Position recruiting ranking: Defense
Rivals.com has broken down how the teams did overall on National Signing Day, and here's a look at which teams fared best, position-by-position, on defense and at the athlete position.
Defensive Position Recruiting Rankings
There are no five-star defensive tackles in Florida's haul, but there are three quality four-star signees, led by Brantley and followed by Bostwick and Cummings. Reed is a three-star junior college transfer. Brantley has shown flashes of brilliance. There is no outright star power in this class, but there is a good amount of depth.
The Tigers lead the defensive tackle group with Adams, a five-star prospect who's ranked third at the position, and Bradley, a 6-foot-2, 315-pound junior college transfer. Both could contribute immediately and be special players. Adams is ranked No. 25 in the country, regardless of position. Bradley turned down a bunch of other SEC offers.
3. TEXAS A&M
Manning and Golden provide a one-two punch that is impressive and showed well at the Army game. Both are behemoths, and both have speed and the ability to take over up the middle. Manning is rated as the sixth-best defensive tackle, and Golden comes in at No. 8. Walker is a four-star recruit but could be the sleeper in this class.
Robinson showed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that he can play defensive tackle and has the speed to move to defensive end in a pinch. He's the fourth-best defensive tackle in the class according to Rivals.com and the No. 33 player overall. Paige is more of a traditional defensive tackle who's a run stopper up the middle. Both players weigh well north of 300 pounds.
Bigelow was the lone defensive tackle commit in USC's small class, but he's a good one and that's why the Trojans made this list. The top-rated defensive tackle can no doubt be an immediate force on USC's line. He proved at the Army game that he is virtually unstoppable to block when he wants to bring it. Bigelow has everything needed to be a star in Los Angeles.
The Crimson Tide loaded up at defensive end and bolstered the class on signing day by getting Liner, the seventh-best player at that position by Rivals.com. Before Liner's commitment, Alabama still had Allen, second at defensive end, and Williams, No. 7 at weak-side defensive end, so it was an impressive haul. This group is special and could help sustain the dominant Alabama defenses.
The LSU class has high-end star quality plus depth, which makes it one of the better hauls at this position. Herron earned his fifth star after an impressive week at the Army game. Bower was one of the more interesting stories during signing day -- did he sign with LSU, Auburn or someone else? That finally was put to rest. Lacouture, Neal and Patterson offer nice depth that could develop in Death Valley.
Daniel decided against playing alongside Robert Nkemdiche, the top-rated player in the 2013 class, and instead went with the Tigers, who also signed Lawson, the No. 1 weak-side defensive end. It was one of the signing day surprises that Daniel flipped from Ole Miss to Auburn, but it was a great addition for the Tigers. Lawson has all the skill and motivation in the world, and hanging onto him was big.
4. OLE MISS
Nkemdiche was the only defensive end in Ole Miss' impressive recruiting haul, but no one is complaining. The No. 1 player in the 2013 class has the ability to be an immediate contributor in the SEC, just like former No. 1 Jadeveon Clowney was at South Carolina. There was late intrigue by other schools, but the Rebels won out for Nkemdiche, who went wire-to-wire as the top-rated player.
Jones was the only defensive end in Mississippi State's class, but he has the potential to be extra special. It was big for the Bulldogs to keep him from flipping to Ole Miss, and he could see the field early in his career. Jones went from a three-star somebody to one of the best defensive ends in this class after the all-star season. He has everything one needs to be special.
The Gators did an excellent job of filling needs all over their linebacker corps, led by Anzalone, who had been committed elsewhere but decided to end up in Gainesville. He earned his fifth star during the all-star season and has all the tools to be an outstanding SEC linebacker. McMillian is an athletic, hard-nosed player who hits hard. Rolin and Davis will get their chances.
When Thomas did the Tomahawk Chop at his signing day press conference, many fans in Tallahassee had to be excited because there was a real chance he could have ended up with Miami or USC. It was a big get for the Seminoles. He was outstanding during all-star season, and even though he's skinny he packs a punch. Thomas is the star of this class, Levenberry is a big-time playmaker and there is impressive depth with the other three linebackers.
Mitchell leads this group in many ways. He's a five-star linebacker who is supremely athletic and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. The Texas native is also an Urban Meyer guy -- he listens, learns and he will run through a wall for his coach. He was excellent at the Army game. Johnson is rated as the third-best inside linebacker, so there is a lot of talent there. Worley is a local kid from Cleveland who could blossom.
4. NOTRE DAME
Smith has the athleticism, the toughness and the intelligence to be an immediate contributor on Notre Dame's defense. The Army game was proof that he is one of the best players in the country, and he can make a difference on almost every play. He's great in pass coverage, too, which is a bonus. Randolph and Deeb are nice additions to a stellar group.
There is not a ton of star power in Georgia's class, but there's a healthy dose of depth mixed with tough players who hit hard. Kimbrough and O'Neal definitely fit that bill, and the additions of Carter, McGee and Rankin are impressive. The Bulldogs locked up a bunch of nice players.
The numbers across the board are light, but the Trojans loaded up at safety with Cravens and McQuay, two five-stars who could immediately see the field. Cravens has such an uncanny feel for the game that he seems to know where the ball is going to be a split second before anyone else, and McQuay is an outstanding athlete. Hawkins was almost a five-star after an outstanding showing at the Army game. Losing Jalen Ramsey late hurt the Trojans, but they have an outstanding group at this position.
Hargreaves proved during the all-star season that he's the No. 1 cornerback in the country. He has the athleticism, skill and vision to be a lockdown corner for the Gators the minute he steps on campus. Harris and Neal, who had a great summer, were one spot from being five-star prospects as well. Washington adds nice depth.
Ohio State added talent, depth and pretty much everything else at defensive back with solid players from top to bottom. Burrows bounced back and forth from being a five-star and a four-star prospect. Bell is the most impressive of the group and could be a special player in the coming years. Apple had been considered for five-star status, but after an average Army game he didn't get the bump. Still, he is a great addition to this class. Thompson has speed to burn.
White is athletic, great in coverage, can make up ground and proved he can do a little of everything at the Army game. He's a superb talent and one of the best athletes in this class. He leads the way, but Brazil, Jefferson and Robinson are outstanding and bring something special to the table. All three are four-star prospects who add nice depth to this class.
Fuller is the best of the bunch here. He was the top-rated cornerback in the class until Hargreaves was simply outstanding at the Under Armour Game. Fuller is excellent in coverage and is a lockdown corner who could see immediate playing time in Blacksburg. Fisher is a superb athlete and a hard hitter. The three others round out a nice class.
Keeping the Robinson twins was crucial for the Ducks' recruiting class, which finished toward the top in the Pac-12. They are also basketball players, so they have a bouncy, athletic appeal to them and they should fit in perfectly in Eugene. Williams was a late addition but could be used in different spots.
2. TEXAS A&M
Seals-Jones is an instant matchup problem because of impressive size on the outside. Once he takes more reps at wide receiver, he should grow even more comfortable at the position. Gonzalez is a speedster who is especially lethal in the slot. Sezer and Washington are nice additions.
Marshall is the top-rated athlete in the 2013 class by Rivals.com -- and for good reason. He has the potential to dominate every time he steps on the field. It's pretty sure Urban Meyer will find ways to get him involved that will benefit the Buckeyes in numerous ways. Lee was a high school quarterback, so he's smart and savvy.
The depth of athletes for the Scarlet Knights is what's most impressive. Barnwell is the four-star among the group and he can be used in various ways, but what really stands out is that Rutgers has brought in a bunch of capable, athletic players who can contribute on either side of the ball.
Stewart is the star in this class. He can throw passes, run the ball, catch the ball, return kicks, he makes big hits on defense and he should be an incredible addition to Alabama's class. Rivals.com rates him as the third-best athlete in 2013. Averett put up nice numbers in his senior season running and throwing and on defense.
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