Recruiting: Scout's Top 25

Another Signing Day has come and gone and here's a look at the Top 25 recruiting classes.

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No one is surprised to see Alabama in the top spot of any college football poll whether it's recruiting or the one that matters on the field.


Nick Saban and Alabama won Scout's National Championship in recruiting for the Class of 2008 that included Julio Jones, Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus, Courtney Upshaw, as well as this little three star running back named Mark Ingram.

Three years ago, it was Florida State who sat atop the recruiting rankings with a No. 1 class in 2011 that included Devonta Freeman, Kelvin Benjamin, and Rashaad Greene among others. Who was No. 2 that year? Auburn.

Recruiting isn't everything, but getting the right players on Signing Day can go a long way towards delivering on a team's hopes and dreams over the course of the next four years.

So here's a look at the Top 25 recruiting classes in the country according to Scout.

Updated Wednesday 2/6 12:05 AM EST
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 4.35
Headliner: No. 1 OT Cameron Robinson
Much of Alabama's dominance much of the last decade can be attributed to trench warfare. The Crimson Tide own the line of scrimmage in their games. That aspect of their game is only going to get stronger in the near future with the additions of the nation's No.1 offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, and the nation's No. 1 junior college prospect regardless of position Dominick Jackson. Robinson is physically capable of playing right away, and Jackson will be expected to. It's not just about the beef though as Alabama went over to Texas and got one of the nation's fastest players in cornerback Tony Brown. It may be a lofty comparison, but Brown has Deion Sanders-esque speed and swagger. Despite the Scout Commitment tracker picking Alabama, it was still considered a surprise to a lot of us at Scout when Auburn High School product Rashaan Evans, the nation's No. 1 linebacker chose Alabama on Signing Day. It was considered an off year in Tuscaloosa this year because the Tide dropped two games and only finished third in the country after back to back BCS Championships. There's the talent in this class to help the Tide "rebound".
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 4.05
Headliner: No. 1 RB Leonard Fournette
Another year, another Top 10 finish for LSU. The Tigers class is headlined by the No. 1 overall prospect in running back Leonard Fournette. The Class of 2014 is the year of the running back, and Fournette is the best of the bunch. He's arguably the top running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. Texas A&M isn't the only team with three No. 1s as the Tigers have Fournette as well as inside linebacker Clifton Garrett and safety Jamal Adams on the commitment list. The Tigers are poised to make a run towards the top of the recruiting chart as we close in on Signing Day.
 
Florida State
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.90
Headliner: No. 4 RB Dalvin Cook
Florida State signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation three years ago (Auburn was No. 2), and that group included playmakers Kelvin Benjamin and Devonta Freeman among others.  This is another championship caliber group led by running back Dalvin Cook. In what is the deepest running back year of my career, Cook is another special player with size, balance, agility, and speed. The Seminoles are looking to refortify the trenches as they have commitments from six players ranked as defensive tackles by Scout including DeMarcus Christmas ranked No. 8 at his position. With two junior college offensive linemen coming in, Chad Mavety and Kareem Are, the Seminoles are positioning themselves to make another run at a National Championship this year. The Seminoles started their Signing Day march towards the top of the list with a signature from 4-Star defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi of Virginia, Beach, Va. Nnadi is the No. 3 defensive tackle prospect in the entire country. Florida State continued to bolster their defensive line on Signing Day with a signature from Lorenzo Featherstone of Greensboro, N.C.
 
Tennessee
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.85
Headliner: No. 11 RB Jalen Hurd
In today's 140 character attention span, some may have forgotten how dominant Tennessee has been in the not so distant past. Sure the Vols have 30+ recruits in this class, but that's not why they're in the Top 5. They're in the Top 5 because they have commitments from a whopping 17 prospects rated four-stars or better including a pair of running backs in Jalen Hurd and Derrell Scott. Hurd is a big athlete at 6'2 and 210 pounds who could play a number of positions, and Scott has speed to burn. The Vols have a four-star prospect committed at every position save quarterback, and Tennessee has young talent on the roster at that position.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.90
Headliner: No. 2 OLB Sam Hubbard
Urban Meyer knows no other place than the Top 5 in his time with the Buckeyes. Meyer pieced together the No. 3 class in the nation in 2012 in just six weeks while claiming the top spot last year. Meyer and the Buckeyes show no signs of slowing down. If it was playmakers in last year's class including Dontre Wilson, the Buckeyes are going to inject a heavy dose of talent into their linebacker corp. this year. Ohio State is brining in three of the nation's top four outside linebacker prospects in Sam HubbardKyle Berger, and Dante Booker, and adding the nation's No. 5 inside linebacker prospect Raekwon McMillan for good measure. The Bucks are going long on receivers as well hoping to give Braxton Miller another vertical threat and receivers Johnnie Dixon and speedster Curtis Samuel could fit the bill.
 
Avg. Star Rating Top 20 Commits - 3.85
Headliner: No. 3 ILB Nyles Morgan
Notre Dame is making a concerted effort to bolster the front seven with the Class of 2014. Of the Irish's 22 commitments, half of them are linebackers and defensive linemen including 5-Star inside linebacker Nyles Morgan of Crete, Ill. There is definitely an emphasis on speed on the edge, because eight of those 11 are either defensive ends or outside linebacker prospects including Grant Blankenship, the nation's No. 10 defensive end prospect. On the offensive side of the ball, receiver Justin Brent has the skill set and physical ability to come in and contribute right away. The Irish weren't content to sit on 11 as the number of players in the front seven as Notre Dame added a signature from 4-Star defensive tackle Daniel Cage out of Cincinnati, Ohio.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.95
Headliner: No. 1 QB Kyle Allen
Texas A&M seemingly overnight has become the IT team in the nation's most talent laden state. Kevin Sumlin and staff have been lights out on the recruiting trail the last two years, and it continues this year with the Aggies garnering commitments from three players ranked No. 1 overall at their respective positions. Defensive end Myles Garrett, quarterback Kyle Allen, and receiver Devante Noil (Speedy) all sit atop their prospect ranking list. Adding smaller, faster Speedy Noil at 5'11/185 sub 4.4 to a crop from last year that included the nation's No. 1 receiver Ricky Seals-Jones and freshman contributor Laquvionte Gonzelez borders on absurd. The Aggies are also injecting a heavy dose of linemen with 10 committed (5 OL/5 DL) highlighted by Garrett.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.80
Headliner: No. 3 RB Racean Thomas
The Auburn Tigers have been a team of turnarounds the past 12 months. Head Coach Gus Malzahn first resurrected a recruiting class that had fallen out of the Top 25 to finish No. 14 last year, and now he has a lot of momentum on his side after the even more drastic turnaround on the field. We've mentioned running backs several times already, and Racean Thomas is No. 1 worthy in just about every other year. 5-Star junior college signee D'haquille Williams is Auburn's most gifted receiver before he's even taken a snap. 5-Star linebacker Tre Williams is already on board, and he was joined by another 5-Star in offensive lineman Braden Smith of Kansas.
 
Avg. Star Rating for 20 Commits - 3.55
Headliner: No. 6 DE Gerald Willis
Florida's fall from grace wasn't exclusively an offensive problem, but it nearly was. The Gators are going to get bigger and stronger in the trenches with six offensive linemen committed and three tight ends. The headliner of the group is David Sharpe of Jacksonville, Fla. and junior college transfer Drew Sarvary will be counted on to play early. Quarterback Will Grier is the No. 4 quarterback in this class, and he's expected to be the future in Gainesville. Florida is also getting an injection of talent on the defensive side of the ball including 5-Star defensive end Gerald Willis and the nation's No. 5 ranked cornerback Jalen Tabor. Florida moved into the Top 10 with a solid effort on Signing Day including a signature from dynamic athlete Treon Harris of Scout's National Champion Booker T. Washington.
 
USC
Avg. Star Rating for 19 Commits - 3.79
Headliner: No. 2 S JuJu Smith
Commitment List | Forum
A coaching change, the last year of crippling NCAA sanctions, and USC signs a Top 10 class? Look out Pac-12. Steve Sarkesian and the USC Trojans will have a full 25 next year with a strong Class of 2015 on the West Coast. No one had a bigger Signing Day than the Trojans with announcements from three 5-Star prospects including two of the nation's Top 10 players in JuJu Smith and Adoree Jackson.
 
Miami (FL)
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.60
Headliner: No. 2 DE Chad Thomas
Take care of South Florida, and the Hurricanes will be a Top 10 team. That's always been the mantra, and Miami has done a good job of taking care of South Florida with commitments from a trio of 5-Stars in defensive end Chad Thomas, running back Joseph Yearby, and offensive lineman K.C. McDermott. 17 of Miami's commitments come from the state of Florida, but the Hurricanes have stepped out of state to fill some needs including 4-Star quarterback Brad Kaaya of California and playmaking receiver Braxton Berrios of North Carolina.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.70
Headliner: No. 2 RB Sony Michel
Georgia was in an interesting position two years ago with the nation's No. 1 running back Keith Marshall and another highly ranked back in Todd Gurley. Hindsight being what it is, Gurley is the superior player, but it's a nice problem to have. Déjà vu could strike in Athens with Georgia having 5-Star Sony Michel on board as well as another supremely talented but lower ranked Nick Chubb joining him. Georgia added another running back on Signing Day with a signature from Isaiah McKenzie, but McKenzie could see time as a slot receiver at Georgia and should be an immediate impact player as a return man. It was a long wait but worth it in the end as 5-Star defensive end Lorenzo Carter chose to stay home and play for the Bulldogs.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.40
Headliner: No. 5 RB Joe Mixon
Oklahoma is about to get an infusion of talent on the offensive side of the ball with 5-Star running back Joe Mixon coming from California. Mixon has hands like a receiver with the size of a linebacker. He has the talent to contribute immediately next year. The Sooners had a lot of success in California several years ago with a trio of players in receiver Kenny Stills, safety Tony Jefferson, and running back Brennan Clay, and Oklahoma is trying to strike gold again with Mixon and big receiver Dallis Todd (6'4/210) from La Mirada, Calif. The Sooners made a move on the eve of Signing Day with a commitment from 4-Star safety Steven Parker out of Jenks, Okla. and continued on Signing Day with 4-Star signatures from receiver Michiah Quick and lineman Kenyon Frison.
 
Oklahoma State
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.45
Headliner: JC RB Tyreek Hill
The year of the running back extends to the junior college ranks and Oklahoma State is coming away with maybe the most explosive player in the country in Tyreek Hill. Undersized but with documented 10.1 100 meter times, Hill has Olympic aspirations and may fit into a slot receiver role for the Cowboys. He has hold your breath type of speed. With three 4-star defensive ends committed, headlined by in-state star Jordan Brailford, the Cowboys will be fast and explosive on defense as well as offense.
 
Stanford
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.50
Headliner: No. 2 OT Casey Tucker
Speaking of no one being surprised to see a team in the Top 25 anymore, insert Stanford. It wasn't that long ago that The Cardinal was a punch line on the football, field, now it's Stanford delivering the blows. Stanford signed one of the best offensive line classes of the modern recruiting era in 2012, and the Cardinal is going to stay tough in the trenches with 5-Star Casey Tucker headed to the Farm. The nation's No. 1 tight end Dalton Schultz picked Stanford in January helping to boost Stanford in the top Top 25 (again). It had long been thought that 5-Star defensive end Solomon Thomas would end up at Stanford, but the speculation was put to an end when Thomas selected the Cardinal on Signing Day.
 
Avg. Star Rating of 14 Commits - 3.45
Headliner: No. 2 QB Jerrod Heard
Three years ago Florida State and Auburn finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the recruiting rankings. Two years ago it was Texas who won the Scout National Championship in recruiting. The big difference between Florida State and Auburn of 2013 vs. Texas of 2014? Quarterback. Texas has been a donut team since Colt McCoy left: a big hole in the middle. Jerrod Heard has all the tools to play the Teddy Bridgewater role in for Charlie Strong, but a true freshman doesn't lead a team to the National Championship. But Heard is a championship level quarterback before he leaves the Horns, and he's the key to this class. The big playmaker on defense comes in the form of defensive end Derick Roberson. Long, lean, and explosive, Roberson can make an impact as an edge rusher right away and can be a dominating force on defense before his career is done.
 
Arizona State
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.35
Headliner: No. 13 OLB D.J. Calhoun
Arizona State's most exciting prospects in the Class of 2014 are on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Manny Wilkins is relatively inexperienced, but with his size and his athleticism, he has a world of upside. Wilkins may be the future, but receiver Eric Lauderdale could make an immediate impact next year as a 4-Star junior college transfer. While the bulk of the top recruits are on offense, the Sun Devils' top recruit is linebacker D.J. Calhoun out of El Cerrito, Calif. Calhoun is a bit undersized, but he plays big, and he plays fast.
 
Mississippi
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 commits - 3.45
Headliner: No. 3 OG Roderick Taylor
Ole Miss was easily the surprise team of the year in 2014 with a Top 10 finish. Now no one is surprised to see Hugh Freeze and the Rebels in the Top 15 as Ole Miss and the new staff has solidified themselves as one of the top recruiting teams in the country. Ole Miss is adding another talent infusion to the trenches specifically with big offensive line prospect Roderick Taylor (6'3/330). Taylor is a massive people mover for the interior line and has the size and strength to contribute early. Breeland Speaks (6'4/285) is Taylor's polar opposite on the defensive line, but no less talented. Speaks is undersized by comparison, but he's cat quick and the size will come with time. Garrald McDowell is another quick interior lineman joining the Rebels in the fall. When people speak of SEC Speed, they talk about defensive linemen like Speaks and McDowell.
 
Michigan State
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.30
Headliner: No. 7 DE Malik McDowell
People ask all the time if a big season will impact the current recruiting class, and the answer is usually that it makes a difference with next year's class. The Spartans may have closed with 5-Star defensive end Malik McDowell without the Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championships, but it couldn't have hurt. The Spartans caught fire after their victory over Ohio State with commitments from McDowell as well as 4-Star defensive tackle Craig Evans and 4-Star safety Montae Nicholson.
  
Avg. Star Rating for 18 Commits - 3.50
Headliner: No. 6 ILB Zach Whitley 
After signing the No. 3 class in the nation in 2013 including everyone's all everything Myles JackUCLA could afford to aim high this year. The Bruins went national in their recruiting effort, but lost on southern 5-Stars Rashaan Evans and Malachi Dupre at linebacker and receiver respectively after already landing linebacker Zach Whitley out of Texas. From a national perspective this class will be judged on the Bruins' success with their out of state hopefuls, but a closer look reveals a smaller class, but talented core that includes talented defensive linemen like Ainuu Taua and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and big time playmaker Jaleel Wadood at defensive back.
 
Kentucky
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.30
Headliner: No. 11 DT Matthew Elam
If Ole Miss was the consensus surprise team of 2013, Kentucky is going to get a lot of votes for the Class of 2014. Even if he doesn't pan out, getting 4-Star quarterback Drew Barker to stay in state early on in the process was a good message from the Wildcats that they would be a force this year. Last week the Wildcats secured the crown jewel of the recruiting class in 4-Star defensive line prospect Matthew Elam, another Kentuckian. Mark Stoops and Kentucky focused on the No. 5 talent producing state in the country last year, Ohio, and realized its much easier to get Ohio players to come south than it is southern players to come north, and it's paying off again this year. 11 of Kentucky's 28 commitments are from Ohio.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.45
Headliner: No. 8 RB Royce Freeman
It speaks to the depth of the running back class when Royce Freeman (6'1/220) is ranked eighth in the nation, but he still has 5-Stars next to his name. Last year Oregon took lightning fast Thomas Tyner, and this year they get his compliment in bruising Royce Freeman. People question if Freeman's style fits what Oregon likes to do, and I remind them of LeGarrette Blount's success at Oregon. Plus, big, fast, and hard to tackle fits any system. Dual threat quarterback Morgan Mahalak certainly fits what Oregon likes to do as he is an excellent runner and thrower.
 
Baylor
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.30
Headliner: No. 4 WR Davion Hall
With their exciting brand of football and high profile players the last few years, it should be no surprise that offensive players are flocking to play for the Bears. The Class of 2014 is no exception as Baylor's three highest rated commitments are offensive skill players headlined by the nation's No. 4 receiver Davion Hall. Not putting all of their eggs in one basket, Baylor also has a commitment from the nation's No. 5 receiver in Kd Cannon giving the Bears arguably the top receiving class in the nation.
 
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.45
Headliner: No. 22 WR Shaq Davidson
We've grown accustomed to seeing South Carolina in the Top 25, so their absence this week was conspicuous. All the Gamecocks did on Signing Day was get announcements and signatures from four 4-star prospects in a pair of corners Chris Lammons and Wesley Green as well as linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams and defensive lineman Dexter Wideman. South Carolina quietly had one of the best Signing Day hauls in the nation with that quartet, insuring another spot in the Top 25.
 
Penn State
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits - 3.20
Headliner: No. 13 WR Saeed Blacknall
If anyone has done a better job the last three years to make something out of nothing, I don't know who it is. First crushing NCAA sanctions, now a coaching change a month before Signing Day, and yet here is Penn State sitting in the Top 25. Frankly (no pun intended), the Big Ten needs a guy like new Head Coach James Franklin. I was embarrassed for the Big Ten when coaches started complaining that Urban Meyer was recruiting committed (to other teams) players in his first month on the job. Franklin is brash, bold, and fearless. He's not going to be well liked by the opposing fans in Penn State, but ask Vanderbilt how it felt to be liked the 30 years before Franklin showed up.
Scott began with Scout as the Southeast Regional Manager in 2002. In addition to his recruiting responsibilities, Scott developed and ran the National Scout Combine series from 2005 thru 2008. Scott has been Director of Scouting since 2006 and oversees the Recruiting Rankings for Scout.
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