Rivals Roundtable: Which team could finish with a No. 1 class?
Alabama won eight team recruiting titles from 2008-17, and Georgia took the last two years. In today’s Rivals Ranking Question of the Week, we ask the Rivals analysts to name one program in their region who could head to the top of the recruiting rankings in the coming cycles:
ROB CASSIDY, Florida analyst
I guess Florida wins by default here. This question doesn't really seem like a fair one to ask me because Miami and Florida State are both in times of turmoil. It's hard to imagine either finishing in the top five any time soon. The Gators are on the most stable footing by far, but Clemson, Alabama and Georgia continue to take the state's most highly regarded prospects, so reaching No. 1 is a massive ask even for the Gators.
ADAM FRIEDMAN, Mid-Atlantic analyst
I'm torn between Penn State and North Carolina, but I'll go with the Nittany Lions. Penn State has a head start on North Carolina because of its on-field success. The Nittany Lions have strung together some very good recruiting classes but North Carolina could catch up quickly with more success on the field. North Carolina's recruiting territory is much more fertile than Penn State's, and that could make it easier for the Tar Heels to put together highly rated recruiting classes easier than Penn State. For now, give me Penn State.
ADAM GORNEY, West and national analyst
Mario Cristobal has come to Oregon with an SEC approach to recruiting and it’s working big-time, especially as USC struggles to land elite talent with coach Clay Helton’s future uncertain. If USC fires Helton and hires a blockbuster coach (Urban Meyer or James Franklin) then the Trojans could field a top-five recruiting class almost immediately. But at this point Cristobal is recruiting so well, getting five-stars to visit and possibly commit and doing excellent work with California’s top talent that I could see the Ducks routinely in the top 10, if not higher, in the team recruiting rankings.
JOSH HELMHOLDT, Midwest analyst
Ohio State finished second in the Rivals Team Recruiting title race in both 2017 and 2018, so the Buckeyes have proven they can do it. It's a new era in Columbus, and while Urban Meyer was undoubtedly a great recruiter, who is to say Ryan Day cannot be just as good or better? He has a top-three class going right now, and arguably the best team playing football on Saturdays.
CHAD SIMMONS, Southeast analyst
In my region, how do you pick against either Alabama and Georgia? It's tough not to choose the Crimson Tide on this with the success they've had on and off the field. Could Auburn make a run? Sure, but I do not see the Tigers unseating the Crimson Tide or Bulldogs any time soon atop the recruiting rankings. If we are talking the South in general, where I am located, you have to watch LSU and Clemson. I still expect Alabama and Georgia to battle for the top classes in the coming years, but keep an eye on Clemson and LSU as well.
SAM SPIEGELMAN, Texas and Louisiana analyst
There is no question that LSU's on-field success is equating to real success on the recruiting trail. Since Ed Orgeron took over for Les Miles at LSU, he's quickly put that border around the state. LSU always hits Texas and the surrounding region hard, and in 2020, Coach O and his staff have gone national. As it stands today, the Tigers are clinging to the nation's top-ranked 2020 class. It's obviously a long way to go before the 2021 and 2022 classes begin to take shape, but LSU has always recruited well on defense. With an offense shining as bright as any in the country, it's beginning to pay major dividends.
WOODY WOMMACK, Southeast analyst
Clemson is obviously in the mix for the No. 1 spot in the rankings this year and the Tigers now recruit on a national level. They should be in the mix every year going forward as long as Dabo Swinney is the head coach.