2022 College Football Recruiting News



By Corey Long – @CoreyLong
Updated Feb. 3, 2022.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Feb. 3 Update

And with that the 2022 National Signing Period has basically come to an end. There are a few names still out there, and a big one, No. 8 OT Josh Conerly Jr., isn’t planning to announce until March, but relatively speaking, the day is done.

There was a little more movement on this secondary signing day than there was in the two years previous, and some signing-day surprises as well. One of the big things I saw were some quality top-500-700 national prospects who ended up going to Group of Five or FCS programs because the transfer portal has taken away a lot of opportunities for high school players to get into Power Five programs.

Texas A&M will have the No. 1 recruiting class this cycle, and they were No. 1 again on Wednesday, coming away with as big of a haul as they did in December with No. 1 safety Jacoby Mathews and No. 5 defensive tackle Shemar Stewart. Georgia and Alabama waged a close battle in the top three, and programs like Oklahoma and Miami came in with strong finishes under new coaches.

Final Top-20 Recruiting Classes

  1. Texas A&M Aggies

  2. Georgia Bulldogs

  3. Alabama Crimson Tide

  4. Texas Longhorns

  5. Ohio State Buckeyes


  6. Michigan Wolverines

  7. Penn State Nittany Lions

  8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  9. Oklahoma Sooners

  10. LSU Tigers


  11. Missouri Tigers

  12. North Carolina Tar Heels

  13. Tennessee Volunteers

  14. Clemson Tigers

  15. Kentucky Wildcats


  16. Miami Hurricanes

  17. Michigan State Spartans

  18. Auburn Tigers

  19. Oregon Ducks

  20. Indiana Hoosiers


  21. Feb. 2 Update

    Secondary signing day is here! Much of the work has been done, but here are predictions on where the small handful of top uncommitted prospects are expected to sign.

    LB Harold Perkins (Cypress, TX); announcement date: Feb. 2
    Perkins, the No. 5 inside linebacker prospect in the nation, made a verbal commitment to Texas A&M at the Under Armour All-America Game, but backed away from that commitment after an official visit to Florida. Since then, it seems like the Gators have been at the top with LSU, which received an official visit last weekend and seemed to have pulled away in the 11th hour. If Perkins holds to what’s expected, this is a big catch for Brian Kelly.

    Prediction
    LSU



    DL Shemar Stewart (Opa Locka, FL); announcement date: Feb. 2
    One of the longest, draw-out recruitments is about to end, and Stewart, the No. 5 defensive tackle prospect, is exactly where he started – a slight lean to Texas A&M. Georgia and Miami are also in the mix, and it seems like all three camps feel good about this one. There’s also the lingering presence of Jackson State and a possible surprise. Miami just hired a defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele. I don’t know if that will make a big difference in the end because Stewart’s interest in Miami has been consistent. Still, I believe this is Texas A&M’s prospect to sign.

    Prediction
    Texas A&M

    DL Christen Miller (Ellenwood, GA); announcement date: Feb. 2
    Miller, the No. 11 defensive tackle prospect, received some headlines when he took an official visit to Florida A&M a couple of weeks ago. He also took an official to Miami this past weekend. I think his interest is genuine in both schools along with Ohio State, but as long as Georgia wants Miller, I believe he will be a Bulldog.

    Prediction
    Georgia

    RB TreVonte’ Citizen (Lake Charles, LA); announcement date: Feb. 2
    This might be the most intriguing announcement of the day because I think Miami, Florida and LSU all have a good shot at Citizen, the No. 9 running back prospect. LSU is always tough to beat for in-state prospects it wants, especially at running back. I think playing as a freshman is important to Citizen. Miami has two established running backs returning, and that makes the depth charts at LSU and Florida friendlier. I am leaning toward the Gators on this one even though they have already gotten a commitment from No. 10 running back Trevor Etienne.

    Prediction
    Florida



    OL Devon Campbell (Arlington, TX); announcement date: Feb 2
    Campbell is the No. 1 interior offensive line prospect in the nation. There doesn’t seem to be much drama with this one. Campbell has been Texas’ top target for months, and it seems like the interest is mutual. Between that and Texas’ NIL arrangements for offensive linemen, this one seems like a slam dunk.

    Prediction
    Texas

    OL Dave Iuli (Puyallup, WA); announcement date: Feb 2
    It’s a two-team race for Iuli, the No. 12 interior offensive line prospect. He was committed to Oregon until Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Cristobal convinced Iuli to visit Miami, and it seemed like the Hurricanes were in a good spot. But Iuli took another visit to Oregon once Dan Lanning and staff were in place, and it seems like Oregon is back in front. This is one where distance may make all the difference.

    Prediction
    Oregon

    S Jacoby Mathews (Ponchatoula, LA); announcement date: Feb 2
    Mathews is the No. 1 safety prospect in the class and was committed to LSU for a time. The coaching changes had Mathews reconsider everything, and there’s now a final three of Texas A&M, LSU and Florida. Mathews has been to all three programs this month either officially or unofficially, so everyone has had a shot to recruit him. It seems like Texas A&M and LSU are separating themselves from Florida in this recruitment. I think Mathews likes what he sees from Brian Kelly in the first six weeks of his time at LSU and is going to go back to the Tigers.

    Prediction
    LSU


    Jan. 12 Update

    College football is broken! How do we fix this thing?

    First, I don’t think college football is dying or anything close. Some people seem to have an issue with the NIL because anyone can play the money game and college football has been a members’ only club for several years now. But the same way college football didn’t die when Miami and Florida State got good in the 1980s, it won’t die because Jackson State can sign top prospects. If anything, the programs losing top players to Jackson State should probably take an internal look at what they are doing wrong instead of blaming the system.

    But if there was anything I would fix, it’s the transfer situation. I think there must be a way to calm down some of the traffic in the transfer portal. The issues with the portal are that only 30-35% of the players who enter the portal find other programs and it’s killing high school recruiting. Some programs are getting 10-15 players in the portal to make up for their shortcomings at recruiting and developing high school kids. And in my opinion, if you can’t recruit and develop high school prospects, maybe coaching college football isn’t for you.

    The traffic in the portal is being caused by several things not limited to coaching moves, the early signing period, impatient players, tampering, and coaches pushing out players who they have made recruiting mistakes on.

    How do we stop that?

    First, the early signing period needs to be moved up to somewhere between mid-August and Labor Day. The Early Signing Day (ESD) wasn’t designed to handle a full class, it was designed to sign the four to five kids who were 100% committed and didn’t want to deal with recruiting during their senior seasons. Moving the ESD up to late summer stops this mad rush of players signing too soon and coaches leaving programs in mid-November.

    Second, the player loses their right to the one-time free transfer if they leave before the end of the regular season unless outside circumstances (i.e. death in the family) force an earlier move. Too many kids are leaving in October and November. Just finish out the season and make the move rather than looking like a player who quit on a team midway through.

    In order to cure programs and coaches of overreliance on the portal, any non-graduate transfer should count as 1.5 scholarships. So, for every two non-grad transfer kids taken in the portal, it should count as three overall scholarships. If a program wants to exclusively recruit in the portal, fine, but it’ll cost 10 scholarships, and that program will sign 15 players instead of the allotted 25 players.

    That will help more prospects and coaching staff deal with improving what they have instead of potentially destroying their quality depth for a series of moves designed for a quick fix. Players will be more cautious about leaving knowing that most programs aren’t going to place that level value on them, and coaches will be more careful about pushing out players knowing they can’t just swap them one-for-one.

    Maybe it will improve things, maybe not, but that would be my place to start.

    Notable Commitments

    WR Kevin Coleman (St. Louis, MO) commits to Jackson State
    The minute you saw the blue hat with the red “J” on the table, the cat was basically out of the bag. Coleman, the No. 5 wide receiver prospect, becomes the next shocker for Jackson State and Deion Sanders. It’s an incredible coup for Sanders to land two top-100 recruits out of high school for his program. He is making quite the statement on several different levels. I can’t wait to see what Jackson State and Coach Prime have in store for the 2023 recruiting cycle.

    OL Carson Hinzman (Hammond, WI) commits with Ohio State
    A big recruiting win for Ohio State here because it’s hard to pull offensive linemen out of Wisconsin who are major targets for the Badgers. Hinzman, the No. 5 interior offensive line prospect, caps off a solid group of offensive linemen and an easy top-five recruiting class for the Buckeyes.

    RB Trevor Etienne (Jennings, LA) commits to Florida
    The thing with Florida and Etienne, the No. 10 running back prospect, seemingly came from nowhere, but Gators head coach Billy Napier has probably had his eye on the younger brother of Travis Etienne for a while. Even though the Gators jumped in late, it seemed like Etienne wasn’t sold on going to Clemson and decided on a different route. Napier has done a nice job with Florida so far.



    OL Earnest Greene (Bellflower, CA) signs with Georgia
    The hits just keep on coming for the Bulldogs, with their class continuing to challenge Texas A&M for the top class in the country. Greene, the no. 2 interior offensive line prospect, will travel across the country to play for the Bulldogs. Right now, no one is recruiting better on the lines than Georgia. If Greene believes that iron sharpens iron, he’ll be a razor’s edge after going through the line practices and battles in Athens.

    WR C.J. Williams (Santa Ana, CA) signs with USC
    As part of Lincoln Riley’s plan to get all the top West Coast prospects at USC, he made Williams, the No. 12 wide receiver prospect, a main priority. And Williams, the former Notre Dame commitment, seemed to be on board with staying home, especially after Brian Kelly left for LSU. Riley did miss out on a few of the top West Coast kids, but what he’s done with USC’s class in a short period of time is nothing short of magic.

    DE Cyrus Moss (Las Vegas, NV) signs with Miami
    The Coleman news had to be a little disappointing for Miami, but it was made up with the signature of Moss, the No. 6 defensive end prospect. Moss and Nyjalik Kelly give the Hurricanes two defensive ends in the top seven and a nice influx of young pass rushers on the roster. Mario Cristobal, much like Lincoln Riley, has been impressive in a short period of time at Miami and was able to convince Moss to go across the country to be part of what he is building.

    LB Daniel Martin (Marietta, GA) signs with Vanderbilt
    This was a nice surprise for Vanderbilt as Martin, a red-chip linebacker, signed and enrolled at the school in the same weekend. Commodores head coach Clark Lea has done a solid job with this class, but Martin is by far the most high-profile recruit to sign in a couple of seasons.

    S Larry Turner-Gooden (Mission Hills, CA) signs with Texas
    Turner-Gooden, a red-chip safety prospect, was committed to Arizona State for several months, but ends up being the next of a group of players from California who have committed to Texas. This number of players has jumped a bit since Steve Sarkisian took over as head coach, and with some new blood in the Pac-12 – Lincoln Riley, Dan Lanning -, it will be interesting to see if Texas continues trying to recruit on the West Coast or pivots back to strictly in-state recruiting.

    RB Rayshon Luke (Bellflower, CA) signs with Arizona
    No one is really talking about what Jedd Fisch has done this recruiting cycle, but understand that Arizona has been AWFUL in the 2020s and Fisch has had eight red-chip players sign with the Wildcats. That’s incredible given the lack of production and wins coming from that program in recent years. Luke is a smallish back (5-8, 171), but very explosive and dangerous on the perimeter. The Wildcats will be very young in 2022, but fun to watch on those Pac-12 After Dark games.

    CB Davison Igbinosun (Union, NJ) commits to Ole Miss
    The general belief was that Igbinosun was going to stay closer to home and play at Rutgers, but his interest in Ole Miss was legitimate. This is just a verbal commitment, however. I would not be shocked if Igbinosun has some pull to stay in his home region as the February signing day comes around. He is a good, lengthy cornerback with a red-chip designation.

    DL Hero Kanu (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) signs with Ohio State
    Kanu is one of the more intriguing line prospects to me in this class. If his measurements are close to the reported 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, I’m wondering if he’ll stay on the defensive line or move to the offensive side. Either way he’s a top-15 defensive line prospect who I missed out on in the first rankings. Kanu is another West Coast prospect who will go across the country to play for an East Coast program.

    WR Germie Bernard (Henderson, NV) signs with Michigan State
    Bernard was a Washington commitment and signed with the Huskies during the early signing period. But he had second thoughts and Washington released him from his letter so he could flip to Michigan State. Bernard has size (6-2, 191) and length, and he’s a prototypical outside wide receiver like a shorter Plaxico Burress. Bernard is a physical player and a good fit for the Spartans.





    Jan. 8 Update

    The All-American Bowl will be played today in San Antonio, Texas. There are several prospects who will make commitment announcements during the game, and here are a few who have been spotlighted.

    OL Earnest Greene (Bellflower, CA); announcement date: Jan. 8
    Greene, the No. 2 interior offensive line prospect, has decided against staying on the West Coast and will choose from Texas, Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama. He visited all three schools during the fall. Greene has already signed his national letter of intent, so this is just the public announcement before he enrolls next week. Georgia has been out front in this recruitment. Greene and Bulldogs OL coach Matt Luke have a strong relationship, one that will likely see Greene going 3,000 miles from home to play college football.

    Prediction
    Georgia



    WR Kevin Coleman (St. Louis, MO); announcement date; Jan. 8
    Coleman, the No. 5 wide receiver prospect, hadn’t given too many hints to his recruitment until recently. It seems like Oklahoma was in the picture, but Lincoln Riley left for USC, which put the Trojans in the picture. Oregon was a favorite for a short period of time, but Mario Cristobal left for Miami and Coleman’s interest shifted to South Beach. Florida State has been consistently among Coleman’s favorites, but in the past month, it looks like Miami has jumped ahead. This is a tough battle, but I think the Cristobal and the Hurricanes’ favorable situation at quarterback will be the difference.

    Prediction
    Miami

    DE Cyrus Moss (Las Vegas, NV); announcement date: Jan. 8
    Moss, the No. 6 defensive end prospect, has been a major target of USC since Lincoln Riley got to the program. Riley has done very well getting prospect from Las Vegas to USC in his first month, but getting Moss would truly give him an inside straight – pun intended. Miami, however, is in the picture. Mario Cristobal recruited Moss heavily to Oregon and has made him a major target for Miami. Both schools got late visits, and Moss decided to put off his expected singing in December. Miami is trending hard, but I think Moss is going to stay out west.

    Prediction
    USC



    WR C.J. Williams (Santa Ana, CA); announcement date: Jan. 8
    Williams, the No. 12 wide receiver prospect, was committed to Notre Dame up until the time that Brian Kelly left the school for LSU. The Tigers are not in the picture for Williams, but USC and UCLA are. This seems like a slam dunk for USC because Williams became immediately interested in the Trojans after Lincoln Riley arrived, and there have been question marks surrounding Chip Kelly, who is going into the final year of his contract at UCLA without talks of an extension.

    Prediction
    USC

    RB Trevor Etienne (Jennings, LA); announcement date: Jan. 8
    Etienne, the No. 10 running back prospect, is the brother of Travis Etienne, a former Clemson standout and first-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The younger Etienne is also interested in Clemson, but I think that interest waned somewhat after Tony Elliott left for Virginia. LSU is in the picture because the program is always on the radar of the top in-state prospects, but Florida has emerged as the favorite coming out of the dead period. The belief is Etienne will commit to Florida on Saturday, take his official visit to Gainesville next week and sign in February.

    Prediction
    Florida

    Jan. 5 Update

    It took me a day to watch the Under Armour All-America Game after an interesting decision from ESPN to broadcast it as direct competition to Sunday NFL as compared to what had recently been a late-afternoon Monday slot as a lead-in to Monday Night Football.

    The game itself, which surpassed the All-American Bowl – formerly known as the Army All-American Bowl – in terms of prestige during the early-mid 2010s, has taken a bit of backseat to the All-American Bowl since ESPN eliminated its college football recruiting vertical. Meanwhile, the All-American Bowl has the promotional machine of 247Sports behind it.

    But I was able to catch up with ESPN’s director of college football recruiting and college football sideline analyst Tom Luginbill, and he told me that he believed this year’s group was the best they’ve ever had. Personally, I’m still partial to the 2012 game that had Jameis Winston, P.J. Williams, Marcus Maye, Reggie Ragland, Amari Cooper, Duke Johnson, Ronald Darby, Nelson Agholor, Leonard Williams, Andrus Peat and several more future NFL starters, but I was still eager to see this group.

    Here are a few of the notable standouts:

    WR Luther Burden (East St. Louis, IL), signed with Missouri: Burden, the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in our rankings, made an impact on the first play of the game when he took a short pass, broke a tackle and cut through the middle of the secondary for a 65-yard touchdown. He’s an immediate impact-making playmaker for the Tigers.

    DT Walter Nolen (Powell, TN), signed with Texas A&M: Nolen, the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect, spent the game mauling offensive linemen and ripping through double teams while also forcing a fumble. He’s the centerpiece of the best defensive line recruiting class in recent memory.

    LB/DE Popeye Williams (Westfield, IN), signed with Louisville: Williams, a rising red-chip prospect, looked like a bit of a tweener to me in early film study, but he can get to the quarterback and showed explosion and quickness off the edge.

    Derrick Moore (Baltimore, MD), signed with Michigan: Moore, the No. 10 defensive tackle prospect, was named the defensive MVP after recording a couple of sacks. He will probably grow into being a full-time interior guy, but for the time being, he can offer plenty flexibility to a defense by being able to line up anywhere up front.

    OT Tyler Booker (Bradenton, FL), signed with Alabama: These games can be tough on offensive linemen, who need more than a week to mesh as a unit, but Booker, the No. 4 offensive tackle prospect, held his own. His technique and lower-body strength stood out when he was in pass protection. He is aggressive in the run game.

    RB Kaytron Allen (Bradenton, FL), signed with Penn State: Allen was dealing with injuries all week, so I was a bit surprised to see him play, but he excelled in a game that’s usually hard on running backs. Allen, the No. 12 running back prospect, had 71 yards on 14 carries and showed great patience and vision in waiting for things to develop.

    WR Chris Marshall (Fort Bend, TX), signed with Texas A&M: Marshall, the No. 14 wide receiver prospect, led all receivers with six catches. He runs solid routes and does a good job of getting open and getting in the quarterback’s line of vision.

    QB A.J. Duffy (Bradenton, FL), signed with Florida State: Duffy led two touchdown drives, although one was just a single play and a short pass to Luther Burden. The No. 8 quarterback prospect didn’t have great numbers (5-for-16, 97 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and the game still moves a little fast for him. Duffy, however, was the best quarterback in the game and should provide some hope for a Seminoles program desperate to break out of a losing stretch.

    DT Marquis Gracial (St. Charles, MO), signed with Missouri: I thought Gracial, a red-chip player, was the second-best defensive lineman in the game behind Nolen, and he’s clearly in line to move up the rankings. He’s a big player at 6-foot-3, 311 pounds, but he has very quick feet and moves like a 270-pounder. I was very impressed.

    Notable commitments

    LB Harold Perkins (Cypress, TX) commits to Texas A&M
    Perkins, the No. 5 inside linebacker prospect, made the expected commitment to the Aggies and adds another piece to their No. 1 recruiting class. This recruiting isn’t over yet. Perkins has a couple more visits to take, and it appears that Florida and LSU will get those opportunities. He was surrounded by Texas A&M commits at the Under Armour Game, over a dozen of them, so we’ll see if this commitment sticks when Perkins takes visits without the outside noise.

    DE Omari Abor (Duncanville, TX) commits to Ohio State
    I predicted Texas would pull the surprise and get the commitment of Abor, but Abor, the No. 2 defensive end prospect, stuck with the rumored favorite. Abor will not sign until February, so I believe Texas will continue to apply pressure and try to sell potential NIL opportunities. I expect Florida to get an official visit. Miami and LSU are also pushing hard. Keep an eye on Abor as the February signing date approaches.

    RB Jovantae Barnes (Las Vegas, NV) signed with Oklahoma
    No surprise here as Barnes, the No. 6 running back prospect, made the expected decision and will enroll this week. His relationship with Las Vegas native and Oklahoma running backs coach Demarco Murray was too strong, so the Sooners were able to survive the defection of Lincoln Riley when it came to Barnes’ recruiting.

    Jan. 2 Update

    The Under Armour All-America Game is being played today in Orlando, Florida. Even though most of the prospects in the game are committed and have already signed with the college program of their choice, there are still a few undecided prospects who will make their intentions known today. Here are predictions for those prospects:

    LB/ATH Harold Perkins (Cypress, TX); announcement date: Jan. 2
    Perkins (6-2, 215), the No. 5 inside linebacker prospect in the class, is down to Texas A&M, Texas and LSU. This is an interesting announcement because Perkins isn’t going to sign until February and just recently said that he will take official visits to other programs with Florida, Miami and USC being mentioned as potential sites. So, this could be a situation of where the team Perkins announces for ends up still having some recruiting to do. LSU seems to be the odd team out right now because of the coaching changes on the staff. Texas A&M has been the program out front for a while and the program that Perkins seems to have the best relationships at. Texas is certainly a possibility here too because of what it is offering through NIL deals. I think the Aggies get the nod, but Perkins’ recruitment might have more twists and turns before he puts ink to paper.

    Prediction
    Texas A&M

    DE Omari Abor (Duncanville, TX); announcement date: Jan. 2
    Abor (6-4, 233), the No. 2 defensive end prospects in the class, has a final group of LSU, Texas, Florida, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Alabama. Abor, much like Perkins, will not sign until February and still has two official visits he can take and a second official visit to LSU – if he wants it because of the coaching change. Alabama and Ohio State received official visits in June. For now, LSU, Alabama and Florida are on the outside looking in. Texas has made the biggest charge and is really in line for a surprise commitment at the Under Armour Game or the All-American Bowl the following weekend. Ohio State has been a favorite for Abor, but the amazing defensive line class that Texas A&M has amassed has his attention. The Aggies are hot, but I think this is where the Longhorns make their move.

    Prediction
    Texas

    Javontae Barnes (Las Vegas, NV), announcement date: Jan. 2
    It’s a surprise that Barnes’ (6-0, 190), the No. 6 running back prospect in the class, carried his recruitment out to this point. He has been a lean for Oklahoma because of a strong relationship with former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and current Oklahoma running backs coach Demarco Murray. The Riley relationship put USC back in play for Barnes, and Florida State also jumped in late. A lot has happened though. Barnes’ connection at Florida State, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, left for Oregon in December.

    Riley has pushed hard for Barnes to join his teammate, Zion Branch, in the Trojans’ class. But Murray has been a constant, and that relationship goes deep as the former Dallas Cowboys running back is from Las Vegas. Barnes’ comfort level with Murray and a recent good visit with new Sooners coach Brent Venables sets up Oklahoma well for a commitment.

    Prediction
    Oklahoma

    Dec. 28 Update

    I hope everyone had a fine holiday. With a short dead period before the final stretch of recruiting heats up again next up, it’s time for some position rankings. These will be updated again in February for the traditional National Signing Day.

    Offensive Backfield
    1. Alabama Crimson Tide

    2. Georgia Bulldogs

    3. Penn State Nittany Lions


    Summary: The Crimson Tide signed the No. 2 quarterback, Ty Simpson, the No. 4 running back, Emmanuel Henderson and the No. 8 running back, Jamarion Miller, to stock up their backfield. Georgia added the No. 2 running back, Branson Robinson, but it’s the No. 3 quarterback, Gunnar Stockton, who has fans’ attention given the Bulldogs’ issues at quarterback. Penn State had the best class in the nation over the summer and signed the No. 3 running back, Nicholas Singleton, and the No. 12 running back, Kaytron Allen. The Nittany Lions also added No. 9 quarterback Drew Allar.

    Receivers
    1. Texas A&M Aggies

    2. Ohio State Buckeyes

    3. Michigan Wolverines


    Summary: Texas A&M signed two of the top three tight ends – No. 1 Jake Johnson and No. 3 Donovan Green – and then added the No. 2 wide receiver, Evan Stewart, and No. 14 wide receiver Chris Marshall. It’s an elite group of pass-catching prospects. Ohio State added three of the top-20 wide receivers – No. 7 Caleb Burton, No. 10 Kaleb Brown and No. 17 Kylon Graves. The Buckeyes also grabbed the No. 10 tight end, Bennett Christian. Michigan got a playoff-recruiting bump with No. 11 wide receiver Tyler Morris, No. 20 wide receiver Darrius Clemons and red-chip tight end Colston Loveland out of Gooding, Idaho.

    Offensive Line
    1. Alabama Crimson Tide

    2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    3. Texas Longhorns



    Summary: There were some other programs – Florida State and Ohio State – that were close to making the top three as the offensive line units were well spread out. Alabama signed the No. 4 tackle, Tyler Booker, and the No. 7 tackle, Elijah Pritchett, to take the top honors. Notre Dame had the No. 8 interior guy, Billy Schrauth, and the No. 11 tackle, Ty Chan. Texas signed the No. 1 offensive tackle in Kelvin Banks, a major in-state pickup, and added No. 13 interior guy Neto Umeozulu.

    Defensive Line
    1. Texas A&M Aggies

    2. Georgia Bulldogs

    3. Penn State Nittany Lions


    Summary: Texas A&M might’ve put together the best defensive line class since recruiting statistics started being documented. The Aggies signed the No. 1 and No. 2 defensive tackle prospects, Walter Nolen and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, and the No. 4 and No. 5 defensive end prospects, Enai White and Malick Sylla. It was an amazing haul for the Aggies, and one that should pay dividends immediately. Georgia was a solid second and signed the No. 1 defensive end, Marvin Jones Jr., along with the No. 4 tackle, Bear Alexander, and the No. 8 tackle, Mykel Williams. The third spot was tougher to figure, but Penn State pushed again by signing the No. 6 tackle, Dani Dennis-Sutton, and No. 9 defensive end, Ken Talley.

    Linebackers
    1. Alabama Crimson Tide

    2. Ohio State Buckeyes

    3. Georgia Bulldogs


    Summary: Another position where the rankings were super close, but Alabama had three of the top-six outside linebackers with No. 2 Jeremiah Alexander, No. 4 Jihaad Campbell and No. 6 Amari Niblack. The Crimson Tide also had the No. 2 inside linebacker, Shawn Murphy, to put them over the top. Ohio State struck big with the No. 1 outside linebacker, C.J. Hicks, and the No. 3 prospect at the position, Gabe Powers. Georgia was just as strong when recruiting inside linebackers, grabbing No. 1 prospect Malaki Starks and No. 3 prospect Jalon Walker.

    Secondary
    1. Georgia Bulldogs

    2. Alabama Crimson Tide

    3. Texas A&M Aggies


    Summary: It’s an SEC sweep in the secondary. Georgia cleaned up at the cornerback position by signing the No. 2 prospect, Jaheim Singletary, and the No. 3 prospect, Daylen Everette. The Bulldogs added the No. 15 safety, JaCorey Thomas. Alabama signed four cornerbacks in the top 15 with No. 5 prospect Isaiah Bond leading the group. The Crimson Tide also added No. 6 safety Kendrick Law. Texas A&M capped off its amazing class with No. 5 safety Bryce Anderson and No. 9 cornerback Denver Harris.

    Notable commitments

    WR Tetairoa McMillan (Anaheim, CA) signs with Arizona
    The Wildcats struggled on the field, but give Jedd Fisch credit for putting together a solid recruiting class and capping it off by flipping McMillan, the No. 3 wide receiver prospect, from Oregon. McMillan gives Arizona a true playmaker on offense who could quickly become a No. 1 option in the passing game.

    QB Tanner Bailey (Gordo, AL) signs with South Carolina
    Bailey, the No. 19 quarterback prospect in the class, was a longtime commit to Oregon, but changed his mind when Mario Cristobal left for Miami. He joins a South Carolina quarterback room that added former Oklahoma starter Spencer Rattler to serve as a bridge and potential tutor for Bailey.

    CB Denver Harris (Houston, Texas) signs with Texas A&M
    Harris, the No. 9 cornerback prospect in the class, made an already great Texas A&M class even greater. He becomes the latest piece in an amazing haul on the defensive side of the ball that included three of the top-five defensive line prospects in the country.

    LB Jaren Kanak (Hays, KS) signs with Oklahoma
    Give new Oklahoma coach Brent Venables credit. He came into a tough recruiting situation and kept the Sooners’ class strong. Here they add Kanak, a red-chip athlete who is arguably the top prospect from Kansas. I project he’ll eventually grow into being a middle linebacker.

    Dec. 18 Update

    We have almost reached the dead period for this stage of recruiting, and things will pick back up when the year turns 2022. Until then expect a lot of movement in the transfer portal, with plenty of it happening this weekend. It’s unfortunate that the portal has taken a lot of steam out of high school recruiting, and it’s something that needs to be fixed soon.

    I am a proponent for all non-graduate transfers to cost 1.5 scholarships. So basically, for every two non-graduate transfers a program takes, it costs three scholarships. Some FBS programs are not really bothering with high school recruiting because the portal is so much easier. But it’s killing the supply-chain process that feeds college football.

    If the number of high school kids recruited continues to fall, that becomes fewer high school kids playing football in general, and if the supply starts to run lower, it’s fewer players for everyone. The NCAA must figure out something with the transfer situation to save high school recruiting and save some of these transfers. There were almost 1,500 kids in the portal last cycle, with only 30 percent signing with new schools. Everyone must do a little better.

    Updated Top-20 Classes

    1. Texas A&M Aggies

    2. Alabama Crimson Tide

    3. Georgia Bulldogs

    4. Ohio State Buckeyes

    5. Texas Longhorns


    6. Michigan Wolverines

    7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    8. Penn State Nittany Lions

    9. North Carolina Tar Heels

    10. Oklahoma Sooners


    11. Missouri Tigers

    12. Kentucky Wildcats

    13. Auburn Tigers

    14. Michigan State Spartans

    15. LSU Tigers


    16. Tennessee Volunteers

    17. Indiana Hoosiers

    18. Florida State Seminoles

    19. Clemson Tigers

    20. Arkansas Razorbacks


    Notable commitments

    CB Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, CA) signs with USC
    Jackson, the No. 6 cornerback prospect in the class, was a long-time USC commitment, but backed out shortly after Clay Helton was fired and was linked to Alabama from that point forward. USC needed a Hail Mary to get back in Jackson’s recruiting, and the program got one with the hire of Lincoln Riley. Riley made it a mission to get the top west coast prospects back in the fold, and so far, he has done it.

    S Kendrick Law (Shreveport, LA) signs with Alabama
    Law, the No. 7 safety prospect in the class, is likely going to play on the offensive side of the ball at Alabama, and that might have been the selling point for Law over LSU, where I think the Tigers were recruiting him as a corner/safety. Either way, Law is another blue chipper for Nick Saban’s program, and it’s on that moves Alabama up to No. 2 in the team class rankings.

    TE Jaleel Skinner (Bradenton, FL) signs with Miami
    Skinner, the No. 4 tight end prospect in the class, was thought to be a bit of a shaky commitment to Alabama, and that spawned an official visit to Miami last week. Whereas Alabama’s class was getting full, there are no such problems at Miami and the flip was made. Skinner is another nice pull for new head coach Mario Cristobal.

    WR Decoldest Crawford (Shreveport, LA) signs with Nebraska
    Crawford, a red-chip player with a blue-chip name who went viral a few years ago, backed away from his commitment to LSU after Brian Kelly was hired. Crawford chose Nebraska over Cincinnati, and he’s a nice pickup for the Cornhuskers in an otherwise uneventful early signing period.

    Dec. 17 Update

    It was an expected slow down on the second day of the Early Signing Period. There are a few key announcements scheduled for today, but today was a chance for many programs to reset the board and focus on a busy day in the transfer portal that included some major movement.

    The major decisions expected today include No. 6 cornerback Domani Jackson out of California and No. 6 safety Kendrick Law out of Louisiana. Jackson is choosing between Alabama and LSU, while Law is between LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama. Also, there’s a possibility that No. 6 running Jovantae Barnes (Las Vegas, NV) could decide between Oklahoma, USC and Utah, and No. 5 wide receiver Kevin Coleman (St. Louis, MS) could choose from Miami, Oregon, USC and others.

    It was a big day for movement in the transfer portal, and there will be a mega update on the grades for that Monday.

    Updated Top-20 Classes

    1. Texas A&M Aggies

    2. Georgia Bulldogs

    3. Alabama Crimson Tide

    4. Ohio State Buckeyes

    5. Texas Longhorns


    6. Michigan Wolverines

    7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    8. Penn State Nittany Lions

    9. North Carolina Tar Heels

    10. Oklahoma Sooners


    11. Missouri Tigers

    12. Kentucky Wildcats

    13. Auburn Tigers

    14. Michigan State Spartans

    15. LSU Tigers


    16. Tennessee Volunteers

    17. Indiana Hoosiers

    18. Florida State Seminoles

    19. Clemson Tigers

    20. Arkansas Razorbacks


    Notable commitments

    OT Julian Armella (Miami, FL) signs with Florida State
    Armella, the No. 2 offensive tackle prospect in the class, was a late Wednesday-night signee for the Seminoles, who certainly needed the good news after a rough day. Armella is a legacy recruit, his father and uncle both played for the Seminoles. His signing puts Florida State back in among the Top-20 classes at No. 18.

    CB Marquis Groves-Killebrew (Acworth, GA) signs with Texas A&M
    Groves-Killebrew was a Georgia commit up until late Thursday night when the No. 17 cornerback prospect made a switch to Texas A&M and added another major piece to its No. 1 class. It appears the Aggies and the Georgia Bulldogs are done for the early period, but things remain tight for which has that top class.

    DL Isaac Hamm (Sun Prairie, WI) signs with Wisconsin
    Hamm is a solid in-state red-chip player, probably inside the top-25-30 defensive tackle prospects in the class. Even though the competition for prospects in Wisconsin was a little tighter this year, the Badgers got their targets and are still the favorites for No. 5 interior offensive line prospect Carson Hinzman. Wisconsin has some targets signing in February who could help the program get to a top-25 class.

    Dec. 15 10:20PM Update

    Updated Top-20 Classes

    1. Texas A&M Aggies

    2. Georgia Bulldogs

    3. Alabama Crimson Tide

    4. Ohio State Buckeyes

    5. Texas Longhorns

    6. Michigan Wolverines

    7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    8. Penn State Nittany Lions

    9. North Carolina Tar Heels

    10. Oklahoma Sooners


    11. Missouri Tigers

    12. Kentucky Wildcats

    13. Auburn Tigers

    14. Michigan State Spartans

    15. LSU Tigers


    16. Tennessee Volunteers

    17. Indiana Hoosiers

    18. Clemson Tigers

    19. Arkansas Razorbacks

    20. Stanford Cardinal

    Notable commitments

    LB Shemar James signs with Florida
    It was never going to be about quantity today for the Gators, but new head coach Billy Napier made it about quality and caps off a solid day with James, the No. 4 inside linebacker prospect in the class. The future looks bright for Florida Gators recruiting.

    DE Enai White (Philadelphia, PA) signs with Texas A&M
    The best defensive line class in the country continues to get better with the commitment of No. 4 defensive end prospect White. If the goal was to get better on the trenches in College Station, the mission was accomplished Wednesday.

    OT Kiyaunta Goodwin (Charlestown, IN) sticks with his Kentucky pledge
    It was a wild ride for Kentucky with long-time commitment Goodwin, the No. 5 offensive tackle prospect, wavering on his pledge. But after a hard push from Michigan State, Goodwin decided to stick with the Wildcats and sign his name.

    CB Earl Little Jr. (Plantation, FL) signs with Alabama
    Little, the No. 13 cornerback prospect in the class, becomes the latest south Florida prospect to go the Crimson Tide to play in the secondary. Alabama continues to fight for the No. 1 class in the nation.

    DE Marvin Jones Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL) signs with Georgia
    Jones, the No. 1 defensive end prospect in the class, was a legacy to Florida State, but decided to spurn the program his dad was a two-time All-American for to add to the stockpile of talent at Georgia. The Bulldogs remain in the hunt for the No. 1 class.

    DE D.J. Wesolak (Boonville, MO) signs with Missouri
    Wesolak, the No. 8 defensive end prospect in the class, is the cherry on top for a Missouri class that will be inside of the top 15. Head coach Eli Drinkwitz wanted to make sure he secured many of the top in-state prospects, and he did a great job of it.

    OLB Jihaad Campbell (Bradenton, FL) signs with Alabama
    Campbell, the No. 4 outside linebacker prospect in the class, was a late de-commitment from Clemson and found a lot of potential suitors when he opened his recruitment back up. Alabama, however, got the last official visit and signed Campbell.

    DT Anthony Lucas (Scottsdale, AZ) signs with Texas A&M
    Lucas, the No. 13 defensive tackle prospect in the class, adds to a whale of a defensive line class at Texas A&M that includes top two defensive tackle prospects in the nation – Walter Nolen and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy respectively. It’s a group in the trenches that Texas A&M fans believe will put them in line for a playoff berth and possibly a national championship.

    OL Kam Dewberry (Humble, TX) signed with Texas A&M
    Dewberry, the No. 10 interior offensive line prospect, is the next in line to commit to the Aggies. The afternoon session has been focused on Texas A&M and its quest for the top recruiting class. Dewberry gives the Aggies another big name.

    Dec. 15 5:10PM Update

    Updated Top-10 Classes

    1. Texas A&M Aggies

    2. Alabama Crimson Tide

    3. Georgia Bulldogs

    4. Ohio State Buckeyes

    5. Texas Longhorns


    6. Michigan Wolverines

    7. Penn State Nittany Lions

    8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    9. North Carolina Tar Heels

    10. Oklahoma Sooners


    Notable commitments

    LB Jaron Willis (Leesburg, GA) signs with Ole Miss
    Willis, the No. 14 inside linebacker prospect in the class, backed away from his commitment to Georgia Tech a few weeks ago and will end up in the SEC. It’s been a rather quiet recruiting period for Lane Kiffin, but this is a nice pickup.

    DT Khurtiss Perry (Pike Road, AL) commits to Alabama
    Perry, the No. 14 defensive tackle prospect in the class, made the expected decision to sign with the Crimson Tide. Alabama has a sure-fire top-three class and is fighting for the top class overall.

    CB Azareyeh Thomas (Niceville, FL) signs with Florida State
    I am not sure if anything will soothe the pain that Florida State fans are feeling today, but Thomas, the No. 8 cornerback prospect in the class, is a solid in-state pickup.

    WR Shazz Preston (St. James, LA) signs with Alabama
    Preston, the No. 8 wide receiver prospect in the class, was a long-time lean to LSU, but admitted the coaching change to Brian Kelly was a big factor behind him deciding to sign with the Crimson Tide and give Nick Saban’s program its second big commitment of the afternoon session.

    S Zion Branch (Las Vegas, NV) signs with USC
    Branch, the No. 12 safety prospect in the class, is one of the big dominoes who USC fans were hoping would fall their way. Lincoln Riley was brought in and paid handsomely to win the west coast, and Branch is a big step forward for the Trojans.

    DE Nyjalik Kelly (Fort Lauderdale, FL) signs with Miami
    Kelly, the No. 7 defensive end prospect in the class, put together a strong relationship with Miami coach Mario Cristobal while the player was entertaining a commitment to Oregon. When Cristobal decided to come back to Miami, it made Kelly’s decision that much easier.

    WR Darrius Clemons (Portland, OR) signs with Michigan
    Clemons is a high-end red-chip wide receiver who could crack the top 20 in the end-of-cycle rankings. He was a long-time Oregon lean but will instead help Michigan keep its recruiting bump going strong.

    DT Anthony Lucas (Scottsdale, AZ) signs with Texas A&N
    Lucas, the No. 13 defensive tackle prospect in the class, adds to a whale of a defensive line class at Texas A&M that includes top two defensive tackle prospects in the nation – Walter Nolen and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy respectively. It’s a group in the trenches that Texas A&M fans believe will put them in line for a playoff berth and possibly a national championship.

    DT Derrick Moore (Baltimore, MD) signs with Michigan
    Moore, the No. 10 defensive tackle prospect in the class, continues Michigan’s impressive recruiting bump for the day. This is by far the best recruiting class so far under Jim Harbaugh and the closest the Wolverines have been to Ohio State regarding young talent.

    S Kamari Wilson (Bradenton, FL) signs with Florida
    Wilson, the No. 2 safety prospect in the class, puts a major feather in the cap for the Billy Napier era. Last week, Florida made a high-profile hiring, grabbing defensive backs coach and top recruiter Corey Raymond from LSU. That move paid off huge dividends right away with Wilson’s signature.

    Dec. 15 12:40PM Update

    Updated Top-10 Classes

    1. Georgia Bulldogs

    2. Texas A&M Aggies

    3. Alabama Crimson Tide

    4. Ohio State Buckeyes

    5. Texas Longhorns


    6. Michigan Wolverines

    7. Penn State Nittany Lions

    8. Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish

    9. North Carolina Tar Heels

    10. Oklahoma Sooners


    Notable commitments

    DB Travis Hunter (Suwannee, GA) shocks the world, signs with Jackson State
    Hunter, the No. 1 cornerback in the country, was committed to Florida State for nearly a year and considered the bell cow of its recruiting class. Instead, he will sign with Jackson State and play for Deion Sanders, who was an All-American at Florida State in the mid-1980s. This is clearly the most shocking recruiting flip since I’ve been following this over the past 25 years and could arguably be the biggest recruiting story ever. Sanders, to his credit, said he was going to do whatever it took to get Jackson State on the map and sign top players. With the help of the name, image and likeness deals, and an alleged deal with Barstool Sports, Sanders has pulled a Muhammad Ali and “shook up the world” … or at least the college football world.

    TE Jake Johnson (Bogart, GA) signs with Texas A&M
    The No. 1-ranked tight end in the ’22 Class committed to the Aggies. His older brother, former LSU starting quarterback Max Johnson, is in the transfer portal and looking for a home as well.

    LB Jaishawn Barham (District Heights, MD) signs with Maryland
    Mike Locksley continues to win on signing day and nabs the No. 11 inside linebacker in the class. Barham’s signing continues to show Locksley’s ability to land major prospects around the D.C. Metro Area – DMV.

    S Devin Moore (Naples, FL) signs with Florida
    The Gators had been in hot pursuit of Moore, a former Notre Dame commit, since Billy Napier took the job. Napier’s work, coupled with the departure of Brian Kelly to LSU, paid off with a big in-state commitment.

    DL Tyre West (Tifton, GA) signs with Tennessee
    The No. 7 defensive tackle in the class had been wavering from his Georgia commitment for the past month, with Tennessee and Florida State battling for a flip. West decides to stay in the SEC East and become a Volunteer.

    DB Terrance Brooks (Little Elm, TX) signs with Texas
    This could be the start of the big day for the Longhorns as they get Brooks, the No. 4 defensive back prospect in the nation, to flip from Ohio State. When the math is all said and done, this should move the Texas class into the top five.

    S Keon Sabb (Bradenton, FL) signs with Michigan
    Sabb, the No. 8 safety prospect in the class, was a late de-commitment from Clemson. He was linked to the usual suspects after that move, but instead gives Michigan a nice recruiting bump to follow the Wolverines

    DL Quency Wiggins (Baton Rouge, LA) signs with LSU
    Wiggins, the No. 10 defensive end prospect in the class – and likely to be re-classified as a defensive tackle -, was a big local target for Brian Kelly in his transition class at LSU.

    Dec. 15 Update

    First, here are the Top-20 Recruiting Classes going into the first day of the Early Signing Period. Watch for updates at the end of each of the next three days.

    1. Georgia Bulldogs

    2. Texas A&M Aggies

    3. Alabama Crimson Tide

    4. Ohio State Buckeyes

    5. Penn State Nittany Lions


    6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    7. Texas Longhorns

    8. Michigan Wolverines

    9. North Carolina Tar Heels

    10. Oklahoma Sooners


    11. Kentucky Wildcats

    12. Florida State Seminoles

    13. Clemson Tigers

    14. Missouri Tigers

    15. Michigan State Spartans


    16. Arkansas Razorbacks

    17. Tennessee Volunteers

    18. Stanford Cardinal

    19. Auburn Tigers

    20. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

    Now, here are some other predicted recruiting outcomes:

    CB Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, CA); announcement date: Dec. 17
    Jackson (6-1, 185) recently announced he would wait until Friday to make his announcement. That could bode well for USC as it tries to regain his commitment. Alabama is the other school factoring into Jackson’s recruitment, and for most of the fall, it looked like the Crimson Tide would be the team to beat. But Lincoln Riley moving to USC has already proven to be a game changer. I think the longer Jackson’s recruitment goes, the harder he will be pulled to stay home and help bring the Trojans back to the top of college football. He is the No. 6 cornerback in the Class of 2022.

    Prediction
    USC

    CB Daylen Everette (Bradenton, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Everette (6-1, 185), the No. 3 cornerback in the Class of 2022 was a long-time commitment to Clemson, but backed away from that pledge shortly after former defensive coordinator Brent Venables left the program to become head coach at Oklahoma. Everette was supposed to decide between Alabama and Georgia on today, but he made a surprise verbal commitment to the Bulldogs on last night.

    Prediction
    Georgia

    CB Azareyeh Thomas (Niceville, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Thomas (6-1, 176), the No. 8 cornerback in the 2022 class, has had a lot of bad luck with the coaching carousel. Three of the schools he heavily considered – Oklahoma, LSU and Florida – all experienced coaching changes within a week of each other, which left Thomas on the outside. The Florida State staff has stayed consistent, and when they pursued Thomas again, he was much more receptive. An official visit this past weekend put the Seminoles in a great position to land Thomas’ signature Wednesday.

    Prediction
    Florida State

    DL Anthony Lucas (Scottsdale, AZ); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Lucas (6-4, 275), the No. 13 defensive tackle in the 2022 class, is one of the big bellwether prospects who could indicate how the day will go. He has a final three of Alabama, Notre Dame and Texas A&M. The Aggies and Crimson Tide are fighting for the No. 1 class ranking coming out of the Early Signing Period, while Notre Dame is looking for a major shocker to kick start Marcus Freeman’s tenure as head coach. Texas A&M continues to trend, and the belief is that the Aggies have just a little more going for them in this recruitment than their competitors.

    Prediction
    Texas A&M

    DE Marvin Jones Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Jones (6-4, 245), the No. 1 defensive end of the Class of 2022, has not given too many hints to where his recruitment stands. Every time he takes an official visit or an in-home visit, the program that is being represented believes it is in the lead. Florida State, Alabama, Georgia and USC are the finalists here. Obviously, Florida State has the history on its side. Jones’ father, Marvin Sr., was an All-American linebacker for the Seminoles and has his locker enclosed in glass. Alabama has always been in the picture and seemingly provided the biggest challenge to Florida State, but Georgia and USC have both come on strong with well-received official visits. This is a make-or-break recruit for Mike Norvell and the direction of his program. Jones is a must get for the Seminoles.

    Prediction
    Florida State

    CB Denver Harris (Houston, TX); announcement date: TBD
    There is no guarantee that Harris (6-1, 180), the No. 9 cornerback in the Class of 2022, will make his decision tomorrow or sometime this week. He will sign with a program before January and enroll. For several weeks, this looked like a Texas A&N recruiting win, but Texas has gotten in the action, and the Longhorns are trying to be a big nuisance in what is predicted to be a banner day for the Aggies. Harris has been to both schools several times, so there’s no secrets here. If he makes a decision on Wednesday, it will be with Texas A&M; if he doesn’t, expect things to get very tight.

    Prediction
    Texas A&M

    S Keon Sabb (Bradenton, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Sabb (6-2, 200), the No. 8 safety in the Class of 2022, is one of the three recent de-commitments from Clemson. The Tigers have tried to get back in his recruitment with the promotion of Wes Goodwin and safeties coach Mickey Conn to co-defensive coordinator. At this point, it seems like Sabb is settled on moving on and will likely be one of the prospects who helps Michigan get a recruiting bump after clinching its first berth in the college football playoff.

    Prediction
    Michigan

    Dec. 14 7:30PM ET Update

    It’s hard to believe we are already at another Early Signing Period. I expect a lot more drama, twists and turns this week than what transpired last year during COVID-19. Going into the start of the period on Wednesday here are 11 programs I am watching very closely – in alphabetical order.

    Cincinnati Bearcats
    Current Ranking: 26th
      Why I’m watching: This is an important class for the Bearcats because of the potential recruiting bump they might get from making the playoff and because of their expected entrance into the Big XII for the 2023 season. The bump seems to be real because the Bearcats are in for two red-chip prospects – wide receiver DeColdest Crawford, a former LSU commit and viral name sensation, and safety/linebacker prospect Alex Afari, who is currently committed to Kentucky. Afari will sign this week, but Crawford might wait until February. A commitment from either prospect could vault Cincinnati into a top-25 class.

    Clemson Tigers
    Current Ranking: 16th
      Why I’m watching: There might not be a program trending downward more than Clemson. First, the Tigers lost both coordinators to head coaching jobs at Oklahoma and Virginia respectively. They continue to get purged through the transfer portal, while Dabo Swinney still stubbornly refuses to take transfers. And recently, the Tigers saw No. 3 cornerback Daylen Everette, No. 4 outside linebacker Jihaad Campbell and No. 8 safety Keon Sabb all back out of their verbal commitments in a 3-day span. The bottom line is Swinney has a ton of questions to answer about how Clemson handles recruiting and its roster. He will need to make changes or his program’s days at the top could be over.

    Florida Gators
    Current Ranking: Low 80s
      Why I’m watching: Billy Napier’s transition class is going to be an interesting one. He couldn’t bring over too many commitments from the class at La.-Lafayette, but he did get an offensive lineman, Christian Williams, to make the flip. Safety Devin Moore looks like he could be a Gator on Wednesday, and that’s a good sign for the future. Could Florida get in on linebacker Jaron Willis or safety Kamari Wilson? I don’t think so, but if the Gators do, it will be an early sign of what Napier and his staff can do in the Class of 2023.

    Florida State Seminoles
    Current Ranking: 13th
      Why I’m watching: Florida State’s final class is either going to be about who the team landed or who the team missed out on. No. 1 cornerback Travis Hunter appears to be set, and the Seminoles are sitting pretty for No. 2 offensive tackle Julian Armella. Can Mike Norvell add No. 1 defensive end Marvin Jones Jr. and No. 6 running back Jovantae Barnes to the class? If so, the Seminoles could be approaching a top-five haul. But if Jones, a Florida State legacy recruit, chooses Alabama or Georgia, it will be a devastating blow for the confidence the Seminoles fanbase will have in Norvell’s ability to land the top prospects.

    Kentucky Wildcats
    Current Ranking: 14th
      Why I’m watching: As good of a defensive-minded coach as Mark Stoops is, the one time you don’t want to play defense is during the signing period. Kentucky is in the unfavorable position of playing defense, and it’s surrounding No. 5 offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin. Although Goodwin has been a verbal commitment since April, he has a lot of potential suitors from Michigan State to Alabama to Florida State, and they are all leaving a spot open for him.

    LSU Tigers
    Current Ranking: 25th
      Why I’m watching: There’s been a ton of action at LSU since Brian Kelly took over for Ed Orgeron. The Tigers lost their starting quarterback Max Johnson and starting cornerback Eli Ricks to the transfer portal. Top recruiter and long-time assistant Corey Raymond left the program to take a similar job at Florida. Additionally, long-time commits like tight end Jake Johnson and wide receiver Decoldest Crawford left the class. Still, LSU should finish inside the top 20, and Kelly’s success will be dependent on the in-state prospects he can land this week. Wide receiver Shazz Preston, defensive back Kendrick Law and defensive lineman Quency Wiggins are some of the big in-state prospects who LSU is hoping to land.

    Michigan State Spartans
    Current Ranking: 18th
      Why I’m watching: Michigan State is trying to get a couple of flips during the Early Signing Period. Obviously, the big one is the No. 5 offensive tackle Kiyanuta Goodwin. If Goodwin ends up in the Spartans’ class – and right now, I would say it’s about 50-50 – that addition alone might move their class into the top 15.

    Miami Hurricanes
    Current Ranking: low 60s
      Why I’m watching: Mario Cristobal’s transition class will have heavy input from the transfer portal, but there will be some good movement with high school prospects as well. I have already predicted the Hurricanes as the landing spot for the No. 7 defensive end Nyjalik Kelly, and No. 9 inside linebacker Wesley Bissainthe is also expected to sign with Miami. Can Miami add No. 5 wide receiver Kevin Coleman to the class when he announces in a couple of weeks? Landing that level of prospect is one of the reasons the Miami boosters are paying $8 million for Cristobal.

    Oklahoma Sooners
    Current Ranking: 11th
      Why I’m watching: Reports of Oklahoma’s recruiting demise, mostly predicted by me, were greatly exaggerated. The recent commitment of No. 13 quarterback Nick Evers, a former Florida verbal, and a weekend flip of No. 8 linebacker Kobie McKinzie made it clear that Oklahoma isn’t running and hiding during this stretch recruiting run. Landing No. 12 safety Zion Branch or No. 6 running back Jovantae Barnes, both Las Vegas prospects, would be a major feather in Brent Venables’ cap as he starts his tenure in Norman.

    Texas Longhorns
    Current Ranking: 6th
      Why I’m watching: Texas is making major moves down the stretch. Regardless of what you think of Quinn Ewers’ actions regarding Ohio State, there’s no question about the quarterback’s talent and he’s a huge transfer land for Steve Sarkisian. The school’s announcement of an NIL deal for their offensive linemen and the timing of No. 1 offensive tackle Kelvin Banks committing to the program was probably not a coincidence. Texas is making things happen on the trail.

    USC Trojans
    Current Ranking: low 90s
      Why I’m watching: Lincoln Riley’s first class is going be about getting the top west coast kids in and building around them for 2023. No. 1 running back Raleek Brown is already in the fold. Now Riley will to try to get No. 6 cornerback Domani Jackson and No. 6 running back Jovantae Barnes to join him. And keep an eye on No. 12 wide receiver C.J. Williams, a Notre Dame verbal, for a potential flip.

    Dec. 14 1:00PM ET Update

    S Devin Moore (Naples, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Moore (6-2, 188) is not quite ranked in the top-20 safeties through the Fall rankings, but he might break in during the final update. The fringe blue chipper was committed to Notre Dame for several months, but backed away from that pledge when Brian Kelly left to go to LSU. That was the opening needed for new Florida coach Billy Napier to jump in and get the Gators heavily involved. Florida has been trending for a few weeks, and Moore took his official visit to Gainesville over the weekend.

    But do not count Notre Dame out, as Moore has a very strong relationship with new Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman. It’s going to be a battle that might not be settled until Wednesday morning, but I believe Moore will stay in state and give Napier’s transition class a big boost.

    Prediction
    Florida

    DE Nyjalik Kelly (Fort Lauderdale, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Kelly (6-4, 238), the No. 7 defensive end in the Class of 2022, was committed to Florida State a long time ago. The Seminoles are in his list of top-five schools, but I don’t know if they will be a factor here. There are some other schools in the mix, like Florida and Auburn, but it feels like Kelly is all but signed and delivered to Miami. Kelly was leaning heavily to Oregon during November because of his relationship with Mario Cristobal. When Cristobal left Oregon for Miami, it didn’t change their connection and made distance that much less of an issue. The winds in this recruiting battle are blowing hard for the Hurricanes.

    Prediction
    Miami

    DT Quency Wiggins (Baton Rouge, LA); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Wiggins (6-6, 269) is the No. 10-ranked defensive end in the Class of 2022, but he might be outgrowing the position at this stage and will likely be reclassified as a defensive tackle in the final rankings. LSU, Florida and Alabama are his final three.

    This is a litmus test for Brian Kelly at LSU. Wiggins is a local player who was penciled as an LSU commitment early in his recruitment. He has taken it to the end, but LSU got the final visit, and that should be enough to close the deal here. If Wiggins doesn’t commit to the LSU, it could be a sign of things to come for the Tigers’ staff.

    Prediction
    LSU

    LB Jaron Willis (Leesburg, GA); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Willis (6-2, 225) has had a very strange recruitment. He originally chose Georgia Tech over Florida State in May but continued a long flirtation with the Seminoles for months afterward. A flip to Florida State was long expected, but never happened, and there were rumors that Willis wanted to be recruited as a safety, which seems ridiculous. He didn’t back away from his commitment to Georgia Tech until the past weekend. Ole Miss seems to be trending, but Willis might have taken an official visit to Florida this past weekend. I am selecting Ole Miss, but with limited confidence. Willis looks like he might bring some drama on Wednesday.

    Prediction
    Ole Miss

    DE Trevion Williams (Crystal Springs, MS); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Williams (6-4, 252) is a rising red-chip prospect who has the body and skill set to be a very good pass rusher at the next level. He was another player who committed to Florida State over the summer, but that always seemed like more of a placeholder than a legitimate pledge. I thought this would eventually develop into a Mississippi State vs. Arkansas recruiting battle, but Arkansas never seriously entered the picture. Barring a major shocker, Williams will be signing with Mississippi State on Wednesday.

    Prediction
    Mississippi State

    WR Camden Brown (Fort Lauderdale, FL); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Brown (6-3, 187) is another rising red-chip prospect who is one of the top-30 wide receivers in the nation. He committed to Pittsburgh in late June and kept his commitment to the Panthers for several months. Then his recruitment heated up in the late fall, with West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida State extending scholarship offers within a week. Brown started seriously looking and eventually backed away from his commitment to Pittsburgh in late November.

    Now with signing day approaching, Brown has entertained several programs. He took an official visit to Georgia this past weekend, but is down to Auburn and Pittsburgh. Auburn seemed to have the momentum for a while, but Pittsburgh has the relationships – most notably the relationship between Brown and Panthers wide receivers coach Brennan Marion. I think that relationship will take Brown back to Pittsburgh.

    Prediction
    Pittsburgh

    DE D.J. Wesolak (Boonville, MO); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Wesolak (6-4, 240) is another pass rusher who has emerged this season and solidified himself as a red-chip player. This has been a difficult recruitment to process, as both North Carolina and Clemson have been in the picture this fall but did not make Wesolak’s final five. Missouri, LSU, USC, Alabama and Georgia did make the list. I think this is down to Missouri and LSU though.

    Brian Kelly is a big reason why LSU is on this list as the prospect and the coach have previous history when Kelly was at Notre Dame, and he is a big reason Wesolak spent this final visit weekend at LSU. While I think LSU is a strong possibility here, Wesolak is going to choose from his home-state Tigers instead.

    Prediction
    Missouri

    S Zion Branch (Las Vegas, NV); announcement date: Dec. 15
    Branch (6-2, 195) is the No. 12 safety in the Class of 2022. He is down to USC, Ohio State and Oklahoma, with Clemson and Oregon recently eliminated. I thought he was leaning to Oregon for a while, but the departure of Mario Cristobal ended that relationship. Ohio State has been a consistent presence in his recruitment since the spring, as has Oklahoma. USC has come on very strong in the last three weeks … when Lincoln Riley took over as head coach there. Riley has been instrumental in Branch’s recruitment at both Oklahoma and now USC. Keeping the top West Coast kids at home is why Riley was hired. Riley isn’t expected to reel in a big group Wednesday, but he is expected to land the major targets. He’s already got one in running back Raleek Brown, now he should get a second with Branch.

    Prediction
    USC

    Dec. 13 Update

    CB Austin Ausberry (Baton Rouge, LA); announcement date: Dec. 13
    Ausberry (6-0, 189), a solid red-chip prospect from Louisiana has a top five of Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Michigan and Florida, but at this stage, I think it’s down to Auburn and LSU. He has been to both programs multiple times and is taking his official visit to LSU this weekend. Because of Ausberry’s proximity to LSU, it’s not a telling sign based on the timing of the official visit. I believe that Ausberry has generally leaned to Auburn, but he wants to give LSU another chance now that the coaching situation has been resolved with the hire of Brian Kelly. Will that be enough to keep the cornerback home? I don’t think so.

    Prediction
    Auburn

    DL Caden Curry (Greenwood, IN); announcement date: Dec. 14
    Curry (6-3, 250), the No. 15 defensive tackle in the Class of 2022, is choosing between Indiana, Ohio State and Alabama. He has taken official visits to all three programs earlier in the cycle. I am curious if Alabama would even have the room to take Curry with its other options still on the table. Right now, I would say no, so that leaves Ohio State and Indiana. Overall, I think Indiana has done a very good job recruiting, especially in state, but a tough season on the field might put the Hoosiers in a tough spot to land a top-end prospect like Curry. For that reason, I think he’ll make an announcement for the Buckeyes on Tuesday and sign with them on Wednesday.

    Prediction
    Ohio State

    Dec. 8 Update

    The top four of the 2021 College Football Playoff is set. There are some usual suspects in there along with a couple of a newcomers. Recruiting remains the lifeblood of any program and the schools that recruit the best talent usually end up playing for championships. Here is a quick synopsis of how this year’s top four CFP teams are recruiting with the Early Signing Period a little more than a week away.

    1. Alabama
      • Current Recruiting Ranking: 3rd
      • Top Commitments: No. 2 QB Ty Simpson; No. 2 ILB Shawn Murphy; No. 2 OLB Jeremiah Alexander; No. 4 OT Tyler Booker; No. 4 RB Emmanuel Henderson.
      • Overview: It’s Alabama, what else do you want? The Crimson Tide are going to challenge for the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and will have a group of top prospects enter the program in the spring and summer of 2022. The Crimson Tide are in the top group for several remaining blue-chip prospects like No. 1 DE Marvin Jones Jr. and No. 6 CB Domani Jackson.


    2. Michigan
      • Current Recruiting Ranking: 12th
      • Top Commitments: No. 7 CB Will Johnson; No. 11 WR Tyler Morris; S Zeke Berry; CB Myles Pollard; QB Jayden Denegal.
      • Overview: It’s going to be another solid class for Michigan that will likely finish a little outside of the Top 10. The Wolverines are considered to have a slight advantage over the field for No. 8 OT Josh Conerly Jr. and are also in the picture for No. 8 S Keon Sabb.


    3. Georgia
      • Current Recruiting Ranking: 2nd
      • Top Commitments: No. 3 QB Gunnar Stockton; No. 1 ILB Malaki Starks; No. 2 CB Jaheim Singletary; No. 2 RB Branson Robinson; No. 3 ILB Jalon Walker
      • Overview: Georgia will be battling Texas A&M, Alabama and Ohio State for a No. 1 recruiting class this cycle. The Bulldogs already have a great collection of top prospects but will look to add on a few others like No. 2 S Kamari Wilson and No. 5 DL Shemar Stewart.


    4. Cincinnati
      • Current Recruiting Ranking: 31st
      • Top Commitments: No. 15 DE Mario Eugenio; DL Derrick Shepard; CB Oliver Bridges; S J.Q. Hardaway; TE Marcus Peterson.
      • Overview: Cincinnati has the top recruiting class among Group of Five programs, and if you want a general comparison the Bearcats would have the third-best class in the Pac-12 and the seventh-best class in the ACC. Ironically, their highest-ranked commitment, Eugenio, was originally a verbal commitment to Michigan.


    Dec. 1 Update

    It’s been a wild couple of weeks in the coaching ranks. If you would have told me that LSU, Florida, Oklahoma, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington and Notre Dame would all have open jobs as the season wound down, I would’ve called you a liar.

    As it is, many of the jobs have been filled and a few others like Oklahoma and Notre Dame are expected to be filled shortly. But how will the recruiting at these programs fare as these moves are made? The Early Signing Period is two weeks away, and there’s plenty of work to be done, so here’s a quick look at where these programs are as new coaches take over.

    USC Trojans
      New coach: Lincoln Riley
      Current 2022 Recruiting Class Ranking: Mid-80s
      Trending: Up
    Well yeah, it’s hard to get any lower than USC currently is, with just five players committed – and one of them is a punter. But there’s plenty of opportunity for Riley to hit the ground running and get some big names in his class before ink starts to go to paper on December 15. The Riley era got off to a great start already with top 2023 Quarterback Malachi Nelson committing to the Trojans, giving them the best quarterback available not named Arch Manning.

    As for repairing the 2022 class, I think there will be a lot of work in the transfer portal, especially on offense. But as high school prospects, go it’s all about the Mater Dei teammates, No. 1 RB Raleek Brown, and No. 6 CB Domani Jackson. Brown is currently committed to Oklahoma, so he’s very familiar with Riley, and now the coach must convince him that whatever he planned to do in Norman, he can do in his home state. Jackson was committed to USC for a long time, but recent de-committed and will choose between the Trojans and Alabama.

    The bottom line is Riley was hired to win back Southern California, so Brown and Jackson are must-get recruits in this class. If Riley can land those two in the next week, expect others to follow. That could quickly give USC a top-20 class.

    Florida Gators
      New coach: Billy Napier
      Current 2022 Recruiting Class Ranking: 33rd
      Trending: Slightly Up
    Asking Napier to boost the current Florida’s class into anything inside of the top 15 is probably too much. The program’s recruiting structure is broken, and Napier must fix it. Unfortunately for the Gators, Napier is spending the week in Lafayette, Louisiana preparing the Ragin’ Cajuns for the upcoming Sun Belt Championship Game. It’s respectable that Napier is doing that, but I also think it’s an amateur mistake.

    Every minute Napier isn’t focused on fixing the Gators is a wasted opportunity. Florida has had a rash of de-commitments in the past month, including No. 4 inside linebacker Shemar James, No. 16 cornerback Julian Humphrey – flipped to Georgia, red-chip running back Terrance Gibbs and red-chip athlete Isaiah Bond. Napier’s job is going to be to re-establish Florida as a program that recruits the in-state prospects and will do it more aggressively than Florida State or Miami. Florida is trending for red-chip safety Devon Moore, a recent Notre Dame de-commit from Naples, Fla.

    The Gators staff might only be able to get red-chip prospects from inside the state at this point. But even that will send a little message to the next wave of in-state prospects.

    LSU Tigers
      New coach: Brian Kelly
      Current 2022 Recruiting Class Ranking: 13th
      Trending: Up
    The big news coming out of Kelly’s hire was that he immediately told assistant coaches Kevin Faulk and Corey Raymond that they were going to be retained – and likely given a raise. That’s major news for recruiting because Faulk and Raymond are the two top guns on the staff and the ones most familiar with the recruiting landscape in Louisiana. It’s likely Kelly will want to take some coaches with him from Notre Dame, especially defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, but we’ll see how that works out after the Early Signing Period.

    There are a ton of top targets who LSU is still in on, including No. 1 safety Jacoby Mathews, No. 2 defensive end Omari Abor, No. 5 inside linebacker Harold Perkins and No. 10 cornerback Denver Harris. The Tigers could absolutely pull an inside straight and land a top-five class, but a class inside the top 10 seems more likely.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
      New coach: Unknown
      Current 2022 Recruiting Class Ranking: 7th
      Trending: Stable
    It’s hard to say where Notre Dame will go with the coaching search. If the school decides to wait for Luke Fickell, which is very possible, the program won’t have a coach in place until the turn of the new year. I believe most of the prospects who commit to Notre Dame are committing to the school and the culture more than a coach, so I don’t expect as much movement in the team’s class as I would with other programs. It’s currently a top-10 class, and if the remaining staff can convince most of the 22 commitments to sign in the next two weeks, I expect it’ll stay around the top 10.

    Oklahoma Sooners
      New coach: Unknown
      Current 2022 Recruiting Class Ranking: 12th
      Trending: Down
    Despite rumors that Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables would be announced at Oklahoma’s new head coach Tuesday, that didn’t happen for reasons we aren’t aware of. What I do know is that the remaining Oklahoma staff is playing defense on the recruiting trail right now and every day a new coach isn’t announced is another day that things could blow up. There’s also been rumors of “double agents”, most notably cornerbacks coach Roy Manning, who might be working for both Oklahoma and USC right now.

    The good news is committed prospects like No. 2 defensive tackle Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy and No. 10 offensive tackle Jake Taylor seem solid for now, with the latter saying he’s not interested in USC or meeting with Riley. Also, top target No. 6 running back Javontae Barnes said his high interest in Oklahoma goes deeper than his relationship with Riley. The bad news is that Oklahoma offensive players are flocking to the transfer portal and the odds of keeping No. 1 running back Raleek Brown seems slim at this point. I think Oklahoma’s class is going to slip, and the hope is that would the program can keep it inside the top 20.

    Nov. 11 Update

    OL Aamil Wagner (Dayton, OH); scheduled announcement date: Nov. 11
    Wagner (6-6, 262) is the No. 14 offensive tackle in the class. His top programs are Maryland, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Ohio State and Penn State. Wagner took all his official visits over the summer, so then it comes down to the unofficial visits. He has taken confirmed trips to Penn State and Kentucky during the season, and if he went to the other three schools, he did so without anyone noticing him there.

    Penn State is already at 25 commitments and four offensive tackles in its 2022 class, so the Nittany Lions might not have room for Wagner without giving someone else the boot. Kentucky also has a strong offensive line class coming in, led by No. 5 offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin. Although Goodwin still has some unfinished business in recruiting after he took an official visit to Alabama in late October and an unofficial to Michigan State over the past week, Kentucky is hoping that bringing in Wagner and pairing him with Goodwin as future bookends will solidify his commitment. I expect Wagner to choose Big Blue.

    Prediction
    Kentucky


    CB Julian Humphrey (Houston, Texas); scheduled announcement date: Nov. 12
    Humphrey (6-1, 188) is ranked as the No. 16 cornerback in the 2022 class. He was committed to Florida in May and backed away from his pledge to the Gators in late October after taking an official visit to Georgia and an unofficial visit to Texas A&M. Not surprisingly, Humphrey is down to the Aggies and the Bulldogs for his final choice. This recruiting battle is going to be one of many to come between the Bulldogs and Aggies, who will likely be battling Alabama and Ohio State for the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.

    The early word on Humphrey was that he was interested in playing college football outside of Texas, so it’s a credit to Jimbo Fisher and his staff to make the push they have for the Houston-area prospect. With that being said, Humphrey took an official to Georgia in early October, and from that point on the Bulldogs, looked to be in the driver’s seat. I expect Humphrey to confirm that Friday.

    Prediction
    Georgia


    Sept. 28 Update

    OL Elijah Pritchett (Columbus, GA); schedule announcement date: Sept. 28
    I have Pritchett (6-6, 286) down as the seventh-best offensive tackle in the 2022 class. He has a final group of Georgia, Alabama, USC and Florida State. Pritchett has taken officials to all four of his top schools and took a fifth to Arkansas in June. For much of the spring and summer, it was thought Pritchett was going to be part of haul from the Seminoles that included quarterback A.J. Duffy and top athletes Travis Hunter and Sam McCall. When Pritchett didn’t commit over the summer, it seemed like things might go to December. One of the things that held Pritchett back from committing to the Seminoles was that he wanted to see how they performed in 2021. Florida State is 0-4 right now, and that’s the reason I believe the program is out and it’s an Alabama-Georgia fight. Georgia got the most recent official visit (Sept. 17), but all the buzz is following Alabama. I’m in the 51-49% range on this one and will not be surprised if it’s “Roll Tide” or “Go Dawgs” today.

    Prediction
    Alabama


    Aug. 20 Update

    The other day, I looked at five teams that are being predicted to outperform their recruiting rankings on the field based on the Preseason AP Top 25 poll. Today is a look at five teams that are recruiting at a much higher rate than where the polls have them, if they are ranked at all.

    Penn State: The Nittany Lions sit at No. 2 in my recruiting rankings and are in a great position to solidify the program’s first top-five recruiting class in many years. James Franklin is a hell of a recruiter; that’s not a surprise. What’s changed with the Nittany Lions is the addition of running backs coach JaJuan Seider, one of the best recruiters in college football. Seider gives Penn State access to Florida, and there the Nittany Lions have landed commitments from red-chip defensive lineman Zane Durant and cornerback Cam Miller.

    Florida State:: Florida State is the only program in the country that has a top-10 recruiting class and isn’t anywhere in the preseason Top 25. Currently, I have the Seminoles’ class right at No. 10, and I think it could get higher, possibly as high as No. 7 or it could drop into the Nos. 15-20 range if a couple of targets don’t come through. The top of the Seminoles’ class is excellent, with two-way stars Travis Hunter and Sam McCall leading the way. Quarterback A.J. Duffy and defensive lineman Trevion Williams are also blue-chip prospects.

    Rutgers: Right now, I have the Scarlet Knights’ class at 12th overall, although it was as high as No. 6 earlier in the cycle. I always thought of Greg Schiano as more of a developer/evaluator than recruiter, but he has a strong staff. Secondary coach Fran Brown and wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood are leading the charge on the trail. Rutgers is strong in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but the staff is reaching outside of the Mid-Atlantic too – grabbing red-chip quarterback prospect Gavin Wimsatt out of Kentucky.

    Missouri: Eli Drinkwitz and staff are showing their potential in their second recruiting cycle at Missouri. I think quarterback commit Sam Horn, out of Georgia, is big time and a legitimate blue-chip prospect at the most important position. The Tigers have also done well in state, grabbing a red-chip defensive lineman Marquis Gracial and the top outside receiver in the state Ja’Marion Wayne. I have the Tigers’ class at No. 15 and trending in a good direction.

    Michigan State: I have the Spartans’ class at No. 17, and it’s clear head coach Mel Tucker is finding more success recruiting in Georgia while at Michigan State than he did during his short stay in Colorado. The Spartans have four prospects from the Peach State on their commit list, including red-chip tight end Jack Nickel. Michigan State has a wide alumni base and more reach nationally than one might expect. That reach is why players from Arizona, Florida and California join the usual crop of Michigan and Ohio prospects in the Spartans’ top-20 class.

    Aug. 17 Update

    The AP Top 25 dropped this week. and to the surprise of no one. Alabama will start the season at No. 1. The usual suspects – Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia – make up the rest of the top five. Not surprisingly, all five programs appear to be near locks for top-10 recruiting classes when the numbers are all added up in February.

    There are, however, several teams in the top 25 that look like they are being predicted to outperform their recruiting rankings on the field. Here are five teams that stick out.

    Iowa State: The Cyclones are No. 7 in the AP Poll and currently sit at No. 29 in my team recruiting rankings. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has always done more with less, but this current class has a very good chance of finishing in the Top 25 if a couple big targets can come through. The Cyclones’ class is mostly based in the Midwest, but they pulled running back Quaron Adams, one of the top players in Arizona, and wide receiver Greg Gaines, the top-rated outside receiver in Florida.

    Cincinnati: The Bearcats sit one spot behind Iowa State at No. 8 and will battle Central Florida for the top recruiting class in the American Conference. Cincinnati currently sits at No. 31 in my team recruiting rankings. The Bearcats staff is landing a lot of the best second-tier prospects in Ohio, beating out some Power Five programs. Cincinnati is also strong in Florida, where the program has pulled tight end Marcus Peterson and wide receiver Quincy Burroughs.

    Wisconsin: It’s been a bit of a down year for Wisconsin in recruiting so far. I have the Badgers’ class sitting at No. 45, 11th in the Big Ten, and far below their preseason ranking of No. 12. Wisconsin has generally stayed inside the top 25-30, and I expect the staff will land some of their top targets as the season goes along. But the fact is recruiting is competitive on the western end of the Rust Belt. Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State and Michigan State are all battling for a similar crop of players to Wisconsin, and if the talent numbers in the area are a little down, there will be teams that suffer.

    Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers are one of two Sun Belt teams in the Top 25. In my recruiting rankings, they are sitting at 52nd overall and have a good chance to break into the Top 50 with another couple of key commits. This could be one of the best recruiting classes that has ever come out of the Sun Belt. Coastal Carolina has eight commits from Florida, three from Georgia and two from Alabama. The Chanticleers staff hasn’t had as much luck in their backyard. The program has no commitments from the Carolinas yet this year.

    La.-Lafayette: The Ragin’ Cajuns are the second Sun Belt team in the AP Top 25 and by far the lowest-rated recruiting class in the countdown. La.-Lafayette comes in at No. 71, but that’s good enough for second in the Sun Belt. The Ragin’ Cajuns have one of the best coaches in college football, Billy Napier, the guy who I thought Texas should have hired. Napier and his staff tend to focus on two states – Louisiana and Texas – and generally draw 90 percent of their recruiting classes from those two states. The staff may also dip into the Mississippi junior colleges for more immediate depth. The positive of staying so isolated is that the staff isn’t spread too thin and can focus on a smaller group of prospects to evaluate.

    June 1 Update

    Today is the official restart of college football recruiting as we knew it before the pandemic.

    For the past 15 months, college football recruiting has been a virtual exercise. Zoom meetings replaced face-to-face time. The campuses have been closed, and the coaches not allowed to communicate with a prospect if they arrive on campus on their own dime to have a look for themselves or check out an open spring practice. Campus tours were virtual. Coaches couldn’t go to high school football games in a scouting capacity.

    That all changed at midnight. Several programs are doing events and hosting prospects/targets as early as 12:01 a.m., while other programs were planning brunches and BBQs later in the morning and afternoon.

    Class of 2022 prospects can take on-campus official visits again starting this weekend. Each prospect is still limited to five official visits and only one per school. Unofficial visits, which prospects can do on their own dime, are back as well and will be a major tool for prospects looking to put together their boards for the Class of 2023 and 2024 prospects.

    The other big return is college prospect camps that are hosted by the program on its campus and worked by the coaches on the respective staffs. The camp schedule in a regular year is busy, but for the 27 days of camp season in June, it’s going to feel like the 405 in Los Angeles. Expect major news from all the big camps that the top prospects attend, whether it’s at Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State, Texas, Oregon, USC or Auburn. There are several larger-scale camps – called MEGA-camps – happening that will have in excess of 50 programs there for prospects from the elite FBS level down to Division III and NAIA. Call it one-stop shopping that should benefit both coaches and prospects.



    Things to Watch for in June

    Lots of verbal commitments: A lot of prospects have been waiting to for face-to-face meetings and evaluations to commit to programs.

    Lots of de-commitments: Remember this is the first taste many verbal commitments will get of the campus and coaching staff they pledged to. Some will be happy with their choices. Many will reconsider. Expect to read many “respect my decision” tweets this summer.

    Player Rankings: The first set of rankings will be out near the end of the month.



    Big Names Taking Early Visits

    DL Walter Nolnes (Cordova, TN)
    Nolnes is arguablty the top defensive prospect in the Class of 2022. He’s taking an official visit to Florida this weekend and has visits to Michigan and LSU scheduled for the summer. Alabama and Ohio State are also in his final group and will get official visits in the fall.

    CB Denver Harris (Houston, TX)
    Harris will take official visits to all four of his top programs this month. Texas A&M is first up this weekend, followed by LSU on the 11th, Texas on the 18th and Alabama on the 25th.

    OLB Jeremiah Alexander (Alabaster, AL)
    Alexander surprised many by listing Central Florida is his top five with Alabama, USC, Clemson and Georgia, but the Knights will get an official visit from the top EDGE-rushing prospect in the nation on June 11.

    S Kamari Wilson (Fort Pierce, FL)
    Wilson is the top safety prospect in the nation. He is due to make an official visit to Georgia this weekend and then stop in at Texas A&M on the final weekend of June. Florida, Florida State and LSU are also in his top five.



    Recruiting Rankings – June 1

    1. Georgia
    2. LSU
    3. Ohio State
    4. Oklahoma
    5. Texas

    6. Alabama
    7. Florida State
    8. Texas A&M
    9. Penn State
    10. Notre Dame

    Expect this to change by the end of the month.








    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23


    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21


    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12