It's still very early to judge how the Class of 2013 hauls are shaping up for teams around the country, as all of the commitments from high school rising seniors are non-binding verbals. However, let's take a look at the 25 strongest classes as of right now as we peek ahead to National Signing Day next February.
I'll continue to update these rankings throughout the summer, fall and winter months.
1. Michigan: Brady Hoke and Co. are doing a masterful job of revitalizing the program both on and off the field. The Wolverines have a staggering 21 commitments, most of whom are upper-star prospects. Quarterback Shane Morris headlines this class, and he's joined by offensive linemen David Dawson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, Chris Fox, Patrick Kugler and Kyle Bosch. Defensive backs Gareon Conley, Jourdan Lewis and Dymonte Thomas will help coordinator Greg Mattison's unit. The Maize and Blue are owning the Midwest right now, and a nice battle is set up between Michigan and Alabama for the top national spot in February.
2. Alabama: The Crimson Tide will always bring in a Top 5 class as long as Nick Saban is in town. Linebacker Reuben Foster is arguably the second-best defender in the nation, behind only end Robert Nkemdiche. And tight end O.J. Howard could emerge to become quarterback recruit Cooper Bateman's top weapon down the line.
3. Georgia: So much for Mark Richt's hot seat, as the defending SEC East champions already have 19 commitments. In-state talent is plentiful, with cornerback Shaq Wiggins leading the way. Quarterback Brice Ramsey is one of the better dropback passers in the country, and South Carolina native Tramel Terry as well as Florida running back Derrick Henry offer intriguing playmaking options for Richt down the line.
Will Muschamp is comprising a strong 2013 class at Florida.
4. Florida: Will Muschamp was able to land Kelvin Taylor, arguably the top running back in the country and the son of former Gator Fred Taylor. Offensive linemen Cameron Dillard and Josh Outlaw are very good finds up front, and the Gators addressed the receiver position after being unable to snag Stefon Diggs and Nelson Agholor last February. Ahmad Fulwood, Rodney Adams and Marqui Hawkins bring hope for future offenses in Gainesville.
5. USC: The Trojans may not have the numbers in their 2013 class, but they have the star power. USC holds commitments from three of the top 20 players in the country: quarterback Max Browne, safety Su'a Cravens and defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow. And they were also able to land Ty Isaac, the best running back in the Midwest. Lane Kiffin is doing a wonderful job navigating this program through NCAA limitations.
6. Texas: We'll see if wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones ultimately chooses to play for Mack Brown and Co. after all, but losing his commitment stings a little bit. However, the Longhorns still have the nation's best center in Darius James and multi-dimensional quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, arguably the best dual-threat in the country. In-state dominance is once again the norm for the Longhorns.
7. LSU: The Tigers have focused on offense thus far, as pro-style quarterback Hayden Rettig leads the way. Offensive tackle Ethan Pocic and offensive guard K.J. Malone join wide receiver Chuck Baker and athletes John Diarse and Tre'Davious White as key members of this offensive haul. Getting in-state prospects is the norm, but getting Rettig and Pocic from out of state is huge.
8. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly continues to focus on defense, with outside linebacker Jaylon Smith and defensive end Isaac Rochell leading the way. Offensive line is also shaping up to be an area of strength, with tackles Colin McGovern and Hunter Bivin being two of the finest at the position. Fellow tackles Mike McGlinchey, John Montelus and Steve Elmer are also very good.
9. Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin is bringing in some SEC-caliber talent immediately, with athletic prospects on both sides of the ball. Receivers Derrick Griffin and LaQuvionte Gonzalez should be fun to watch in the Aggies' up-temp offense, with quarterbacks Kohl Stewart and Kenny Hill as their possible gunslingers. And keep an eye on defensive lineman Jordan Points, who can play end or tackle.
10. Ohio State: Urban Meyer continues his magic in Columbus after bringing in SEC-type defensive linemen this past February. A couple of recent decommitments dropped the Buckeyes, but they're still doing well even with scholarship reductions. Eli Woodard and Cam Burrows form the best pair of corners in the country, and defensive tackle Joey Bosa is a force as a pass-rusher. Athlete Jalin Marshall will be perfect for Meyer's spread attack, and tight end Marcus Baugh will create mismatches.
11. South Carolina: Steve Spurrier continues to bring in high-quality recruits, with quarterback Connor Mitch leading the way. The dropback passer is one of the best in the country, and he'll be joined on offense by tackle D.J. Park and receiver Jasper Sasser. Meanwhile, outside linebacker Matt Rolin headlines the defensive haul. Most impressive is the fact that this staff is getting top prospects from the state of Georgia.
12. Auburn: New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is getting some new toys to utilize, as end Carl Lawson is the gem of this haul. Tackle Dee Liner could be the best interior lineman in the country, while Trey Johnson and Cameron Toney add depth at linebacker.
13. Oklahoma: The Sooners will want to make a strong push for defenders this cycle, but their offensive haul so far has been impressive. Running backs Greg Bryant and Keith Ford are two of the finest nationally at the position, while Cody Thomas adds depth at quarterback, which is a position of strength in Norman. End D.J. Ward will give new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops an instant-impact lineman.
14. Florida State: Austin Golson is one of the best offensive tackles in this class and could see the field right away in Tallahassee. Defensive tackle Maquedius Bain and outside linebacker Ro'derrick Hoskins highlight the in-state haul along with wide receiver Tony Stevens and offensive guard Ira Denson.
15. Penn State: Bill O'Brien is making sure that he gets the right pieces for his offense. And the transformation could start with Christian Hackenberg, one of the nation's best pure dropback passers. Adam Breneman, meanwhile, will cause mismatches at tight end. Defensive linemen Greg Webb and Garrett Sickels will add more depth to an area that is always strong in Happy Valley.
CONTINUE TO PAGE 2 TO SEE TEAMS NOS. 16-25
16. Virginia Tech: The Hokies' class is highlighted by outside linebacker Holland Fisher, who could be coordinator Bud Foster's next great "rover." The 6-2, 203-pounder is an athletic freak. Dual-threat quarterback Bucky Hodges and athlete Cequan Jefferson are two other names to keep an eye on in this local-heavy class.
17. Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze is making an incredible instant impact in Oxford after Houston Nutt's disappointing last few classes. The Rebels' class is headlined by in-state quarterback Ryan Buchanan, one of the better pocket passers in the nation. Texas receiver Dannon Cavil, Louisiana defensive tackle Christopher Robinson and Indiana safety Antonio Allen are key out-of-state gems for this class. With tailbacks Mark Dodson Jr. and Eugene Brazley, this class is amazing for a first-year head coach of an SEC team that is used to the bottom of the league standings.
18. North Carolina: New head coach Larry Fedora is hitting the ground running in Chapel Hill despite NCAA sanctions. In-state cornerback Brian Walker is one of the best in the country, and he represents the motto for this program right now: keep the best talent in-state. Receiver Jordan Fieulleteau is also a name to remember, as is Ohio quarterback Mitch Trubisky, a perfect signal-caller for this offense.
James Franklin is once again putting together a solid haul for Vandy.
19. Vanderbilt: James Franklin continues to impress on the recruiting trail, as it's clear players are enamored with his communication skills and his energy. California's Chad Kanoff and Georgia's Johnathon McCrary are two of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, and Florida safety Malik Greaves is very good. In-state receivers Latevius Rayford and Gerald Perry from Memphis could be future playmakers.
20. Washington: Steve Sarkisian and Co. just landed Troy Williams, one of the better dual-threat signal-callers in the country. He should fit into Sarkisian's offense really well because he's similar to current Huskies quarterback Keith Price. While he is very athletic, his strength is as a passer. Sammie Long is a big in-state receiver who could be on the receiving end of many passes from Williams.
21. Miami (FL): Al Golden is not letting potential NCAA sanctions hamper his ability to bring in very good recruits, as quarterback Kevin Olsen highlights this small class. Olsen is a traditional dropback passer and has football genes, as his brother is Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. Defensive tackle Keith Bryant and tight end Standish Dobard are also on board.
22. Tennessee: Derek Dooley enters a make-or-break season knowing that he is comprising a strong class, which is led by Texas safety Kameron Miles and in-state wide receiver Camion Patrick. Offensive tackle Austin Sanders is very good, while Corey Vereen, Dominic Zanca and De'Vondre Campbell are out-of-state linebackers who add depth to the position.
23. UCLA: Jim L. Mora has excited Bruin fans with his ability to assemble a top-notch staff and sell recruits on UCLA as a rising program. Cornerback Dashon Hunt and outside linebacker Deon Hollins Jr. are Top 20 players at their position, while Keyante Green is an underrated running back. Surprisingly, half of this class is from out of state.
24. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio continues to bring in some of the best athletes in the Big Ten. Gerald Holmes and R.J. Shelton give the Spartans a pair of running backs that could help keep the rushing attack strong in East Lansing. Meanwhile, Damion Terry is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. And he has experience in multiple styles of offenses. Linebackers Shane Jones and Jon Reschke add speed and toughness to the defense.
25. Virginia: Mike London continues to bring in top-notch recruits to Charlottesville as the Cavaliers' turnaround continues. In-state safety Tim Harris and outside linebacker Micah Kiser from Maryland headline this class, which features pro-style signal-callers Corwin Cutler and Brendan Marshall.
5 more to watch: Nebraska, Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Louisville
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