College football’s summer on the recruiting trail saw plenty of other official visit windows in June and even more verbal commitments in July.
It’s only fitting that Sports Illustrated’s first class recruiting rankings kick off after the summer dust settles and as the calendar turns to August—always an unofficial sign that America’s favorite sport is about to return to all levels.
This year, there seems to have been an acceleration in the volume department for many programs. Most programs have at least a dozen commitments, and 20 or more have eight before the season begins. In the league’s August standings, only half as many teams reached the 20-bet threshold before the end of July.
As for how the higher number affects the first ranking, it doesn’t do as much as one might suspect. SI rankings focus on premium position prospects (quarterback, offensive tackle, pass rusher, cornerback), overall quality at the top of the class and also putting together positional units and addressing team needs.
The upcoming SI99 prospect rankings are subjective, so teams’ recruiting rankings continue to adjust on the road to the 2023 National Signing Day in February.
The Crimson Tide waited their turn to change the recruiting landscape this cycle, and the program has been in the spotlight ever since. Not only is Alabama retaining considerable talent in-house, such as elite secondary recruits Jahlil Hurley and Tony Mitchell, but Georgia has landed three of the top prospects in the class with safety Caleb Downs, quarterback Dylan Lonergan and running back Judge Haynes all participating in the class. class in July. UA has the nation’s best QB class with Eli Holstein and Lonergan, and the best running back group with Haynes and Richard Young now on board over the weekend. The secondary and offensive line units will end up competing near the top as well.
2. Ohio State
The Buckeyes just landed their glaring missing piece, at least vicariously, in elite 11 quarterback Brock Glenn. In addition, Ohio State has the nation’s best receiver arsenal with Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate, Bryson Rodgers and Noah Rogers all in the fold. Their secondary will likely be among the best in the country, though Florida’s Dijon Johnson will no longer be a part of it after a weekend waiver. Also notable so far are the offensive line and tight end units.
3. Notre Dame
Despite the lack of a top-class quarterback, Ireland already has stars at almost every other position on the board. The trenches are as balanced as you’d expect, with class headliner and pass rusher Keon Keeley leading the pack among the bigs. Read also : Howard County Celebrates “Community Sports Hall of Fame” Introductory Class. Strong position units in the secondary and at wide receiver may excite Notre Dame fans as there are standouts coming into the program from the state of Texas in safety Peyton Bowen, cornerback Micah Bell and wide receivers Jaden Greathouse and Braylon James.
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Arch Manning’s late June commitment has elevated Texas into the top five nationally with two big and talented position groups at wide receiver and along the offensive line, including a blue chip commitment that Texas chose not to being a public competitor i. See the article : The new program offers high school students an immersive experience in high-tech research. Payton Kirkland. Steve Sarkisian’s sneaky strong position group is building, however, in the defensive backfield, where safety Derek Williams and linebacker Malik Muhammad will be among the best at their respective positions.
Even as he eschews the quarterback position after Manning chose Texas, this Georgia class already has the type of elite defensive recruit one would expect after the dominant unit on the field dominates Kirby Smart program to the national title in January. The four-man secondary could profile as the best nationally, led by high-floor coverage corner A. See the article : Ongoing Efforts to Support Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Applicants – US Department of State.J. Harris and all safety Joenel Aguero, promise every summer for the program. The linebacker group could get even better with balance, speed and instant impact prospects Troy Bowles, Raylen Wilson and CJ Allen to be the next wave of off-ball stars in Athens.
The defensive line draft at Clemson won’t draw the headlines that the 2020 class did, but the group could bring a similar mix of immediate impact players, pass rushers and size. Head coach Peter Woods, who can rush the passer outside or inside, also projects as one of the best individual recruiting wins for any program in the cycle as Dabo Swinney’s team entered Nick Saban’s back yard with for one of the best in the state of Alabama. . Elite 11 QB Chris Vizzina and a strong secondary also stand out with CU’s group.
The Sooners entered the top 10 of the 2023 draft rankings with nine commitments in July, including trench additions Adepoju Adebawore and Derrick LeBlanc on defense along with top ticket prospect Cayden Green on offense. Jackson Arnold looks like the future of the quarterback position with a combination of size, raw arm talent and production to his name, too. OU started August with a strong optical win at a top spot when it landed Austin (Texas) Westlake pass rusher Colton Vasek against rival Texas.
Where the Hurricanes lack defensive line and secondary talent, it makes up for it with one of the top offensive, quarterback and tight end classes in America. The pass-rushing group could finally challenge among the nation’s best, too, based on two July commitments in Malik Bryant and Jayden Wayne. He won the battle Francis Mauigoa on July 4 profiles as one of the signatures of Mario Cristobal along the offensive line, of course, after playing his specialty position and coaching it himself. Even better for Canes fans is the fact that Mauiigoa is pushing for more UM prospects at IMG Academy, arguably the most talented high school program in the country.
Electric quarterback prospect Nico Iamaleava leads the Vols class, but he’s far from alone. In fact, it’s the strongest looking UT group on defense so far, led by pass rushers Caleb Herring and Chandavian Bradley. Tight end Ethan Davis will lead the SI99 rankings among the top tight end recruits nationally, and the rest of the pass-catching class is coming along nicely. Needs remain along the offensive line and defensive interior.
10. Penn State
As the program searches for a pass rusher, the Nittany Lions have landed one of the most talented secondary classes in the country, led by a quartet of Southside safety recruits in Alabama commit Elliot Washington, Conrad Hussey, DaKaari Nelson and King Mack. The trenches are also a clear strength, with a strong base on the offensive line and a few dynamic pass rushers already in the fold.
SI will probably stay higher on Arkansas quarterback Malachi Singleton’s commitment than most, especially with a floor as high as a winning dual-threat talent (who also finished the Elite 11 as the sixth-best QB by our count). In addition, Sam Pittman’s program numbers are high in the trenches, an impressive tight end class and a huge secondary attraction are already promising. If you’re a sleeper recruit, TJ Metcalf could one day captain the Razorbacks’ defense from his safety position.
By the end of Troy’s haul, if he kept commitments, of course, quarterback Malachi Nelson and receiver Zach Branch could wind up No. 1 at their respective positions nationally. Branches pairs with Makai Lemon for an ideal one-two punch for Lincoln Riley on the outside, while on-the-spot recruits like linebacker Tackett Curtis and offensive lineman Micah Banuelos could be foundational pieces at positions of need. .
The Gators capped July on a tear on the track, especially within state lines, snagging four skill position commitments over the weekend including speedy wide receiver Aidan Mizell and former Miami commit Andy Jean. Almost quietly, UF has built a very strong secondary and wide receiver class that could grow in strength sometime soon. Throw in the flip of high upside quarterback Marcus Stokes from Penn State, and July went by as well as any Billy Napier fan could have hoped for.
Yet another program looking for a future QB1, the Tigers are still one of the summer’s biggest winners, bringing in a dozen new commitments since the start of June. No one felt it more than wide receiver Jalen Brown, one of the fastest players in the nation at any position. Defensively, the pass-rushing unit has recently been upgraded in Dashawn Womack and Jaxon Howard, two regional wins for Brian Kelly at his new position. Better production closer to Baton Rouge, and the Tigers could be looking at an eventual top-10 group.
The class after that historic game is coming together as many would have hoped. Luke Fickell’s program already has a huge defensive back on board, loaded with wins against Power 5 suitors like Daeh McCullough and Amare Snowden, among others. The offensive line is strong, and elite 11-rounder Brady Drogosh could be one of the most intriguing long-term developments in a nationally loaded quarterback class.
The Bears moved up relatively early in the class and are coming on strong at the end of the summer in terms of numbers and talent quality. Elite 11 passer Austin Novosad remains a headliner and despite continued flipping attempts from others, he was back in Waco recruiting for BU over the weekend. The Bears class has gems in many spots, like offensive tackle Zay Robinson, but the strength of the class lies in the defensive class in the back seven. Novosad’s commitment, which he confirmed Monday night, may be Baylor’s biggest single recruiting win under Dave Aranda.
“The coaching staff and the relationship I have with them and how I fit into the program and the offense was a huge reason,” Novosad said Monday. “Another reason is academics and what a Baylor degree can do for me after football is over.”
The hottest Pac-12 program of the summer was Kalen DeBoer’s program, landing 15 of his 19 commitments between June and July. Among them, the Dawgs got their quarterback in the ultraproductive Lincoln Kienholz, as well as a secondary group with some star power at the top in Louisiana native Curley Reed. The secondary and offensive line group are all but wrapped up before anyone’s first game starts this month, and the D-line unit could be next.
18. North Carolina
UNC did very well inside state lines in 2023, and hit on some pass rush closer to home, addressing a clear need under Mack Brown moving forward. The offensive skills are also off to a strong start, led by another Carolina native in quarterback Tad Hudson.
19. Texas Tech
Joey McGuire boomed early in the recruiting cycle and most of his first class has been intact, filled with Texans, so far. The trenches are filled to the brim with offensive players arriving in droves as well, including five pass catchers who have already committed. Chris Palfreeman is the only receiver brought in under 6′, but he also happens to be one of the fastest football players in the state.
The Ducks have the smallest class among the top 25 programs on this list, so of course the star power reigns within. It starts with SI’s Elite 11 MVP in Dante Moore and one of the nation’s most talented receivers in Jurrion Dickey, but there’s also already a big secondary attraction on board. The Ducks have raided the Pac-12 territory to get it together as well, with promising recruiting talents in Washington (Caleb Presley), Arizona (Cole Martin) and Nevada (Kodi Decambra). The Ducks need more trench talent to step up later in the year.
The Cardinals won some of the most surprising battles away from home in the class in the commitments of Pierce Clarkson, Aaron Williams and DeAndre Moore (from Calif.), along with Rueben Owens (Texas) and more. Five future Cardinals are from the Golden State, the same amount of commitments that Scott Satterfield has from the actual ACC footprint. Owens was arguably the top rebounder in the U.S., among the biggest upsets nationally when he decided in late June.
The Hawkeyes have built a first class under Kirk Ferentz so far. The skill group is solid, but half of the class is made up of trench talent, led by national in-state recruit Kadyn Proctor at offensive lineman. The Hawkeyes also boast one of the better current one-two commitment packages with starters in Khalil Tate and Kendrick Raphael.
At one point in late spring, the Wildcats were the hottest recruiting program in the country. The program didn’t add July’s pledges, but a top-25 class has already been built by that point, thanks to outstanding work by the offense and defense. Northwestern won battles in 10 different states to make its current group, led by Texas defensive lineman Ashton Porter, a possible sign that the program will continue to recruit beyond expectations under Pat Fitzgerald.
Pitt fans should be confident that the 2021 ACC title run was no fluke on that side of the ball with a top-10 quarterback in Kenny Minchey and near completion at wide receiver and offensive line. Outside of Minchey, alone, there are defensive additions throughout the secondary as well at the moment.
The biggest recruiting class in America for a first-year head coach? Certainly, the Blue Devils are taking chances within this class. But there are building blocks for the future sprinkled throughout the haul, including one of Texas’ top running back prospects in recent commit Marquise Collins, who had more than 3,000 yards from scrimmage as a junior.
Honorable mentions: Texas A&M, Iowa State, Stanford, TCU, South Carolina
The recruiting class rankings will be updated monthly through National Signing Day in February.