Rivals.com national recruiting editor Jeremy Crabtree breaks down the top 25 teams in the national team rankings with less than a week and a half left until National Signing Day on Feb. 6. See where your favorite team stacks up and if its stock is moving up or down as the final uncommitted players make their decisions.
Team ranking and player status as of Monday, Jan. 28, 12 p.m. CST
Hats off to Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish coaching staff. With all the struggles on the field this season, it would have been difficult to not have some struggles in the recruiting wars, but that didn't happen. This Irish class is loaded with prime time players, even though it'll likely lose its grip on the top spot.
The Gators moved to No. 1 last week after adding five-star defensive tackle Omar Hunter to the list. They then slid to No. 2 after they let Chaz Sutton go because of academics. The Gators could strengthen their grip on the top spot here down the stretch with the addition of William Green, T.J. Bryant or T.J. Lawrence.
The Crimson Tide has done a tremendous job this season, dominating not only in-state but elsewhere throughout the nation. The Tide has quite a few big-time players that could come down for them over the next few days, which means they have about as good of a shot as anybody near the top to climb higher. Alabama is still waiting on studs like Bryant, Mark Ingram, Alonzo Lawrence, Jerrell Harris and Julio Jones.
The Dawgs did a tremendous job this season, scoring one of the best classes early on and then Mark Richt and Co. kept piling on the solid players. The Dawgs do have to sweat out a visit to USC by Toby Jackson and Xavier Avery was at Oklahoma. If both stay true, the class should easily stick somewhere near the top five nationally.
The Sooners have closed strong under Bob Stoops the past few seasons and this year is nothing different. Last week, OU landed a commitment from four-star junior college linebacker J.R. Bryant and now the Sooners are awaiting news on Jones, Lamar Harris, Avery and Josh Hill in the final few days.
Ohio State's class has been relatively in place for quite some time. Once again Jim Tressel has Ohio State on track to land one of the nation's best groups. Five-star offensive tackles Mike Adams and Michael Brewster are the type of prospects you can build a future line around. The big question now is whether or not they will be blocking for Terrelle Pryor in the future.
The 'Noles received good news last week when JUCO defensive end Markus White moved up to five stars after earning national defensive player of the year honors. FSU went about things differently this season compared to the past, as it went out and landed commitments in the spring and summer. In years past, Bobby Bowden waited and closed strong. FSU still is waiting on word from guys like A.J. Alexander, Ryan Baker, Jamie Harper and others. The 'Noles could easily push up higher on the list if they pull a few of those down the stretch.
The Canes did a tremendous job of raiding the top talent in their own backyard. It was extremely tough for anybody to get any of the top players in South Florida away from the Canes this season. That lead Miami to a great recruiting start that has remained steady all the way through. Miami has some big names still on the board that could boost the class up. Brandon Harris, LaRon Byrd, Harper, Nick Perry, Burton Scott and Lawrence are still possibilities. If things break right, it could be a top five class for UM.
Darrell Scott. Darrell Scott. Darrell Scott. That's about all that's left on the board for Texas, and it's a mighty big one. The Horns, once again, did a tremendous job by jumping out of the gates early with a highly-regarded class. There are plenty of stars of the future in this group, but it'll go down as one of Mack Brown's best efforts if he can snag the nation's No. 1 running back away.
Things have been kind of quiet the past few weeks for UCLA. The Bruins have been busy working hard at trying to keep the pieces in place to what was a top-five recruiting class. There have been some defections that really stung, but in the end most of the top players that were committed under the old staff have remained in place. All things considered, this is a very special UCLA class.
Here come the Trojans. USC landed a commitment on Sunday from three-star athlete Brian Baucham, who was one of the best kept secrets on the West Coast. He was an all-everything running back this season but will likely project as a corner on the next level. The Trojans are also waiting for word from Bryant, Harris, Jackson, and Long Beach Poly teammates Vaughn Telemaque and Jurrell Casey.
The national champions have been on a roll and still have a shot at finishing somewhere near No. 5 if the dominoes all fall right for them down the stretch. The Tigers did a tremendous job of securing an early class and now Les Miles and recruiting coordinator Josh Henson have been targeting key players like Jermaine Thomas, Antoine McClain and others that could truly help push this class higher. The recent addition of Lavar Edwards could go down as one of the biggest steals in the nation. The three-star prospect can flat out ball.
Much like it is for Texas, Michigan is waiting for a player that could push their class into the upper-half of the top 10. That player is Pryor. Obviously, landing Pryor would be a huge, huge recruiting coup for Rich Rodriguez and his staff considering Michigan's relative late entry into the Terrelle Pryor sweepstakes. The Wolverine staff also did a great job of keeping what was a very good recruiting class from the previous staff already in place.
The Tigers have been on a roll the last few days, landing big commitments from four-star offensive lineman Kenneth Page and four-star defensive tackle Brandon Thompson. The Tigers still have some big fish on the line also – especially running back Jamie Harper. Harper's commitment would be like icing on top of the cake for Clemson.
Give the new Texas A&M staff a ton of credit. They took what could have been a major recruiting disaster and hit the road aggressively and it's paid off with a tremendous class. The Aggies recently landed Kapron Lewis-Moore (again) and did some major homework to find sleeper linebacker Ricky Cavanaugh, who might be one of Texas' biggest steals. Then on Sunday the Aggies landed four-star and top 100 running back Cyrus Gray.
The Tigers recently added a very solid commitment from two-way lineman Freddie Smooth from Louisiana. It was a nice recruiting victory for Auburn over the likes of Oklahoma and others. Auburn still has some big names on the board that could easily push them up the rankings if things fall its way. The Dareus brothers – Demerius Dareus and Marcel Dareus – would be nice gets, plus they're still in the hunt for McClain and Harris.
The Ducks continue to do it all over the country. Not only do they recruit well in California, but they've recruited well in other parts of the country. They went into Kansas to pull in Chris Harper recently and went into Texas to pull in stud running back LaMichael James. The Ducks are making a strong push also for Kentucky receiver Aaron Boyd and five-star prep school running back Enrique Davis. Landing either could push them up the charts some.
Things have been relatively quiet lately for Tech, as the foundation of the class has already been in place for a while now. The Hokies have landed a small handful of commitments in January with most of the work in the class done well in advance back this spring and summer. Ryan Williams has a chance to be a monster star for the Hokies. Not only is he talented, but he also fits the system really well. The Hokies also have one of the nation's best offensive line classes.
The Illini have been holding steady also for a while now. The number of potential kids still on the list is down to a small handful with Brandon Harold being the most highly regarded. Ron Zook proved again in this year's class that he's one of the best recruiters in the nation. He did it both on the high school and on the junior college level. Four-star JUCO safety Donsay Hardeman has a real shot at being special for the Illini right away.
It's also been quiet lately for ASU. The Sun Devils did a tremendous job on the field this season and then also in the recruiting front. Dennis Erickson complimented his high school class with a talented-laden junior college class. The biggest gets, though, come from in-state high school stars like Gerell Robinson and Jarrell Barbour. Stealing away Ryan Bass from rival Arizona also had to feel really good.
Pittsburgh has been one of the most pleasant surprises nationally this recruiting season. Not only did they make strides on the field late in the season, they've continued to make strides forward in the recruiting wars. Landing five-star receiver Jonathan Baldwin is something that should help sparkplug the offense even more next season. And they've done a tremendous job also on the defensive side of the ball with guys like Shayne Hale expecting to compete for early time.
Tyrone Willingham is flat out getting it done in Seattle this recruiting season. UDub might go down as the biggest surprise nationally, but it shouldn't be a true surprise because the Huskies have a tremendous recruiting base to recruit to – major urban area, great facilities, good tradition and a great fan base. The Huskies have done most of their damage this season in the Northwest with the key additions of stars like Kavario Middleton, Everrette Thompson, Alameda Ta'amu. But stealing Chris Polk away from USC also had to be exciting for the UDub coaches.
The Cowboys will sign one of the nation's best combinations of high school and junior college players. OSU already has eight players on campus, including top-50 JUCO players Maurice Gray, Beau Johnson and Swanson Miller. OSU also has done well on the high school level, reloading at the defensive back spot. Safeties Victor Johnson and Markelle Martin have a shot to be really special for the Cowboys.
Much like Texas, Colorado is waiting for word on Scott. If he joins CU's class it will be a huge boost and likely push them into the top 20 category. The Buffs are still trying to get UCLA receiver commitment Nelson Rosario to visit next weekend, and don't be surprised if tight end Ryan Wallace shows up on CU's signing day list.
The Tigers did a tremendous job of capitalizing on their Big 12 North championship. Mizzou landed the nation's top pro-style quarterback in Blaine Gabbert and also did a good job of sealing up the rest of its state borders by landing six of the state's top eight players. The Lone Star State was also kind to the Tigers with pledges from 12 players.