Here come the blue bloods.
As is customary with December in range, college football's traditional recruiting powers are making their move up the team recruiting rankings. For the first time all year in the 2022 recruiting cycle, it's SEC at No. 1 and No. 2 in the November rankings update for SI All-American.
The Alabama Crimson Tide is back on top followed closely by Georgia, the two programs that had the biggest October swing on the recruiting trail, in a pair of classes far from fully constructed. As the two appear headed to face one another on the field for the SEC title in December, the race to the top class come National Signing Day could shape up to be a similar battle.
Longtime No. 1 Penn State is still in the thick of a race with still plenty to be decided ahead of the Early Signing Period opening up on December 15. As November opens, there is a new program in the top five, one breaking into the top 10 and three left off the October update trending up in the top 25.
1. Alabama (No. 2 in October)
18 Verbal Commits, 9 SI99 Members
As per usual this time of year, Nick Saban and Alabama are preparing for a strong close on the trail and the program has the best collection of talent headed to town, slightly over surging Georgia. In October, UA added No. 1 tight end Jaleel Skinner to give the program a trio of prospects ranked atop their position (OT Elijah Pritchett, Edge Jeremiah Alexander), in addition to securing in-state SI99 secondary prospect Trequon Fegans and former LSU pledge Aaron Anderson, a top 10 slot in the country. Half the class sits within SI99 range with nine overall, the most in the country.
2. Georgia (5)
21 Verbal Commitments, 6 SI99 Members
The Bulldogs had a huge October, standing right along with Alabama as the only program to add multiple SI99 additions in the month in flipping new class headliner Mykel Williams and keeping tight end Oscar Delp in-state. Beyond that, it also flipped offensive lineman Aliou Bah from Florida State and found a way to get big Bear Alexander back in the fold over Texas A&M. UGA is far from done and it looks like the race for the top spot will, once again, be a photo finish.
3. Penn State (1)
25 Verbal Commitments, 4 SI99 Members
It was an up and down month but Penn State still has the biggest class among contending programs. It picked up defensive back Omari Evans out of the state of Texas to kick off the month but suffered a departure in the future secondary all the same in Louisiana's Jordan Allen. The longstanding commitment group is strong and among committed prospects at the game's most important position, few have had the 2021 run on the field like future Nittany Lion quarterback Drew Allar. The Ohio native is sure to contend for the top spot at the position before all is said and done.
4. Notre Dame (3)
21 Verbal Commitments, 6 SI99 Members
The Irish hold steady with a strong group of 21 verbal commitments, including six in the SI99. Only Alabama and Clemson have more in the fold to date and there are still a few top targets left for the program, so finishing in the top five when all is said and done appears to be the most likely scenario.
5. Ohio State (7)
16 Verbal Commitments, 6 SI99 Members
The Buckeyes are back in the top five after a solid October on the trail, addressing perhaps the biggest future team need in the process. The first pure pass rusher on the commitment list came in during the month in SI99 edge Kenyatta Jackson Jr, the latest south Florida get for Ryan Day's staff. Lengthy project offensive tackle commitment Avery Henry could be a long term win in the class, too.
6. Oregon (4)
22 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members
Mario Cristobal and his staff bolstered the future of the linebacker corps in October with two additions, including Harrison Taggart and Devon Jackson. Each is in the 6'2", 200-pound range with modern traits relative to the position. The Ducks will run away with the Pac-12 recruiting crown again in 2022.
7. Texas (6)
22 Verbal Commitments, 3 SI99 Members
Despite a fourth loss on the field, UT continues to stay hot on the trail, adding speedy in-state wide receiver Brenan Thompson to the fold in early October. Seven prospects have been added to Steve Sarkisian's first full recruiting class since August. Shocking to nobody, the Big 12 recruiting race will come down to the two rivals headed to the SEC in Texas and Oklahoma.
8. Clemson (9)
13 Verbal Commitments, 8 SI99 Members
The highest clip of SI99 prospects relative to total commitments still belongs to Dabo Swinney's coaching staff. The rest of the class, expected to be a smaller unit, is beginning to fill out. It added in-state tight end Josh Sapp to the fold recently.
9. Texas A&M (8)
14 Verbal Commitments, 4 SI99 Members
One of the better pound-for-pound classes in the country is aging well and there is still plenty of big game hunting left for Jimbo Fisher and company down the home stretch.
10. Oklahoma (13)
16 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members
The Sooners are undefeated on the field and picking up momentum on the trail after recently picking up top 10 overall prospect Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy and the top available talent within state lines in Gentry Williams. The defensive additions vault Lincoln Riley's program into the top 10 of the rankings with room for more on that side of the ball, particularly in the front seven.
11. LSU (10)
14 Verbal Commitments, 3 SI99 Members
As one may expect, LSU continues to slide down the top 25. It falls out of the top 10 for the first time in the 2022 cycle with another high profile decommitment in Aaron Anderson, who is now on board with rival Alabama. The wide receiver may not be alone when all is said and done, following the coaching transition soon to take place. The Tiger brand sells itself and the new staff will likely have traction on the back-end of the cycle, however.
12. North Carolina (16)
15 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member
Steady climb for the Tar Heels, which reeled in another national win in length offensive tackle Zach Rice of Virginia. The senior was among the most coveted trench prospects remaining in the class at the premium position.
13. Florida State (11)
16 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members
The Seminoles lost a pair of commitments in October, including elite pass rusher Trevion Williams and IMG Academy offensive lineman Aliou Bah, who is now pledged to Georgia. It got good news on Friday with another prospect others are trying to flip in offensive lineman Tae Woody, though he did visit Auburn on Saturday. As is the story with No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter, it's about holding onto the strong foundation of the class for Mike Norvell down the stretch.
14. Boston College (14)
22 Verbal Commitments
BC's class was all but wrapped up in the summer months and it holds steady in the top 15 with a heavy trench and secondary group in the fold.
15. Michigan (12)
17 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member
Michigan parted ways with SI99 edge rusher Mario Eugenio and in-state wide receiver Tay'shawn Trent in October, in moves that will be tracked as the duo suits up in other colors, but it did add an intriguing commitment from Jacksonville (Fla.) Terry Parker defensive back Damani Dent to counter some of the buzz.
16. Stanford (23)
20 Verbal Commitments
The Cardinal added a prospect at one of the staple positions under David Shaw, tight end, via a flip from the Florida Gators in Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep's CJ Hawkins. In-state defensive lineman Jaxson Moi also picked Stanford in October, pushing the commitment list to an even 20 and into the top 20 overall on SI.
17. Michigan State (18)
20 Verbal Commitments
MSU is holding steady on the trail and figures to trend up if Saturday was any indication given a gaudy group of recruits on hand to see the comeback upset win over Michigan. The prospect-level belief is tangible with Mel Tucker's unit right now, and the class is one of the few yet to suffer a decommitment in the cycle.
18. Missouri (NR)
15 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members
The biggest individual commitment made in October, from a program perspective, was likely Luther Burden picking the local Tigers over a hard push from Georgia. The one-time Oklahoma commitment is the first signature win on the trail for Eli Drinkwitz, who had a classic reaction to landing an instant-impact freshman to be. Burden pairs with fellow SI99 member and top five quarterback Sam Horn as far as the future of the passing game goes.
19. South Carolina (17)
17 Verbal Commitments
Despite a tough month on the field, USC is steady on the trail and holds one of the better groups in the SEC East. A combined 10 prospects come from pipeline states Florida and Georgia to date, so the Shane Beamer regime isn't venturing too far off the normal Gamecock recruiting script in 2021.
20.Virginia Tech (21)
24 Verbal Commitments
Two new verbal commitments are in for Justin Fuente and company, pushing the ACC school into the top 20. Each new addition resides within state lines, including wide receiver Reid Pulliam and defensive lineman Malachi Madson. Tech now has the biggest recruiting class in the ACC.
21. Arkansas (20)
19 Verbal Commitments
The Hogs are steady on the field and on the trail in the SEC West and the class is balanced, even adding a punter to the fold of late. A few offensive targets remain undecided, so the class has a chance to finish in the top 20 or so.
22. Florida (15)
13 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member
No program had a busy October on the decision front than Florida, in both directions no less. While it added a pair of strong in-state prospects in wide receiver Jayden Gibson and defensive lineman Jamari Lyons, a trio of prospects de-committed from the program including the highest-ranked recruit in linebacker Shemar James. Tight end CJ Hawkins flipped to Stanford and defensive back Julian Humphrey looks to be headed elsewhere in the SEC following his defection.
23. West Virginia (24)
18 Verbal Commitments
The Mountaineers move up a spot having picked up a punter of their own, and another from Australia as that special teams trend continues. Quarterback pledge Nicco Marchiol continues to impress as a senior, not shy on peer recruiting as the class headliner, either.
24. Kentucky (NR)
16 Verbal Commitments
The Wildcats don't have the biggest class when all is said and done, but they nearly cracked the top 25 last month on the heels of multiple September commitments on defense. It capped October with a key offensive addition in Dane Key, the in-state wide receiver who hit double-digit touchdown catches every varsity campaign entering 2021.
25. Georgia Tech (NR)
18 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member
The Yellow Jackets had a strong month of October from both an optical perspective on the field and on the trail. It included adding a class-headlining quarterback commitment in Zach Pyron, the Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley standout who was once committed to Baylor. It also recently added Florida cornerback prospect Greg Delaine and Maryland running back Terron Kellman to the fold.
Dropped out: Rutgers (19), Mississippi State (22), Ole Miss (25),
Under consideration: Ole Miss, Iowa State, Baylor, Mississippi State, Indiana, Cincinnati