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National Signing Day: Top 10 2015 recruiting classes

Jonathan Dyer/ USA TODAY Sports
Prep QB Blake Barnett is part of Nick Saban's recruiting haul in 2015.

Another National Signing Day, another big haul for Nick Saban and Alabama.

For the fifth year in a row, Alabama is the national champion when it comes to recruiting. The Tide signed the nation's top class, as computed by's composite rankings, which essentially is a consensus list of the nation's top recruits.

USC had the nation's No. 2 class, followed by Florida State, Tennessee and LSU. The SEC had five of the nation's top-10 classes; the ACC and Pac-12 had two each, and the Big Ten had one.

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Signing highly ranked classes doesn't guarantee success on the field in the fall -- but it helps. Using the's consensus class rankings for the past five recruiting cycles (2010-14, which takes into account true freshmen through fifth-year seniors for each school), three teams in the four-team playoff were among the top four recruiting schools in that five-year span; the other (Oregon) was 15th. (The Ducks are 16th this year.)

Still, player development is the biggest key: Five teams in the final top 10 from the 2014 season had an average recruiting ranking of 20th or worse in that five-year span, with three ranking 33rd or worse.

Here are the top 10 classes, along with each school's top three recruits in the composite rankings.

1. Alabama

Rank over past five years: 1st.
Top recruits: QB Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.); WR Calvin Ridley (Coconut Creek, Fla.); CB Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas).
The skinny: It's the same old, same old for the Tide -- another NSD, another mother lode of talent. The Tide didn't sign anybody in the top 10, but they still signed six five-star prospects. (Only one of the six is an Alabama native.)

National Signing Day

2. USC

Rank over past five years: 5th.
Top recruits: G Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs, Ga); DT Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif.); CB Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif.).
The skinny: Steve Sarkisian has the USC talent machine humming, much like predecessors Pete Carroll (who turned all those great recruits into great teams) and Lane Kiffin (who turned all those great recruits into middling teams). The Trojans did a great job signing guys from their backyard, and also went to Georgia (Edoga is the nation's top guard), Texas, Utah and Nevada for talent.

3. Florida State

Rank over past five years: 2nd.
Top recruits: S Derwin James (Haines City, Fla.); CB Tarvarus McFadden (Plantation, Fla.); DE Josh Sweat (Chesapeake, Va.).
The skinny: The Seminoles took advantage of a mediocre Miami program by signing four solid players from south Florida, including McFadden. At one time, Sweat was the nation's top prospect, but he suffered a severe knee injury during the season. The only ACC school that brought in remotely the same type of talent as FSU is Clemson.

4. Tennessee

Rank over past five years: 12th.
Top recruits: RB Alvin Kamara (Hutchinson, Kan., CC); DT Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, Calif.); DE Kyle Phillips (Nashville).
The skinny: Kamara is a JC transfer who already is on campus; he signed with Alabama out of high school. McKenzie will play immediately -- and maybe even start; his dad, Reggie, is the Oakland Raiders' general manager. The Vols did well in state, but also found talent in Georgia and North Carolina, which they used to do in the glory days under Phil Fulmer.

5. LSU

Rank over past five years: 6th.
Top recruits: WR Tyron Johnson (New Orleans); G Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas); CB Kevin Toliver (Jacksonville).
The skinny: As usual, LSU signed the bulk of its class from Louisiana. But the Tigers spread their wings a bit, too. Toilver is considered the nation's No. 2 cornerback, Teuhema the No. 2 guard and Johnson the No. 5 wide receiver.

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6. Ohio State

Rank over past five years: 4th.
Top recruits: LB Jerome Baker (Cleveland); ATH Torrance Gibson (Plantation, Fla.); LB Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati).
The skinny: The Buckeyes didn't sign a top-30 player, but Urban Meyer and his staff again reeled in a deep and talented class. As expected, the Buckeyes did well in Ohio, but the coaches also signed key guys from Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland and even South Dakota.


Rank over past five years: 19th.
Top recruits: RB Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas); DE Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, Calif.); QB Josh Rosen (Los Angeles).
The skinny: Jim Mora and his staff went far and wide -- and also right around the corner -- for the Bruins' second top-10 class in three years. Rosen is considered the best pro-style quarterback in the nation. Jamabo is one of six key out-of-state signees.

8. Clemson

Rank over past five years: 17th.
Top recruits: WR Deon Cain (Tampa); OT Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga.); DT Christian Wilkins (Suffield, Conn.).
The skinny: The Tigers got most of their top players from out of state. Cain is one of two players from Tampa (Ray Ray McCloud is the other) who is expected to provide instant firepower in the fall. Wilkins is a manchild (6-5, 305).

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9. Auburn

Rank over past five years: 7th.
Top recruits: DE Byron Cowart (Tampa); ATH Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Ala.); RB Jovon Robinson (Georgia Military College).
The skinny: Robinson is one of the top JC talents in the nation and already is enrolled. Cowart is considered the best defensive end in the nation. Still, as good as this class is, the Tigers didn't make up any ground in their home state -- or, really, in their division (SEC West).

10. Georgia

Rank over past five years: 9th.
Top recruits: ATH Terry Godwin (Hogansville, Ga.); DE Jonathan Ledbetter (Tucker, Ga.); DT Trent Thompson (Albany, Ga.).
The skinny: The Bulldogs did a great job cleaning up in their backyard. Thompson is the nation's consensus No. 1 prospect and will see time right away for a defense that was uneven against the run in 2014.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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