|247Sports' Top 25: 2011 Class Rankings|
|Valentine's Day is Jadeveon Clowney's birthday, but he won the hearts of South Carolina fans everywhere when he committed to the Gamecocks on Monday morning. |
Clowney, by far the No. 1 player in the country according to 247Sports, is the final blue-chip prospect in the 2011 recruiting class to sign and turn in his letter of intent. As such, 247Sports has updated its team recruiting rankings for the final time until enrolled rankings are released in August.
Clowney helped the Gamecocks climb from No. 19 to No. 12 in the rankings. His individual player rating of 105 makes him one of two "franchise players" in this class according to 247Sports. We expect his impact on the field to match his impact in these rankings.
Georgia also moved up in this installment of the rankings thanks to the late signature of four-star defensive tackle John Jenkins. The Bulldogs climbed from ninth to seventh, passing Florida and Notre Dame.
Alabama has the top recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports, followed by Florida State, Texas, LSU, Auburn and USC.
Here is our list of the Top 25 team rankings.
|Headliners: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, DT Jesse Williams|
The skinny: Kouandjio's switch from archrival Auburn gave the Crimson Tide the No. 1 class in the nation. Out of the junior college ranks, Jesse Williams is a defensive tackle that has the potential to have a Terrance Cody-sized impact on the Tide defense. Also from the JUCO ranks, former freshman All-American Aaron Douglas should bring an immediate presence to the offensive line following the departure of James Carpenter. Alabama landed a pair of dynamic teammates -- S Hasean Clinton and RB Dee Hart -- who bring fantastic athleticism to the table. There is also a potential heir to Julio Jones in Marvin Shinn, a big target with speed on the outside. Always a breeding ground for great linebackers, Brent Calloway and Trey DePriest are the latest additions on that front as the Alabama defense just reloads.
The ones that got away: RB Isaiah Crowell, ATH Malcolm Mitchell
|Headliners: DT Timmy Jernigan, S Karlos Williams|
The skinny: Florida State recruiting is back in a big way. The Seminoles have been on a roll dating back to the end of 2009, when Bobby Bowden handed Jimbo Fisher the keys to the program. Leading this year's class is a do-it-all safety in Karlos Williams. FSU also added a blue-collar, hard-nosed tight end in Nick O'Leary and a freak athlete in James Wilder. On Signing Day, Florida State added five-star defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to that mix. Jernigan may be the most disruptive defender in the nation. The Seminoles also brought in two of the top junior college prospects in the nation in Cornelius Carradine and Jacob Fahrenkrug. Devonta Freeman looks like a game-breaking running back as well. Florida State addressed almost every position with an outstanding signee.
The one that got away: LB Tony Steward
|Headliners: OG Sedrick Flowers, LB Steve Edmond, RB Malcolm Brown|
The skinny: Boring? Sure. Easy? It sure seems that way. Effective? No doubt. Whatever you want to call it, Texas' recruiting effort continues to be the most efficient machine in the nation. A class that has been essentially in the books since February 2010 is led by two five-star prospects in offensive guard Sedrick Flowers and inside linebacker Steve Edmond. The first big-time running back in years to be heading to Austin is Malcolm Brown, one of the nation's best. Texas is also getting a familiar face in four-star WR Jaxon Shipley -- the brother of former Texas All-American Jordan Shipley. Most impressive is the fact that this fantastic class was brought in despite a near total overhaul of the Texas coaching staff.
The ones that got away: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, CB David Jenkins
|Headliners: OT La'El Collins, DT Anthony Johnson, WR Jarvis Landry |
The skinny: The class of 2011 in Louisiana has long been touted as a loaded group. The talent panned out, and LSU cashed in in a big way. La'El Collins, the nation's No. 2 offensive tackle, leads the way for this signing class. LSU also landed the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country in Anthony "Freak" Johnson. Jarvis Landry is as polished of a high school wide receiver as we've seen in years. All three prospects are five-star talents, and all three hail from Louisiana. They are joined by a number of elite in-state prospects, but even outside of the Pelican State LSU hit gold. The Tigers were the first to offer Jalen Collins out of Mississippi and he has turned out to be a real talent at defensive back. They were also able to steal David Jenkins -- a big corner with loads of upside - out of the grasp of Texas.
The ones that got away: DT Timmy Jernigan, OT Greg Robinson
|Headliners: OT Christian Westerman |
The skinny: Auburn landed arguably the top group of offensive linemen in the nation, including former Texas commit Christian Westerman and Louisiana native and LSU target Greg Robinson. Rounding out the offensive line group is a potential four-year starter in center Reese Dismukes. Auburn is also reloading at quarterback with Kiehl Frazier, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. With the new talent coming in, there may be more national championship game appearances to come.
The ones that got away: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, LB/RB Brent Calloway
|Headliners: WR George Farmer, DE Greg Townsend Jr.|
The skinny: Lane Kiffin shocking the world on the recruiting trail is nothing new, and this year's class may be his most impressive effort yet. Despite NCAA sanctions and scholarship limits, Kiffin and his staff were able to pull in one of the nation's top classes. The group is led by five-star wide receiver George Farmer. USC had its share of late steals as well, landing four-star LB Lamar Dawson out of Kentucky and four-star OG Aundrey Walker out of Cleveland. In addition, Kiffin brings in two elite quarterbacks from the state of California in four-stars Max Wittek and Cody Kessler.
The ones that got away: Athlete De'Anthony Thomas
|Headliners: RB Isaiah Crowell, ATH Malcolm Mitchell, TE Jay Rome |
The skinny: With his back against the wall, Mark Richt came out swinging and finished with one of his best recruiting efforts. Several of the top in-state prospects were flirting with other regional and national powers, but in the end Richt brought home the lion's share of the top Georgia recruits. Teammates Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell have been two of the top names in the state, and -- despite Alabama's best efforts -- Georgia signed both. Rome is a huge mismatch at tight end, while Mitchell is a versatile athlete that could play corner, safety or receiver. Defensive end Ray Drew is also among the top players at his position. However, Isaiah Crowell is the biggest jewel of the class. Crowell is a running back that could have an impact similar to that of SEC counterparts Marcus Lattimore and Michael Dyer. The Bulldogs added junior college defensive tackle John Jenkins after Signing Day.
The ones that got away: DE Xzavier Dickson
|Headliners: DE Aaron Lynch, DE Stephon Tuitt, DE Ishaq Williams |
The skinny: The Fighting Irish faithful have seen some very average football in recent years, but Notre Dame may finally be turning the corner from a talent perspective. Brian Kelly's first full class represents a major upgrade in toughness and physicality, particularly on the line of scrimmage. Five-star Aaron Lynch and four-star Stephon Tuitt are ideal 3-4 defensive ends with great size, strength and athleticism. In Ishaq Williams, you can't sculpt a better 3-4 outside linebacker to rush the edge. There is also a big-time tight end (Ben Koyack), an accurate athletic passer (Everett Golson) and a franchise offensive tackle (Matt Hegarty) among the list of new arrivals.
The ones that got away: CB Bennett Okotcha, APB Justice Hayes
|Headliners: QB Jeff Driskel, TE AC Leonard |
The skinny: The Gators landed the top quarterback in the nation in Jeff Driskel and one of the most dynamic tight ends in the country in AC Leonard. Florida also picked up four-star quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Friday, greatly adding to the Gators' depth at QB. Will Muschamp's first, albeit limited, effort on the recruiting trail brought in a haul that is highlighted by a great group of defensive backs. Marcus Roberson, Jabari Gorman, Louchiez Purifoy and De'Ante Saunders all are expected to play defensive back at the next level, and all have loads of ability. With a big wide receiver in Ja'Juan Story and a great prospect in space in Javares McRoy, there is certainly some offensive skill coming on board as well. Look for Mike Blakely to emerge as the first true tailback for the Gators in several years.
The ones that got away: DT Timmy Jernigan, ATH James Wilder
|Headliners: QB Braxton Miller, DT Michael Bennett |
The skinny: Just as Terrelle Pryor readies for his final season in Columbus, coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes will be welcoming his understudy in Braxton Miller. Miller doesn't have the size of Pryor, but he does have the athleticism and can really throw the football. A bevy of terrific linemen continue Ohio State's strong defensive tradition in Michael Bennett, Kenny Hayes, and Steve Miller. The Buckeyes also landed one of the most complete corners in the country in Doran Grant. Ohio State also stole one of the best from the Sunshine State in Ryan Shazier -- one of the nation's most athletic linebackers.
The ones that got away: OG Aundrey Walker, LB Trey DePriest
|Headliners: LB Tony Steward, LB Stephone Anthony, WR Sammy Watkins |
The skinny: Clemson continues to prove that it can recruit with anybody in the country, even in hostile territory. Sammy Watkins is the top receiver in the country. Tony Steward is the No. 2 LB in the country, and Mike Bellamy is one of the top home-run threats in the nation. All three prospects hail from Florida and continue Clemson's disproportionately large presence in the state. Closer to home, Clemson landed another elite receiver in the big, skilled Charone Peake. U.S. Army All-American Lateek Townsend and physical tight end Eric MacLain also should be impact players for the Tigers. Finally, Clemson closed the recruiting cycle with the top linebacker in America in Stephone Anthony. He joins Steward and Townsend to form the best group of linebackers in the 2011 recruiting class.
The ones that got away: OT Brandon Shell
|Headliners: DE Jadeveon Clowney, OT Brandon Shell|
The skinny: The nation's top prospect, Jadeveon Clowney, announced on Feb. 14 that he was going to be a Gamecock. He immediately became the story of this class and sent it to new heights. Even if they had missed on Clowney, this would have been a strong effort from Steve Spurrier's staff. Offensive tackle Brandon Shell has a Hall of Fame pedigree as the nephew of NFL great Art Shell. Sheldon Royster is a playmaking safety out of New Jersey who should add immediate depth in the Gamecock secondary. DT Phillip Dukes, WR Damiere Byrd, WR Shamier Jeffery (brother of Alshon) and Jerrell Adams are all big-time prospects heading to Columbia.
The ones that got away: QB Jacoby Brissett, WR Charone Peake
|Headliners: ATH De'Anthony Thomas, ATH Devon Blackman |
The skinny: Fresh off a national championship game appearance, the Oregon Ducks are recruiting on a national championship level. Perhaps the best example of that new presence is the late steal of five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas. Thomas, a longtime USC commit, becomes a perfect fit for that wide-open Oregon offense. He is joined by the dynamic Devon Blackman out of California, who could excel at wide receiver or defensive back. From within its state, Oregon picked up one of the best all-around athletes in the nation in Colt Lyerla. Chip Kelly went into Iowa to pick up an elite TE/DE in Christian French, a big linebacker out of Texas in Anthony Wallace and one of the fastest wide receivers in the country in Miami (Fla.) Columbus' Tacoi Sumler. That national draw has characterized what has turned into a very strong class for the Ducks.
The ones that got away: DT Delvon Simmons, DL Roderick Byers
|Headliners: DT Maurice Couch, TE Cameron Clear|
The skinny: If there were any questions as to whether Derek Dooley could recruit in the rigorous SEC, he answered them resoundingly with his 2011 class. The Volunteers closed as strong as any team in the country with the state's top two prospects in four-stars Cameron Clear and Antonio Richardson. Tennessee gets immediate help from the junior college ranks in DT Maurice Couch, the No. 2 JUCO prospect in the nation, and Byron Moore -- the second best junior college defensive back nationally. Also, the Volunteers were able to bring in some elite Florida athletes. Curt Maggitt out of Palm Beach can be a speed rushing DE or an athletic outside linebacker, while Marlin Lane was in the conversation as the top running back in Florida before being slowed by an injury.
The ones that got away: LB Lamar Dawson
|Headliners: DE Brennan Scarlett, CB Stefan McClure, DT Viliami Moala|
The skinny: A sub-par season on the field had zero carryover onto the recruiting trail as Jeff Tedford pulled in his second consecutive highly touted class. This year's class was loaded with in-state defensive talent like Stefan McClure at cornerback, Viliami Moala at defensive tackle, Jason Gibson at outside linebacker and Mustafa Jalil at defensive tackle. They are joined by the class' top prospect in defensive end Brennan Scarlett out of Oregon. Offensively, running back Brendan Bigelow could be the most explosive back in the country if he is able to return to form following his season-ending knee injury. Cal also remains a factor away from the West Coast. The Bears landed four-star junior college OT Matt Williams, four-star Texas back Daniel Lasco and Georgia standout Avery Walls.
The ones that got away: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
|Headliners: WR Trey Metoyer, RB Brandon Williams|
The skinny: The Oklahoma class is powered by two of the best and most productive players out of the state of Texas. Brandon Williams, the top back in Texas, is a power runner with versatility who rushed for more than 2,400 yards as a senior. WR Trey Metoyer had more than 1,500 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns in 2010. As is often the case, Oklahoma has also attracted some elite tackles to carry on its rich tradition on the defensive line. Continuing that tradition will fall on guys like Jordan Phillips out of Kansas and Texas natives Jordan Wade and Marquis Anderson. Though it wasn't a big class in Norman, the Sooners certainly made each slot count.
The ones that got away: CB Josh Turner
|Headliners: RB Aaron Green, QB Jamal Turner|
The skinny: Nebraska has clearly decided that it likes to have an athletic quarterback under center, and they don't get much more athletic than the two signal callers in this 2011 Nebraska class. Jamal Turner has excellent explosiveness, but the Cornhuskers plan on having him throwing passes rather than catching them. The second quarterback in the class, Bubba Starling, may be too athletic to ever see the field in Lincoln. Starling is expected to be one of the top picks this spring in the MLB draft. Maybe the biggest name in Bo Pelini's class is Aaron Green, one of the top backs in Texas for the past three years. Green brings big-play ability and elusiveness to the backfield. CB Charles Jackson, OL Tyler Moore, OG Ryan Klachko and ATH Ameer Abdullah are four-star prospects that also bring the necessary blue-collar mentality to Lincoln.
The ones that got away: CB Tevin Mitchel
|Headliners: LB Travis Hughes, OT Kiaro Holts|
The skinny: This was not an easy year for Butch Davis and the Tar Heels due to off-the-field issues. Even with that adversity, this class is still impressive. A strong start last spring and summer was slowed by NCAA investigations, but North Carolina responded and salvaged a terrific class. Travis Hughes leads the way as an athletic, hard-hitting linebacker and one of the best in the country. Kiaro Holts and Landon Turner form a pair of highly touted bookends at offensive tackle. Sylvester Williams is one of the top JUCO defensive tackles in the country, and Alex Dixon is a high-upside defensive back out of Florida.
The ones that got away: QB Everett Golson
|Headliners: LB C.J. Johnson, WR Nick Brassell|
The skinny: It became very clear very quickly on last fall that Ole Miss needed some help. In this class, they found it in a big way. The skill positions were a major area of need, and the Rebels went out and signed a bushel of wide receivers and defensive backs. Donte Moncrief has great size, strength and athleticism on the outside. Nick Brassell is as explosive as any player in the country. C.J. Johnson's late addition brings the class together by bringing a big, physical presence at inside linebacker.
The ones that got away: S Gerrod Holliman, CB Floyd Raven
|Headliners: CB Demetrious Nicholson, RB Clifton Richardson|
The skinny: In his first full recruiting class, Mike London has shown he will be a force on the recruiting trail. Despite a four-win season, London was able to reel in eight four-star prospects. At running back, Clifton Richardson is an instant-impact type player. Demetrious Nicholson is one of the top cornerbacks in the country. Nicholson and Richardson are in-state standouts, as are four-stars Dominique Terrell (ATH) and David Dean (DT). Two elite prospects from Maryland jumped on board as well. Darius Jennings and Brandon Phelps add depth to a potentially great defensive backfield.
The ones that got away: OG Landon Turner
|Headliners: OG Mitch Smothers, OT Brey Cook|
The skinny: Arkansas doesn't usually get a lot of fanfare, but the Razorbacks have again put together a very strong class. From within the state, two of the best offensive linemen in the country -- Brey Cook and Mitch Smothers -- will be heading to Fayetteville. They will be blocking for an incredibly productive high school passer in Brandon Allen. Outside of the state, Arkansas landed a four-star cornerback from Texas named Tevin Mitchel, a big wide receiver from Illinois in Keante Minor and a 6-4 four-star receiver out of Virginia in Quinta Funderburk. In a big class from a numbers standpoint, Arkansas added to its depth and touched on a number of different positions.
The ones that got away: QB Kiehl Frazier
|Headliners: RB Kelsey Young, S Wayne Lyons, LB James Vaughters|
The skinny: The recent success in Palo Alto had a very obvious impact on the 2011 Stanford recruiting class. The Cardinal begin to inch toward the top of the national rankings. However, an equally evident impact was had by the departure of Jim Harbaugh. Despite some decommitments, the Cardinal still have a strong national draw. Kelsey Young out of Norco, Calif., is one of the top backs in the country. Wayne Lyons out of Florida and James Vaughters out of Georgia chose Stanford despite overtures from several elite programs nationwide. Ty Montgomery out of Dallas is a dominating receiver with great polish. Brendon Austin, an OL from Colorado, and Remound Wright, a RB from Indiana, add to the national theme. All told, nine commitments have a rating of four-stars or better and look very capable of continuing the Stanford resurgence.
The ones that got away: RB Amir Carlisle, LB Anthony Sarao
|Headliners: TE Jace Amaro, RB Kenny Williams, DE Leon Mackey |
The skinny: This is the best recruiting class in recent memory for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders enjoyed a banner signing day receiving letters of intent from defensive end Leon Mackey (Raymond, MS./Hinds C.C.), defensive end Desimon Green (Clariton, Pa.), defensive end Branden Jackson (McKeesport, Pa.), defensive end/tackle Donte Phillips (Meqon, Wi./Homestead), defensive end/tight end Cooper Washington (Muleshoe, Tx.) and running back Otis Wright (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard) to go with what was already an impressive haul. Mackey and Washington, a signing day switch from Oklahoma, were the eye-openers. In Amaro, the Red Raiders are getting one of the most athletic tight end prospects in the country and Williams is a powerful runner. Tommy Tuberville and staff beat Texas A&M on both in-state stars. The Red Raiders signed seven defensive linemen.
The ones that got away: DE/T Jon Lewis, DT James Castleman
|Headliners: RB Rodney Coe, OG Jordan Walsh|
The skinny: Kirk Ferentz and Iowa are known for a hard-nosed mentality on the field, and all the pieces are in place in the 2011 class to continue to build on that mentality. Two of the nation's top interior offensive linemen are part of this class in Jordan Walsh and Austin Blythe. They are each physically dominating prospects. Rodney Coe, at 6-3 and 230 pounds, should be a punishing running back behind them. If not, Coe could switch over and play linebacker for the Hawkeye defense. Adding to the physicality theme, big tight end Ray Hamilton and junior college offensive tackle Dan Heiar were added to the mix.
The ones that got away: ATH Chrstian French
|Headliners: ATH Brandon Carter, ATH LaDarius Brown|
The skinny: In the past, TCU has taken some under-the-radar talent and helped it become a national power. The 2011 class could be the beginning of a tipping point in which the country can find out what Gary Patterson can do with highly touted prospects. Brandon Carter, a versatile and dynamic athlete, decommitted from Oklahoma to choose the Horned Frogs. Two other four-star Texas prospects, athlete Ladarius Brown and defensive tackle Jon Lewis, could have picked almost any school in the nation but chose to head to Fort Worth. Expect some of the three-stars that TCU picked up to have big-time college careers as well, including receiver David Porter and safeties Quincy Aldridge and Kolby Griffin.
The ones that got away: ATH Paul Turner