The majority of signing classes were wrapped up in December, but today is the day each school puts a bow on their 2019 recruiting class. As such, here are the top 10 classes in the nation (all rankings via 247Sports Composite):
4. Texas A&M
But just examining the best of the best misses most of the picture. With that in mind, here are the top five classes from each of the 10 FBS conferences.
Each coach will tell you they don’t recruit based on stars, they don’t look at the rankings, they trust their evaluations, and their mom’s meat loaf is better than all the other meat loafs. Remember: college football coaches are among the most competitive people on earth. Believe them at your own risk.
5. East Carolina
Thoughts: It’s not a surprise to see UCF in the top spot and Memphis just behind them; the Knights have won the last two AAC titles, and Memphis has met them in the title game each time. But it is surprising to see East Carolina in the top five. Transition classes are always tough, and even tougher when you’re new to FBS and selling a program that’s gone 3-9 in each of the past three seasons. The Mike Houston era is definitely off to a good start.
2. Florida State
3. Virginia Tech
5. NC State
Thoughts: The recruiting rankings have never liked Clemson as much as you’d think given the Tigers’ dominance on the field. In fact, the 2018 class was Dabo Swinney’s highest ranked at No. 7, and this year’s bunch is “just” No. 10. On a per player basis, Clemson’s 29-man class (89.76 average) barely edged out Florida State’s 21-man class (89.64). Still, I think Dabo and company will manage just fine.
5. Oklahoma State
Thoughts: It’s easy to say the Big 12’s Big Two recruit like this every year, but that’s not exactly true. Texas has signed back-to-back national top-3 classes for the first time in the history of the 247 database, which stretches back to 1999. Bob Stoops’ inked his last top-10 class in 2010, while Lincoln Riley’s two full classes rank No. 9 and No. 5. In 247’s class calculations, Texas and OU came in around 280 for their total class and over 91 on a per-player basis; one else in the conference scored above 210 or 86, respectively. Gary Patterson, Mike Gundy, et. al, are coaching wizards, but they’re going to have to mix up better potions than ever to make up for the growing talent gaps between the Red River rivals and everyone else.
2. Penn State
3. Ohio State
Thoughts: Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State should go 1-2-3 every year and Nebraska should nip at their heels at No. 4. Those four have national brands that dwarf the rest of the conference. Still, it’s a nice sign of life to see Scott Frost sign a bumper crop — get it? because they’re farmers — in his first full cycle. Ohio State signed a small 15-man group in a transition-ish class between the Urban Meyer and Ryan Day eras, though the Buckeyes edged out Michigan 3-2 in 5-stars. The 2020 class should be a huge one for Ohio State, literally and figuratively. Also, shoutout to Jeff Brohm and his staff: Purdue signed the Big Ten’s No. 13 or No. 14 class (the Big Ten has 14 teams, remember) annually from 2013 through 2017.
1. Florida Atlantic
3. North Texas
4. Southern Miss
5. Middle Tennessee
Thoughts: As long as they’ve got their pants pulled up and their shoes tied, Lane Kiffin and Seth Littrell should sign the top classes in C-USA annually, so we’ll give the gold star to Doc Holliday and the Marshall staff.
2. Miami (Ohio)
3. Western Michigan
4. Kent State
Thoughts: Jason Candle’s staff cleaned up the conference this year. Toledo’s 164 total points were nearly 20 ahead of their next closest competition, and their 82.94 player average wasn’t approached by anyone else in the MAC. This is Toledo’s third straight MAC recruiting title; they’ve won the league each year since PJ Fleck left for Minnesota.
1. Boise State
2. Colorado State
3. Utah State
5. San Diego State
Thoughts: Speaking of conference recruiting dominance, Boise State has won the Mountain West recruiting championship for nine years in a row and 10 of the past 11. Brand matters.
5. Arizona State
Thoughts: Mario Cristobal has met and surpassed Willie Taggart’s recruiting success, signing a 25-man class headlined by Westlake Village, Calif., 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 2 player nationally and quite likely the best defensive recruit to ever wear Duck colors. Meanwhile, USC is set to finish outside the top-2 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2001.
3. Texas A&M
Thoughts: Mississippi State inked the 23rd-best class in 2019, per 247. It ranks 10th in the SEC. This will be Alabama eighth national title in the last nine years and their 12th consecutive top-5 class, meaning they’ve never missed since Nick Saban had a full cycle to recruit. Georgia has gone No. 3, No. 1 and No. 2 — again, nationally — in Kirby Smart’s three full cycles. Jimbo Fisher is No. 4 in his first full cycle. And then you get to Ed Orgeron, one of the most energetic recruiters of his time. Good luck cracking this nut.
3. Arkansas State
4. Appalachian State
5. Georgia State
Thoughts: It should surprise no one that a Nick Saban protege in Louisiana-Lafayette’s Billy Napier can recruit; he’s set to win the Sun Belt recruiting crown in his first full cycle. This year was a good time to strike with Appalachian State and Troy going through transition classes after losing Scott Satterfield and Neal Brown, respectively. The Arkansas State staff also merits an atta boy for stepping up to sign a top-3 class while the First Lady of A-State football, Wendy Anderson, battles for her life.