12 things that stick out about the current recruiting rankings

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday November 07, 2016

We’re a month away from the end of the regular season and less than three months from signing day. Recruiting has continued throughout the fall with official visits, and the final months are always intense.

Here are 12 thoughts on the current 247Sports recruiting rankings.

1. Will Ohio State knock Alabama off the top?

Alabama has signed the top-rated class for six straight years, but Urban Meyer is in good position to take the top spot this year. The Buckeyes are No. 1 right now and have 17 commitments, compared to 21 for the Tide. In reality, there’s little difference between Nos. 1 and 2, but Meyer has admitted he looks at rankings for fun. It’s another competition, and you know the Buckeyes would promote it.

“That’s something, early in my career, I was probably average at,” Meyer said in July. “You’d be enamored with stars or, ‘We have to (get) him, because this other school is recruiting him.’ We do watch who is recruiting people. I personally look at recruiting rankings, because I think it’s kind of fun to watch that. But it’s not how we make decisions. It’s how do you fit in the culture?”

2. Is the Big Ten is catching up to the SEC in depth?

The SEC has 10 teams in the top 30 classes, and the Big Ten has 8. Compare that back in 2013, when the Big Ten only had 3 teams in the top 30. Even schools like Iowa and Rutgers are in the top 30, and Northwestern is right outside at No. 33.

But if you look closer, the SEC is still ahead at the top. If you cut it at the top 20, the SEC has 9 teams, while the Big Ten has 3. Still, the middle teams in the Big Ten have moved up compared to five years ago.

3. Maryland has the No. 15 class.

D.J. Durkin was the 2012 Rivals National Recruiter of the Year as a Florida assistant. Now, Maryland’s 2017 class has 20 players, including a 5-star commitment and five 4-star commitments. Maryland’s last four classes were ranked in the 40s. This class includes 5-star Joshua Kaindoh, the No. 2 strong-side defensive end in the nation, who is out of Florida. Of the 20 commitments, 12 are from DC/Maryland/Virginia.

In a division with Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State, Maryland is recruiting like a team looking to get into that tier.

4. Where is the Big 12?

Oklahoma is the only Big 12 team with a top-30 class, currently at No. 5. The next closest is Oklahoma State at No. 34. Iowa State, West Virginia, Texas Tech and TCU are the others in the top 50. The league is adding a conference title game and chose not to expand, but there are other issues in the league, and that includes recruiting talent.

5. Baylor still only has 2 commitments, the No. 135-ranked class.

That’s behind 11 FCS teams. Jim Grobe inherited a difficult situation when he took over Baylor after the sexual assault scandal. The class disappeared when Art Briles was let go. Baylor hasn’t added a commitment since July. The assistants know they won’t be back either. That’s a tough sell.

For all the issues the next Baylor head coach will face, is creating an entire class from scratch going to be another? They’re going to need to hire a coach as soon as they can and give him some time.

6. Of the five schools currently looking for a new head coach, here are their classes.

LSU: No. 4 class, 19 commitments
Purdue: No. 67 class, 14 commitments
FIU: No. 76 class, 18 commitments
Fresno State: No. 97 class, 11 commitments
Baylor: No. 135 class, 2 commitments

7. Texas’ class is ranked outside the top 50.

A year ago, the Horns made a big push in the days before signing day and ended up with a top-10 class, and later added Baylor departures. That didn’t lead to momentum in this class. It’s possible Strong is working for a late finish again, but the speculation around Strong’s job security certainly doesn’t help.

Only two of Texas’ seven commitments are among the top 20 players in the state of Texas.

8. Beside Baylor and Texas, there are other notable teams with a low number of commitments. These schools will have more work to do in the final months. For comparison, Arizona and Tennessee have 27 commitments each.

TCU: 9
Utah: 8
UConn: 8
Stanford: 7
Utah State: 4

9. The seven highest-ranked Group of 5 classes are:

Houston (No. 35)
Memphis (No. 42)
UCF (No. 48)
Western Michigan (No. 50)
South Florida (No. 53)
UTSA (No. 61)
Toledo (No. 62)

The seven lowest-ranked Power 5 classes are:

Purdue (No. 67)
Kansas State (No. 68)
Washington State (No. 69)
Arizona State (No. 87)
Kansas (No. 88)
Utah (No. 90)
Baylor (No. 135)

10. Florida has two of top 30 players in Florida, and Miami has one.

For comparison, Florida State has six, Alabama has four, and Ohio State has three.

But UF and Miami still have top-20 classes. Ten of Florida’s 15 commitments come from Florida, and 13 of Miami’s 20 come from Florida.

11. Ole Miss’ class is down at No. 54.

The Rebels have 10 commitments, and only one 4-star player. Hugh Freeze’s last four classes were all in the top 17, including two in the top 8. The Rebels self-imposed several recruiting penalties during the current investigation. How much of a factor is that?

12. David Cutcliffe has a top-25 class at Duke right now.

It’s been a difficult year on the field with several key injuries, but the success of recent years is paying off in recruiting. The Blue Devils have 21 commitments, including 4-star QB Jack Sears out of southern California.  Last year’s Duke class was No. 33, the first-ever top-50 class for the Blue Devils.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.