College Football

2022 recruiting class rankings: Notre Dame, FSU move up in top five

The NCAA’s lifting of the long-imposed recruiting dead period led to a busy June for college football programs and prospects, as expected. As a result, there was an uptick in commitments and decommitments, leading to changes throughout the class rankings.

While Ohio State maintains the top spot, there is a new No. 2 class with Notre Dame making the move up. The Fighting Irish’s new additions were led by the nation’s top-rated inside linebacker, Niuafe Tuihalamaka, a powerful defender who can be a versatile contributor within their front seven.

Florida State was once a consistent presence near the top of the rankings, but after three straight classes that finished well outside the top 10, head coach Mike Norvell has the Seminoles surging again on the trail. They now place in the top five after landing several commitments in the trenches, including four-star OL Qae’shon Sapp, who helps them address an area of need.

While many programs bolstered their classes during the month of June, recruiting can still be a turbulent adventure, and Oklahoma fell out of the top 10 after losing two top-five wide receivers. Five-star Jordan Hudson decommitted from the Sooners, while No. 17-ranked Talyn Shettron flipped to in-state rival Oklahoma State.

The race for the Pac-12’s top class is intensifying, with USC currently overtaking Oregon and landing on the cusp of the top 10 nationally. The Trojans added a pair of ESPN 300 defenders in DL Mykel Williams, who can be an explosive and strong presence along the defensive line, and Jaeden Gould, who now gives them three top-20 cornerback commits.

We identified UCLA as a program that needed to have a big year in recruiting, and thus far the Bruins are responding, breaking into the top 20 after adding more potential offensive firepower, led by ESPN 300 in-state WRs Mekhi Fox and Jadyn Marshall.

Boston College, which hadn’t had a class ranked higher than 37th over the past five cycles, is showing staying power among the top 25. The Eagles were able to move up several spots after a big month when they added several commitments, led by top-five ILB Edwin Kolenge and four-star CB Amari Jackson.

Clemson, which has signed seven straight top-10 classes, is beginning to slowly move up the rankings, finding themselves back in the top 25 on the heels of some key defensive pickups in physical safety Sherrod Covil and the lengthy and quick-footed edge defender Jihaad Campbell.

ESPN 300 commits: 10 | Previous ranking: 1

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Quinn Ewers (No. 1)
Top defensive commit: CB Jaheim Singletary (No. 34)

The Buckeyes have not signed a No. 1 overall class in the ESPN 300 era, but they have come close with three No. 2-ranked classes over the previous five cycles, and they are indicating they will be in the mix at the top once again. Leading the class is Ewers, the top-rated prospect in the ESPN 300 who decommitted from Texas in October 2020 and committed to the Buckeyes in November. A poised player with a quick, smooth release and the arm strength to make all the throws, he headlines an already deep and talented class that includes WR Caleb Burton, a fellow Texan, who is ranked No. 73 overall. Defense is well represented with a handful of ESPN 300 commits projected to that side of the ball, including a pair of top-15 cornerbacks in Singletary and Jyaire Brown.

ESPN 300 commits: 9 | Previous ranking: 4

Independent rank: 1
Top offensive commit: QB Steven Angeli (No. 129)
Top defensive commit: ILB Niuafe Tuihalamaka (No. 95)

The Fighting Irish are making an early push for back-to-back top-10 classes. Having fielded one of the top offensive line units during the 2020 season, they’re working to keep that unit a strength with a pair of ESPN 300 offensive tackle commits in No. 1-rated center Joey Tanona from in state and Ty Chan. Angeli, a talented QB prospect who has continued to develop and improve his mechanics, possesses good arm strength and a quick delivery. Running back Jadarian Price not only possesses good speed, but is also a tough runner who can produce after contact. Top-rated ILB Tuihalamaka was a big addition, as he can be a powerful and versatile presence within the front seven, as can four-star defensive lineman Tyson Ford, who has a nice initial burst and good agility.

ESPN 300 commits: 10 | Previous ranking: 3

SEC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Walker Howard (No. 28)
Top defensive commit: S Jacoby Mathews (No. 56)

Despite struggling during the 2020 season, LSU has been able to maintain a strong presence on the recruiting trail. After signing the No. 6-ranked class in 2021, the Tigers are off to one of the strongest starts for 2022. Always tough to beat on their home turf, they have commitments from several key in-state prospects, led by Howard and top-10 OT Will Campbell. A lot of eyes will be on New Orleans area high school Isidore Newman, as it’s home to coveted uncommitted 2023 QB Arch Manning, but in the more immediate future, the Tigers have had success at that school for 2022, landing teammates OT Bo Bordelon, an aggressive and flexible big man whose father was an All-SEC offensive lineman at LSU, and WR A.J. Johnson, one of Manning’s big-play targets. Building off their tradition of fielding excellent defensive backs, LSU already holds commitments from No. 3 safety Mathews and three four-star cornerbacks, including the lengthy and instinctive JaDarian Rhym.

ESPN 300 commits: 8 | Previous ranking: 2

SEC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Gunner Stockton (No. 96)
Top defensive commit: ATH Malaki Starks (No. 30)

Georgia has strung together five straight top-three classes and aims to extend that streak to six. Its early success is built on in-state talent — the Bulldogs have commitments from five of the state’s top-10 prospects, including Stockton, a strong-armed passer who was once a South Carolina verbal and will join 2021 four-star QB Brock Vandagriff in Athens. The class’ foundation is currently on defense. LB C.J. Washington posted impressive testing numbers at the Under Armour Atlanta camp this past spring, including a 4.21 5-10-5 shuttle and can be a sideline-to-sideline presence for the Bulldogs. In-state projected defensive back prospects Starks and Marquis Groves-Killebrew give Georgia a pair of ESPN 300 commitments in the secondary.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 8

ACC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB A.J. Duffy (No. 33)
Top defensive commit: CB Travis Hunter (No. 4)

The Seminoles have had struggles at quarterback in recent years, but Mike Norvell has secured his passer for the 2022 cycle in Duffy. A coach’s kid who will arrive in Tallahassee from IMG Academy, he will bring good accuracy but strong instincts, and should come in ready to compete for playing time immediately. The Seminoles also have landed one of the top defensive prospects in this class in Hunter, who possesses an excellent blend of speed, quickness, length and toughness. The addition of No. 1 athlete Sam McCall, who is an explosive player and can be a sideline-to-sideline presence, can give the Seminoles two big-time playmakers in their secondary.

ESPN 300 commits: 7 | Previous ranking: 5

Big Ten rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Drew Allar (No. 37)
Top defensive commit: S Mehki Flowers (No. 169)

The Nittany Lions’ 2021 class never reached higher than No. 15 and ultimately finished outside the top 25, but they are showing signs of a stronger year on the recruiting trail for 2022. They have had early success in-state with commitments from five of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania, led by Drew Shelton, who will play his senior year at IMG Academy in Florida, and Talley, an explosive defender with a good motor. They have two quarterbacks in the class, led by No. 3 QB-PP Allar, a strong-armed passer with good feet, and Beau Pribula, who possesses some traits in the mold of former Penn State QB Trace McSorley. Head coach James Franklin is on his way to assembling one of the most talented groups of pass catchers in this class, which includes ESPN 300 WR Kaden Saunders, a good route runner who can create yards after the catch with his suddenness.

ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 7

SEC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Conner Weigman (No. 51)
Top defensive commit: DE Malick Sylla (No. 47)

The Aggies finished the 2021 cycle strong and are carrying that momentum into the 2022 class. All their commitments have come in the new year, and kicking off that run was Sylla, an in-state defensive end with a good first step and nice upside. Adding him to a talented D-line group from the 2021 cycle, led by five-star Shemar Turner, can give Texas A&M a formidable defensive front. The Aggies also added Sylla’s high school teammate in ESPN 300 defender Bobby Taylor, a lengthy and quick-footed cornerback. They have their quarterback in Weigman, a powerful thrower with good accuracy.

ESPN 300 commits: 7 | Previous ranking: 10

Big 12 rank: 1 of 10
Top offensive commit: RB Jaydon Blue (No. 82)
Top defensive commit: S Bryan Allen Jr. (No. 77)

After guiding one of the most high-powered attacks in college football as offensive coordinator at Alabama, Steve Sarkisian is now assembling his first full class as head coach at Texas. Offense defines this group early on. The Longhorns went to California for their quarterback, Maalik Murphy, a prospect with limited high school game experience thus far but someone who possesses some impressive physical traits, including a big arm. The class also features some big-play offensive targets from in-state: top-15 wide receiver Armani Winfield and two top-10 RBs in Jamarion Miller and Blue, who can be an explosive runner with good ball skills. Defense is not being overlooked either, as the Longhorns added one of the top defensive back prospects in the state in Allen, a top-five safety who is fluid with good instincts.

ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 11

SEC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: RB Emmanuel Henderson (No. 16)
Top defensive commit: LB Robert Woodyard (No. 126)

Alabama didn’t enter the top 25 until late May a year ago before ascending the rankings and finishing with the No. 1 class for 2021. This time around, the Tide start off a little stronger with a group that lacks quantity but is strong in quality. Among the early handful of commits is No. 1 RB Henderson, an explosive runner with good vision. Alabama added more big-play firepower to its backfield in No. 3-ranked RB Le’veon Moss, an instinctive and sudden runner. The Crimson Tide have also landed the top-rated QB-DT Ty Simpson. The son of a college coach, he possesses a compact and smooth delivery. Woodyard, a top-10 in-state prospect, is a strong pickup on defense.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 15

Pac-12 rank: 1 of 12
Top offensive commit: TE Keyan Burnett (No. 199)
Top defensive commit: CB Domani Jackson (No. 5)

Clay Helton has the Trojans ascending again on the recruiting trail with several ESPN 300 commits. The secondary has greatly benefited from early success with a trio of top-20 CBs on board in five-star Jackson and as well as Fabian Ross and Jaeden Gould, a tall, physical presence. Burnett is an aggressive and agile prospect who can be a versatile and well-rounded player. The quarterback in the class is three-star Devin Brown, a passer with good anticipation and touch. The Trojans continue to recruit in the Lone Star State, this time reeling in three-star ILB Ty Kana from powerhouse program Katy High.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 6

Big 12 rank: 2 of 10
Top offensive commit: WR Luther Burden (No. 42)
Top defensive commit: LB Kobie McKinzie (No. 110)

Lincoln Riley may need to figure out a way to incorporate a second football into his offensive attack with the depth of playmakers he is amassing. The Sooners signed one of the best wide receiver classes in the 2021 cycle and now have a commitment from a top-five WR on board for 2022 in Burden, a fast and smooth target out of Illinois who is coming off an MVP performance at the Under Armour Future 50 event. Adding to the offensive firepower is top-three RB Raleek Brown, a sudden and speedy scatback-type who can be dangerous in space. Leading the defensive commits is McKinzie, a big-bodied LB that can be tough against the run but also effective in coverage for his size.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 9

Big Ten rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Jacob Allen (No. 152)
Top defensive commit: LB Anthony Johnson (No. 98)

Rutgers brought back head coach Greg Schiano to try to elevate the program again after years of struggles on the field and in recruiting. Early on, Schiano is signaling he can deliver again and has Rutgers off to one of the best starts in the country. Keeping top talent close to home will be a key, and an early indication he is up for that fight was landing ESPN 300 OT Jacob Allen, the No. 3-ranked player in New Jersey. So far, he has also landed several other solid in-state commitments, notably from three-star DE Kenny Fletcher. The Scarlet Knights went into neighboring Pennsylvania to get Johnson, the No. 2-ranked ILB, and returned to Florida, where Schiano had a lot of success during his first stint, to land a commitment from four-star WR Amarion Brown. QB Gavin Wimsatt was a big pickup for the Scarlet Knights, as he brings nice upside and possesses a smooth delivery with the ability to throw for power.

ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 12

Pac-12 rank: 2 of 12
Top offensive commit: QB Tanner Bailey (No. 99)
Top defensive commit: LB T.J. Dudley (No. 227)

The Ducks appear to be in contention for a fourth straight top-rated Pac-12 class. They have had success close to home with commitments from the state’s top-two ranked prospects, ESPN 300 S Trejon Williams and ESPN 300 OLB Emar’rion Winston. They went into Texas to add more talent to their secondary with Hullaby, the No. 17-ranked safety. They landed their quarterback in Bailey, a promising prospect who is a poised and accurate passer with a quick release.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 16

Big Ten rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Tyler Morris (No. 135)
Top defensive commit: CB William Johnson (No. 18)

The Wolverines signed the Big Ten’s No. 2 class in the 2021 cycle, and they remain near the top of the conference early on this time around. The secondary has benefited with two strong pickups in Johnson and four-star Kody Jones. The rangy and heady Johnson is a key commitment, as he is not only among the top three cornerback prospects in the class, but is also the top-rated player in the state of Michigan. Jones, who possesses excellent quickness, is listed as an athlete but projects to cornerback. The Wolverines went west to California to find their QB, Jayden Denegal, a big, strong-armed passer that can throw the ball with power and velocity. TE Marlin Klein is a commit to keep an eye on. Originally from Germany but now playing his high school football in Georgia, he is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound prospect with promising upside and the tools to grow into a versatile and physical offensive weapon.

ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 18

ACC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Peter Delaportas (No. 232)
Top defensive commit: ILB Edwin Kolenge (No. 210)

The Eagles have continued to build on a strong start in their 2022 class. They have put together an impressive group of offensive players, led by Delaportas and a key in-state pickup in high three-star WR Joseph Griffin Jr. The Eagles have stocked up at tight end with three commitments in three-stars Matt Ragan, Jeremiah Franklin and R.J. Maryland, who is out of Texas powerhouse Southlake Carroll. Maryland possesses very good ball skills and body control as a target and displays upside as a blocker. Three-star Ishmael Zamor is another in-state verbal. On defense, Kolenge, DT Kwan Williams and three-star CB Jamal Hood out of Maryland are future starters.

ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 23

Big 12 rank: 3 of 10
Top offensive commit: TE Kaian Roberts-Day (No. 242)
Top defensive commit: DT Tre Emory (three stars)

The Bears won’t have issues fielding talented tight ends in the future with a class headlined by ESPN 300 Roberts-Day, who could also project to defensive end, four-star Cody Mladenka and versatile three-star Kelsey Johnson. Defensive line is a key position of need in the 2022 cycle for Dave Aranda’s staff, and the Bears have multiple strong pickups for that unit in DTs Emory and the powerful and stout Enyce Sledge, as well as three-star ends Carmello Jones and Kyler Jordan, a sleeper who has a good first step and possesses excellent power.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 13

SEC rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Kiyaunta Goodwin (No. 76)
Top defensive commit: LB Keaten Wade (No. 189)

The Wildcats have scored some big victories and had a strong spring on the recruiting trail. They went into bordering Indiana to land top-10 OT Goodwin, a big, strong prospect with good flexibility and balance. Four-star twin brothers Keaten and Destin Wade were big additions out of neighboring Tennessee with Keaten a rangy linebacker and Destin a versatile player who could contribute in multiple roles, including competing for the QB spot. Kentucky has also had some success within its own state with commitments from four-star athlete Treyveon Longmire and high three-star OG Grant Bingham.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 21

SEC rank: 6 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Tony Livingston (No. 114)
Top defensive commit: ATH Shemar James (No. 124)

Dan Mullen and staff have quality out of the gate in the 2022 cycle, headlined by ESPN 300 Lone Star State signal-caller Nick Evers, who won positional MVP at the Dallas Under Armour camp this spring. They also pulled Humphrey, a smooth cornerback with good size, out of Texas. Livingston, who is converting from tight end, has a high ceiling for development at offensive tackle. Four-star commits TE C.J. Hawkins and DE Francois Nolton are strong in-state additions.

ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 19

Big 12 rank: 4 of 10
Top offensive commit: WR Talyn Shettron (No. 17)
Top defensive commit: LB Gabe Brown (three stars)

The Cowboys signed the Big 12’s No. 3 class in 2021 and find themselves in the mix for another top-three finish within the conference. Their class includes a talented signal-caller in Garret Rangel, a player who displays good instincts and timing. His live arm can be a nice fit in Mike Gundy’s offense. Several other offensive weapons are among their commits, including Shettron, a lengthy top-five WR prospect that was initially an Oklahoma commit. Adding to future firepower is a trio of four-star running backs in Ollie Gordon, the diminutive but quick Braylin Presley and C.J. Brown, who has the tools to be a productive all-purpose back.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 14

SEC rank: 7 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Sam Horn (No. 160)
Top defensive commit: DT Marquis Gracial (No. 57)

The Tigers have won several key battles inside the state lines with verbals from five of the state’s top 15 prospects, including the top-rated player in Gracial, a big man who has the tools to be an SEC-quality impact type player in the defensive trenches. ESPN 300 ATH Ja’Marion Wayne and four-star safety Isaac Thompson were also big in-state pickups. The staff did an excellent job of establishing a strong relationship early on with Horn, an accurate passer from Georgia; the ball can jump off his hands.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 22

Pac-12 rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: TE Jack Pedersen (No. 157)
Top defensive commit: LB Jalen Woods (three stars)

The Bruins have done a good job thus far on the recruiting trail this cycle. Head coach Chip Kelly has added several offensive weapons, including a pair of ESPN 300 tight ends in Pedersen and Carsen Ryan. Out of IMG Academy, Pedersen is a big body who can be an effective blocker and also has good agility and hands to be a productive receiving target. Ryan possesses good body control, feet and ball skills. UCLA also has several in-state ESPN 300 WRs on board in Clint Stephens, Mekhi Fox and Jadyn Marshall, a good route runner with soft hands.

ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: N/A

ACC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Collin Sadler (No. 109)
Top defensive commit: S Sherrod Covil (No. 192)

Clemson has seven straight top-10 classes, including the No. 1 class in 2020, but its 2022 class has come together a little slower. The Tigers picked up some steam in June with several commitments, including from a pair of ESPN 300 defenders, and have begun to climb up the rankings. Covil is a physical safety while defender Jihaad Campbell is lengthy and agile prospect with a high ceiling for development. Offensively, they have a pair of ESPN 300 offensive line prospects in Sadler, an in-state prospect, and Blake Miller, a big body that displays excellent strength.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: N/A

ACC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB M.J. Morris (No. 145)
Top defensive commit: DT Brandon Cleveland (No. 296)

Head coach Dave Doeren has the Wolfpack in the mix for back-to-back top-25 classes. They had a big June, landing nearly double-digit commitments, including landing four four-star commits. They gained early momentum picking up Morris, a passer with a live arm that throws a good deep ball and can also extend and create plays with his legs. Some key in-state pickups included a pair of four-stars in top-15 ATH Michael Allen, who projects to running back, and LB Torren Wright. They also dipped into Florida for some D-line additions in Cleveland and Nick Campbell.

ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 17

SEC rank: 8 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Andrew Chamblee (No. 229)
Top defensive commit: S Myles Rowser (No. 293)

Owning the state is a must at Arkansas, and Sam Pittman and staff are on the right track in 2022 with Chamblee and three-stars TE Dax Courtney, RB James Jointer and LB Kaden Henley, all on the verbal list and ranked among the state’s top 10. Rowser was a key grab out of state, as was three-star Peach State athlete Rashod Dubinion, who projects as a multi-purpose weapon on offense.

ESPN 300 commits: 0 | Previous ranking: 20

SEC rank: 9 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Braedyn Locke (four stars)
Top defensive commit: DE Donterry Russell (three stars)

The Bulldogs are loading up on the defensive side of the ball early on this cycle. A handful of three-stars in the fold are safeties Wesley Miller, Kylon Griffin and Jourdan Thomas, and in-state OLB Khalid Moore. High three-star athlete Trent Singleton is a physical player with quick feet and could contribute on either side of the ball, but projects to the secondary for Mississippi State. While defense is the foundation of this class, the offense has added some talented additions as well, including Dakota Jordan, a highly ranked in-state three-star receiver. After signing a four-star QB out of Texas for 2021, Mike Leach has returned to the Lone Star state to find his QB for 2022 in Locke, a prospect that comes across as a tough player with a quick release and strong arm.

Dropped out: Cincinnati (24), Maryland (25)

Scorecard | 2021 class rankings | 2020 class rankings


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