Top College Football Teams with Lowest-Ranked 2022 Recruiting Classes
The 2022 recruiting cycle has not been particularly kind to several big-name college football teams.
More often that not, coaching changes have stifled the growth of this current class. However, a few schools had a tremendous 2021 season but haven't yet realized the benefit of that productive year. And overall, their respective hauls are below 50th nationally as February's national signing day nears.
As always, no single ranking is absolutely indicative of a prospect's performance. But no recent national champion has earned that trophy without multiple years of elite recruiting.
While the adjective "top" is pretty flexible, it covers programs that performed well in 2021 specifically and others with recent or traditional success.
The order reflects the 247Sports composite rankings, which are accurate as of Sunday, Jan. 30.
Class Ranking: 55
This one is entirely a product of Mario Cristobal's departure for Miami.
Oregon had built a top-10 haul, but a wave of decommitments followed his exit. Those included 5-star offensive tackle Kelvin Banks, 4-star wideouts Tetairoa McMillan and Isaiah Sategna, 4-star quarterback Tanner Bailey and four other 4-stars.
Simply put, losing eight blue-chip prospects in a single recruiting cycle is a crushing blow. Late in January, the only four members of the Ducks' 11-man class are 4-star prospects.
New coach Dan Lanning and a revamped Oregon staff need a strong opening cycle in 2023.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Class Ranking: 61
North Carolina State hasn't landed a top-25 haul since the 2008 cycle, but the program is usually not quite this low.
The explanation should be reasonable, though.
Because the NCAA ruled the 2020 season would not count as a year of eligibility, NC State needed to take a smaller class to comply with the 85-scholarship maximum. For now, the Wolfpack have a 12-man class that includes just two 4-stars.
"I care more about how they play and what their career looks like in four years than what their stars look like today," coach Dave Doeren said in December, per David Thompson of the Fayetteville Observer.
Given that NC State has four eight-win seasons in the last five years, the Pack deserve praise for superb development. Still, a low-ranked, low-volume class could soon challenge that trend.
Class Ranking: 64
Lincoln Riley clearly has a plan to collect talent this offseason, and recruiting high schoolers isn't the No. 1 priority.
Yes, the Trojans have signed 5-star cornerback Domani Jackson and a quartet of 4-stars to date. But while they headline an eight-man class, USC holds pledges from 12 transfers and is holding out for more, particularly Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams.
Riley is adding plenty of talent even though USC is destined to finish with a low recruiting ranking. The staff has a handful of 2022 targets remaining, but this cycle's story is mostly written.
Expect a more traditional class in 2023 for the Trojans.
Class Ranking: 67
As with ACC peer NC State, Pat Narduzzi and Pitt faced a scholarship crunch due to the extra year of eligibility.
The result is a slightly atypical cycle for the program, which usually lands somewhere in the 35-55 range. Last year, the Panthers had even climbed to 29th. Between a 12-player haul and a lone 4-star signee, though, Pitt is much further down the rankings. Offensive tackle Ryan Baer is that single blue-chip prospect.
Granted, it's also a smaller class because the Panthers saved a few spots for transfers. The marquee addition is former USC starting quarterback Kedon Slovis, who might replace Kenny Pickett next season.
After winning the ACC in 2021, Pitt should have a great opportunity to sign a flashier group in the 2023 cycle.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Class Ranking: 72
Wake Forest is also looking to capitalize on a tremendous season.
The runner-up to Pitt in the ACC, the Demon Deacons matched a school record with 11 victories in 2021. They undoubtedly will be hoping it serves as a catalyst for recruiting success.
Among the current 12-player haul—which doubles as the conference's lowest-rated group—Wake Forest has 4-star running back Demond Claiborne and four top-1,000 recruits. Although it may sound unreal, the program hasn't signed a top-50 class at any point in the last two decades.
If the Deacs take advantage of their big season and bolster the level of recruiting, they could be a mainstay in the ACC.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Class Ranking: 84
It's been a forgettable cycle for Arizona State.
As the NCAA investigates the program for potential violations, the Sun Devils have struggled to find their footing on the recruiting trail. Four-star running back Tevin White and 3-star safety Tristan Dunn are, quite literally, the only ranked high schoolers.
Subsequently, the ASU staff has focused on transfers. Head coach Herm Edwards said in December that the Sun Devils are aiming to bring in 12 players via the portal. So far, they've landed eight.
The sooner Arizona State has answers on the investigation, the easier recruiting will be. Good, bad or somewhere in between doesn't matter; the uncertainty is the worst part.
Class Ranking: 99
The chase for 5-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. is expected to run through February and likely into March. Washington will be fully invested in securing his signature, regardless of the timeline.
Otherwise, though, the Huskies are ready to forget about 2022.
Washington didn't have a high-ranked recruiting class anyway, and the dismissal of head coach Jimmy Lake amplified the problem. Five prospects backed off verbal pledges to the Dawgs, including 4-star receiver Germie Bernard and 3-star quarterback Jackson Stratton. Washington has just seven commits or signees in this cycle.
Kalen DeBoer, who left Fresno State for UW, brings a fresh voice to a program in desperate need of one.