Alabama's Nick Saban and Texas' Mack Brown are widely recognized as two of the slickest and most successful recruiters in college football. So it isn't surprising to see Alabama and Texas at the top of the 2012 recruiting derby.
"Nick Saban and (Ohio State's) Urban Meyer are the two best recruiters in the nation," recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network said. "Saban has a better resume than anyone else...three national championships, two at Alabama, one at LSU.
"He went out to recruit on the day after beating LSU for the national title. He takes it as a personal affront if he loses a kid to another national power. He put Alabama over the top (in this year's recruiting sweepstakes) by getting commitments from three top 100 players, all within a couple of days, a big coup."
Saban goes wherever five-star athletes take him. Last week, he showed off the Alabama campus and Crimson Tide facilities to offensive tackle Kyle Bosch of Wheaton St. Francis, one of Illinois' top-rated prospects in the class of 2013.
At Texas, Brown has the advantage of recruiting in the most fertile region for producing football talent in the country. And while he competes against virtually every major program, he dominates. This is the fifth time in the last seven years that he has signed a top three class.
What about Notre Dame? The Irish finished No. 17 in Lemming's ratings. Coach Brian Kelly got QB Gunner Kiel, the No. 2 player in the nation, and might get DB Anthony Standifer of Crete-Monee, who de-committed from Michigan. But Kelly lost every one of his top 10 choices, including multi-talented Ron Darby to Florida State. And he didn't get the left tackle he so desperately coveted.
Who will make the biggest impact in the next two or three years?
Lemming predicts Missouri-bound WR Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's No. 1 player, will be better than former Alabama star Julio Jones, that he will be the next Randy Moss.
Lemming also predicts that Ohio State-bound DL Noah Spence, Florida State-bound DL Mario Edwards, California-bound RBDB Shaq Thompson, Texas-bound RB Jonathan Gray, Pittsburgh-bound RB Rushel Shell, uncommitted WR Stefon Diggs and USC-bound WRKR Nelson Agholor will be impact players as freshmen.
And Lemming predicts that if Oklahoma State-bound quarterback Wes Lunt of Rochester, Ill., stays healthy, he will be a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Here are the nation's top 10 recruiting classes:
1. ALABAMA: Coach Nick Saban was assured of the No. 1 ranking when he landed DB Landon Collins, RB T.J. Yeldon and WR Cyrus Jones at the last minute. He also signed 10 other top 150 players, including CB Geno Smith, DB Chris Black, DB Eddie Williams and LB Reggie Ragland. But observers noted that Saban didn't land a quarterback to fill out his talented class.
2. TEXAS: Brown signed 10 players among the top 150 in the nation, including the best running back in Jonathan Gray. Other standouts are WR Cayleb Jones, DT Malcolm Brown, QB Connor Brewer and OL Kennedy Estelle. He also welcomed DL Toshiro Davis, who de-committed from LSU.
3. OHIO STATE: If Urban Meyer's first class is any indication of future success, the Big 10 better batten down the hatches. He signed four top 100 players -- DL Noah Spence, DL Tommy Schutt of Glenbard West, DE Adolphus Washington, DL Se'Von Pittman and RB Brionte Dunn. He also got CB Armani Reeves from Penn State and OL Taylor Decker from Notre Dame.
4. MICHIGAN: New coach Brady Hoke has old-timers cheering again. He landed four top 100 players -- DE Chris Wormley, DB Terry Richardson, OL Erik Magnuson and OL Kyle Kalis. Wormley was the defensive player of the year in Ohio. DT Ondre Pipkins is another standout. He could get OL Jordan Diamond of Simeon, who will announce his decision on Friday.
5. FLORIDA: New coach Will Muschamp signed five top 100 players -- OL D.J Humphries, TE Kent Taylor, OL Jerraman Dunbar, LB Antonio Morrison of Bolingbrook, DE Jonathan Bullard and RB Matt Jones. Two others to watch are TE Colin Thompson and CB Brian Poole. Muschamp still is in the running for WR Stefon Diggs.
6. MIAMI: Coach Al Golden signed only two top 100 players, DB Deon Bush and CB Tracy Howard, but the Hurricane cleaned up in south Florida. Howard is rated as the best cornerback in the class of 2012 according to one recruiting service. RB Duke Johnson is another standout.
7. FLORIDA STATE: Coach Jimbo Fisher could argue that his class is the best in the nation. He got five top 100 players -- DL Mario Edwards, OL Eddie Goldman, QB Jameis Winston, WR Ronald Darby and RB Mario Pender. Another standout is DL Chris Casher.
8. OKLAHOMA: Coach Bob Stoops signed 23 players, including five wide receivers and four tight ends. He is high on Courtney Gardner and Sam Grant, two late commitments. He also has two top 100 pass catchers -- Durron Neal and Taylor McNamara -- and five signees in the top 150.
9. USC: What could coach Lane Kiffin have accomplished if he had been able to recruit a full class instead of just 15? He signed OL Zach Banner, WR Nelson Agholor, DL Leonard Williams, OL Jordan Simmons and OL Max Tuerk. "Quality, not quantity," Kiffin said.
10. STANFORD: Coach David Shaw lured OL Andrus Peat and OL Kyle Murphy away from USC and also signed OL Joshua Garnett, OL Graham Shuler, OL Nick Davidson, OL Johnny Caspers of Glenbard West and RB Barry Sanders, son of the NFL Hall of Famer.
The next 15: Georgia, Clemson, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Auburn, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, Missouri, Texas Tech, Tennessee, California, TCU, Rutgers.