Alabama was knocked off its perch in the 2018 recruiting world and in this past January’s title game. The Tide got right back up for the 2019 recruiting cycle and dominated (save one program) the rest of the country once again. Yes, the more things change the more they stay the same. That includes the center of recruiting power remaining in the southeastern portion of the United States.
Let’s take a journey through the wider world of national recruiting as the 2019 class comes to a close.
Georgia (and the SEC) Keeping Pace
The Dawgs have nearly dethroned Alabama twice on the field in 2017 and 2018 and took the crown off their head in last year’s recruiting cycle. This year, Georgia couldn’t do the same but weren’t far behind the Tide in 2nd place and finished a good deal away from the 3rd place program while being led by the nation’s top recruit defensive end Nolan Smith from IMG Academy.
Georgia’s class is so good that enough can’t be said how great Alabama’s class is to stay ahead in the top spot. The Tide’s only non-blue chip recruit is their kicker and they signed 10% of all the Top 200 recruits in the country.
T E N P E R C E N T.
How big is the drop from Alabama at #1 and a school like Notre Dame at #15? The Tide have one more Top 200 recruit in their 2019 class (20) than the Irish (19) have in their last 3 classes.
Yes, the SEC continues to dominate recruiting. SB Nation has updated their 4-year recruiting rankings and it’s not pretty for most other conferences. The SEC owns 6 out of the top 8 programs in collecting talent!
Texas vs. A&M
There’s growing interest in the series between Texas and A&M being reignited again as the schools head into their 8th season without meeting on the field. If it were to happen any time soon the talent on the field is sure to be elite.
The Aggies cleaned up in-state with the top two players and 7 of the top 16 Texans, all Top 100 recruits. The Longhorns brought in 11 recruits from the Top 200 and capped off their class with the last-minute transfer of 5-star receiver Bru McCoy who fled the tire-fire that is USC.
Oregon Quietly Impressive
Is it time to buy stock in Mario Cristobal? The Ducks shot up the national rankings finishing an impressive 7th overall this year (their best ever) led by the country’s No. 2 recruit defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Even better for Oregon, they finished 10 and 14 spots ahead of division rivals Washington and Stanford, respectively. The Ducks have recruited strong enough in recent years that they’ve now sneaked past Notre Dame into 13th place in the 4-year rankings.
In the past Clemson was known more for small but extremely talented recruiting classes. Coming off their National Championship they’ve signed 29 players but just 13 blue-chips in the mix falling to 10th nationally overall.
The Tigers are losing a lot of their defense and may have smartly decided a quick infusion of bodies was needed. They signed 16 defenders and have welcomed an obscene 17 recruits who have enrolled early.
Ohio State Steps Back (But Not Really)
The Buckeyes aren’t used to being outside the Top 5 nationally, let alone dropping to 14th in the country. In the wake of losing Urban Meyer it would make some sense that they would feel it on the recruiting trail, though.
Still, they signed a trio of 5-stars and their ranking is almost entirely a product of a small 17-man class. Ohio State’s average player rankings is higher than everyone above them in the rankings with the exception of Georgia and Alabama.
Taggart Needs Time
Florida State was hoping for Willie Taggart to build a recruiting machine although they’ll have to apparently wait longer for that to happen as the Seminoles fell to 14th in the rankings for 2019. That includes the country’s 4th best safety Nick Cross who hasn’t signed yet and is being pulled in the direction of Penn State by his parents. Should Cross sign elsewhere, it would drop the Noles class down to 18th nationally.
FSU has also famously not signed a quarterback for the second straight cycle. They now have only James Blackman remaining on scholarship. Good luck!
Losing the Copper State
The country’s top QB prospect, Spencer Rattler, hails from Phoenix but did not sign with either Arizona or Arizona State. Neither did any of the top 14 players in the state. The Wildcats weren’t able to sign any of the top 33 players in-state which is so amazing as to be unbelievable.
Kevin Sumlin–using his contacts from previous jobs–focused on Texas where he signed 8 recruits. Herm Edwards on the other hand focused to the west with 9 recruits from California.
Purdue is 35th in the latest 4-year recruiting rankings but just finished 25th overall for 2019. Which is to say Jeff Brohm is Doing Good Things™ and has the Boilermakers surging quickly in the Big Ten West division.
Brohm was able to sign the top 2 players in Indiana and both are high 4-star recruits. Finishing up with the 5th best class in the Big Ten behind Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and Nebraska is a big deal for Purdue.
Don’t sleep on the Badgers who moved up 18 spots in the national rankings from last year to 27th for their top finish in the modern era of recruiting. It was a very top-heavy class for Wisconsin who signed 5-star offensive lineman Logan Brown and high 4-star quarterback Graham Mertz, the latter player being the highest QB ever signed by Wisconsin and the 2019 All-American Bowl Game MVP last month.
Is…the Big Ten West shaping up to be really fun?
Power 5 Worst
Jeff Brohm was rumored to be going home to Louisville after Bobby Petrino was fired by the school in early November. Ultimately, he did not take the job and the Cardinals went through one heck of a transition class dropping to a Power 5 low 73rd overall nationally.
Louisville’s class features only 14 players and a lone blue-chip prospect. This could be a much larger rebuilding project than expected and it’ll be fascinating to see the shape they’re in during the opener with Notre Dame.
Things are not going great for college football fans in Los Angeles. That is, unless you live in the City of Angels and don’t root for USC or UCLA.
The Bruins–coming off a solid 19th national class in Chip Kelly’s transitional first year–absolutely bombed out to 44th nationally for 2019. That included just 1 blue-chip recruit, and maybe worst of all, UCLA is going to struggle to get to 75 scholarships for the fall with suspensions and transfers aplenty.
USC re-tooled nearly its entire coaching staff–effectively forcing a transition class upon itself–and in the end gets to keep Clay Helton as head coach for its efforts. They were able to sign 25 players with only 7 blue-chips causing the Trojans class to fall all the way to 20th nationally. In the 4-year recruiting rankings, USC is now 2 spots below Notre Dame.