The Rich Get Richer
This is the time where the nation begins to notice the rich getting richer. For people not familiar with recruiting, recruits are separated into five tiers; five-star is the highest rating and one-star is the lowest. Winning is a product of great recruiting and coaching, and all of the elite programs have both. Here we look at the top four schools in our Final Top 25 poll and see where the programs stand before National Signing Day.
4) USC (10-3)
USC has eighteen hard commits so far. According to 24/7 Sports team rankings the Trojans are ranked tenth nationally and first in the Pac-12. USC is the most improved team in the nation; from a lackluster start against Alabama to a strong finish at the Rose Bowl. The Trojans did that on the back of red-shirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold. When Clay Helton decided to start the freshman full-time is when the tide started to turn in USC’s favor.
Knowing the way the Trojans like to play, it’s no surprise the way they are recruiting. Before National Signing day they have been able to recruit two standout athletes who are key building blocks for coach Helton. Five-star running back Stephen Carr and four-star safety Bubba Bolden are names that USC fans should get familiar with. The Trojans focus on offense is their running backs, so Stephen Carr will fit perfectly in the coming years. Bubba Bolden is a great addition too; he’s a versatile safety with great athleticism and play-making ability. USC needs to continue to recruit well to compete in a tough Pac-12.
3) Oklahoma (11-2)
Oklahoma is recruiting very well thus far. They have twelve early enrollees, twelve hard commits, and one letter of intent signed. They are ranked sixth nationally and first in the Big-12. The Sooners are hot; they have not lost a game since their loss to Ohio State in week four. Oklahoma is ecstatic that Baker Mayfield is coming back; his veteran presence will help the team immensely next year. Oklahoma wants another chance at the National Championship, and their recruiting certainly reflects that.
The Big-12 is known for offense, so the Sooners are recruiting accordingly. They like to run the ball with their stable of running backs, and their offensive line is the key to success. Oklahoma recruited four-star offensive guard Tyrese Robinson to contribute in the run game and continue their success. Since the Big-12 is an offense-heavy conference, good defensive backs are a hot commodity. Robert Barnes is a four-star safety that has committed to Oklahoma; he is effective in both coverage and run defense. Oklahoma keeps building with hopes of a championship shot in sight.
2) Alabama (14-1)
What is there to say about Alabama, they are the number one recruiting class in the country and ranked first in the SEC. They have twelve early enrollees and thirteen hard commits. It’s funny to say Alabama had a disappointing season, but losing in the championship game is no easy pill to swallow. There are key members of this team who will get drafted this year, which is disheartening for Tide fans. However, Alabama’s ability to reload through recruitment is unique, and that is how they stay so good.
It’s no secret that playing for Alabama may increase ones chances of going pro, so they tend to attract recruits like honey does flies. They recruited four five-star athletes, which is healthy amount talent for one team. Nick Saban demands perfection and he knows what he needs to excel in conference and nationally. Najee Harris and Dylan Moses continue the tradition of exceptional running backs and outside linebackers recruited respectively by the Tide. Additionally, Alex Leatherwood should be an impact offensive tackle for coach Saban, and Jerry Jeudy looks like the next great receiver. Those are just the five-star athletes Alabama has been able to recruit, there is plenty more talent where that came from.
1) Clemson (14-1)
Clemson had a heck of a run this season; it was impressive to see them beat Alabama in the championship game rematch. So far, they have thirteen hard commits, which is good. The Tigers are thirteenth in the nation and second in the ACC. There are key players leaving for the draft, and Coach Dabo Swinney wants to keep the ball rolling at Clemson.
For this championship run, Clemson relied on the strength of their quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Watson was able to maximize his talent in Dabo’s offense and lead them to two straight national championship games, winning one. Clemson fans will be glad to know that five-star quarterback Hunter Johnson committed to Clemson, along with five-star receiver Tee Higgins, who is just another stellar Clemson wide-out. Four-star AJ Terrell is also an interesting prospect at cornerback fans should look for. Clemson tasted winning and I’m willing to bet they will do whatever it takes to continue winning at an elite level.