While there is still a lot of college football in 2022, the 2023 season officially started on Wednesday with Early Signing Day. High school recruits could finally sign their national letters of intent and join their desired universities. Throughout the day, fans saw established powerhouses get even stronger, while other programs are taking shape for the future.
This is the sixth year that the NCAA has held an early signing period. Schools are taking more and more advantage of it, usually securing the biggest names even before their bowl games. If a player does not sign a national letter of intent this week, the next National Signing Day will be on Feb. 1, 2023. This means a lot can change until then, so securing the best prospects in December is key for a successful recruitment process.
Even with a lot of flips of commitment, schools such as Alabama remain as winners and should continue as contenders in 2023. With that being said, here are the five best recruiting classes after Early Signing Day, based on the 247Sports Composite team rankings.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
As the Buckeyes prepare to face the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, they were also very active preparing for the future. On Wednesday, Ohio State secured 20 prospects and stands out among its Big Ten opponents. Its recruiting class is currently worth 287.66 points.
The class consists of one five-star, 18 four-stars and one three-star. Seven players place in the top 100 nationally. The spotlight goes to five-star recruit Brandon Inniss. The wide receiver is ranked as the nation’s fourth-best in his position, eighth-best player in the state of Florida and No. 29 in the country. He had offers from other powerhouses such as Alabama and Georgia.
“There’s just so many things that come with being a Buckeye that these guys recognized early on, and it’s about relationships, and I think our coaching staff did an unbelievable job of building relationships throughout this process,” head coach Ryan Day said in a press conference.
4. Miami Hurricanes
After a disappointing 2022 season where the team went from the top 25 to unranked and with a negative record, Miami’s 2023 recruiting class is crucial to turn things around. On Wednesday, the Hurricanes signed 25 prospects, plus a commitment from five-star Cormani McClain. There is some concern about McClain because he didn’t sign Wednesday, but the class is still strong either way.
With 294.85 points, this is the school’s best recruiting class in more than a decade and places it at the top of the ACC.
The best area head coach Mario Cristobal addressed was the offensive line. The Hurricanes signed two five-star prospects in Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola. Both have potential to become first-round picks in the future.
“It was a lot of effort from a lot of unbelievable people,” Cristobal said in a press conference. “All of that leads to a top five finish and it is still going. We are not done yet.”
3. Texas Longhorns
One of the biggest winners of Early Signing Day was Texas. The Longhorns were able to keep each of their early commits, plus adding edge rusher Tausili Akana over Oklahoma. The team added four five-stars, 10 four-stars and eight three-stars.
The Longhorns scored 297.31 points in this recruiting class, the best in the Big 12.
The five-star recruits are linebacker Anthony Hill, running back Cedric Baxter Jr., Johntay Cook II and, most notably, quarterback Arch Manning, nephew of Eli and Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
“There’s not a throw he can’t make,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said of his new quarterback in a press conference. “He wants to work. I can’t wait to get started.”
2. Georgia Bulldogs
While the team could very well win back-to-back national titles, the Bulldogs could stay competitive for years to come based on their 2023 recruiting class. Georgia secured two-five stars, 20 four-stars and four three-stars.
The team scored 309.38 points, good for second in the nation.
The highlight goes to Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs landing five-star edge rusher Damon Wilson over Ohio State and Florida. He is No. 2 in the nation for his position. They also signed five-star AJ Harris, the third-best cornerback in the class.
“I’m excited about the group we’ve got there. I think we’ve got good depth,” head coach Kirby Smart said in a press conference. “We’re trying to get that room back to where it’s been in the past.”
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
The 2022 season was far from what the Crimson Tide fans usually see. Alabama went 10-2 and failed to reach the SEC Championship Game and the CFP. Because of that, the 2023 recruiting class gains even more attention.
The Crimson Tide put out the best recruiting class in the nation, scoring 326.06 points. They landed six five-star prospects, the best mark in FBS. Additionally, the team added 20 four-stars and one three-star.
Alabama should have a big jump on defense with five-star duo of Jaquavious Russaw and James Smith, a pair of high school teammates. Head coach Nick Saban also landed safety Caleb Downs and edge rusher Keon Keeley, both the top players at their respective positions. Notably, the team secured five-star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor, who originally committed to Iowa.
“Got a good bunch of players, but I think what I like about this group the most is it seems like they have really good character. We still sort of try to get guys to buy into developing, creating value for their future based on getting an education, being a good person, being the best football player they can be,” Saban said in a press conference. “So I feel like the kinda guys that we were able to attract are the right kind of guys and we’re excited about the class.”
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