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Rivals Rankings Week: Programs that should be pleased

The 2023 recruiting class is still in developmental mode, with only 18 Rivals100 prospects verbally tied to a team, but big classes are already being put together at the top. Notre Dame and Georgia are first and second, respectively, atop the rankings. Each has nine commits. Penn State has jumped out ahead of the Big Ten with the third-rated class bringing on eight verbals. A big surprise early is Texas Tech under new head coach Joey McGuire. Each program has reason to be happy with the new Rivals 2023 rankings, along with some individual risers.

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Previews: Who should be No. 1? | Which QB should be next to receive a fifth star? | Can Nico Iamaleava unseat Arch Manning as No. 1 QB? | Who is the best defensive lineman?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars

Tuesday: New Rivals250 released | Gorney's thoughts | Biggest movers | Thoughts on M'Pemba, Tate, Haynes

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Breaking down the QB rankings

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

Saturday: Rival Views

Sunday: Who will move up most in the next Rivals250?

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NOTRE DAME

Keon Keeley
Keon Keeley

The Fighting Irish have hit the recruiting trail hard under new head coach Marcus Freeman. Capitalizing on a 2022 haul that finished seventh nationally, Notre Dame is out in front early with four Rivals100 players, nine overall in the top 250. The spotlight grabber is new five-star Keon Keeley. The Berkeley (Fla.) Prep defensive end jumped 12 spots in the latest rankings, settling in at No. 14.

Notre Dame’s 2023 class is looking tough, especially on defense. End Brenan Vernon is a top 20 prospect, with outside linebacker Drayk Bowen, corner Justyn Rhett and safety Peyton Bowen in the 100.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH NOTRE DAME FANS AT INSIDENDSPORTS.COM

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GEORGIA 

Johnathan Hughley
Johnathan Hughley (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The juggernaut that head coach Kirby Smart has built in Athens is only getting bigger. The Bulldogs had the third-rated 2022 class and are back in the mix to challenge for the top spot again in 2023. Among the Rivals250, Georgia has a big early presence on offense with four-stars in tackle Johnathan Hughley, tight end Pearce Spurlin and receivers Raymond Cottrell and Daquayvious Sorey.

Every year, the Peach State is a hotbed for top college football prospects, bringing in challengers from all conferences. For the Bulldogs to claim the top class in 2023, closing out in-state prospects is a must.

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PENN STATE 

Alex Birchmeier
Alex Birchmeier (Rivals.com)

After an off year on the recruiting trail in 2021, the Nittany Lions rebounded, jumping from No. 25 to sixth overall in 2022. The momentum on being tops in the Big Ten with a chance to challenge nationally is building in this cycle. Penn State has eight verbal commitments and five are four-stars, led by offensive lineman Alex Birchmeier.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH PENN STATE FANS AT NITTANY NATION

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USC  

Three recruits do not make a class, but Trojans fans have a lot to be excited about already, especially if this early pace is maintained. Lincoln Riley in Los Angeles promises more offensive firepower with the opportunity to keep all the fantastic West Coast talent home for college. Having a verbal commitment from the third-rated overall prospect (second at quarterback), Malachi Nelson has USC fans dreaming of Pac-12 championships and more.

The updated 2023 rankings have three USC commits in the Top 58. Joining Nelson are receivers Makai Lemon, Nelson’s high school teammate, and Zachariah Branch. Branch is the younger brother of 2022 four-star USC safety signee Zion Branch. Landing the duo out of Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman is a great start for Riley and his staff.

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Individual player rankings that should please programs

Jackson Arnold
Jackson Arnold (Rivals.com)

Oklahoma saw Texas quarterback Jackson Arnold skyrocket 103 spots, landing at No. 66.

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Clemson receiver/athlete Nathaniel Joseph jumped 90 spots to No. 89.

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Ohio State should like the good news on Ty Lockwood, seeing the tight end commit move 44 spots up to 113.