USC leads Rivals.com's top 25 team recruiting rankings for class of 2015
For the first time since 2010, Alabama does not lead Rivals.com's team recruiting rankings. USC, which also led Rivals.com's rankings in '10, jumped the Crimson Tide for the top spot in '15. Alabama will instead have to settle for the second-ranked class in the country.
The Trojans closed out their recruiting this year with a flourish, landing four five-star recruits between Tuesday and Wednesday to finish with 26 total commitments, 21 of whom were rated four- or five-star talents. The last time USC topped the recruiting rankings was its final class before NCAA-imposed sanctions limited the number of scholarships available. With those sanctions ending last summer, the Trojans picked up where they left off.
USC's crosstown rivals also closed strong, as UCLA picked up commitments from five-star Soso Jamabo and four-stars Chris Clark, Cordell Broadus and Josh Wariboko on National Signing Day to finish with the No. 13 recruiting class and the No. 2 class in the Pac-12. The Bruins could improve further if four-star linebacker Roquan Smith -- who committed to UCLA on Wednesday but later retracted his commitment -- opts to stick with them.
The top 25 is a mixture of programs who made big leaps on National Signing Day and those who rested relatively quietly. While USC, UCLA, Auburn (No. 6) and Florida (No. 23) gained big commitments Wednesday, Alabama, Florida State (No. 3) and Clemson (No. 4) sat idly, content that major portions of their recruiting classes had already been filled with early enrollments.
The Trojans made some big moves in the days leading up to Signing Day, and finished by claiming the top spot in the Rivals team rankings. It started with bumps from Rivals100 linebacker Osa Masina and five-star linebacker Porter Gustin. Then came the SoCal boom as five-star standouts Rasheem Green, John Houston, and Iman Marshall all chose to sign with USC on Signing Day. The additions allowed USC to overtake Alabama at the finish line.
The Crimson Tide came up just shy of claiming another recruiting national championship, but the class is still one of the best in the country and one of only two classes to total more than 3,000 points in the Rivals rankings. The Crimson Tide grabbed commitments from a staggering 18 Rivals250 members in their 2015 class, 10 of which are in the Rivals100.
The Seminoles may not have the No. 1 class, but they do lead the nation in five-star recruits. The Seminoles brought in five five-star players and Rivals100 defensive back Marcus Lewis on Signing Day. The Seminoles added some nice pieces all over the field but the secondary, the quarterback class and the wide receiver group are particularly strong.
Dabo Swinney and Clemson have had one of the top recruiting classes in the country from the start. Five-star standouts Christian Wilkins, Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud lead the way while offensive linemen Mitch Hyatt and Jake Fruhmorgen add strength to the offensive line. On the other side of the ball, Albert Huggins, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant add more punch to the defensive line. It's a very strong class on the whole.
The Tennessee Volunteers had a special class entering Signing Day, but the flipping of five-star offensive tackle Drew Richmond from Ole Miss made it elite. The Volunteers addressed needs on both sides of the trenches and at quarterback, and took care of their own backyard with the top three prospects in Tennessee choosing to play their college football in Knoxville.
Auburn was one of the big movers on the day by landing nation's No. 1 prospect Byron Cowart. The Tigers also grabbed Rivals100 Ryan Davis, Rivals250 Carlton Davis, and four-star Jeffery Holland on Signing Day.
The Bulldogs' class has a heavy dose of defense. Mark Richt and his staff brought in seven defensive backs in the class with Rico McGraw, Juwuan Briscoe and Rashad Roundtree leading the way. The defensive line class is also one of the best in the country with six prospects ranked four-star or higher. Throw in playmaker Terry Godwin for good measure and Richt has reason to smile.
LSU is known to close well at the end of the recruiting process, and Les Miles and his staff did just that in 2015. The Tigers were able to secure the top three talents from Louisiana and addressed several needs. LSU also grabbed five-star prospects from Texas and Florida in addition to Louisiana, and added more talent to an already strong group of running backs in Baton Rouge. Signing Day additions Toby Weathersby and Derrick Dillon were also key signatures.
The Ohio State Buckeyes added four-star standouts Isaiah Prince and K.J. Hill to the Big Ten's top class. Urban Meyer and his staff hit Ohio hard with 12 signees coming from the state, but they also experience success in 10 other states. Baker, Justin Hilliard and Nick Conner are among the nation's best linebackers, and the offensive line group is one also a position of strength in the class.
Texas A&M saw quarterback Kyler Murray shore up his commitment in the final week of the recruiting process and welcomed Daylon Mack back into the fold on Signing Day. Kevin Sumlin was able to win his share of the in-state recruiting battle and fended off Texas at the end for two prize recruits. The Aggies were able to strengthen the defense and grabbed one of the top offensive playmakers in the 2015 class in five-star wide receiver Christian Kirk.
Notre Dame was able to add running back Dexter Williams and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown on Signing Day. The Fighting Irish succeeded all over the map, starting with top quarterback prospect Brandon Winbush out of New Jersey. Notre Dame added some strength to the defense with deep defensive line, linebacker and defensive back classes, and the wide receiver group also packs a nice punch.
Charlie Strong and his staff took some heat early on in the recruiting process, but closed strong by Wednesday's end. The Longhorns added Rivals250 running back Chris Warren on Signing Day, and were able to grab standout talents Kai Locksley, Kris Boyd and Holton Hill during the final week. The Longhorns beefed up the offensive line, added some depth to each position on defense, and took home the Big 12's top recruiting class.
The Bruins were one of the hottest teams in the country on National Signing Day. Jim Mora and company added five-star running back Soso Jamabo, Rivals100 tight end Chris Clark, Rivals250 offensive lineman Josh Wariboko, and four-star wide receiver Cordell Broadus on Signing Day. The Bruins are also closely watching Roquan Smith, who committed to UCLA but never faxed his letter.
The Oklahoma Sooners missed out on Josh Wariboko, but the Sooners have plenty to like about the 2015 recruiting class. Oklahoma adds another top Texas running back and grabbed a couple of big linebackers. The Sooners succeeded in Texas and added four-star safety Prentice McKinney to a defensive back group also featuring Kahlil Haughton, P.J. Mbanasor and Antoine Stephens.
James Franklin and his staff put together a strong class. The Nittany Lions went heavy in the secondary and along the defensive front and were able to avoid the drama of Signing Day. Garrett Taylor and John Reid should add some strength to the defensive backfield and Saquon Barkley is an every-down back with big play potential. Penn State stuck to the northeast and was able to secure a very strong class.
Mississippi State had a big year on the field and just as big a year on the recruiting front. The Bulldogs were able to secure four of the state's top five talents in Leo Lewis, Jamal Peters, Fletcher Adams and Malik Dear. The signing of Keith Joseph Jr. gives the Bulldogs five of the top six. Lewis was the biggest win of the day when he chose Mississippi State over LSU at the end.
The Oregon Ducks have a reputation for speed, quickness and a diverse uniform selection. Signees Malik Lovette, Kirk Merritt and Taj Griffin should make the Ducks even more difficult to stop while Travis Waller is a dual-threat quarterback who could really develop into something special in Eugene.
The Stanford Cardinal stayed home for Irwin and four-star defensive back Frank Buncom IV, but ventured out of the region for several big additions. In fact running back Bryce Love of North Carolina, offensive lineman Nick Wilson of Georgia and defensive back Ben Edwards of Florida are heading to Stanford from the east coast.
South Carolina signed a big class in 2015 and it loaded up in the trenches. The Gamecocks signed seven defensive linemen and four offensive linemen. They also went heavy at tight end and linebacker. The class is headlined by JUCO defensive end Marquavius Lewis and they were able to grab a few other difference makers from the JUCO and prep school ranks.
The Sun Devils secured the talents of Rivals100 defensive tackle Joseph Wicker on Signing Day and bolstered several areas of the squad. The quarterback position appears to be solidified with the additions of Brady White and Bryce Perkins and the offensive line also received some added strength. Overall it is a strong group with prospects from across the map.
Ole Miss saw Leo Lewis and Drew Richmond slip away late in the process, but the Rebels still signed an impressive class. The biggest Signing Day win was Rivals100 wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, who chose the Rebels over Texas and Texas A&M. Ole Miss also addressed several needs. The defensive backfield added some depth and so did the defensive front.
The defensive backfield is loaded, and coach Mark Dantonio pulled recruits from Texas, Ohio, California and Michigan to make it. The Spartans also added bulk in the trenches with talent coming in on both the offensive and defensive lines. Michigan State made several nice additions, but signed only two of its home state's top 10 recruits.
Florida had plenty of eyeballs on it on Signing Day, and there were some ups and some downs. Among the ups were five-star recruits Martez Ivey and Cece Jefferson. The two additions have a chance to come in and play early in Gainesville and gave the Gators a needed boost on Signing Day.
Virginia Tech went strong on the defensive line and came through with several big additions. Tim Settle leads a group that also includes four-star standouts Darius Fullwood and Houshun Gaines. The Hokies also added some strength in the secondary and beefed up the offensive line. Four-star Dwayne Lawson also gives the Hokies a playmaker at the quarterback position.
The Razorbacks were not expecting many fireworks on Signing Day and it was business as usual. Arkansas was able to grab the great majority of the FBS talent in Arkansas and enjoyed some success in Florida and Texas. The Razorbacks also added a big time quarterback in Ty Storey, who has already enrolled in school.