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Power Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes Post-High School All-America Games

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 3, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 25 Recruiting Classes Post-High School All-America Games

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    Bleacher Report

    The 2014 recruiting cycle is nearly complete. Years of effort in collegiate coaching offices culminate annually on national signing day, when America's premier prospects seal the deal on long-awaited decisions.

    We've analyzed each class to rank the top 25 recruiting hauls in the FBS spectrum, with an eye toward remaining prospect options. In the aftermath of annual All-American postseason games, we have a better indication of how programs currently stack up.

    Here's our examination of the best incoming classes, filled with future superstars and championship contenders.

     

    Recruit star ratings based on 247Sports' composite rankings. School and player preferences also courtesy of 247Sports.

25. Penn State

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Total Commitments24 (five 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    The Lions faced uncertainty following the departure of head coach Bill O'Brien but received a major recruiting boost with the hiring of former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. He already flipped Commodores commits Brendan Brosnan (offensive tackle), Chance Sorrell (offensive tackle) and Lloyd Tubman (defensive end) to 

    Wide receivers De'Andre Thompkins and Chris Godwin are top-notch targets for young quarterback phenom Christian Hackenberg. New Jersey native Mike Gesicki is the nation's top-ranked tight end in 247Sports' composite rankings. Troy Vincent and Marcus Allen add depth to the secondary. Defensive tackle Antoine White may be the most underrated of the bunch.

     

    Still Targeting

    Penn State is pursuing Virginia defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and Maryland offensive guard Jared Cohen. The Nittany Lions also remain involved with Florida defensive back Shawn Boone and current Vanderbilt cornerback commit Grant Haley.

24. Kentucky

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 24 (five 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Running back Stanley Williams headlines a strong class in Lexington. He teams up with fellow 4-star commit Drew Barker, a Kentucky product who opted to stay close to home. Thaddeus Snodgrass is an instant-impact receiver, while safety Darius West and defensive end Denzel Ware highlight the Wildcats' defensive haul.

     

    Still Targeting

    Matt Elam may be the nation's top uncommitted defensive tackle. His recruitment process likely comes down to in-state Kentucky and Alabama. The Wildcats are also in hot pursuit of Florida cornerback Kendall Randolph.

23. Stanford

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Total Commitments17 (six 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Stanford didn't have to search far for 4-star quarterback prospect Keller Chryst, who starred at Palo Alto High School. Running back Christian McCaffrey will quickly draw comparisons to former Cardinal star Toby Gerhart. Pass-rusher Nifae Lealao, linebacker Joey Alfieri and safety Brandon Simmons spark the defense.

     

    Still Targeting

    Stanford is a finalist for 5-star Texas defensive end Solomon Thomas, who visited campus in October. The team has a strong track record at tight end, and Utah product Dalton Schultz may be the nation's best. Stanford also hopes to pick up New Orleans standout Terrence Alexander, a talented cornerback.

22. Virginia Tech

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments27 (four 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Pittsburgh-area playmaker Shai McKenzie committed to the Hokies in late December, giving the program a dynamic running back for the future. He joins an incoming class that already features phenomenal athlete Javon Harrison and a pair of potential quarterback prospects (Travon McMillian and Chris Durkin). Safety Holland Fisher is the nation's top-ranked prep school safety, and in-state defensive tackle Rickey Walker is college-ready.

     

    Still Targeting

    The Hokies hope to pair Walker with 4-star Virginia Beach defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. Versatile Richmond athlete Raymon Minor appears to be a string Hokies lean. Anthony Scott, another Virginia Beach target, could add to an already-deep offensive backfield or possibly play elsewhere in the offensive scheme.

21. Arizona State

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments25 (seven 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Arizona State has assembled an impressive group of offensive playmakers, including 4-star receivers Tyler Whiley and Jalen Harvey. The Sun Devils also secured a commitment from California quarterback Manny Wilkins, who is very dangerous in the open field. Linebacker Derik Calhoun, a former USC commit, highlights the team's defensive haul. Fellow former USC pledge Tashon Smallwood is a disruptive force at defensive tackle.

     

    Still Targeting

    The Sun Devils are in search of help along the offensive line, where JUCO tackle Dominique Robertson and top in-state tackle Casey Tucker can challenge for early playing time. In-state linebacker Ismael Murphy-Richardson would be an excellent fit, but the team must contend with competition from Pac-12 rivals USC and Arizona.

20. Oklahoma

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Total Commitments21 (five 4-stars, one 5-star

     

    Best of the Bunch

    California running back Joe Mixon makes the Sooners' offensive backfield much scarier next season. The 5-star prospect joins dual-threat quarterback Justice Hansen and 4-star receivers Mark Andrews and Dallis Todd on the depth chart of an explosive attack. Linebackers Curtis Bolton and Devante Bond bolster the defensive unit.

     

    Still Targeting

    Top in-state target Steven Parker is among the nation's elite safety prospects. Versatile Central California receiver Michiah Quick could instantly upgrade Oklahoma's potent passing game

19. USC

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments17 (seven 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Offensive guards Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao provide some much-needed punch up front, while JUCO Claudeson Pelon gives the defense a dangerous pass-rusher. Tight end Bryce Dixon and receiver Rahshead Johnson are 4-star targets for incoming quarterback Jalen Greene, who was previously committed to Washington and Boise State.

     

    Still Targeting

    The Trojans hope to pair Greene with coveted high school teammate Adoree Jackson. Fellow California 5-star defensive back John Smith is also firmly in play. USC is a prohibitive favorite to land local prospect Damien Mama, the nation's top-ranked offensive guard.

18. South Carolina

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    Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 17 (seven 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Shaq Davidson and Terry Googer could make an early impact in an improved offensive passing attack. Georgia defensive end Dante Sawyer selected South Carolina from a list featuring several SEC squads. He joins fellow Peach State product Bryson Allen-Williams, a 4-star linebacker. In-state offensive guard Donell Stanley is a dominant interior presence. Georgia defensive back D.J. Smith gave his pledge to the Gamecocks.

     

    Still Targeting

    South Carolina aims to land running back Derrell Scott, a 4-star North Carolina prospect who can step in and contribute immediately. Prized offensive tackle Damian Prince still views the Gamecocks as a viable option.

17. Oregon

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Total Commitments17 (eight 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Oregon already signed top-ranked JUCO guard Haniteli Lousi, who will be counted on to open rushing lanes for dominant San Diego-area running back Royce Freeman. San Antonio cornerback Arrion Springs is a smooth operator in coverage. He joins 4-star safety Budda Baker in the Ducks secondary. Four-star California prospect Morgan Mahalak is the latest dual-threat quarterback to take on Oregon's uptempo offensive attack. Kansas product Jimmie Swain is a gifted outside linebacker prospect.

     

    Still Targeting

    Oregon appears to be a front-runner for 4-star safety Mattrell McGraw, who ranks among the top defenders in talent-rich Louisiana. Adoree' Jackson and John Smith are 5-star California defensive backs who still could end up in Eugene.

16. Ole Miss

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 23 (six 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Offensive guard Roderick Taylor is rated the top player at his position by 247Sports' composite rankings. Markell Pack was a coveted receiver for several programs but picked the Rebels. Elite safety C.J. Hampton momentarily decommitted from Ole Miss to consider Alabama before returning to the class. Four-star running back D.K. Buford is a dynamic underrated rusher. Ole Miss added a premier prep-level pass-rusher in Marquis Haynes.

     

    Still Targeting

    Defensive tackle Elisha Shaw is a strong possibility for the Rebels. Fellow Georgia prospect Andrew Williams is also in play. Tight end target Sammie Epps would provide another dimension on offense.

15. UCLA

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    Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 17 (nine 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    UCLA is on a roll in recruiting right now, continuing to pick up key contributors. The Bruins brought in a pair of premier linebackers early in January. UCLA added local prospect Dwight Williams during the Army All-American Bowl, a day after fellow 4-star Houston defender Zach Whitley flipped his commitment from Alabama.

    Standout safety Jaleel Wadood led St. John Bosco to a California state title and joins forces with 4-star Southern California cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary. In-state receivers Alex Van Dyke and Jordan Lasley give Jim Mora offensive options. Intriguing Colorado prospect Nathan Starks could emerge as a running back or defensive back.

     

    Still Targeting

    The Bruins aim to keep Southern California star Adoree' Jackson home in a recruiting battle that may come down to UCLA vs. USC. Jim Mora must also contend with the Trojans for top-ranked offensive guard Damien Mama. UCLA is a legitimate dark-horse candidate to land a commitment from 5-star New Orleans wide receiver Malachi Dupre.

14. Clemson

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments18 (nine 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson is the most prolific passer in Georgia high school football history. He brings a ton of talent to the Tigers offense, along with 4-star receivers Artavis Scott and Demarre Kitt. Tight end Milan Richard is another Peach State product with plenty of potential. Linebackers Korie Rogers and Chris Register bring added bite to the defensive unit. 

     

    Still Targeting

    Clemson would love to load up on defensive line prospects, including end Andrew Williams and tackle Naquez Pringle. The Tigers remain in the hunt for 4-star receiver Trevion Thompson, who is also weighing offers from Ohio State, West Virginia and North Carolina.

13. Michigan

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments16 (seven 4-stars, one 5-star)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Michigan welcomes in 5-star athlete Jabrill Peppers. The New Jersey prospect has already drawn comparisons to Wolverines legend Charles Woodson. Defensive linemen Bryan Mone and Lawrence Marshall are each physically intimidating 4-star talents. In-state wide receiver Drake Harris is the complete package. Michigan plucked one of Ohio's top prospects in linebacker Michael Ferns.

     

    Still Targeting

    Defensive end Malik McDowell remains in the cross hairs. Michigan aims to strengthen its linebacker corps with the addition of Southern California prospect Dwight Williams.

12. Texas

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    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments21 (seven 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    The Longhorns always do an exemplary job of drawing top in-state talent to Austin. That remains the challenge for new coach Charlie Strong. Quarterback Jerrod Heard is the most dynamic dual-threat player Texas has landed at the position since Vince Young. San Antonio defensive end Derick Roberson provides a disruptive presence off the edge.

    Wide receiver prospects Lorenzo Joe and Armanti Foreman each committed well before their senior seasons. Running back Donald Catalon is a promising playmaker out of Houston, where the team also found stud safety John Bonney.

     

    Still Targeting

    A high-profile coaching change clearly complicates recruiting efforts at any university, but Texas remains in search of top-tier talent. Defensive end Solomon Thomas is a high-value in-state prospect who means a lot to the Longhorns. San Antonio defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao decommitted from Texas in November but could possibly return to this class. Outside linebacker Edwin Freeman is still a top priority.

11. Miami

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

    Total Commitments26 (seven 4-stars, one 5-star)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Offensive tackles KC McDermott and Trevor Darling provide Miami with a pair of 4-star bookends, both from the Sunshine State. Quarterback Brad Kaaya is an intriguing 4-star passer from California. He'll look to add firepower to the Hurricanes offense with local standout running back Joseph Yearby and wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who shined at the Under Armor All-America Game. Defensive linemen Chad Thomas is a valuable additions from the Miami area.

     

    Still Targeting

    The 'Canes could continue to stockpile talent along the offensive line with a commitment from 5-star tackle Damian Prince. Miami is still searching for secondary help, and Washington, D.C., safety DaeJuan Funderburk fits the bill.

10. Florida

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 21 (six 4-stars, two 5-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Florida recently lost commitments from a pair of 5-star recruits, losing grips on running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Ermon Lane.  New Orleans defensive tackle Gerald Willis pledged to the Gators during Under Armour All-America Game action. He joins 4-star tackle Khairi Clark in the heart of Will Muschamp's defense. Mammoth defensive tackle Thomas Holley flipped from Penn State in January.

    Quarterback Will Grier is the most statistically accomplished quarterback currently in high school. He will be protected by 4-star offensive tackle David Sharpe. Five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor flipped from Arizona to Florida days before early enrollment.

     

    Still Targeting 

    Athlete Adoree' Jackson values Florida's football program and possibly their track program, as he could aim to attempt a multisport career in college. Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter still has the Gators on his list. Florida is targeting running backs, including North Carolina standout Derrell Scott and Minnesota commit Jeff Jones.

9. Georgia

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments: 18 (10 4-stars, two 5-star)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Nick Chubb will arrive in Athens with immense expectations after a dominant senior season at in-state Cedartown High School. He gained 2,700 yards and recorded 41 touchdowns on the ground, per MaxPreps. Five-star Florida prospect Sony Michel joins him in a recharged Bulldogs backfield.

    South Carolina quarterback Jacob Park joins the program, along with 4-star pass targets Jeb Blazevich and Shakenneth Williams. Defensive end Keyon Brown and tackle Lamont Gaillard provide immediate depth up front.

     

    Still Targeting

    In-state defensive end Lorenzo Carter is the key player on Georgia's board. The disruptive 5-star Norcross High School standout will be a freshman difference-maker. Alabama prospect Rashaan Evans would quickly become a valued member of the Bulldogs' linebacker corps.

8. Auburn

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    Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

    Total Commitments20 (nine 4-stars, two 5-star)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Auburn did an excellent job of locating quality JUCO prospects, including dynamic wide receiver D'haquille Williams, defensive end DaVonte Lambert and safety Derrick Moncrief. Florida quarterback Sean White was impressive in Under Armour All-American Game action.

    Running back Racean Thomas looks every bit the part of a 5-star prospect, bullying opponents with a physical rushing approach. The Tigers flipped cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent from Alabama, bolstering the defensive backfield. Linebacker Tre' Williams is a relentless in-state defender, and former Georgia pledge Dontavius Russell beefs up Auburn's interior at defensive tackle.

     

    Still Targeting

    Auburn native Rashaan Evans would pair nicely with Williams, but several schools remain in the picture for his services. The Tigers are also involved with Georgia defensive end Andrew Williams and Arizona offensive tackle Jordan Prestwood.

7. Notre Dame

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    Total Commitments22 (16 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Alex Bars and Quenton Nelson provide instant upgrades on the offensive tackle depth chart. Ohio product DeShone Kizer is a big-bodied quarterback with excellent mobility. He will team up with 4-star wide receiver tandem Justin Brent and Corey Holmes in South Bend.

    Nic Weishar and Tyler Luatua are the latest in a long line of impressive Notre Dame tight ends. The team looks to shore up the defensive line with tackle Jay Hayes and end Andrew Trumbetti, both 4-star recruits. Illinois middle linebacker Nyles Morgan was a top priority for Brian Kelly's staff. Those efforts paid off for the Fighting Irish when he committed at the Army All-American Bowl.

     

    Still Targeting

    Notre Dame needs to secure additional help in the defensive secondary. Southern California safety John Smith, a 5-star prospect, has the Fighting Irish on his short list. Athlete Michiah Quick could ultimately star on either side of the ball, but Notre Dame must compete with the likes of Oklahoma, UCLA and USC for his services. The Irish remain in play for 5-star defensive end Solomon Thomas.

6. Tennessee

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Total Commitments: 34 (16 4-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Receiver Josh Malone enjoyed a dominant senior season at College Station High School (Gallatin, Tenn.), catching 71 passes for 1,404 yards and 19 touchdowns, per 247Sports. He picked the Vols over Florida State, Clemson and Georgia. Malone will join forces with 4-star JUCO receiver prospect Lavon Pearson in Knoxville.

    Jalen Hurd provides the offensive backfield with an electric playmaker who can do damage in the passing game. Cortez McDowell and Todd Kelly team up to form a formidable safety tandem. Four-star linebackers Dillon Bates, Gavin Bryant, Chris Weatherd and Kevin Mouhon give Tennessee a collection of options on defense and special teams.

     

    Still Targeting

    The Vols are still involved in the recruitment of 5-star California cornerback Adoree' Jackson, but there's plenty of company in that race. Tennessee has limited room remaining in this recruiting class but could find a spot for 4-star North Carolina running back Derrell Scott.

5. LSU

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    Total Commitments: 18 (11 4-stars, three 5-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    LSU landed No. 1 overall prospect Leonard Fournette during the Under Armour All-America Game. The Tigers have loaded up on defensive talent in the form of linebacker Clifton Garrett and safety Jamal Adams, both 5-star recruits. Adams also committed at the Under Armour All-America Game.

    Wide receivers Trey Quinn and Tony Upchurch are 4-star talents who have a chance to grow with quarterback Brandon Harris. Quinn established a new national career receiving record this season (6,566 yards). Running back Darrel Williams flipped allegiances to LSU from Arizona State. The Tigers also add defensive ends Davon Godchaux and Deondre Clark.

     

    Still Targeting 

    After whiffing on 5-star receiver Speedy Noil, LSU turns its attention to fellow New Orleans pass target Malachi Dupre. Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter could elevate a front-four attack that already features several young playmakers.

4. Florida State

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    Total Commitments29 (14 4-stars, one 5-star)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Linebackers Kain Daub, Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy are 4-star prospects prepared to add depth to a dominant Florida State defense. The Sunshine State prospects are joined by impressive defensive tackles. Miami star Treon Harris may have an opportunity to compete at quarterback but is more likely to line up in the secondary. Offensive linemen Kareem Are and Chad Mavety are 4-star JUCO pledges.

    The Seminoles added 4-star wide receiver Travis Rudolph at the Under Armour All-America Game, days after 5-star running back Dalvin Cook flipped from Florida. Four-star defensive end Lorenzo Featherston pledged to Florida State on New Year's Day.

     

    Still Targeting

    Top-ranked cornerback Marlon Humphrey is a top priority. He won't announce his decision until next month. Wide receiver Malachi Dupre is a 5-star recruit who remains relatively open. Dominant offensive tackle Damian Prince would challenge for playing time early in Tallahassee. Former Gators wide receiver pledge Ermon Lane may be on the verge of following Cook to Florida State.

3. Ohio State

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    Total Commitments21 (15 4-stars, one 5-star)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Urban Meyer capped off his 2013 recruiting efforts with a December commitment from top-ranked middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Glenville High School (Cleveland) teammates Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith provided the program with a positive start in 2014. The 4-star defensive backs committed to Ohio State at the Army All-American Bowl.

    Cornerback Damon Webb, linebacker Dante Booker and defensive end Jalyn Holmes have instant-impact potential. Brooklyn product Curtis Samuel could excel on either side of the ball. Wide receivers Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell are 4-star pass targets, while New Jersey native Noah Brown is eyed as a versatile offensive option.

     

    Still Targeting

    Five-star California athlete John Smith remains on Meyer's radar. His addition would take a special defensive class to another level. The Buckeyes are among a cluster of squads still on 5-star defensive end Solomon Thomas' list. Ohio State also hopes to beat out Big Ten rivals for Michigan defensive end Malik McDowell.

2. Texas A&M

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    Total Commitments21 (13 4-stars, three 5-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Coach Kevin Sumlin has earned his paycheck throughout this recruiting cycle, assembling an impressive foundation for life after Johnny Manziel. Arizona quarterback Kyle Allen and New Orleans wide receiver Speedy Noil are a 5-star tandem in the passing game. Both athletes are considered the top players at their position in 247Sports' composite rankings.

    Houston receiver Frank Iheanacho, a promising 6'7" target, committed to Texas A&M at the Army All-American Bowl. Myles Garrett was a man among boys in the Under Armour All-America Game, racking up four tackles for loss during the opponent's first two possessions. The 5-star defensive end from Arlington should play plenty as a freshman.

    He is joined on the defensive front by fellow commits Qualen Cunningham and DeShawn Washington, both 4-star prospects. Running back Varshaun Nixon should be fun to watch in College Station.

     

    Still Targeting

    Versatile Oklahoma defensive back Steven Parker is on the radar, along with 4-star Kansas offensive guard Braden Smith. The Aggies are still pursuing Arlington linebacker Edwin Freeman, with Texas emerging as the strongest competition for his commitment.

1. Alabama

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    Total Commitments: 24 (14 4-stars, four 5-stars)

     

    Best of the Bunch

    Nick Saban never lacks for talent in the recruiting department and continues to command respect in that regard with another amazing class. He holds commitments from defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, offensive tackle Cameron Robinson and center JC Hassenauer, who are the top-rated players at their positions.

    Quarterback David Cornwell has explosive targets in 5-star athlete Bo Scarbrough and 4-star receiver Cameron Sims. Outside linebacker Christian Miller ranks among the nation's most dominant impact players on the edge. JUCO defensive linemen Jarran Reed and D.J. Pettway have already signed their letters of intent.

    Five-star cornerback Tony Brown committed to Alabama over LSU and Ohio State during the Army All-America Game. He joins Louisiana prospect Laurence Jones in the secondary. Jones briefly decommitted from the Tide before reaffirming his pledge on Jan. 2.

     

    Still Targeting

    Top in-state target Marlon Humphrey will announce his decision in February, with Alabama and Florida State standing out as favorites. The team is a finalist for 5-star Kentucky defensive tackle Matt Elam. California athlete John Smith, a 5-star prospect, remains tempted by the possibility of playing in Tuscaloosa.

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