National Recruiting Roundup (01.11.17): Alabama Claims Top Spot, But Do They Deserve It?

By Nick Polak on January 11, 2017 at 10:00a
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban signals one during warm-ups prior to the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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On Tuesday, we took a look at the Big Ten recruiting classes and how they all stacked up against each other. Recruiting is of course much more than just the Big Ten, however. How do the Buckeyes, Wolverines, Nittany Lions and company look when compared to the rest of the country? Let's take a look.

2017 National Recruiting Team Rankings
Rank Team # of Commits Average Rating Blue Chip % Top-5 Commits

1

Alabama

26 0.9289 81% ★★★★★ RB Najee Harris (0.9995) 
★★★★★ OT Alex Leatherwood (0.9951)
★★★★★ OLB Dylan Moses (0.9946)
★★★★★ WR Jerry Jeudy (0.9879)
★★★★ DUAL Tua Tagovailoa (0.9832)

2

Ohio State

18 0.9565 94% ★★★★★ CB Jeffrey Okudah (0.9948)
★★★★★ OLB Baron Browning (0.9934)
★★★★★ OT Josh Myers (0.9929)
★★★★★ OG Wyatt Davis (0.9899)
★★★★★ CB Shaun Wade (0.9881)

3

Georgia

23 0.9338 83% ★★★★★ S Richard LeCounte III (0.9877)
★★★★★ OT Isaiah Wilson (0.9845)
★★★★ RB D'Andre Swift (0.9817)
★★★★ S Deangelo Gibbs (0.9795)
★★★★ PRO Jake Fromm (0.9771)

4

Michigan

27 0.9102 67% ★★★★★ WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (0.9924)
★★★★ PRO Dylan McCaffrey (0.9725)
★★★★ OC Cesar Ruiz (0.9692)
★★★★ OLB Drew Singleton (0.9640)
★★★★ WDE Luiji Vilain (0.9532)

5

Florida State

17 0.9162 53% ★★★★★ RB Cam Akers (0.9965)
★★★★★ WDE Joshua Kaindoh (0.9897)
★★★★★ CB Stanford Samuels (0.9884)
★★★★ APB Khalan Laborn (0.9794)
★★★★ WR D.J. Matthews (0.9737)

6

Oklahoma

24 0.9035 71% ★★★★ OG Tyrese Robinson (0.9558)
★★★★ S Robert Barnes (0.9530)
★★★★ ILB Levi Draper (0.9433)
★★★★ RB Trey Sermon (0.9314)
★★★★ WDE Addison Gumbs (0.9283)

7

LSU

19 0.9073 63% ★★★★★ S JaCoby Stevens (0.9880)
★★★★ OT Austin Deculus (0.9817)
★★★★ DT Tyler Shelvin (0.9806)
★★★★ S Grant Delpit (0.9631)
★★★★ CB Kary Vincent (0.9426)

8

Auburn

20 0.8927 45% ★★★★★ OT Calvin Ashley (0.9863)
★★★★ DUAL Jarrett Stidham (0.9642)
★★★★ ILB Tadarian Moultry (0.9435)
★★★★ OT Austin Troxell (0.9372)
★★★★ OG Nick Brahms (0.9346)

9

Texas A&M

26 0.8820 39% ★★★★ WR Jhamon Ausbon (0.9620)
★★★★ ILB Anthony Hines (0.9613)
★★★★ DUAL Kellen Mond (0.9569)
★★★★ S Derrick Tucker (0.9291)
★★★★ WR Hezekiah Jones (0.9282)

10

Tennessee

26 0.8740 19% ★★★★★ OT Trey Smith (0.9879)
★★★★ S Maleik Gray (0.9652)
★★★★ RB Ty Chandler (0.9628)
★★★★ DT Eric Crosby (0.9109)
★★★★ ILB Will Ignont (0.8953)

11

Notre Dame

15 0.9075 67% ★★★★ TE Brock Wright (0.9634)
★★★★ OG Robert Hainsey (0.9610)
★★★★ TE Cole Kmet (0.9531)
★★★★ ILB David Adams (0.9355)
★★★★ DT Darnell Ewell (0.9326)

12

USC

16 0.8956 38% ★★★★★ RB Stephen Carr (0.9902)
★★★★ S Bubba Bolden (0.9697)
★★★★ OT Alijah Vera-Tucker (0.9512)
★★★★ PRO Jack Sears (0.9453)
★★★★ WDE Hunter Echols (0.9408)

13

Clemson

13 0.9213 77% ★★★★★ WR Tee Higgins (0.9900)
★★★★★ PRO Hunter Johnson (0.9883)
★★★★ CB A.J. Terrell (0.9672)
★★★★ WR Amari Rodgers (0.9454)
★★★★ WDE Justin Foster (0.9400)

14

Penn State

18 0.8887 56% ★★★★ CB Lamont Wade (0.9735)
★★★★ PRO Sean Clifford (0.9234)
★★★★ OG C.J. Thorpe (0.9185)
★★★★ SDE Yetur Matos (0.9183)
★★★★ DT Fred Hansard (0.9179)

15

South Carolina

22 0.8714 23% ★★★★ CB Jaymest Williams (0.9700)
★★★★ WR OrTre Smith (0.9392)
★★★★ OLB Hamsah Nasirildeen (0.9376)
★★★★ SDE M.J. Webb (0.9084)
★★★★ ATH Shi Smith (0.9069)

The Big Question: Who Has the True Number One Class?

Obviously, this is a subjective question. Both schools have assembled truly transcendent classes in 2017, and both will reap the benefits of said classes for years to come. But if NASCAR legend Ricky Bobby taught us one thing, it's that "if you ain't first, you're last". And that' where we enter into an interesting discussion.

Alabama and Ohio State have been jockeying for position atop the team rankings board seemingly all season, despite two classes that have slightly different feels to them.

  • Alabama currently has a much larger class than the Buckeyes, but they also have a lower blue chip percentage.
  • Ohio State holds commitments from seven five-star players, but Alabama holds commitments from the Nos. 1, 6 and 8 recruits in the class.

The bottom line is neither team would trade its class for the other's, as they both fill needs for each team and both feature some of the very best talent in the country. But with a few big chips still left on the table in the 2017 class, these two will be fighting for the alpha dog position up until National Signing Day. In fact, even in the last week, Alabama has been No. 1 twice, and Ohio State once (Tyjon Lindsey's de-commitment brought them back down).

A National Perspective

We know it's hard to keep up with the entire country when it comes to recruiting, so to help you out, we're going to run through eleven quick story lines that you can use in casual conversation with your friends to sound smarter. Sound fun? We think so too.

  1. Ohio State- The 247Sports Composite rankings date back to 2000. Never before has one school signed seven or more five-star players in one cycle as Ohio State is primed to do this year.
  2. Alabama- Though Alabama is known for its dominance in recruiting, as long as Najee Harris holds onto the top spot, 2017 will mark the first time since 2006 that Alabama will get the No. 1 player in their class.
  3. Tennessee and Texas A&M- Despite having average ratings more akin with teams in the 15-19 range, the Vols and Aggies rank at No. 9 and 10 so far thanks to their massive classes (26 commits each). Sometimes, quantity over quality pays off (not to say there isn't quality in the classes, too).
  4. Notre Dame- Hey, did you know Notre Dame went 4-8 this year? So do recruits. But that won't stop them from signing with the traditional college football power. Multiple years of mediocrity though? That's a different story.
  5. Maryland- Lurking just outside of the top-15 is Maryland, at No. 17 in the country. No matter how you slice it, that's incredible impressive for D.J. Durkin and the Terps. They'd be ranked even higher if they'd been able to hold onto five-star DE Joshua Kaindoh.
  6. Mississippi State and UCLA- Once you move into the 20s in the rankings, you run into teams you'd never expect. Mississippi State and UCLA didn't exactly set the world on fire in 2016, but that won't stop name-brand schools from bringing in quality classes anyway. UCLA even has two five-star players!
  7. Stanford- I need to talk to someone about Stanford. The Cardinal is ranked the No. 28 class despite holding just nine (!) commitments. Why? Five-stars OT Foster Sarell, pro-style QB Davis Mills, and OT Walker Little. Get ready to see Stanford back in the title discussion in a few years.
  8. Michigan- The Wolverines took a little bit of flack for hiring former Paramus Catholic (Nj.) coach Chris Partridge a few years back because it looked like a recruiting move and nothing more that could hurt the position he coaches (linebacker). Instead, the Wolverine linebackers have been outstanding, and Partridge is ranked the No. 5 recruiter in the country.
  9. Colorado- Colorado! Not only did the Buffs surprise on the field in 2016, but they're carrying it over to recruiting. Currently sitting at No. 24, that's how you capitalize on tangible success to build for the future. What a fantastic all-around year for Mike MacIntyre.
  10. Penn State- For those who will ask, Penn State will likely not move up in the rankings barring something unforeseen, such as de-commitments from players in classes ranked just above them.
  11. Pitt- The Panthers are ranked the No. 37 class in the country. But yeah, they didn't need Lamont Wade.
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