2022 recruiting class rankings: Penn State, Alabama climb while Georgia, USC fall


A busy month of June that saw many visits and commitments, coupled with updated ESPN 300 player rankings, has led to a shakeup of the top 25 of the recruiting class rankings for the 2022 cycle.

Ohio State continues to lead the pack, but the top 10 has a much different look. Penn State jumped into the top five after landing several ESPN 300 commitments to start July, as well as longtime WR commit Kaden Saunders rising in the player rankings. The sharp route runner with excellent hands had a strong showing at the Future 50 event in June and rose 117 spots into the top 30 overall. The Nittany Lions also continue to do very well in-state, as recent additions included RB Nicholas Singleton and lengthy edge defender Tyreese Fearbry, both top-five prospects in Pennsylvania.

No stranger to top-five classes, Alabama has worked its way back among that group for the 2022 cycle. In addition to seeing multiple commits move up in the player rankings, including massive DT Jaheim Oatis, the Crimson Tide also added five-star defender Jeremiah Alexander, the top-rated player in the state.

Oklahoma and Oregon both surged into the top 10, landing at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively. In addition to adding more future offensive firepower with in-state ESPN 300 WR Robert Spears-Jennings, the Sooners also landed a big defensive commit in top-five DE Derrick Moore, a powerful player with a big frame to develop.

Oregon had slid behind USC in the Pac-12 rankings, but that change turned out to be brief, as the Ducks quickly responded by landing ESPN 300 OT Kelvin Banks, who has good flexibility and body control and is among the top 10 prospects in Texas.

ESPN 300 commits: 11 | Previous ranking: 1

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Quinn Ewers (No. 2)
Top defensive commit: CB Jaheim Singletary (No. 15)

The Buckeyes have not signed a No. 1 overall class in the ESPN 300 era, but they have come close with three No. 2-ranked classes over the previous five cycles, and they are indicating they will be in the mix at the top once again. Leading the class is Ewers, the top-rated quarterback in the ESPN 300 who decommitted from Texas in October 2020 and committed to the Buckeyes in November. A poised player with a quick, smooth release and the arm strength to make all the throws, he headlines a deep and talented class that includes WR Caleb Burton, a fellow Texan. Defense is well represented, including three ESPN 300 defensive back commits in Singletary, Terrance Brooks and Jyaire Brown. In-state linebacker C.J. Hicks is a well-rounded player who brings strong leadership qualities to Columbus.

ESPN 300 commits: 12 | Previous ranking: 2

Independent rank: 1
Top offensive commit: QB Steven Angeli (No. 126)
Top defensive commit: OLB Jaylen Sneed (No. 50)

The Fighting Irish are making an early push for back-to-back top-10 classes. Having fielded one of the top offensive line units during the 2020 season, they’re working to keep that unit a strength with a pair of ESPN 300 offensive line commits in No. 1-rated center Joey Tanona from in-state and Ty Chan. Angeli, a talented QB prospect who has continued to develop and improve his mechanics, possesses good arm strength and a quick delivery. Running back Jadarian Price not only possesses good speed, but is also a tough runner who can produce after contact. Top-rated ILB Niuafe Tuihalamaka can be a powerful and versatile presence within the front seven, and Sneed, a top-five OLB, is a rangy and explosive player. Four-star Tyson Ford, a defensive lineman, has nice initial burst as well as good agility.

ESPN 300 commits: 7 | Previous ranking: 6

Big Ten rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Kaden Saunders (No. 29)
Top defensive commit: DE Tyreese Fearbry (No. 35)

The Nittany Lions’ 2021 class never reached higher than No. 15 and ultimately finished outside the top 25, but they are showing signs of a much stronger year on the recruiting trail for 2022. They have had early success in-state with commitments from seven of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania, led by Drew Shelton, who will play his senior year at IMG Academy in Florida. Key in-state defensive pickups include Fearbry, a lengthy edge defender with high upside, and Ken Talley, an explosive player with a good motor. They have two quarterbacks in the class, led by No. 3 QB-PP Drew Allar, a strong-armed passer with good feet, and Beau Pribula, who shares some traits with former Penn State QB Trace McSorley. Head coach James Franklin is on his way to assembling one of the most talented groups of pass catchers in this class, which includes Saunders, a good route runner who can create yards after the catch with his suddenness.

ESPN 300 commits: 10 | Previous ranking: 3

SEC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Will Campbell (No. 16)
Top defensive commit: S Jacoby Mathews (No. 56)

Despite struggling during the 2020 season, LSU has maintained a strong presence on the recruiting trail. After signing the No. 6-ranked class in 2021, the Tigers are off to one of the strongest starts for 2022. Always tough to beat on their home turf, they have commitments from several key in-state prospects, led by QB Walker Howard and the top-10 OT Campbell. A lot of eyes will be on New Orleans-area high school Isidore Newman, as it’s home to coveted uncommitted 2023 QB Arch Manning, but in the more immediate future, the Tigers have had success at that school for 2022, landing teammates OT Bo Bordelon, an aggressive and flexible big man whose father was an All-SEC offensive lineman at LSU, and WR A.J. Johnson, one of Manning’s big-play targets. Building off its tradition of fielding excellent defensive backs, LSU already holds commitments from top-three safety Mathews and a pair of four-star cornerbacks, including the lengthy and instinctive JaDarian Rhym.

ESPN 300 commits: 9 | Previous ranking: 9

SEC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: RB Emmanuel Henderson (No. 17)
Top defensive commit: DE Jeremiah Alexander (No. 11)

Alabama didn’t enter the top 25 until late May a year ago before ascending the rankings and finishing with the No. 1 class for 2021. This time around, the Tide start off a little stronger with a group that lacks quantity but is strong in quality. Among the early handful of commits is No. 1 RB Henderson, an explosive runner with good vision. Alabama added more big-play firepower to its backfield in No. 3-ranked RB Le’veon Moss, an instinctive and sudden runner. The Crimson Tide have also landed a top-rated QB-DT in Ty Simpson. The son of a college coach, he possesses a compact and smooth delivery. Getting five-star Alexander back into the mix after he decommitted during his junior season was big, as the top in-state prospect can be an explosive and quick front-seven defender. Robert Woodyard, a top-10 in-state prospect as well, is another strong pickup on defense.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 11

Big 12 rank: 1 of 10
Top offensive commit: WR Luther Burden (No. 12)
Top defensive commit: DE Derrick Moore (No. 22)

Lincoln Riley may need to figure out a way to incorporate a second football into his offensive attack with the depth of playmakers he is amassing. The Sooners signed one of the best wide receiver classes in the 2021 cycle, and several more top offensive weapons are on board for 2022. The class includes ESPN 300 five-star WR Burden, a fast and smooth target out of Illinois who had an MVP performance at the Under Armour Future 50 event. Adding to the offensive firepower is a pair of top-five running backs in Gavin Sawchuk and Raleek Brown, a sudden and speedy scatback-type who can be dangerous in space. They also added some strong defensive pieces in lengthy and powerful top-five DE Moore and top-three ILB Kobie McKinzie.

ESPN 300 commits: 7 | Previous ranking: 8

Big 12 rank: 2 of 10
Top offensive commit: RB Jaydon Blue (No. 114)
Top defensive commit: S Bryan Allen Jr. (No. 75)

After guiding one of the most high-powered attacks in college football as offensive coordinator at Alabama, Steve Sarkisian is now assembling his first full class as head coach at Texas. Offense defines this group early on. The Longhorns went to California for their quarterback, Maalik Murphy, a prospect with limited high school game experience thus far but someone who possesses some impressive physical traits, including a big arm. The class also features some big-play offensive targets from in-state: top-20 wide receiver Armani Winfield and two top-10 RBs in Jamarion Miller and Blue, who can be an explosive runner with good ball skills. Defense is not being overlooked either, as the Longhorns added one of the top defensive back prospects in the state in Allen, a top-five safety who is fluid with good instincts.

ESPN 300 commits: 8 | Previous ranking: 13

Pac-12 rank: 1 of 12
Top offensive commit: OT Kelvin Banks (No. 32)
Top defensive commit: LB T.J. Dudley (No. 235)

The Ducks are in contention for a fourth straight top-rated Pac-12 class. They have had success close to home with commitments from two of the state’gs top-three-ranked prospects, ESPN 300 S Trejon Williams and ESPN 300 OLB Emar’rion Winston. They generated big success in Texas with multiple four-star commits out of the Lone Star State, including Banks, one of the top OT prospects in the nation, fellow ESPN 300 OL Cameron Williams and top-15 WR Nicholas Anderson, a tall target with good agility to extend plays after the catch. Oregon landed its quarterback in Tanner Bailey, a promising prospect who is a poised and accurate passer with a quick release.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 5

ACC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB A.J. Duffy (No. 36)
Top defensive commit: CB Travis Hunter (No. 4)

The Seminoles have had struggles at quarterback in recent years, but Mike Norvell has secured his passer for the 2022 cycle in Duffy. A coach’s kid who will arrive in Tallahassee from IMG Academy, he will bring good accuracy but strong instincts, and should come in ready to compete for playing time immediately. The Seminoles also have landed one of the top defensive prospects in this class in Hunter, who possesses an excellent blend of speed, quickness, length and toughness. The addition of No. 1 athlete Sam McCall, who is an explosive player and can be a sideline-to-sideline presence, can give the Seminoles two big-time playmakers in their secondary.

ESPN 300 commits: 8 | Previous ranking: 4

SEC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Gunner Stockton (No. 100)
Top defensive commit: ATH Malaki Starks (No. 35)

Georgia has strung together five straight top-three classes, but the Bulldogs will have to climb the rankings to extend that streak to six. Their early success is built on in-state talent — they have commitments from four of the state’s top-10 prospects, including Stockton, a strong-armed passer who was once a South Carolina verbal and will join 2021 four-star QB Brock Vandagriff in Athens. The class’ foundation is currently on defense. LB C.J. Washington posted impressive testing numbers at the Atlanta Under Armour camp this past spring, including a 4.21 5-10-5 shuttle, and can be a sideline-to-sideline presence for the Bulldogs. In-state projected defensive back prospects Starks and Marquis Groves-Killebrew give Georgia a pair of ESPN 300 commitments in the secondary.

ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 7

SEC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Conner Weigman (No. 36)
Top defensive commit: DE Malick Sylla (No. 47)

The Aggies finished the 2021 cycle strong and are carrying that momentum into the 2022 class. All their commitments have come in the new year, and kicking off that run was Sylla, an in-state defensive end with a good first step and nice upside. Adding him to a talented D-line group from the 2021 cycle, led by five-star Shemar Turner, can give Texas A&M a formidable defensive front. The Aggies also added Sylla’s high school teammate in ESPN 300 defender Bobby Taylor, a lengthy and quick-footed cornerback. They have their quarterback in Weigman, a powerful thrower with good accuracy.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 14

Big Ten rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Tyler Morris (No. 142)
Top defensive commit: CB William Johnson (No. 18)

The Wolverines signed the Big Ten’s No. 2 class in the 2021 cycle, and they remain near the top of the conference early on this time around. The secondary has benefited with two strong pickups in Johnson and four-star Kody Jones. The rangy and heady Johnson is a key commitment, as he is not only among the top three cornerback prospects in the class, but is also the top-rated player in the state of Michigan. Jones, who possesses excellent quickness, is listed as an athlete but projects to cornerback. The Wolverines went west to California to find their QB, Jayden Denegal, a big, strong-armed passer that can throw the ball with power and velocity. TE Marlin Klein is a commit to keep an eye on. Originally from Germany but now playing his high school football in Georgia, he is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound prospect with promising upside and the tools to grow into a versatile and physical offensive weapon.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 20

SEC rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: OG Deshawn Woods (No. 129)
Top defensive commit: DT Marquis Gracial (No. 58)

The Tigers have won several key battles inside the state lines with verbals from five of the state’s top 15 prospects, including the top-rated player in Gracial, a big man who has the tools to be an SEC-quality impact type player in the defensive trenches. ESPN 300 ATH Ja’Marion Wayne and four-star safety Isaac Thompson were also big in-state pickups. The staff did an excellent job of establishing a strong relationship early on with Sam Horn, an accurate passer from Georgia; the ball can jump off his hands.

ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 12

Big Ten rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Gavin Wimsatt (No. 143)
Top defensive commit: OLB Moses Walker (No. 144)

Rutgers brought back head coach Greg Schiano to try to elevate the program again after years of struggles on the field and in recruiting. Early on, Schiano is signaling he can deliver again and has Rutgers off to one of the best starts in the country. Keeping top talent close to home will be key, and an early indication he is up for that fight was landing ESPN 300 OT Jacob Allen, the No. 3-ranked player in New Jersey. So far, he has also landed several other solid in-state commitments, notably from three-star DE Kenny Fletcher. The Scarlet Knights went into neighboring Pennsylvania to get Anthony Johnson, a top ten-ranked ILB, and returned to Florida, where Schiano had a lot of success during his first stint, to land a commitment from four-star WR Amarion Brown. Wimsatt was a big pickup for the Scarlet Knights, as he brings nice upside and combines a smooth delivery with the ability to throw for power.

ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 16

Big 12 rank: 3 of 10
Top offensive commit: TE Kaian Roberts-Day (No. 248)
Top defensive commit: S Devyn Bobby (four stars)

The Bears won’t have issues fielding really good tight ends in the future with a class headlined by ESPN 300 Roberts-Day, who could also project to defensive end, four-star TE Cody Mladenka and versatile three-star TE Kelsey Johnson. Defensive line is a key area of need in the 2022 cycle for Dave Aranda’s staff, and the Bears have multiple strong pickups for that unit in DTs Tre Emory and the powerful and stout Enyce Sledge, as well as three-star ends Carmello Jones and Kyler Jordan, who has a good first step, possesses excellent power and could emerge as a sleeper from this group.

ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 15

ACC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Peter Delaportas (No. 240)
Top defensive commit: DT Kwan Williams (four stars)

The Eagles have been building on a good start and continuing to strengthen their 2022 class. They have put together an impressive group of offensive players, led by Delaportas and in-state high-three-star WR Joseph Griffin Jr. The Eagles have stocked up at tight end with three commitments in three-stars Matt Ragan, Jeremiah Franklin and R.J. Maryland, who is out of Texas powerhouse Southlake Carroll and is a target that possesses very good ball skills and body control with upside as a blocker. Three-star WR Ishmael Zamor is another in-state verbal. On defense, Williams, ILB Edwin Kolenge and three-star CB Jamal Hood are future starters.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 10

Pac-12 rank: 2 of 12
Top offensive commit: QB Devin Brown (No. 98)
Top defensive commit: CB Domani Jackson (No. 5)

Clay Helton has the Trojans ascending again on the recruiting trail with several ESPN 300 commits. The secondary has greatly benefited from early success with a trio of top-20 CBs on board in five-star Jackson and as well as Fabian Ross and Jaeden Gould, a tall, physical presence. Brown, a top-100 prospect, is a passer with good anticipation and touch. The Trojans continue to recruit in the Lone Star State, this time reeling in three-star ILB Ty Kana from powerhouse program Katy High.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 18

SEC rank: 6 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Chandler Smith (No. 130)
Top defensive commit: ATH Shemar James (No. 118)

Dan Mullen and staff have quality out of the gate in the 2022 cycle, headlined by ESPN 300 Lone Star State signal-caller Nick Evers, who won positional MVP at the Dallas Under Armour camp this spring. They also pulled Julian Humphrey, a smooth cornerback with good size, out of Texas. Tony Livingston, who is converting from tight end, has a high ceiling for development at offensive tackle. Smith gives the Gators a target with a nice blend of height and speed, and four-star commits TE C.J. Hawkins and DE Francois Nolton are also strong in-state additions.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: N/A

Big Ten rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: OG Demon Moore (four stars)
Top defensive commit: LB Dasan McCullough (No. 45)

Head coach Tom Allen and staff are building off a successful 2020 campaign on the field and assembling one of the Big Ten’s top classes in 2022. Former Ohio State commit McCullough is a big, aggressive defender with good agility and can be an impact-type defender for the Hoosiers. They continue to do well in Florida with several four-star defensive pickups, including CB Trevell Mullen. Four-star OL Demon Moore was a nice in-state get, and they dipped into Texas to land a QB in this class in the strong-armed Josh Hoover.

ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 19

Big 12 rank: 4 of 10
Top offensive commit: WR Talyn Shettron (No. 27)
Top defensive commit: CB Dylahn McKinney (three stars)

The Cowboys signed the Big 12’s No. 3 class in 2021 and find themselves in the mix for another top-three finish within the conference. Their class includes a talented signal-caller in Garret Rangel, a player who displays good instincts and timing. His live arm can be a nice fit in Mike Gundy’s offense. Several other offensive weapons are among their commits, including Shettron, a lengthy top-five WR prospect that was initially an Oklahoma commit. Adding to future firepower is a trio of four-star running backs in Ollie Gordon, the diminutive but quick Braylin Presley and C.J. Brown, who has the tools to be a productive all-purpose back.

ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: N/A

ACC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: RB Ramon Brown (No. 137)
Top defensive commit: LB Xavier Simmons (four stars)

Virginia Tech’s recruiting heated up with the weather, as the Hokies added double-digit commitments between the start of June and early July. A key pickup was RB Brown, a top-10 in-state player who is an aggressive runner with good ball skills and can be an all-purpose-type back. ATH Alex Orji is a promising addition — he projects as a dangerous weapon at QB thanks to his good arm strength and upside, but he can be an excellent receiver as well with the Hokies. WR Daequan Wright was nice get out of Georgia, as he is a lengthy target that has shown good physicality as a blocker, too.

ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: N/A

SEC rank: 7 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Braden Davis (No. 109)
Top defensive commit: S Peyton Williams (No. 233)

A key early pickup for new South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer was Davis, a poised and strong-armed QB with nice upside. The Gamecocks have been building a strong class around their ESPN 300 QB, bolstering their offensive line with high-three-star Grayson Mains. They landed several talented defensive backs, including ESPN 300 safety Williams, a physical presence, and four-star Kajuan Banks, a defender with good quickness and ball skills.

ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 17

SEC rank: 8 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Kiyaunta Goodwin (No. 74)
Top defensive commit: LB Keaten Wade (No. 197)

The Wildcats have scored some big victories and had a strong spring on the recruiting trail. They went into bordering Indiana to land top-10 OT Goodwin, a big, strong prospect with good flexibility and balance. Four-star twin brothers Keaten and Destin Wade were big additions out of neighboring Tennessee with Keaten a rangy linebacker and Destin a versatile player who could contribute in multiple roles, including competing for the QB spot. Kentucky has also had some success within its own state with commitments from four-star athlete Treyveon Longmire and high three-star OG Grant Bingham.

ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 22

ACC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Cade Klubnik (No. 76)
Top defensive commit: LB Jihaad Campbell (No. 124)

Clemson has seven straight top-10 classes, including the No. 1 class in 2020, but its 2022 class has come together a little slower. The Tigers picked up some steam in June with several commitments, including from a pair of ESPN 300 defenders, and have begun to climb up the rankings. Sherrod Covil is a physical safety while Campbell is a lengthy and agile prospect with a high ceiling for development. Offensively, they have a pair of ESPN 300 offensive line prospects in Collin Sadler, an in-state prospect, and Blake Miller, a big body that displays excellent strength.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 21

Pac-12 rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: TE Jack Pedersen (No. 165)
Top defensive commit: LB Jalen Woods (three stars)

The Bruins have done a good job thus far on the recruiting trail this cycle. Head coach Chip Kelly has added several offensive weapons, including a pair of ESPN 300 tight ends in Pedersen and Carsen Ryan. Out of IMG Academy, Pedersen is a big body who can be an effective blocker and also has good agility and hands to be a productive receiving target. Ryan possesses good body control, feet and ball skills. UCLA also has several in-state ESPN 300 WRs on board in Clint Stephens, Mekhi Fox and Jadyn Marshall, a good route runner with soft hands.

Dropped out: NC State (23), Arkansas (24), Mississippi State (25)

Scorecard | 2021 class rankings | 2020 class rankings

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