Ranking Top 10 Recruiting Classes in 2022 After High School All-American Games

Brad Shepard@@Brad_ShepardFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2022

Ranking Top 10 Recruiting Classes in 2022 After High School All-American Games

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    Michigan's Derrick Moore won the Under Armour All-American Game MVP.
    Michigan's Derrick Moore won the Under Armour All-American Game MVP.Credit: 247Sports

    The conclusion of last week's Under Armour All-American Game and Saturday's All-American Bowl means the country got to witness another proving ground for the nation's top incoming prospects and gave us another milestone on the path to the late period national signing day.

    Though nowhere near as many top-notch prospects came off the board before the early signing period was initiated relative to years past, there were still plenty of big names making their commitments public.

    Some of those decisions shuffled the rankings at the top of B/R's rankings from the early signing period. Of course, several more twists and turns remain until February.

    With coaching movement rampant this year, there are still legit program-changers looking for homes, and while more eyes this time of year are on the transfer portal, high school prospects could still give us plenty of headlines.

    While nothing changed at the top of the list, a few decisions caused the flip-flops of several teams in the post-all-star game rankings. Let's get to the details for the top classes.

10. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Jovantae Barnes
    Jovantae BarnesCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 17

    5-stars: None

    4-stars: (14) Gavin Sawchuck (RB), Jovantae Barnes (RB), Kobie McKinzie (LB), Jayden Gibson (WR), Nick Evers (QB), Jake Taylor (OT), Jacob Sexton (OT), Nicholas Anderson (WR), Kip Lewis (LB), Robert Spears-Jennings (S), Kaden Helms (TE), Jayden Rowe (CB), Gentry Williams (CB), Jaren Kanak (ATH) 

    Late signing period commits: Jovantae Barnes, Jaren Kanak


    Class analysis

    Rumors of Oklahoma's demise were greatly exaggerated, at least in the eyes of recruits.

    Maybe there's just going to be a massive overhaul, and, truthfully, that may not be a bad deal in the end. For every major blow in transfer news (like Caleb Williams), there's good news (like Dillon Gabriel).

    Perhaps most importantly, new head coach Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby can kind of craft this team in their own image. It's already begun with the Under Armour All-American Game pledge of elite running back Jovantae Barnes, who gives OU two complimentary backs along with Gavin Sawchuck.

    "So I like what they are doing with the offense," Barnes said, according to 247Sports' Brian Dohn.

    The decision of Kobie McKinzie to stick with the Sooners and this past week's flip of future linebacker Jaren Kanak from Clemson gives Venables two terrific second-level defenders around which to build.

    This is a sneaky-good class that keeps getting better and proves Venables is still relating to kids, and that's translating into commitments. They leap-frogged Kentucky into the top 10 and honestly could wind up higher.

9. Michigan Wolverines

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    Derrick Moore is going to be a star soon.
    Derrick Moore is going to be a star soon.Credit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 23

    5-stars: (1) Will Johnson (CB)

    4-stars: (10) Derrick Moore (DL), Keon Sabb (S), Tyler Morris (WR), Darrius Clemons (WR), Zeke Berry (S), Jimmy Rolder (LB), Kody Jones (ATH), Colston Loveland (TE), Mason Graham (DL), Kevonte Henry (Edge) 

    Late signing period commits: None


    Class analysis

    Michigan is still waiting to hear news on 5-star offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr., which could help this class surge ahead of North Carolina's (and possibly even Notre Dame's) on this list.

    Other than that, though, the Wolverines have been pretty quiet in the late period.

    But that doesn't take anything away from the class. Derrick Moore was exceptional in the Under Armour All-American Game with two sacks and had another one taken away for defensive holding. He was consistently in the backfield and won MVP honors.

    With coach Jim Harbaugh losing Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo to the NFL, Moore will get the opportunity to flash right away.

    Will Johnson is another superstar who could emerge with immediate playing time on a defense looking to keep things going from this year's College Football Playoff season.

    Toss in guys like receivers Darrius Clemons and Tyler Morris, as well as underrated quarterback Alex Orji, whom the Wolverines flipped from Virginia Tech on early signing day, and this is exactly the type of class to keep Big Blue at the top.

8. North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Travis Shaw
    Travis ShawCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 17

    5-stars: (2) Travis Shaw (DL), Zach Rice (OT)

    4-stars: (9) Beau Atkinson (Edge), Andre Greene Jr. (WR), George Pettaway (RB), Sebastian Cheeks (LB), Omarion Hampton (RB), Tychaun Chapman (WR), Tayon Holloway (CB), Malaki Hamrick (Edge), Marcus Allen (CB)

    Late signing period commits: None


    Class analysis

    The Tar Heels have been similarly quiet in the late signing period, and one of the few guys coach Mack Brown is going after is defensive tackle Ahmad Moten.

    That should further hammer home the need for North Carolina to keep trying to scour for defensive difference-makers. Even with the way Brown has stacked classes on that side of the ball since returning to Chapel Hill, this season was an abject failure, largely because of the inability to stop anybody.

    Getting massive defensive tackle Travis Shaw will help the running game, and others like edge rushers Beau Atkinson and Malaki Hamrick will help build depth and talent, too. Sebastian Cheeks is good enough to come in and start right away at linebacker.

    Perhaps the most exciting thing about this Heels class is how they're building. Rice will anchor the offensive line for at least the next three years and could have gone anywhere in the country. He's the most college-ready lineman in the nation, and he'll be opening holes for two great runners, George Pettaway and Omarion Hampton.

    Throw in the receiving weapons, and it's easy to love this class, even if it's on the smallish side.

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Tobias Merriweather
    Tobias MerriweatherCredit: 247Sports

    Total commits/signees: 21

    5-stars: (1) Jaylen Sneed (LB)

    4-stars: (16) Joshua Burnham (LB), Tobias Merriweather (WR), Aamil Wagner (OT), Ty Chan (OT), Tyson Ford (DL), Niuafe Tuihalamaka (LB), Joey Tanona (OT), Billy Schrauth (IOL), Eli Raridon (TE), Jardarian Price (RB), Jaden Mickey (CB), Aidan Gobaira (DL), Steve Angeli (QB), Nolan Ziegler (LB), Holden Staes (TE), Benjamin Morrison (CB)

    Late signing period commits: None


    Class analysis

    There may have been a brief moment of dejection following Notre Dame's utter collapse in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State, where the Irish blew the type of lead that raises red flags in coach Marcus Freeman's debut.

    Let's not overreact, though.

    Freeman is a young coach who will have some bumps in the road. But he is an energetic guy, a dynamic recruiter and a brilliant offensive mind. One of his best recruiting jobs was keeping offensive coordinator Tommy Rees in South Bend, then he went out and retained the bulk of the class together, too.

    What a class it is, too—the best in recent Irish history on paper.

    The linebackers and offensive linemen are what make it special. Jaylen Sneed is an instant-impact defender, and guys like Joshua Burnham and Niuafe Tuihalamaka have high ceilings, as well

    Four 4-star offensive linemen light the path, and while the 247Sports Composite rankings have Steve Angeli as a low 4-star prospect, the signal-caller looks like he has the "It" factor and could be a quality leader down the road. There is a lot to love here. Freeman has the makings of a great roster.

6. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Nicholas Singleton
    Nicholas SingletonCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 24

    5-stars: (1) Drew Allar (QB)

    4-stars: (15) Nicholas Singleton (RB), Kaden Saunders (WR), Dani Dennis-Sutton (DL), Drew Shelton (OT), Kaytron Allen (RB), Mehki Flowers (ATH), Anthony Ivey (WR), Cristian Driver (S), Jerry Cross (TE), Ken Talley (Edge), Cam Miller (CB) Abdul Carter (LB), Zane Durant (DL), JB Nelson (OT), KJ Winston (S) 

    Late signing period commits: None


    Class analysis

    This was a drama-free recruiting class for coach James Franklin that just so happened to be the best one he's compiled since coming to Happy Valley.

    Now, they need to come in and produce as advertised and be developed by a staff running out of mulligans after two sub-par seasons. This class could bring a much-needed jolt of energy.

    Everything starts with a loaded group of offensive skill-position players coordinator Mike Yurcich needs right away.

    Drew Allar is the best quarterback in the 2022 class, and he could be too good to keep off the field. With an awful running game this past year, the Lions are looking for an impact there, too, and Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen should be a quality infusion.

    Even with Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith returning at receiver, Kaden Saunders, Anthony Ivey and Mehki Flowers have plenty of ability to carve roles as freshmen.

    Yes, there are players at other positions, too, in a deep, strong class. However, Franklin needs to change the tune of the offense. That has to start right away, and it's open audition time for youngsters.

5. Texas Longhorns

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    Terrance Brooks
    Terrance BrooksCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 28

    5-stars: (1) Kelvin Banks (OT)

    4-stars: (18) Terrance Brooks (CB), Brenen Thompson (WR), Bryan Allen Jr. (S), Jaray Bledsoe (DL), J'mond Tapp (Edge), Larry Turner-Gooden (S), Justice Finkley (Edge), Neto Umeozulu (IOL), Jaylon Guilbeau (CB), Maalik Murphy (QB), Jaydon Blue (RB), Austin Jordan (S), Kristopher Ross (DL), Malik Agbo (OT), Derrick Brown (Edge), Cole Hutson (IOL), Aaron Bryant (DL), Zac Swanson (DL)

    Late signing period commits: Larry Turner-Gooden


    Class analysis

    Grabbing former Arizona State commitment Larry Turner-Gooden was a big boost for the Longhorns in the late signing period, but they may not be done.

    It's already been a huge get for coach Steve Sarkisian, and nobody needs a roster flip like him after a forgettable first season in Austin.

    The marquee player of the class is Kelvin Banks, a sure-fire star offensive tackle who flipped from Oregon. If Texas can pair him with 5-star offensive guard Devon Campbell (who is announcing in February), what a haul it will be for Kyle Flood, who also added Neto Umeozulu, Malik Agbo and Cole Hutson.

    Everybody is buzzing about former elite prospect Quinn Ewers coming home after a year at Ohio State, and he should be the centerpiece of the "new" Longhorns. He's going to have playmakers all around him who are young and capable.

    Receiver Brenen Thompson and running back Jaydon Blue are a good start to a fresh stable.

    And getting elite cornerback Terrance Brooks to head to Austin instead of Ohio State, Alabama and others was evidence Sark can still connect with kids even though it was a losing season.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Omari Abor
    Omari AborCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 21

    5-stars: (2) C.J. Hicks (LB), Sonny Styles (S)

    4-stars: (17) Omari Abor (Edge), Hero Kanu (DL), Devin Brown (QB), Gabe Powers (LB), Caleb Burton (WR), Kenyatta Jackson (Edge), Kaleb Brown (WR), Caden Curry (DL), Kyion Grayes (WR), Tegra Tshabola (OT), Kojo Antwi (WR), Jyaire Brown (CB), Dallan Hayden (RB), George Fitzpatrick (OT), Ryan Turner (CB), Kye Stokes (ATH), Carson Hinzman (IOL)

    Late signing period commits: Omari Abor, Carson Hinzman, Hero Kanu


    It's already been a very big late signing period for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and they may not be done, either.

    At the Under Armour All-American Game, coach Ryan Day's team got the day's biggest news when Omari Abor told the world he was heading to Columbus. The former 5-star is a terrific player who may be able to help right away. Getting future guard Carson Hinzman was big, too.

    A week later, defensive lineman Hero Kanu chose the Buckeyes at the All-American Bowl on Saturday.
    There's no question the Buckeyes need major help on defense, and guys like linebackers C.J. Hicks and Gabe Powers and defensive backs like Sonny Styles and Jyaire Brown are talented enough to come in and inject a needed infusion of talent.

    With Quinn Ewers and Jack Miller leaving Ohio State, getting Devin Brown as C.J. Stroud's heir was crucial.
    And even though Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson will leave a void at receiver, the returners surrounding Jaxon Smith-Njigba could make the receiver position Ohio State's best on the field. They also loaded up with more pass-catchers in this class, led by Caleb Burton.

    But the defense is where the flashing "Help Wanted" sign hangs.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Jeremiah Alexander
    Jeremiah AlexanderCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 24

    5-stars: (3) Ty Simpson (QB), Jeremiah Alexander (Edge), Emmanuel Henderson (RB)

    4-stars: (19) Shawn Murphy (LB), Shazz Preston (WR), Tyler Booker (OT), Elijah Pritchett (OT), Jaheim Oatis (DL), Khurtiss Perry (DL), Jihaad Campbell (Edge), Isaiah Bond (ATH), Kendrick Law (ATH), Aaron Anderson (WR), Jamarion Miller (RB), Earl Little Jr. (CB), Trequon Fegans (CB), Kobe Prentice (WR), Antonio Kite (ATH), Amari Niblack (ATH), Isaiah Hastings (DL), Elijah Brown (TE), Water Bob (DL)

    Late signing period commits: Kendrick Law (Dec. 17 - post-signing day in the early period)


    Nick Saban reloads every season with elite talent, so it's no surprise the Crimson Tide have another deep, talented group of recruits coming in for 2022.

    They are also adding Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs and LSU defensive back Eli Ricks, too. So, don't expect any dropoff again from a team that could wind up winning back-to-back national championships.

    Perhaps the biggest talent in this year's class is Emmanuel Henderson, who could step right in and earn reps behind Gibbs at running back. Jeremiah Alexander will join Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner as explosive edge defenders, too.

    From there, Alabama has just waves of talent. The explosiveness Saban recruited in the receiving corps rivals any in the nation, led by speedster Shazz Preston. There are terrific defensive backs, versatile athletes who project to other places and an offensive line duo of Tyler Booker and Elijah Pritchett.

    There's never a time when Saban has to dip to second choices in the recruiting cycle. He pretty much gets who he wants as kids line up to play for titles in Tuscaloosa. This group won't wind up in the top spot, and UGA actually leaped them, but there's nothing second-tier about this class.

2. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Marvin Jones Jr.
    Marvin Jones Jr.Credit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 26

    5-stars: (5) Malaki Starks (ATH), Jaheim Singletary (CB), Marvin Jones Jr. (Edge), Mykel Williams (DL), Daylen Everette (CB)

    4-stars: (15) Earnest Greene (IOL), Jalon Walker (LB), Bear Alexander (DL), Branson Robinson (RB), Gunner Stockton (QB), Oscar Delp (TE), Julian Humphrey (CB), C.J. Washington (LB), Chandler Smith (WR), De'Nylon Morrissette (WR), JaCorey Thomas (S), Carlton Madden (Edge), Aliou Bah (OT), Jordan James (RB), Darris Smith (Edge)

    Late signing period commits: Earnest Greene


    Class analysis

    Alabama edges Georgia in the recruiting rankings in the 247Sports composite but not here. The Bulldogs surged ahead of the Crimson Tide with Saturday's All-American Bowl commitment of top-40 prospect Earnest Greene.

    It was already close, anyway, but Greene gives the slight nod to a team that has five 5-stars to UA's three. Argue all you want about it; neither team likely would trade its class for the other.

    Georgia needs defensive backs, and, boy, did the Bulldogs address that in this class. Malaki Starks is the golden child and will likely start out at safety. Jaheim Singletary is one of the most dynamic cornerbacks in the class, and Daylen Everette is yet another 5-star.

    UGA also has a gun-slinging quarterback in Gunner Stockton and a duo of quality running backs in Branson Robinson and Jordan James. Help also is coming in the trenches, and getting outstanding rushers like Marvin Jones Jr. and Mykel Williams are an even bigger boost.

    Kirby Smart has built a recruiting juggernaut in Athens, and the Bulldogs aren't slowing down anytime soon.

1. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Denver Harris
    Denver HarrisCredit: 247Sports

    Total signees/commits: 28

    5-stars: (6) Walter Nolen (DT), Evan Stewart (WR), Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy (DT), Denver Harris (CB), Conner Weigman (QB), Harold Perkins (LB)

    4-stars: (19) Enai White (Edge), Anthony Lucas (DL), Bryce Anderson (S), Chris Marshall (WR), Malick Sylla (DL), Deyon Bouie (S), PJ Williams (OT), Jake Johnson (TE), Le'Veon Moss (RB), Kam Dewberry (IOL), Marquis Groves-Killebrew (CB), Donovan Green (TE), Bobby Taylor (CB), Martrell Harris (LB), Hunter Erb (OT), Theodor Melin Ohrstrom (TE), Noah Thomas (WR), Jarred Kerr (S), Ish Harris (LB)

    Late signing period commits: Denver Harris (Dec. 18 - post-signing day in the early period), Harold Perkins


    Class analysis

    This year, nobody's catching Jimbo.

    Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has put together one of the best recruiting classes ever in the '22 cycle, and the Aggies may not be done yet with other big-name prospects left on the board, such as Shemar Stewart. Even if they don't get anybody else, this class is unrivaled this year.

    The train hasn't stopped rolling after the first day of the early signing period, either. Five-star cornerback Denver Harris signed with A&M on Dec. 18, and the Aggies got huge news in the Under Armor All-American Game with the pledge of do-it-all linebacker Harold Perkins, too.

    Those two commits/signees gave Fisher six 5-stars, and that's even with defensive coordinator Mike Elko becoming the next head coach at Duke.

    The strength of this class is in the front seven, with elite players like defensive tackles Walter Nolen, Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, Anthony Lucas and Malick Sylla. Edge rusher Enai White and Perkins are special, too.

    On offense, A&M got the biggest playmaker at receiver in the class in Evan Stewart and a 5-star signal-caller Conner Weigman.

    Just how far-reaching is A&M's allure? They have three 4-star tight ends in the class: Donovan Green, one from Sweden (Theodor Melin Ohrstrom), and the son of former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brad Johnson, Jake, who flipped from LSU. This class has everything.


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