Ohio State remains No. 1 after updated 2021 rankings
We continue to roll out the updated Rivals recruiting ranks for the Class of 2021. Our focus today is on how the movement inside the Rivals250 has helped shape the new-look team rankings, where Ohio State maintains its stranglehold on the nation’s No. 1 class. Other schools inside the top five include Florida, Clemson, Notre Dame and Texas.
Here's a closer look at the biggest rankings changes impacting the team recruiting rankings and the biggest storylines to pay attention to.
RIVALS RANKING WEEK (2021 CLASS) SCHEDULE
Wednesday: Position rankings released
Friday: New state rankings released
OHIO STATE MAINTAINS HOLD ON NO. 1
Never mind the changes inside the Rivals250 for the Class of 2021, the Buckeyes have strengthened their hold for the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class. Currently, Ryan Day’s team has 10 commitments in the boat, including five-star defensive end Jack Sawyer and eight other four-stars.
The Buckeyes were bolstered by a modest climb by linebacker commitment Reid Carrico, who jumped up 76 spots to No. 101 overall. He’s knocking on the door for a spot inside the Rivals100 as we enter the spring and camp season. Marvin Harrison Jr. also saw his stock rise, leaping 28 spots to No. 39 overall.
There’s even more room for Ohio State as it looks to add key pieces to the defensive side of the ball over the next few months, particularly in the secondary and up front next to Sawyer, as well as find its 2021 running back.
FLORIDA OVERTAKES CLEMSON AT NO. 2
The biggest change inside the nation’s top-five recruiting classes in the cycle came between Florida and Clemson, who traded the Nos. 2 and 3 spots. Clemson flirted with a recruiting championship in 2020 and that goal remains in sight for 2021, but the road got a little stiffer with the Gators’ recent surge.
Tyreak Sapp made arguably the strongest surge of any prospect in America, climbing 108 spots all the way to No. 12 in the country. Now, Florida is holding tightly to a five-star, which allowed Dan Mullen’s team to take over the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class with 10 commitments already in place. The Gators are still after help at wide receiver, running back and linebacker for the 2021 class and have a bevy of targets not only in-state, but across the country.
CLEMSON, NOTRE DAME, TEXAS IN EARLY TOP 5
While Florida replaced Clemson as the new No. 2 team in the recruiting rankings, the top five remained the same as the Tigers, Irish and Longhorns round out the list of teams hovering at or close to the top early on in this cycle.
Of those teams, only Clemson has a five-star embedded in the class at this point. That would be Korey Foreman, the No. 1 prospect in the country. The Tigers could be in line to sign the No. 1 player in the Rivals rankings for the third time in four years. Aside from Foreman, Clemson is holding tight to eight other four-stars in its 2021 haul, including Jake Bringingstool, who made an 88-spot jump to No. 56 overall this past update.
Notre Dame has eight early pledges for 2021 and seven are four-star prospects. From a star power standpoint, the Irish trail only Ohio State, Florida and Clemson with average ranking of their commitments (3.88). Brian Kelly has a real chance to solidify a top-five class if he keeps this pace up.
Texas is sitting in a strong spot as we inch into the spring. Tom Herman has taken full advantage of a talent-laden in-state crop in the 2021 class and the Longhorns hold pledges from several Rivals100 prospects from their backyard, including Ja’Tavion Sanders, Billy Bowman Jr. and Jalen Milroe. The scary part: there is still room to grow for Texas, which is after five-stars like Maason Smith, Camar Wheaton, Bryce Foster and Tommy Brockermeyer, to name a few.
FLORIDA STATE JUMPS TO NO. 15
Florida State made one of the strongest jumps of any team in this recent update. The Seminoles were previously sitting in a tie with fellow ACC competitor Boston College at No. 22 in the country, but now find themselves at No. 15 in position to make more moves in the right direction.
Part of the reason why Florida State is trending up because of the fireworks right before — and then after — on National Signing Day for 2020. The ‘Noles found their quarterback of the future in Mississippi four-star Luke Altmeyer and then landed Rivals100 linebacker Branden Jennings out of Jacksonville. That’s a strong, early foundation in place for Mike Norvell, who has hit the ground running so far in Tallahassee.
SEC TEAMS ON OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
There is only one SEC team currently ranked inside the top five of the team rankings at this point. It’s Florida, of course, and the next team from the Southeastern Conference doesn’t appear until No. 14 (Tennessee).
Tennessee, along with Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn and LSU, are all known recruiting commodities from the SEC that we’re accustomed to being inside the top 10 year in and year. Combined, those five teams have 17 commitments so far, so it’s a long ways to go before we’re at the finish line.
Upon further review, Alabama and A&M have a leg up on the rest of their SEC foes with a trio of four-stars on board early on. LSU and Auburn each have two four-stars in the boat, while the Vols have one four-star along with a quartet of three-stars.