Leading up to and on Signing Day (Feb. 5), Recruiting expert Jamie Newberg ranks and analyzes the nation's Top 25 recruiting classes. The top five players in each class are listed along with their positional rank in parentheses.
Players ranked in TheInsiders.com Hot 100 are listed in red.
Head of the class: JaMarcus Russell, QB (3); Daryl Johnson, S (3); Tim Washington, DE (7); Barrington Edwards, RB (5); Kirston Pittman, DE (8).
Newberg's analysis: When Russell, the top prep quarterback out of Alabama, committed to the Tigers late on Signing Day, it put the icing on the cake of the nation's No. 1 class. QB Robert Lane decommitted earlier in the day and switched to Ole Miss, but Russell is an even better replacement. Head coach Nick Saban needed quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs, and the Tigers certainly got their share. The Signing-Day commits of Hot 100 defensive linemen Pittman and Carnell Stewart only added to another great recruiting season in the Bayou. All in all, Saban brought in eight Hot 100 commits.
Head of the class: Chris Leak, QB (2); Earl Everett, LB (4); Andre Caldwell, WR (2); Chad Jackson, WR (3); Demetrice Webb, CB (4).
Newberg's analysis: The Gators have to be one of the huge surprises, especially coming off an 8-5 season. But head coach Ron Zook has proved he can flat-out recruit. Florida needed a little of everything, but their main needs were offensive and defensive linemen. They filled in the OL by signing some juco standouts in December. Leak's commitment was also a big shot in the arm just as the January recruiting season heated up. The huge Wednesday commits of Caldwell and RB/DE Joe Cohen give the Gators 10 Top 100 commitments.
Head of the class: Whitney Lewis, WR (1); Lawrence Jackson, DE (2); Reggie Bush, RB (3); Steve Smith, WR (6); Chris Barett, TE/DE (5).
Newberg's analysis: USC matches Florida as the biggest surprise of the season. Trojans head coach Pete Carroll and his staff really capitalized on a great year on the field. With nine top-100 commits, this is the best Pac-10 recruiting class in years. The Signing-Day commit of Lewis, the nation's top receiver, only added to a stellar crop that already included three stud running backs in Bush, Chauncey Washington and Lendale White. USC anchored its offensive line with two of the best in the west, Sam Baker and Drew Radovich, and added a top linebacker in Ryan Watson on Tuesday. Keep an eye on Lewis, however, who has yet to fax in his official letter of intent to the Trojans.
Head of the class: Kyle Wright, QB (1); Nate Robinson, DT (1); Bryan Pata, DT (6); Tyrone Moss, RB (4); Andrew Bain, OL (15).
Newberg's analysis: The 'Canes have taken over as the dominant recruiting team because they can go anywhere in the country to pull prospects. And with a backyard already full of talent, the 'Canes have an even bigger advantage. Out of state, they landed the nation's top QB, Wright, from California and the nation's top defensive tackle, Nate Robinson, from New Jersey. The main emphasis for Miami was offensive and defensive linemen, and it loaded up. The 'Canes did let a few blue-chippers sneak out of Miami, however, including four-star WR Dwayne Bowe, who committed to LSU on Wednesday.
Head of the class: Greg Olsen, TE (1); Ryan Harris, OL (8); John Sullivan, OL (9); Tommy Zbikowski, S (6); Freddie Parish, S (7).
Newberg's analysis: The Irish's resurgence carried over into recruiting. The reason, plain and simple? Tyrone Willingham. The first-year head coach has the Irish back and this is one solid group from top to bottom. Although they lost commitment David Marrero to Stanford, ND has plenty to be happy about, especially on the offensive line with Harris and Sullivan. Ohioan Brady Quinn just may be the top QB in Big Ten country.
Head of the class: Donte Nicholson, FS (JC); Tony Cade, FS (2); Tommy Grady, QB (4); Akim Millington, OL (11); Demario Pleasant, LB (10).
Newberg's analysis: Head coach Bob Stoops has once again put together an outstanding class. You have to love who the Sooners landed at key positions like offensive and defensive line, linebacker and in the secondary. They needed safeties and landed a juco stud in Nicholson and a high school All-American in Cade. The Sooners scored early in the quarterback department and late with a couple of running backs.
Head of the class: Tarell Brown, CB (2); Robert Killebrew, LB (6); Tim Crowder, DE (11); Erik Hardeman, RB (8); Tony Hills, TE (6).
Newberg's analysis: Aside from Bobby Bowden at Florida State, no one has been more consistent in recruiting over the past few seasons than Mack Brown and Texas. Once again, the Longhorns are bringing in a wealth of talent. Hardeman could be their running back of the future, and receivers Limas Sweed and Tyrell Gatewood, as well as tight end Hills should have a chance to shine. But this class is built on the other side of the ball with headliners Brown, Killebrew, Crowder, Billy Pittman and Michael Griffin.
Head of the class: Kregg Lumpkin, RB (2); Sean Bailey, WR (4); Paul Oliver, CB (5); Zeb McKinzey, OL (14); Des Williams, LB (22).
Newberg's analysis: Georgia won its first SEC title in 20 years and it has helped out in recruiting, as the Bulldogs have completely dominated their state. Twenty of their 22 commitments thus far are from the Peach State. The Dawgs needed offensive linemen and they will sign six, led by McKinzey and Trey Chandler. They will sign two stellar offensive weapons in Lumpkin and Bailey. This class has it all - need, speed and balance.
Head of the class: Robert Meachem, WR (5); Daniel Brooks, LB (7); Turk McBride, DE (3); Jayson Swain, WR (7); Eric Young, OL (3).
Newberg's analysis: Earlier in the week, it looked as if the Vols might finish with an uncharacteristically subpar recruiting class, but Phillip Fulmer made a huge surge on Signing Day. Tennessee nabbed top-five wide receiver Meachem out of Oklahoma, and the Vols also picked up big commits from McBride, Smith and Young, the nation's third-ranked offensive lineman. It looks like the only need Tennessee may not satisfy is at the quarterback position.
Head of the class: Jarrod Britt, OL (20); Tez Doolittle, DE (18); Quentin Groves, DE (27); Brandon Jacobs, RB (JC); Pat Lee, CB (31).
Newberg's analysis: The Auburn Tigers have gone out of state to reel in this recruiting class. The biggest commit from the state of Alabama is defensive end Doolittle. The Tigers went to the Sunshine State and pulled in the talented Patrick Lee, Ken Williams and Courtney Denson. The Volunteer State was also kind, as Auburn landed Bliss, King Dunlap, John Vaughn and Carl Stewart from there. In Mississippi, they landed the speedy defensive end Groves, and Britt is a gem from Georgia. Once again, the Tigers landed a top-notch JUCO running back in Brandon Jacobs.
Head of the class: Jorrie Adams, OL (5); Justin Warren, LB (8); Jason Jack, DE (17); TaTa Thompson, LB (30); Derrick Brown, RB (26).
Newberg's analysis: Before his departure, R.C. Slocum was putting together a super class at A&M. Then Dennis Franchione came in from Alabama and fortunately, A&M didn't miss a beat. Defensive players are the nucleus of this class, led by Jack, Warren, Thompson, Chris Harrington, Red Bryant and a bunch of speedy corners. Coach Fran is back home in Texas and this should make future recruiting wars in the Lone Star State very interesting.
Head of the class: Demetris Summers, RB (1); Darrell Shropshire, DT (JC); Marcus Lawrence, LB (JC); Noah Whiteside, WR (10); Syvelle Newton, QB (17).
Newberg's analysis: Head coach Lou Holtz is bringing in his best recruiting class to date in Columbia, and Summers could be the Gamecocks' next star running back. South Carolina is coming off a disappointing season, but Holtz and staff are certainly preparing to rebound with a stellar crop of recruits. The first thing that jumps out is the strong pack of juco transfers, led by Shropshire, Lawrence, Bennett and Coley. Other than Summers, SC's high-school headliners are Whiteside, Travis Lee, Blake Mitchell, Ryan Brown and Derrek Harper. The Gamecocks desperately needed wide receivers and they scored big.
Head of the class: Derek Morris, OL (6); Mario Williams, DE (4); Darrell Blackman, RB (22); Lamart Barrett, WR (28); Miguel Scott, S (21).
Newberg's analysis: Head coach Chuck Amato's recruiting has improved in each of his seasons at N.C. State. Now, the Wolfpack find themselves at or near the top ten. That's progress. This is by far their best effort to date. The headliner has to be Morris, a mammoth OL who signed with Ohio State last year but was released from his letter of intent in the fall. He is already on campus and preparing for spring practice. Another re-signee that should make a big splash at N.C. State is Barrett. Williams and Scott lead a stellar defensive group of commits.
Head of the class: Fred Sparkman, LB (11); Isaiah Thomas, OL (18), WR (14); Adarius Bowan, WR (14); Mike Mason, WR (17); Lionel Green, CB (JC).
Newberg's analysis: The Tar Heels have put together their best recruiting class in years. Offensively, the headliners have to be wide receivers Mason, Bowan and Jesse Holley. Each of these three bring something different to the table, but one thing they have in common is athleticism. The strength of this class is on the defensive side of the ball and the Tar Heels scored big, especially in the front seven. Marcus Hands, Donnell Livington, Shelton Bynum, and Terry Hunter are very fine defensive linemen, while Sparkman, Larry Edwards, Kory Gedin and Joe Kedra are all linebackers who could contribute early.
Head of the class: LaMarr Woodley, LB (1) ; Prescott Burgess, LB (4); Will Paul, TE (2); Jake Long, OL (12); Leon Hall, CB (7).
Newberg's analysis: Like its rival, Ohio State, Michigan doesn't have many scholarships to hand out this season. Nevertheless, the Maize and Blue have landed some big-time prospects. Most of their commits could have signed with any school they wanted, and Woodley and Burgess are two of the best defensive players in the nation. Their top five as well as Ryan Mundy, Clayton Richard, Jeff Zuttah, Anton Campbell, Adam Kraus and Sam Keller are all headliners.
Head of the class: Donte Whitner, CB (1); Dareus Hiley, CB (6); David Patterson, DT (4); Louis Irizarry, TE (4); Brandon Maupin, DT (10).
Newberg's analysis: The Buckeyes, fresh off their National Championship, are doing very well. In a year when they don't have a full allotment of scholarships, they sure seem to be cleaning up, especially in-state. Head coach Jim Tressel have only really lost Brady Quinn (to Notre Dame) and Prescott Burgess (to Michigan), but almost ever other blue-chip Ohio prospect is headed to Columbus.
Head of the class: Ernie Sims, LB/RB (1); Chauncey Davis, DE (JC); DeCody Fagg, WR (14); Chris Bradwell, DE (13); Chase Goggans, K (1).
Newberg's analysis: Florida State was outside the Top 25 until Signing Day, when Bobby Bowden landed the biggest prospect of all, Sims, who decided to stay home in Tallahassee. Another top Panhandle recruit, Fagg, also committed to the 'Noles on Wednesday. But FSU has yet to make its traditionally huge Signing Day run, and lack of a supporting cast around the coveted Sims keeps Bowden & Co. out of the top 10.
Head of the class: Carl Bonnell, QB (21); Tahj Bomar, LB (17); Craig Chambers, WR (26); Jon Lyon, TE (JC); Mike Mapu, DE (JC).
Newberg's analysis: The Huskies needed receivers, and they are bringing in a slew of them, led by Chambers, the state's top prospect. Washington is re-signing Bonnell, one of the top quarterback prospects from last season, and other offensive standouts running backs Durrell Moss and Louis Rankin and tight end Lyon. Defensively, the Huskies loaded up everywhere. Mapu and Rob Lewis headline the D-line class, while Bomar is a fantastic linebacker prospect
Head of the class: Dominique Brooks, S (15); Brian Daniels, OL (23); Lee Foliaki, LB (JC); John Guydon, DT (JC); Edwin Harrison, OL (33).
Newberg's analysis: The Buffaloes had the bulk of their recruiting class committed by season's end. So far, they have only five in-state commitments, with two great ones in offensive linemen Daniels and Tyler Polumbus. Harrison, Brooks and Walter Boy-Doye are headliners from Texas, while Colorado landed quarterbacks Bernard Jackson and Brian White from California. Linebacker Travis Berry from Louisiana could be the sleeper of the class. Foliaki and Guydon should provide immediate help from the junior college ranks.
Head of the class: Quinton Culberson, S (4); Omarr Conner, QB (8); Adrian Griffin, CB (13); Devrick Hampton, DT (19); Deljuan Robinson, DT (20).
Newberg's analysis: The Bulldogs have come out of nowhere to appear in the top 20, as they have had a fantastic plast few weeks. The bulk of this class is from the Magnolia State, as blue-chippers Culberson, Conner, Hampton, Davis, Joey Sanders and Dezmond Sherrod have all committed to Mississippi State. Jackie Sherrill has always had success in Georgia, and it is the Peach State where they landed two All-South type cover corners in Griffin and Jeramie Johnson. The Bulldogs will also re-sign Deljuan Robinson, one of the South's top defensive end prospects from last season.
Head of the class: Aaron Rodgers, QB (JC); Brandon Mebane, DT (13); Junior Lemau'u, DE (15); Joe Maningo, LB (JC); Ryan Riddle, DE (JC).
Newberg's analysis: Another Pac-10 surprise has been Cal. The Bears have reeled in 26 verbal commitments to date. Cary Dove is one of the better quarterbacks from the West Coast and he is headed to play for Cal. So are receivers Sam DeSa and Noah Smith and running back Daymeion Hughes. The Bears scored big on the defensive front led by Mebane and Lemau'u. They also dipped heavily into the juco ranks to land Rodgers, Riddle, Maningo and running back J.J. Arrington.
Head of the class: Ahmad Brooks, LB (5); Phillip Brown, CB (18); Ian-Yates Cunningham, OL (10); Jordy Lipsey, C (1); Jonathan Stupar, TE (8).
Newberg's analysis: Virginia and Al Groh have put together back-to-back very good recruiting classes. They have re-signed All-American linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Up front on the offensive side of the ball, the Cavs landed the nation's top center prospect in Lipsey and a super tackle prospect in Cunningham. Tight end Stupar has a great set of hands and is one of the country's top tight ends and quarterback Kevin McCabe is one of the top signal callers from Big Ten country.
Head of the class: Michael Affleck, QB (15); Justin Burks, LB (JC); Kyle Caldwell, DT (11); Chris McKenzie, CB (JC); Gabe Reininger, DT (JC).
Newberg's analysis: The Sun Devils are bringing in some big-time prospects. The headliners are Burks, Caldwell and Affleck. Burks is considered the top defensive recruit among all the junior college prospects, Caldwell is one of the nation's top defensive linemen -- he could play end or grow into a tackle -- and Affleck is a quarterback with a lot of upside. Other notables include McKenzie, Reininger, Mark Washington, Brett Palmer and Chad Green.
Head of the class: Steve Craver, S (22); Josh Mueller, TE (9); Kade Pittman, S (43); Ryan Schuler, OL (26); Brandon Teamer, DT (30).
Newberg's analysis: This is your typical Nebraska recruiting class, as the Cornhuskers flew a little under the radar screen and pulled prospects to fit their systems. They stole Schuler, one of the nation's top offensive line prospects, from Oklahoma last week. Mueller, Pittman, Teamer, Bo Ruud and Trevor Neeman are all in-state standouts. Craver, Brett Byford, Adrain Turner, Donald Defrand, Chris Patrick and Corey McKeon are all out-of-state standouts headed to Lincoln.
Head of the class: Chauncey Clark, DE (JC); Daniel Christian, OL (JC); Phillip Daugherty, QB (20); Jamaal Jackson, CB (JC); Jabari Smith, CB (JC).
Newberg's analysis: Texas Tech has quietly put together an impressive recruiting class. The Red Raiders have a little bit of everything, including junior college standouts Christian, Smith, Clark, Jackson and Antonio Huffman. Quarterback Phillip Daugherty should be a perfect fit for the Red Raider's wide-open offense. Defensively, high school standouts Keyunta Dawson, Chad Johnson, Tyler Yenzer and Chris Parker are all headed to Lubbock.