In this week’s Tuesdays with Gorney, Rivals National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney takes a look at 10 teams outside the top 10 in the 2022 team recruiting rankings that could end up performing better at the next level than their current placement:
No. 12 Florida State
The Early Signing Period was horrendous for the Seminoles when they lost the No. 1 prospect in the class, Travis Hunter, to Jackson State and FSU legend Deion Sanders. Four-star speedster Devaughn Mortimer flipped to Louisville plus Florida State missed out on some other top targets.
But if this class was ranked only on average star ranking, it would be ahead of Tennessee, Michigan and Texas and inside the top 10. Sam McCall has superstar potential and the Seminoles landed Azareyeh Thomas after a whirlwind final few weeks in his recruitment and the Niceville, Fla., standout is a special athlete as well.
No. 14 Kentucky
Kentucky also kept high four-star offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin as Michigan State and many others tried to flip him and he took visits all across the country. Georgia and Tennessee are the only SEC East programs with a higher-rated class than the Wildcats right now.
No. 17 Auburn
If class rankings were based only on average star rankings, Auburn would be all the way up to No. 11 and right on the heels of LSU, Penn State, Notre Dame and others. There have been some significant decommitments in Auburn’s class including four-star Caden Story over the weekend but a strong finish in the early period catapulted Auburn way up the team rankings.
No. 20 Missouri
A 6-7 season and a bowl game loss to Army might not have given the Tigers much momentum into the late period but this class is impressive in a lot of ways. No. 1 receiver five-star Luther Burden picked Missouri over Georgia and he was outstanding at the Under Armour All-America Game.
St. Louis (Mo.) Parkway West three-star receiver Jamarion Wayne slid under the radar this recruiting cycle but really might be a dynamic weapon.
No. 22 Arizona
Whether or not Arizona finishes second in the Pac-12 team rankings is yet to be seen but the Wildcats have done a phenomenal job so far this cycle especially after a 1-11 season. Five-star receiver Tetairoa McMillan is the prized possession who flipped from Oregon after coach Mario Cristobal left for Miami.
Current three-star Rayshon Luke is a speedster who could bring a dynamic presence to the offense and quarterback Noah Fifita is a special playmaker. DE Russell Davis and OL Grayson Stovall could be the biggest sleepers in the class.
For a team that struggled this past season, recruiting is going really well.
No. 28 LSU
There have been some significant decommitments along the way for LSU especially after Ed Orgeron was not retained but the Tigers could still have a huge close if five-star S Jacoby Mathews and four-star RB TreVonte’ Citizen stay home and pick the Tigers.
Still, four-star defensive end Quency Wiggins could end up as one of the best players in this class, four-star DeMario Tolan has been impressive recently and a flip for WR Landon Ibieta from Miami to LSU was big at the close as well.
No. 29 Clemson
Because Clemson is signing a smaller class – which isn’t rare for the Tigers – they’re getting penalized a little bit in the team rankings but there is clear quality over quantity here. Five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik is the best prospect at his position this recruiting cycle.
An argument for a higher ranking for both cornerbacks Jeadyn Lukus and Toriano Pride could be made. Four-star WR Antonio Williams was phenomenal at the Under Armour game. Three-star linebacker Wade Woodaz could be really productive down the road.
No. 40 Florida
The Gators might be No. 40 overall right now but by average star ranking alone they’re No. 15 and getting whacked pretty good because of only 12 total commitments. New coach Billy Napier and his staff gutted the Florida recruiting class but they’re building it back up with some impressive touches including landing five-star Shemar James, who was pursued by Georgia and Alabama late. They also landed four-star safety Kamari Wilson in a shocker over the Bulldogs. Athletic offensive linemen David Conner and Tony Livingston could be underrated.
No. 47 Miami
New coach Mario Cristobal has sparked real life and incredible excitement back into the Miami program and he’s probably not done yet with the 2022 recruiting class. The Hurricanes have landed four-star DE Cyrus Moss in recent days and that was highly unlikely before Cristobal’s arrival.
Flipping four-star tight end Jaleel Skinner from Alabama was huge because he is arguably the best tight end in the class. Miami is also back in it for high four-star DE Shemar Stewart after he looked like a lock to Texas A&M.
This group might not be ranked high now but there is more room to add and then the 2023 class should be outstanding.
No. 51 USC
The Trojans are outside the top 50 and don’t have an impressive amount of total points because they have just eight commitments. But new USC coach Lincoln Riley raided the nation’s best high school team and landed arguably the top three players at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei in five-star running back Raleek Brown, five-star cornerback Domani Jackson and four-star receiver CJ Williams. Prior to Riley’s arrival, all three were headed elsewhere. The transfer portal should do wonders for USC as well.