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January 30, 2012

Recruiting blitz: Ranking the classes

CHAT: National recruiting chat at 1 p.m. ET

We run down the current state of recruiting in the 2012 class in every major conference and predict how the final class rankings in the conferences might look after National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Big East | SEC | Pac-12


1. Florida State
It's not a huge class but the quality is undeniable with top prospects from Texas, Alabama, Georgia and other areas.
Biggest catch: Mario Edwards, DT, Denton (Tex.) Ryan
Could steal: Reggie Northrup, LB, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast

2. Clemson
The Tigers loaded up on defense and on the offensive line after last year's surprising haul.
Biggest catch: Travis Blanks, DB, Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian
Could steal: JaMichael Winston, DE, Prichard (Ala.) Vigor

3. Miami
The Canes really loaded up at the skill positions with elite athletes and this is a deep class.
Biggest catch: Randy Johnson, RB, Miami (Fla.) Norland
Could steal: Tracy Howard, CB, Miramar, Fla.

4. Virginia Tech
The Hokies did very well with in-state talent and complemented that with solid commits in Florida and Georgia.
Biggest catch: J.C. Coleman, RB, Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Could steal: Korren Kirven, DT, Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville

5. Virginia
A flurry of summer commitments, plus a couple of surprises, vaulted UVa into the upper half of the ACC rankings.
Biggest catch: Eli Harold, DE, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes
Could steal: No one, they are done

6. North Carolina
Larry Fedora had the unenviable task of taking a job late while recruiting against the threat of sanctions.
Biggest catch: James Summers, QB, Greensboro (N.C.) Page
Could steal: Davonte Neal, WR, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral

7. Georgia Tech
It has been a frustrating recruiting year for Tech as the Jackets could have finished much higher but they could close strong.
Biggest catch: Justin Thomas, ATH, Prattville (Ala.)
Could steal: Beau Hankins, OLB, Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin

8. Maryland
As expected, Randy Edsall hit the DMV area hard in his first class.
Biggest catch: Wes Brown, RB, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
Could steal: Stefon Diggs, WR, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel

9. N.C. State
The Pack's class is very heavy on defensive talent, especially up front.
Biggest catch: Tyler Knox, TE, Myrtle Beach (S.C.)
Could steal: No one, they are done

10. Duke
Once again, the Blue Devils were able to pull in some surprise commitments under David Cutcliffe.
Biggest catch: Shaquille Powell, RB, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Could steal: Jela Duncan, RB, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek

11. Boston College
The Eagles limped to the finish line this year with several top targets and even verbal commitments opting for other schools.
Biggest catch: Win Homer, OL, Christchurch (Va.) Christchurch School
Could steal: Michael Giacone, LB, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep

12. Wake Forest
The Deacs knew this would be a small class but they feel good about the offensive skill position talent.
Biggest catch: Tyler Cameron, QB, Jupiter (Fla.)
Could steal: Quinshad Davis, WR, Gaffney (S.C.)


1. Ohio State
A very average class in October has turned into one of the top three in the nation heading into National Signing Day due to the work of new Buckeye's head coach Urban Meyer.
Biggest catch: Noah Spence, DE, Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt
Could steal: Stefon Diggs, WR, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel

2. Michigan
The Wolverines had 20 commitments in the 2012 class before the end of July, and built most of their class with prospects from Michigan and Ohio.
Biggest catch: Ondre Pipkins, DT, Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill
Could steal: Jordan Diamond, OL, Chicago Simeon

3. Nebraska
It took Bo Pelini and his staff a long time to add numbers in the 2012 class, but they are starting to gain steam in the lead-up to National Signing Day.
Biggest catch: Paul Thurston, OL, Arvada (Colo.) West
Could steal: Devian Shelton, CB, Inglewood, Calif.

4. Purdue
The Boilermakers have commitments from an amazing 14 different states in their 2012 class, ranging from New York to California.
Biggest catch: Ryan Watson, DE, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
Could steal: Robert Gregory, QB, Chicago Simeon

5. Iowa
The Hawkeyes have been one of the most active Big Ten teams on the recruiting trail leading up to Signing Day, and could see their class rankings rise late as a result.
Biggest catch: Jaleel Johnson, DT, Lombard (Ill.) Montini
Could steal: C.J. Beathard, QB, Franklin (Tenn.) Battle Ground Academy

6. Michigan State
The Spartans picked up a big commitment Sunday night in wide receiver Monty Madaris and have a chance to close with a couple more late additions.
Biggest catch: Aaron Burbridge, WR, Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison
Could steal: Kyle Dodson, OT, Cleveland Heights (Ohio)

7. Wisconsin
The Badgers got off to a fast start back in the spring, but the loss of six assistant coaches and low scholarship numbers thwarted their momentum down the stretch.
Biggest catch: Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Lincoln
Could steal: Jake Meador, OT, Whiteland (Ind.) Community

8. Penn State
A strong, early start in the 2012 class was almost completely erased by the scandal in State College that resulted in the dismissal of legendary head coach Joe Paterno.
Biggest catch: Eugene Lewis, WR, Plymouth (Pa.) Wyoming Valley
Could steal: Beau Hankins, LB, Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin

9. Northwestern
The Wildcat's class may be the most underrated in the Big Ten, highlighted by two four-star prospects from the state of Ohio.
Biggest catch: Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Centerville, Ohio
Could steal: Quanzell Lambert, LB, Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek

10. Illinois
New Illini head coach Tim Beckman is using his Midwest ties to fill out the 2012 class before National Signing Day.
Biggest catch: Dami Ayoola, RB, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Could steal: Lakeith Walls, ATH, Cleveland (Ohio) Rhodes

11. Minnesota
The Gophers dominated recruiting in their home state, landing seven of the top 10 prospects in Minnesota.
Biggest catch: Philip Nelson, QB, Mankato (Minn.) West
Could steal: Pedro Sibiea, DE, Homestead, Fla.

12. Indiana
Head coach Kevin Wilson has a large class of 24 prospects going, including seven who enrolled early.
Biggest catch: Tevin Coleman, RB, Oak Forest, Ill.
Could steal: Dimitric Camiel, OL, Houston (Texas) Westfield

Notre Dame

Notre Dame
The Irish are still in on some big battles down the stretch, and are looking to secure help at defensive back and wide receiver before National Signing Day.
Biggest catch: Gunner Kiel, QB, Columbus (Ind.) East
Could steal: Brian Poole, CB, Bradenton (Fla.) Southeast

BIG 12

1. Texas
Unlike in recent years the Longhorns have closed strong late and have added several commits in the last month.
Biggest catch: Johnathan Gray, RB, Aledo (Texas)
Could steal: Bryce Cottrell, DE, Plano (Texas) West

2. Oklahoma
The Sooners don't have many defenders in the class but that could change soon as they are in on several late.
Biggest catch: Trey Metoyer, WR, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy
Could steal: Courtney Gardner, WR, Roseville (Calif.) Sierra C.C.

3. TCU
With the move to the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have been able to go head-to-head with the major powers.
Biggest catch: Tyler Matthews, QB, McPherson (Kan.)
Could steal: Calvin Perry, LB, Hoover (Ala.) Bessemer Academy

4. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have gone very heavy on junior college prospects in an attempt to reload the roster.
Biggest catch: Michael Starts, DE, Waco (Texas) La Vega
Could steal: Damien Williams, RB, Yuma (Ariz.) Arizona Western C.C.

5. Baylor
In the wake of a 10-win season and a Heisman Trophy campaign the Bears have landed some big-name prospects.
Biggest catch: Javonte Magee, DE, San Antonio (Texas) Sam Houston
Could steal: La'Darius Newbold, CB, Lancaster (Texas)

6. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have struggled a bit in the state of Texas this year but have pulled in some solid national recruits.
Biggest catch: C.J. Curry, WR, Flowery Branch (Ga.)
Could steal: Seth Jacobs, LB, Arroyo Grande (Calif.)

7. Kansas State
As has usually been the case under Bill Snyder, the Wildcats have gone heavy on the junior college prospects.
Biggest catch: Marquez Clark, WR, Corsicana (Texas) Navarro College
Could steal: Chaquil Reed, DT, El Dorado (Kan.) Butler County C.C.

8. Iowa State
The Cyclone class may not be top-heavy as others but it addresses quite a few needs on the roster.
Biggest catch: Damien Lawry, ATH, Dallas (Texas) Wilmer-Hutchins
Could steal: D'Vario Montgomery, WR, Winter Park (Fla.)

9. Kansas
New head coach Charlie Weis came in behind the eight ball a bit with a very small class but has added some pieces in the last few weeks.
Biggest catch: Courtney Arnick, LB, Dallas (Texas) Carter
Could steal: V'Angelo Bentley, CB, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville


1. Rutgers
There are obviously a lot of questions marks with this class because of the departure of Coach Greg Schiano, but up to this point the remaining coaching staff has done an extremely impressive job keeping everything together.
Biggest catch: Chris Muller, OL, Boyertown, Pa.
Could steal: Darius Hamilton, DE, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep

2. Louisville
Head Coach Charlie Strong has once again proven that he is one of the more respected recruiters in the country for a reason.
Biggest catch: Nick Dawson, LB, Charlotte (N.C.) Phillip O Berry Academy of Technology
Could steal: Anthony Wales, APB, Louisville (Ky.) Central

3. West Virginia
West Virginia continues to dive into the deep Florida talent pool by grabbing ten more prospects from the Sunshine State.
Biggest catch: Deontay McManus, WR, Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar
Could steal: Joel Caleb, ATH, Midlotian (Va.) Clover Hill

4. Cincinnati
Pulling in a very large class, the Bearcats have grabbed players from eight different states to this point.
Biggest catch: Dennis Norfleet, RB, Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King
Could steal: Aaron Harris, RB, Chula Vista (Calif.) Southwestern C.C.

5. USF
Hoping to find an answer to a few of their bigger questions, the Bulls took the junior college route with four prospects.
Biggest catch: D'Vario Montgomery, WR, Winter Park (Fla.)
Could steal: Tashon Whitehurst , LB, Gainesville, Fla.

6. Pittsburgh
A second coaching change in two years never makes recruiting easy, but Coach Paul Chryst and his new staff are hoping for a big finish.
Biggest catch: Rushel Shell, RB, Aliquipa (Pa.) Hopewell
Could steal: J.J. Denman, OL, Fairless Hills (Pa.) Pennsbury

7. Syracuse
The Orange continue to try and control recruiting inside their state borders, and this year have added eight prospects from the Empire State.
Biggest catch: George Morris, RB, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
Could steal: Julian Pinnix-Odrick, DE, Montclair, N.J.

8. Connecticut
The Huskies answered some depth issues at linebacker by bringing in five prospects from four different states.
Biggest catch: Casey Cochran, QB, Monroe (Conn.) Masuk
Could steal: Ryan Brodie, OL, Long Branch, N.J.


1. Alabama
The Tide has an excellent shot at finishing with the country's top overall class for the fourth time in five years. This class has three five-stars at the moment.
Biggest catch: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Daphne (Ala.)
Could steal: Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, McDonough (Ala.) Henry County

2. Florida
The Gators have an excellent chance to finish with a top-five class or better, however none of their remaining targets are sure things
Biggest catch: D.J. Humphries, OT, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek
Could steal: Stefon Diggs, WR, Olney (Md.) Our Lady Of Good Counsel

3. Texas A&M
Despite a coaching change in College Station, the Aggies are doing quite fine on the recruiting trail. Their class is comparable to the SEC's best.
Biggest catch: Trey Williams, RB, Spring (Texas) Dekaney
Could steal: Hassan Ridgeway, DE, Mansfield (Texas)

4. Tennessee
With 10 four-star prospects currently on board, the Volunteers rank among the SEC - and national - leaders.
Biggest catch: LaDarrell McNeil, S, Dallas (Texas) Wilmer-Hutchins
Could steal: Quinshad Davis, WR, Gaffney (S.C.)

5. Georgia
The Bulldogs are locked in several key battles entering the homestretch. With a few strikes, the potential is there for a big finish
Biggest catch: John Theus, OT, Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles
Could steal: Josh Harvey-Clemons, ATH, Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes

6. Auburn
The Tigers haven't gotten the typical national title bump, nonetheless the average star rating per commit is an excellent 3.60 - and that could go up.
Biggest catch: JaQuay Williams, WR, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek
Could steal: Eddie Goldman, DT, Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy

7. South Carolina
After an 11-win season, the Gamecocks have recruited very well - particularly in neighboring Georgia.
Biggest catch: Mike Davis, RB, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson
Could steal: Chris Moody, ATH, McDonough (Ga.) Henry County

8. LSU
The loss of three high-profile recruits in the past month hurt, yet this class still includes nine four-star prospects with more possible.
Biggest catch: Torshiro Davis OLB Shreveport (La.) Woodlawn
Could steal: Kwon Alexander, OLB, Oxford (Ala.)

9. Arkansas
The Razorbacks have quietly put together a nice class. All it lacks is star power, but there is hope that could be about to change.
Biggest catch: Jonathan Williams, RB, Allen (Texas)
Could steal: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest

10. Vanderbilt
The Commodores arguably have put together the program's best recruiting class of the modern era, but must hold onto two key recruits at the end.
Biggest catch: Brian Kimbrow, APB, Memphis (Tenn.) East
Could steal: Charlie Miller, WR, Vero Beach (Fla.)

11. Mississippi State
Thanks largely to their solid work in their home state, the Bulldogs have a chance at a top-25 finish.
Biggest catch: Quay Evans, DT, Morton (Miss.)
Could steal: Richie Brown, ILB, Long Beach (Miss.)

12. Missouri
The Tigers' class of 19, which figures to go up some, includes only one player who isn't at least a three star.
Biggest catch: Evan Boehm, OG, Lee's Summit (Mo.) Lee's Summit West
Could steal: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest

13. Ole Miss
Getting a late start hurt the new staff, and getting commits hasn't been easy. However, the Rebels have won a few key battles.
Biggest catch: Channing Ward, DE, Aberdeen (Miss.)
Could steal: Sheldon Dawson, ATH, Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway

14. Kentucky
Without much fanfare, the 'Cats are quietly compiling a reasonably solid class, yet there is only one four-star prospect in it.
Biggest catch: Patrick Towles, QB, Ft. Thomas (Ky.) Highlands
Could steal: Khalid Henderson, OLB, Austell (Ga.) Pebblebrook


1. Stanford
Landing four-star offensive guard Joshua Garnett last week could have been the first big commitment of many to come on Signing Day. It shouldn't go unnoticed that receiver Kodi Whitfield decided to remain committed instead of flipping to UCLA.
Biggest catch: Joshua Garnett, OG, Puyallup, Wash.
Could steal: Kyle Murphy, OT, San Clemente, Calif.

2. USC
Despite limited numbers, coach Lane Kiffin and his staff continue to crank out one of the best recruiting classes in the conference. Things could get even better over the next few days as signing day approaches.
Biggest catch: Jordan Simmons, OG, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Could steal: Zach Banner, OT, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes

The two biggest recruiting coups so far under first-year coach Jim Mora was getting five-star DT Ellis McCarthy to flip from Cal and landing four-star athlete Devin Fuller out of New Jersey.
Biggest catch: Ellis McCarthy, DT, Monrovia, Calif.
Could steal: Bryce Treggs, WR, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

4. Oregon
Receiving the commitment of four-star defensive end Arik Armstead was another strong piece in an impressive recruiting class that now features nine four-star pledges. Are more on the way this week?
Biggest catch: Arik Armstead, DE, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove
Could steal: Shaq Thompson, S, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant

5. California
Time will tell with Cal's recruiting class. There are at least a few players who could switch when they announce on National Signing Day.
Biggest catch: Shaq Thompson, S, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Could steal: Aziz Shittu, DE, Atwater (Calif.) Buhach

6. Utah
The Utes did a noble job landing some top junior college prospects like four-stars Kelvin York and Visesio Salt. Keeping four-star Cedrick Poutasi in the class will be vital in the coming days.
Biggest catch: Cedrick Poutasi, OG, Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines
Could steal: Brandon Fanaika, OG, Pleasant Grove, Utah

7. Oregon State
Four-star Isaac Seumalo and three-star Cleveland Wallace were both heavily pursued by other schools but stuck with the Beavers. If four-star Devian Shelton does the same on signing day that would be huge for this class.
Biggest catch: Isaac Seumalo, OG, Corvallis, Ore.
Could steal: Kenny Lawler, WR, Upland, Calif.

8. Colorado
The Buffaloes' class has really taken shape in the last few weeks with a couple of important commitments and more could be on the way on National Signing Day.
Biggest catch: Yuri Wright, CB, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep
Could steal: Jontrey Tillman, ATH, Baldwin (La.) West St. Mary School

9. Arizona State
Landing four-star D.J. Foster this week was an outstanding pickup for a class that lacked star power. A commitment from junior college defensive back Chris Young was also important.
Biggest catch: D.J. Foster, RB, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
Could steal: Zach Hoffpauir, DB, Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial

10. Washington
Washington's class lacks star power as many of the state's top players are going elsewhere this recruiting cycle. If the Huskies could keep four-star quarterbacks Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles that would be crucial.
Biggest catch: Cyler Miles, PQB, Denver (Colo.) Mullen
Could steal: Jordan Payton, WR, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian

11. Arizona
Four-stars Kyle Kelley and Zach Hemmila along with some other standouts remained committed to the Wildcats after the coaching change. Arizona lost wide receiver Julian Brooks this weekend but added another Florida receiver in Clive Georges.
Biggest catch: Kyle Kelley, SDE, Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge
Could steal: Davonte Neal, WR, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral

12. Washington State
First-year coach Mike Leach and his staff are changing the calculus in Pullman by going after - and getting - some outstanding prospects. Washington State has done an especially good job in Southern California.
Biggest catch: Gabriel Marks, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Venice
Could steal: Cedric Dozier, ATH, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes

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