1) Notre Dame (17 commitments)
Head Coach Charlie Weis and his Irish have never had a problem landing offensive recruits and this season is no different. Quarterback Dayne Christ (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), wide receiver John Goodman (Fort Wayne, In.), tight end Kyle Rudolph (Cincinnati, Ohio), and offensive guard Lane Clelland (Owings Mill, Md.) are all headed to South Bend. The difference is on defense, where Notre Dame is finally getting commitments from the top prospects they covet like defensive linemen Ethan Johnson (Portland, Or.), Brandon Newman (Louisville, Ky.), Omar Hunter (Buford, Ga.), Sean Cywar (Woodstock, Ill.) and Hafis Williams (Elizabeth, N.J.), linebackers Darius Fleming (Chicago, Ill.) and Anthony McDonald (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), and defensive backs Robert Blanton (Matthews, N.C.) and Jamoris Slaughter (Tucker, Ga.). A telling stat is that Notre Dame has commitments from six players in the Scout.com National 100 and 14 in the Scout.com National 300, the most of any team. With this group the Fighting Irish just got a lot more athletic for their new defensive coordinator Corwin Brown, who also happens to be an ace recruiter. Can Notre Dame hold the top spot? They have a shot but they have to close like they started – strong!
2) Texas (20)
What a shocker, the University of Texas finds itself with 20 commitments before July 4th and in the top five recruiting rankings. Obviously this comes as no surprise as the Longhorns dominate spring recruiting like no one else. Out of the gate Mack Brown and company had 15 commitments by the end of February. Amazing! Leading the way are running back Jeremy Hills (Houston, Texas), wide receivers Dan Buckner (Allen, Texas) and Desean Hales (Spring, Texas), offensive linemen Mark Buchanan (Austin, Texas), David Snow (Gilmer, Texas), and Luke Poehlmann (Brenham, Texas), defensive tackles Jarvis Humphrey (Cedar Hill, Texas) and Kheeston Randall (Beaumont, Texas), linebacker Dravannti Johnson (Nederland, Texas), safety Nolan Brewster (Denver, Co.) and cornerbacks Aaron Williams (Austin, Texas) and D.J. Monroe (Angelton, Texas). Despite another great haul will they be able to hold off the Sooners for the top class in the Big 12? It's gonna be a close race between these two rivals.
3) UCLA (21)
This is a balanced recruiting class with a little bit of everything in quarterback Nick Crissman (Huntington Beach, Calif.), running backs Aundre Dean (Katy, Texas), Milton Knox (Van Nuys, Calif.), fullback Derrick Coleman (Fullerton, Calif.), and wide receivers Kemonte Bateman (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Antwon Moutra (Culver City, Calif.) offensively. Like Notre Dame, UCLA really did a great job on the other side of the ball with defensive ends Damien Holmes (Colton, Calif.) and Datone Jones (Compton, Calif.), linebackers Uona Kaveinga (Lawndale, Calif.), Patrick Larimore (Newhall, Calif.), and Donovan Carter (Van Nuys, Calif.), safeties Rahim Moore (Los Angeles, Calif.) and E.J. Woods (Encino, Calif.) and cornerbacks Anthony Dye (Corona, Calif.) and Aaron Hester (Compton, Calif.). 20 of the Bruins 21 commitments are from the state of California.
4) Oklahoma (15)
Sure the Longhorns have another stellar recruiting class but look at what the Sooners have done, especially in the Lone Star State. Head Coach Bob Stoops and his staff have gone to Texas to land running backs Justin Johnson (Gilmer, Texas) and Jermie Calhoun (Van, Texas), offensive lineman Stephen Good (Paris, Texas), and defensive end R.J. Washington (Keller, Texas). Those are all five-star recruits and the top two running backs from Texas and the top offensive and defensive linemen. Also from Texas are standout recruits in tight end James Hanna (Lewisville, Texas), offensive tackle Britt Mitchell (Roscoe, Texas), center Ben Habern (Argyle, Texas), defensive linemen Casey Walker (Garland, Texas) and David King (Houston, Texas), linebacker Herman Mitchell (Houston, Texas) and safety Joseph Ibiloye (Garland, Texas). Also headed to Norman are five-star quarterback Landry Jones (Artesia, N.M.) and four-star standouts Daniel Franklin (Mount Airy, Ga.) and DeJuan Miller (Metuchen, N.J.). Unlike UCLA, OU has gone outside the state for this class. So far the Sooners have only landed one prospect from Oklahoma and that's kicker Tress Way (Tulsa, Ok.).
5) Georgia (17)
When was the last time an SEC team had four commitments from juniors a year before they were supposed to sign their letters of intent? Well, Georgia did and that shows you the sign of the times with all these early verbal commitments. As usual, the Bulldogs have some super talent headed to Athens. Among the headliners are Scout.com National 100 prospects in wide receiver A.J. Greene (Summerville, S.C.), defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson (Statesboro, Ga.) and running back Richard Samuel (Cartersville, Ga.). Other headliners are wide receiver Tavarres King (Mount Airy, Ga.), tight end Dwayne Allen (Fayetteville, N.C.), center Ben Jones (Centreville, Ala.), defensive ends Cornelius Washington (Waynesboro, Ga.), Toby Jackson (Griffin, Ga.) and Jeremy Longo (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.) and cornerbacks Brandon Boykin (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Makiri Pugh (Charlotte, N.C.). Once against UGA s going to bring in a top 10 recruiting class, as they recruit as consistently well as any team in the country.
6) Texas A&M (19)
We are just entering the month of July and A&M as had a roller coaster of a recruiting season thus far, securing commitments but also losing some as well. Still, the Aggies have put one of the top classes together with such players like quarterback Tommy Dorman (Haltom City, Texas), wide receiver Derrick Hall (Beaumont, Texas), offensive linemen Leroy Chevalier (Houston, Texas) and Brian Thomas (Pearland, Texas), defensive tackle Roderick Davis (Houston, Texas), linebacker Kyle Mangum (Brenham, Texas), safety Keon Furtch (Paris, Texas) and cornerbacks Jordan Fields (Paris, Texas) and Lamar Harris (Gilmer,Texas).
7) Florida State (12)
You can just call Florida State the comeback team of this season in terms of recruiting and they could very well land in the top five by National Signing Day if they continue on this path. Bobby Bowden making sweeping staff changes was exactly what the doctor ordered in terms of recruiting and they hope they see as much success on the field this fall as well. Their latest commitment was from five-star quarterback E.J. Manuel (Virginia Beach, Va.) and he should help the Seminoles land some more big recruits before it's all said and done. Also headed to Tallahassee are running back Jermaine Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.), wide receivers A.J. Alexander (Altoona, Pa.) and Avis Commack (Jacksonville, Fla.), defensive tackle Moses McCray (Tampa, Fla.), linebackers Nigel Bradham (Crawfordville, Fla.), Nigel Carr (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Vincent Williams (Davenport, Fla.) and safety C.J. Holton (Crawfordville, Fla.).
8) Ohio State (9)
The Buckeyes only have nine commitments and what a nine they are. Heading to Columbus are five stars prospects like offensive linemen Mike Adams (Dublin, Ohio), J.B. Shugarts (Klein, Texas) and Michael Brewster (Orlando, Fla.), running back Devoe Torrence (Canton, Ohio), wide receiver DeVier Posey (Cincinnati, Ohio), tight end Jacob Stoneburner (Dublin, Ohio), and linebacker Andrew Sweat (Washington, Pa.). Before it's all said and done Ohio State will make a serious run at No. 1 in the recruiting rankings.
9) USC (8)
Even the Trojans are adapting to recruiting despite dominating this decade. The have eight early verbal commitments (early for USC) for such playmakers as Curtis McNeal (Los Angeles, Calif.), wide receivers D.J. Shoemate (Anaheim, Calif.) and Chris Polk (Redlands, Calif.), defensive end Wes Horton (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and linebacker Maurice Simmons (Compton, Calif.). They also have three unreal tackles headed to Southern Cal in Matt Kalil (Anaheim, Calif.), Matt Meyer (Stockston, Calif.), and Tyron Smith (Moreno Valley, Calif.). Kalil, Meyer, and Shoemate are all five-star prospects.
10) Nebraska (13)
The Cornhuskers are also making some serious noise in the Big 12 with an outstanding group led by quarterback Blaine Gabbert (Ballwin, Mo.), running back Collins Okafor (Omaha, Ne.), offensive linemen Bryce Givens (Denver, Co.), Dan Hoch (Harlan, Ia.), Trevor Robinson (Elkhorn, Ne.), and Baker Steinkuhler (Omaha, Ne.) and linebacker Sean Fisher (Omaha, Ne.). Bill Callahan got a great signal caller and some big men upfront.
11) Michigan (8)
The Wolverines are always near the top of the recruiting rankings and this season is no different. Their recruiting class of 2008 is led by five-star cornerback Boubacar Cissoko (Detroit, Mi.). He is one of the top prospects in the nation regardless of position. Also headed to Ann Arbor are tight end Brandon Moore (Trotwood, Ohio), offensive linemen Dan O'Neil (Grand Haven, Mi.), Elliot Mealer (Wauseon, Ohio), Kurt Wermers (Crown Point, In.), defensive tackle Mike Martin (Redfod, Mi.), and linebacker Marcus Witherspoon (Absecon, N.J.).
12) Miami (10)
Like their arch-rival Florida State the Hurricanes are back this recruiting season. The "U" is doing well in their backyard, landing quarterback Jacory Harris (Miami, Fla.), wide receiver Thearon Collier (Miami, Fla.), offensive tackle Brandon Washington (Miami, Fla.), defensive tackles Micanor Regis (Pahokee, Fla.) and Jeremy Lewis (West Palm Beach, Fla.), linebacker Jordan Futch (Hollywood, Fla.), cornerback Patrick Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and safety Joseph Wylie (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.). The only non-South Florida commitment to the ‘Canes is quarterback Taylor Cook (Altair, Texas).
13) Ole Miss (19)
It should be to no one's surprise to find Ole Miss near the top of the recruiting rankings. Head Coach Ed Orgeron has transformed the Rebels into one of the top recruiting powers in the South with lots of hard work. If the Rebels ever start winning look out. Headed to Oxford is quarterback Chris Wilkes (Orlando, Fla.), running back Ken Davis (Tupelo, Miss.), linebacker Gavin Hardin (Jackson, Tenn.), and safety Darius Barksdale (Batesville, Miss.).
14) Clemson (10)
It seems as though the Tigers have recruited just a little bit better each season over the past few years. Their big cat this year is defensive end Daquan Bowers (Bamberg, S.C.). He is a five-star prospect and one of the nation's very best players. Other standouts headed to Clemson are quarterback Kyle Parker (Jacksonville, Fla.), running back Andre Ellington (Moncks Corner, S.C.), wide receiver Marquan Jones (Blythewood, S.C.), offensive tackle A.J. Harmon (Louisville, Ga.), and cornerback Xavier Brewer (Jacksonville, Fla.).
15) Pittsburgh (7)
The Panthers have a chance to land a great class this season and they are off to a good start. Running back Chris Burns (New Wilmington, Pa.) is one of the top playmakers in the nation. Tight end Nic DiLillo (Madison, Ohio) had previously been committed to Clemson and now he's a Panther. Pitt. has landed a trio of good defensive backs in Manny Williams (Clairton, Pa.), Antwuan Reed (Johnstown, Pa.) and Chris Hayden-Martin (Greenburg, Pa.). The gem of the Panther class so far is lineman Lucas Nix (Clairton, Pa.).
16) Wisconsin (15)
The Badgers have done well across the board, getting commitments just about everywhere. Leading the way are running back Erik Smith (Bolingbrook, Ill.), wide receiver Wes Kemp (St. Louis, Mo.), tight end Tyler Westphal (Menasha, Wi.), offensive linemen Peter Konz (Neenah, Wi.), Joe Schaefer (St. Paul, Minn.), Kevin Zeitler (Milwaukee, Wi.), linebacker Michael Taylor (Green Bay, Wi.) and safety Brandon Marti (Miami, Fla.).
17) Arizona (9)
The Wildcats and Mike Stoops are turning into one of the top recruiting powers on the West Coast. This Arizona class is led by quarterback Matt Scott (Corona, Calif.), running back Keola Antolin (Las Vegas, Nev.), wide receiver Gerell Robinson (Chandler, Az.), cornerback Robert Golden (Fresno, Calif.) and safety Sean Westgate (Oak Park, Calif.).
18) Alabama (10)
Big things are expected in Tuscaloosa under new Head Coach Nick Saban both on and off the field. Saban and his staff are off to a good start in their first full year to recruit. Ivan Matchett (Mobile, Al.), defensive linemen Courtney Upshaw (Eufala, Al.), Michael Williams (Reform, Al.), Brandon Lewis (Pleasant Grove, Al.) and Undra Billingsley (Birmingham, Al.) and Wesley Neighbors (Huntsville, Al.) are their top rated commitments thus far. Expect the Crimson Tide to close very strong.
19) Cal (8)
The Bears only have eight verbal commitments but there is quality there in quarterback Beau Sweeney (Fresno, Calif.), tight ends Spencer Ladner (Kansas City, Mo.) and Anthony Miller (San Jose, Calif.), offensive tackle Tyler Rigsbee (Chico, Calif.) and linebacker J.P. Hurrell (San Mateo, Calif.). Also headed to Cal. are JUCO standouts Charles Johnson (linebacker) and Verran Tucker (wide receiver).
20) N.C. State (8)
The Wolfpack are starting to make some noise in the recruiting battles of late. Landing quarterback Mike Glennon (Chantilly, Va.) and Brandon Barnes (Bunn, N.C.) are huge for N.C. State. Dwayne Maddox (Shelby, N.C.) is headed to Raleigh and he's one of the top middle linebacker prospects in the nation. Linebacker William Beasley (Milton, Calif.) and Tobias Palmer (Pittsboro, N.C.) are two other very good players committed to the ‘Pack.