Breakdown of Top 10 recruiting classes of 2013

Breakdown of Top 10 recruiting classes of 2013
February 6, 2013, 4:00 pm
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It might take Notre Dame a while to erase the memory of its 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS national championship game. But coach Brian Kelly received a satisfying consolation prize. His 2013 recruiting class rates among the top five in the nation.

Depending on who you choose to believe, Notre Dame ranks No. 3 by Tom Lemming and Scout, No. 4 by ESPN and Rivals and No. 5 by 24/7 Sports.

"Notre Dame had a great recruiting year, the kind that Lou Holtz had when his program started to take off," said recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network.

"But Notre Dame didn't have a good year last year. That's the difference between Alabama and Notre Dame. Alabama has had five great classes in a row. Notre Dame has a top five class this year but they need three more, back-to-back-to-back, to be up there depth-wise with Alabama, Florida, LSU and other SEC schools."

Notre Dame's class is headed by Jaylon Smith, the recipient of the Dick Butkus Award as the nation's top-rated linebacker, running back Greg Bryant, offensive linemen Steve Elmer and John Montelus and defensive back Max Redfield, who decommitted from USC. Bryant is rated as the No. 5 ball-carrier in the nation, according to Lemming.

How do you win three national titles in four years? By recruiting the best talent. Alabama coach Nick Saban did it again by signing 11 of the top 100 players in the nation, including three of the top 13 -- linebacker Reuben Foster, wide receiver O.C. Howard and running back Derrick Henry.

You also spend a lot of money. Alabama spent $930,997 in 2011-12 to recruit football players, down from $980,882 the year before but more than the athletic department paid to recruit all of the school's athletes the year before Saban arrived.

Alabama's recruiting budget for football has increased 279 percent since 2006-07. In fact, football accounted for 52 percent of the school's total recruiting expenses last year. Which could explain why Alabama has recruited six classes in a row that have ranked among the top three in the nation.

But Saban has another edge. "If there are any college coaches who are better recruiters than Nick Saban or Urban Meyer (Ohio State), I don't know who they are," Lemming said.

The top 10 recruiting classes
1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide clinched the top spot on Monday when they received a commitment from Reuben Foster, the nation's No. 3 player and top-rated linebacker, and sealed the deal by signing offensive tackle Dee Liner on Wednesday. Saban signed nine of the top 35 players in the nation. Henry could be another Trent Richardson and Howard and Robert Foster could be another Julio Jones.

2. Ohio State: Always a good closer, coach Urban Meyer moved up by getting a commitment on Monday from Dontre Wilson, a highly prized athlete who had decommitted from Oregon, and by signing safety Vonn Bell on Wednesday. Defensive back Cameron Burrows, linebacker Trey Johnson and athlete Jalin Marshall are top 100 signees. The Buckeyes also signed 11 other 4-star players, including running back Ezekiel Elliott, the top-rated player in Missouri.
3. Notre Dame: Quarterback Malik Zaire could be a standout. Still battered and bruised physically and psychologically by being overpowered by Alabama in the national championship game, coach Brian Kelly knows he must recruit speed and strength in order to be competitive with the nation's best. Strength-wise, Alabama is at a different level.
4. Florida: The Gators signed five of the top 100 in the nation -- linebacker Alex Anzalone, who decommitted from Notre Dame, defensive backs Vernon Hargreaves and Marcell Harris, wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood and running back Kelvin Taylor, who is the No. 4 running back in the nation according to Lemming. Coach Will Muschamp also got 10 other 4-star athletes and 16 of ESPN's top 300.

5. LSU: Offensive lineman Ethan Pocic of Lemont, who was eager to face the challenge of SEC football, joins two other top 100 players on the Bayou, athlete Kendall Beckwith and tight end DeSean Smith. Coach Les Miles also signed two five-star recruits, defensive back Tre'Davious White and defensive end Frank Hearn, and 14 four-star players.

6. Mississippi: Old-timers are recalling the glory days of coach Johnny Vaught and quarterback Archie Manning, when Ole Miss was a national power. In an unprecedented recruiting coup, coach Hugh Freeze signed three of the top seven players in the nation--defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell of Crete-Monee and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
7. Michigan: Coach Brady Hoke signed three players out of Illinois--offensive tackle Kyle Bosch of Wheaton St. Francis, a top 100 player, offensive linemen Logan Tuley-Tillman of Peoria Manual and Scott Sypniewski of Ottawa Marquette. The Wolverines got four other top 100 players and 11 four-star recruits.

8: UCLA: Coach Jim Mora knocked arch-rival USC out of the top 10. He wooed two top 100 players away from USC on signing day, defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and defensive end Kylie Fitts. He also got defensive back Tahaan Goodman, quarterback Asiantii Woulard, defensive back Priest Willis and linebacker Deon Hollins.

9. Texas A&M: Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel has proven to be a pied piper, attracting several blue-chippers away from the celebrated programs at Texas and Oklahoma. The Aggies got two top 100 players, wide receiver Derrick Griffin and athlete Ricky Seals-Jones, and 13 four-star players, including wide receiver JaQuay Williams and offensive lineman Ishmael Wilson.

10. Georgia: Coach Mark Richt signed two top 100 players, athlete Tramel Terry and defensive back Tray Matthews, and he also landed 13 four-star performers, including defensive tackle John Atkins, linebacker Reginald Carter, quarterback Brice Ramsey, wide receiver Jonathon Rumph and defensive end Leonard Floyd.

The next 10: Florida State, Auburn, USC, Clemson, Washington, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia Tech.

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