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Raking the top 20 college football recruiting classes


This news story was published on February 2, 2012.
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By Manny Navarro, McClatchy Newspapers –

1. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

Comment: National champions cleaned up with a dozen ESPNU Top-150 recruits and built a superstar secondary.

Top players: S Landon Collins, ATH Eddie Williams, ATH Cyrus Jones, WR Chris Black, CB Geno Smith.

2. TEXAS LONGHORNS

Comment: Scout.com’s No. 1 recruiting class featured 11 ESPNU 150 recruits — including the nation’s top running back in Johnathan Gray.

Top players: DT Malcolm Brown, OLB Peter Jinkens, OT Kennedy Estelle, OG Curtis Riser, DE Torshiro Davis.

3. FLORIDA GATORS

Comment: The Gators beefed up their offensive and defensive lines and also brought in two stellar tight ends.

Top players: OT DJ Humphries, DE Jonathan Bullard, OG Jessamen Dunker, DE Dante Fowler Jr., CB Brian Poole.

4. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

Comment: The Seminoles don’t have huge numbers in terms of recruits, but quality abounds — especially on the defensive line

Top players: DE Mario Edwards, QB Jameis Winston, DE Chris Casher, DT Eddie Goldman, RB Mario Pender.

5. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Comment: Some of the nation’s top recruits flocked to new coach Urban Meyer, who loaded up on stellar pass rushers.

Top players: DE Noah Spence, DE Adolphus Washington, DE Se’Von Pittman, DT Tommy Schutt, OG Joey O’Connor.

6. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Comment: Defense was the theme for the Wolverines, whose top recruits all seem to line up on that side of the ball.

Top players: CB Terry Richardson, OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone, ILB Joe Bolden, OG Kyle Kalis, DT Ondre Pipkins.

7. STANFORD CARDINAL

Comment: The Cardinal loaded up on the offensive line with four blockers rated four stars by Rivals.com

Top players: OL Kyle Murphy, OL Andrus Peat, DE Aziz Shittu, OG Joshua Garnett, RB Barry Sanders.

8. MIAMI HURRICANES

Comment: Canes put together one of the biggest classes in the country featuring eight devensive backs and a handful of gems on offense.

Top players: CB Tracy Howard, RB Duke Johnson, DE Jelani Hamilton, DE Tyriq McCord, DB Deon Bush.

9. OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Comment: Offensive heavy class for the Sooners features a talented group of receivers.

Top players: WR Trey Metoyer, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Durron Neal, RB Alex Ross, WR Derrick Woods.

10. LSU TIGERS

Comment: Tigers have good, balanced class featuring three of the nation’s top linebackers in Ronnie Feist, Lorenzo Phillips and Kwon Alexander.

Top players: OG Vadal Alexander, WR Travis Dural, WR Avery Johnson, DE Danielle Hunter, ATH Lamar Louis.

11. CLEMSON TIGERS

Comment: Defending ACC champions landed well-rounded class featuring six ESPN Top-150 recruits.

Top players: S Travis Blanks, WR Germone Hopper, QB Chad Kelly, DT Carlos Watkins, OL Isaiah Battle.

12. GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Comment: The majority of Georgia’s class is from in-state, led by a trio of ESPNU Top-150 defensive linemen.

Top players: RB Keith Marshall, OT John Theus, DT Jonathan Taylor, DE Jordan Jenkins, DT John Atkins.

13. USC TROJANS

Comment: Small class in terms of numbers, but not in quality for the Trojans, who have five ESPNU Top-150 recruits.

Top players: WR Nelson Agholor, OLB Jabari Ruffin, OT Max Tuerk, OG Jordan Simmons, OT Zach Banner, DB Gerald Bowman.

14. UCLA BRUINS

Comment: The Bruins picked up 11 of their commitments in January, after Jim Mora took over and began tearing up the recruiting trail.

Top players: DT Ellis McCarthy, ATH Devin Fuller, WR Jordan Payton, DB Ishmael Adams, DB Marcus Rios.

15. AUBURN TIGERS

Comment: Small, talented class for the Tigers that had pretty much been in place since August — only two new additions since then.

Top players: WR JaQuay Williams, OL Shane Callahan, DB Joshua Holsey, LB Cassanova McKinzy, OL Patrick Miller.

16. SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

Comment: Gamecocks cleaned up in the Carolinas, bringing in a solid group of skill position players on both offense and defense.

Top players: WR Shaq Roland, RB Mike Davis, S Chaz Elder, OT Brock Stadnik, WR Jody Fuller.

17. TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Comment: The Aggies got out of the gate fast and are holding onto good players even after the coaching change.

Top players: RB Trey Williams, WR Thomas Johnson, QB Matt Davis, CB De’Vante Harris, OL Mike Matthews.

18. OREGON DUCKS

Comment: Offensive tackle Arik Armstead was a nice big addition late for the Rose Bowl champs, who got off to a bit of a slow start.

Top players: RB Byron Marshall, QB Jake Rodrigues, WR Dwayne Stanford II, WR Bralon Addison, TE Evan Baylis.

19. NOTRE DAME IRISH

Comment: Irish focused on adding speed and quickness to the skill positions on both offense and defense.

Top players: QB Gunner Kiel, WR Justin Ferguson, CB Tee Shepard, DT Sheldon Day, DT Jarron Jones.

20. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Comment: Despite the coaching turnover, the Vols pulled in six four-star prospects, including two from the ESPNU 150.

Top players: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DT Daniel McCullers, DB LaDarrell McNeil, Deion Bonner, ATH Davante Bourque.

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