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Early Signing Period: The top Group of Five signees

Mario Eugenio
Mario Eugenio

Group of Five teams have made waves this season and, judging by the way some of those teams recruited this year, that isn’t changing anytime soon. Take a look at the top 10 Group of Five signees in the 2022 class and where they’re headed.


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CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State | JUCO

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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1. MARIO EUGENIO

Eugenio was one of the more well-known prospects in the 2022 recruiting cycle and it was a big deal when he announced his commitment to Michigan back in July. The Florida defensive end picked the Wolverines over Iowa State but reopened his recruitment in October. Cincinnati quickly became the favorite for him and he committed days after an official visit to the campus. Eugenio's signing on Wednesday helped Cincinnati claim the No. 1 spot in the Group of Five team rankings.

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2. MATTHEW GOLDEN

TCU had Golden locked in and was excited about him joining the team with the 2022 class but that all changed when Gary Patterson and TCU split. The receiver out of Texas decommitted at the beginning of November, ending a four and half month commitment to the Horned Frogs. Baylor quickly offered and got Golden and campus for an official visit and TCU was still in the race as well but Golden ended up signing with Houston on Wednesday.

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3. DERRICK SHEPARD

Shepard has been committed to the Bearcats for so long that his original recruiting coach was Marcus Freeman. Cincinnati was Shepard's first offer and that carried a lot of weight with the in-state prospect. He held offers from every Power Five conference and spurned Georgia Tech, his father's alma mater, when he announced his choice. Michigan, Missouri, and a few others were keeping tabs on Shepard during the season but he ended up signing with Luke Fickell's squad this past week.

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4. JOSHUA WHITE

Nebraska, Missouri and Ole Miss were finalists for White when he announced his commitment in August and the Tigers were able to hold on, getting his signature on Wednesday. White never wavered in his commitment to the Tigers, citing his relationship with defensive line coach Kyle Pope. White White now in the fold, Memphis has signed two four-stars since the 2017 recruiting cycle.

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5. NIKAI MARTINEZ

Martinez had a very long offer sheet when he committed to UCF in July, picking the in-state team over South Carolina and the Florida Gators. Head coach Gus Malzahn was a big factor in Martinez's commitment and his personal touch won Martinez over. The four-star defensive back is just the second four-star UCF has signed since the 2018 class but is the top recruit for UCF's Group of Five No. 2 recruiting class.

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6. DEMETRIUS HUNTER

A longtime Oklahoma commit, Hunter reopened the recruiting process once Lincoln Riley left for USC. Houston quickly stepped in but they weren't the only ones. Missouri kicked their pursuit of Hunter into high gear and got him on campus for an official visit the weekend before the Early Signing Period but Houston was able to keep the in-state lineman home. Hunter, along with Golden, are the only two four-stars Houston signed.

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7. JALEN MOSS

Moss, a wide receiver from California, had a relatively quiet recruitment. Fresno State targeted Moss fairly early in the process and kept in close contact with him throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Moss committed to Fresno State on Halloween and remained firm in his commitment despite the coaching change. Prior to picking Fresno State, Moss did take a visit to Washington but ended up liking what he saw at Fresno State more. He is just one of two four-stars Fresno State has signed since the 2010 recruiting class.

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8. BLAKE GUNTER

Tulane landed a commitment from Gunter back in September and held onto him despite holding offers from teams like West Virginia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Florida State. At the time of his commitment, Gunter chose Tulane over finalists Memphis and Arkansas. Since the 2018 recruiting class, Tulane has only signed one other player rated as highly as Gunter.

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9. JORDAN MCDONALD

McDonald had a very productive high school career and ended up choosing UCF over a number of other Power Five offers. South Carolina was McDonald's other finalist and the Gamecocks even hosted him on multiple visits. Head coach Gus Malzahn prioritized McDonald and that won him over in the end.

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10. MARLON GUNN

After visiting East Carolina for their game against South Carolina, the Pirates picked up Gunn's commitment a few days later. TCU and Tulane were Gunn's other finalists but he was a target for Florida State and Virginia at one point. Gunn is one of two running backs East Carolina signed as part of their 2022 class and is the highest rated member of their No. 71 ranked recruiting class.

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TOP 10 GROUP OF FIVE CLASSES
Nat'l Rank Program Conference

No. 36

Cincinnati

American

No. 45

UCF

American

No. 48

Marshall

C-USA

No. 50

Arkansas State

Sun Belt

No. 57

Memphis

American

No. 64

Boise State

Mountain West

No. 65

San Diego State

Mountain West

No. 67

Houston

American

No. 68

Tulane

American

No. 70

Utah State

Mountain West