four 5-stars committed, including defensive linemen Walter Nolen and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, receiver Evan Stewart and quarterback Conner Weigman out of Cypress, Texas. The Aggies have been building on some momentum as of late, too—aside from Weigman, Fisher has gained three of his 5-stars since Nov. 6. 

    Texas A&M could continue to add to its already loaded class. One big-time player in-play for the Aggies is four-star defensive end Enai White out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. White is being predicted to sign with Texas A&M in the end. 

    We'll see how high the Aggies' 2022 can end up being ranked. 

No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Class size: 25 (Three 5-stars, 14 4-stars)

    Notable recruits: As usual under head coach Kirby Smart, Georgia's 2022 class has a ton of big-name stars in it. The group is headlined by three 5-stars in athlete Malaki Starks, cornerback Jaheim Singletary and defensive lineman Mykel Williams. All three prospects are ranked inside the top three of their respective states, too. 

    The Bulldogs' 2022 class also includes 4-star linebacker Jalon Walker out of North Carolina, defensive lineman Bear Alexander and the No. 3 rated running back in the nation in Branson Robinson.

    Georgia might also be in the mix for offensive lineman Earnest Greene, defensive back Kamari Wilson and linebacker Shemar James. 

    Between Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama's 2021 classes, it will be interesting to see which SEC school gets an early edge later this week heading into the early signing period. 

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Class size: 21 (Three 5-stars, 16 4-stars) 

    Notable recruits: Alabama has the top-ranked class nationally, but Georgia and Texas A&M might take that spot before it's all over. For now, though, Bama is at No. 1. 

    The Tide's 2022 class features three 5-stars, including the No. 1 overall defensive end prospect Jeremiah Alexander, who is from Alabaster, Alabama. The others are quarterback Ty Simpson, who is the No. 3 ranked QB prospect for 2022, and five-star running back Emmanuel Henderson, who is also the top-ranked running back recruit.

    Bama's current class also features a couple of talented offensive tackle prospects in 4-stars Tyler Booker and Elijah Pritchett. 

    The Tide gained a couple of blue-chip recruits over the last month, too. Four-star running back Jamarion Miller out of Tyler, Texas, committed on Nov. 25. The No. 2 ranked athlete, Isaiah Bond, committed on Dec. 7. 

    We'll see if head coach Nick Saban can maintain the top-ranked class after the early signing period is over. 

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