2022 recruiting class rankings: Ohio State starts at No. 1


The 2022 college football recruiting trail is just beginning. Many prospects are still waiting for the extended dead period to end for the opportunity to take visits and interact with coaches in person.

Commitments could begin to spike over the summer, but so far, more than 100 prospects in the ESPN 300 are among those already committed. Several programs have either gotten off to a strong start or began to a build a good foundation as they work to further grow their classes over the coming months. Some usual suspects, like Ohio State and Georgia, which signed the Nos. 2- and 3-ranked classes, respectively, for the 2021 cycle, are at or near the top again.

Meanwhile, perennial top-five contenders Alabama, which just signed the top-ranked class, and Clemson start a little further back, but again remain teams to watch.

ESPN 300 commits: 9

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Quinn Ewers (No. 1)
Top defensive commit: CB Jaheim Singletary (No. 34)

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 prospect 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 an already deep and talented class that includes WR Caleb Burton, a fellow Texan, who is ranked No. 73 overall. Defense is well represented with a handful of ESPN 300 commits projected to that side of the ball, including a pair of top-15 cornerbacks in Singletary and Jyaire Brown.

ESPN 300 commits: 9

SEC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Gunner Stockton (No. 96)
Top defensive commit: ATH Deyon Bouie (No. 26)

Georgia has strung together five straight top-three classes and looks ready to extend that streak to six. Its early success is built on in-state talent — the Bulldogs have commitments from six 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. Along the defensive line, Georgia has commitments from two of the top-five DT prospects in the country, Bear Alexander and Tyre West. Bouie could play on either side of the ball but projects to defense. He and fellow in-state projected defensive back prospects Malaki Starks and Marquis Groves-Killebrew give Georgia three ESPN 300 commitments in the secondary.

ESPN 300 commits: 8

SEC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Walker Howard (No. 28)
Top defensive commit: CB Laterrance Welch (No. 122)

Despite struggling during the 2020 season, LSU has been able to maintain a strong presence on the recruiting trail, having just signed the No. 6-ranked class. The Tigers are now 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 Howard and top-10 OT Will 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 their tradition of fielding excellent defensive backs, LSU already holds commitments from three four-star cornerbacks including the lengthy and the instinctive JaDarian Rhym.

ESPN 300 commits: 7

Independent rank: 1
Top offensive commit: QB Steven Angeli (No. 129)
Top defensive commit: DE Tyson Ford (No. 153)

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 tackle 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. The four-star Ford, a defensive lineman with a nice initial burst as well good agility, leads several commitments projected to the front seven.

ESPN 300 commits: 7

Big Ten rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Drew Allar (No. 37)
Top defensive commit: S Mehki Flowers (No. 169)

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 stronger year on the recruiting trail for 2022. They have had early success in-state with commitments from five of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania, led by Drew Shelton, who will play his senior year at IMG Academy in Florida, and Talley, an explosive defender with a good motor. They have two quarterbacks in the class, led by No. 3 QB-PP Allar, a strong-armed passer with good feet, and Beau Pribula, who possesses some traits in the mold of 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 ESPN 300 WR Kaden Saunders, a good route runner who can create yards after the catch with his suddenness.

ESPN 300 commits: 5

SEC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Conner Weigman (No. 51)
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: 5

ACC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Nicco Marchiol (No. 239)
Top defensive commit: CB Travis Hunter (No. 4)

The Seminoles have had struggles at quarterback in recent years, but Mike Norvell has quickly secured his passer for the 2022 cycle in Marchiol. A lefty with a quick release and good accuracy, his stock rose during his junior season, as he also demonstrated the type of mobility to present problems as a runner as well. 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 that can be a sideline-to-sideline presence, can give the Seminoles two big-time playmakers in their secondary. Among good early defensive pickups are a pair of four-star, in-state defensive linemen in ESPN 300 DE Nyjalik Kelly and four-star Aaron Hester.

ESPN 300 commits: 5

Big 12 rank: 1 of 10
Top offensive commit: WR Jordan Hudson (No. 12)
Top defensive commit: LB Kobie McKinzie (No. 110)

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 three ESPN 300 top-five wide receivers: the five-star Hudson, in-state prospect Talyn Shettron and Luther Burden, a fast and smooth target out of Illinois. Adding to the offensive firepower is top-three RB Raleek Brown, a sudden and speedy scatback-type who can be dangerous in space.

ESPN 300 commits: 6

Big 12 rank: 2 of 10
Top offensive commit: RB Jaydon Blue (No. 82)
Top defensive commit: S Bryan Allen Jr. (No. 77)

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-15 wide receiver Armani Winfield and Blue, the No. 5 running back who is an explosive runner with good ball skills. Defense is not being overlooked either, and 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: 2

Big Ten rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Gavin Wimsatt (No. 171)
Top defensive commit: LB Anthony Johnson (No. 98)

Rutgers brought back head coach Greg Schiano to try and elevate the program again after years of struggles on the field and in recruiting. In the early going, Schiano is signaling he can deliver again and has Rutgers off a nice start in recruiting. Keeping top talent close to home will be a key. So far, he has landed several solid in-state commitments, notably from three-star DE Kenny Fletcher. The Scarlet Knights went into neighboring Pennsylvania to get Johnson, the No. 2-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 possesses a smooth delivery with the ability to throw with power.

ESPN 300 commits: 5

Pac-12 rank: 1 of 12
Top offensive commit: QB Tanner Bailey (No. 99)
Top defensive commit: S Landon Hullaby (No. 241)

The Ducks appear to be in contention for a fourth straight top-rated Pac-12 class. They have had success close to home with commitments from the state’s top-two ranked prospects, ESPN 300 S Trejon Williams and ESPN 300 OLB Emar’rion Winston. They went into Texas to add more talent to their secondary with Hullaby, the No. 17-ranked safety. They landed their quarterback in Bailey, a promising prospect who is a poised and accurate passer with a quick release.

ESPN 300 commits: 4

SEC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: RB Emmanuel Henderson (No. 16)
Top defensive commit: LB Robert Woodyard (No. 126)

Alabama didn’t enter the top 25 until late May a year ago before ascending up 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. They have also landed the top-rated QB-DT Ty Simpson. The son of a college coach, he possesses a compact and smooth delivery. Woodyard, a top-10 in-state prospect, is a strong pickup on defense.

ESPN 300 commits: 1

Big 12 rank: 3 of 10
Top offensive commit: QB Garret Rangel (No. 277)
Top defensive commit: LB Gabe Brown (three stars)

The Cowboys signed the No. 3 class in the Big 12 for 2021 and find themselves in the same position to start 2022. Their class is led by a talented signal caller in Rangel, who is a player that 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 early commits, including a pair of four-star running backs in Ollie Gordon and C.J. Brown, an in-state pick-up with the tools to be a productive all-purpose back.

ESPN 300 commits: 1

ACC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Peter Delaportas (No. 232)
Top defensive commit: DT Kwan Williams (four stars)

The Eagles have put together an impressive class of offensive players early on. Delaportas leads a class that includes in-state high three-star WR Joseph Griffin Jr. and a pair of three-star tight ends in Matt Ragan and Jeremiah Franklin. Three-star Ishmael Zamor is another in-state verbal. On defense, Williams and three-star CB Jamal Hood out of Maryland are future starters.

ESPN 300 commits: 1

Big 12 rank: 4 of 10
Top offensive commit: TE Kaian Roberts-Day (No. 242)
Top defensive commit: DT Cedric Roberts (three 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 position of need in the 2022 cycle for Dave Aranda and staff, and the Bears have early pledges from Roberts and 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: 0

Group of 5 rank: 1
Top offensive commit: WR Randy Masters (three stars)
Top defensive commit: DT Derrick Shepard (four stars)

The Bearcats are making the most of a terrific season on the field with a fast start in the 2022 cycle, led by Shepard, three-star Sunshine State DT Segree Graham and in-state three-star DEs Cecil Doggette Jr. and Tyler Gillison. Three-star running back Stephan Byrd is the headliner on offense. Three-star in-state OT Ethan Green has an ideal frame to develop.

ESPN 300 commits: 3

Pac-12 rank: 2 of 12
Top offensive commit: TE Keyan Burnett (No. 199)
Top defensive commit: CB Domani Jackson (No. 5)

Clay Helton has the Trojans ascending again on the recruiting trail with a solid start in 2022 that includes a trio of ESPN 300 commits. The secondary has greatly benefited from early commitments with the five-star Jackson and top-20 CB Fabian Ross on board. The quarterback in the class is three-star Devin Brown, a passer with good anticipation and touch. The Trojans’ staff connections continue to recruit the Lone Star State, this time reeling in three-star ILB Ty Kana from powerhouse program Katy High.

ESPN 300 commits: 2

Big Ten rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Tay’shawn Trent (No. 211)
Top defensive commit: CB William Johnson (No. 18)

The Wolverines signed the No. 2 class in the Big Ten for 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 fellow ESPN 300 prospect 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. 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: 2

SEC rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Sam Horn (No. 160)
Top defensive commit: S Isaac Thompson (four stars)

The Tigers have won some key battles inside the state lines with verbals from ESPN 300 ATH Ja’Marion Wayne, Thompson and three-stars TE Max Whisner and OG Armand Membou. The staff did an excellent job of establishing a strong relationship early on with Horn, a big pickup out of Georgia. As a passer, the ball can jump off his hands, and he can be accurate as well.

ESPN 300 commits: 2

SEC rank: 6 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Tony Livingston (No. 114)
Top defensive commit: DE Francois Nolton (four stars)

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. Livingston, who is converting from tight end, has a high ceiling for development at offensive tackle. Other in-state four-star commits on the list are WR Syveion Ellis, TE C.J. Hawkins and DE Francois Nolton.

ESPN 300 commits: 2

SEC rank: 7 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Andrew Chamblee (No. 229)
Top defensive commit: S Myles Rowser (No. 293)

Owning the state is a must at Arkansas, and Sam Pittman and staff are on the right track in 2022 with Chamblee and three-stars TE Dax Courtney, RB James Jointer and LB Kaden Henley, all on the verbal list and ranked among the state’s top 10. Rowser was a key grab out of state, as was three-star Peach State athlete Rashod Dubinion, who projects as a multi-purpose weapon on offense.

ESPN 300 commits: 4

ACC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Collin Sadler (No. 109)
Top defensive commit: N/A

The Tigers are strong on quality as usual in the 2022 cycle, led by in-state ESPN 300 wins in Sadler and WR Adam Randall. Dabo Swinney and staff went to the Lone Star State for a signal caller, winning out for dual-threat Cade Klubnik, who led Westlake High School to the Texas 6A title. Joining Sadler on the offensive line in the class is ESPN 300 OT Blake Miller out of Ohio.

ESPN 300 commits: 3

ACC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Tychaun Chapman (No. 59)
Top defensive commit: CB Tayon Holloway (No. 228)

Mack Brown has the Tar Heels ascending on the recruiting trail once again with some huge early wins out of Virginia. Chapman, Holloway and three-star OG Trevyon Green continue the momentum after recently inking five-star CB Tony Grimes out of the “757.” ESPN 300 OLB Malaki Hamrick was a big win from inside the state lines, where the Tar Heels are excelling.

ESPN 300 commits: 1

Big Ten rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Preston Howard (No. 284)
Top defensive commit: LB Nyair Graham (three stars)

On the heels of signing a top-20 class, Mike Locksley continues to make noise on the recruiting trail with Maryland’s 2022 class off to a strong start. This class is headlined by Howard, a player with a live arm, good feet and exciting upside. A second quarterback in the fold is Peach State three-star A.J. Swann. The Garden State is key for the Terrapins, and early wins in the cycle are three-stars Amari Clark and Graham. In-state three-star OLB Kellan Wyatt was a needed victory.

ESPN 300 commits: 0

SEC rank: 8 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Dakota Jordan (three stars)
Top defensive commit: DT Jacarius Clayton (three stars)

The Bulldogs are loading up on the defensive side of the ball early on this cycle. The handful of three-stars in the fold are Clayton, safeties Wesley Miller, Kylon Griffin and Jourdan Thomas, and in-state OLB Khalid Moore. While defense is the foundation of this class, the offense has added a nice addition as well in Jordan, a highly ranked three-star receiver from in state.

Scorecard | 2021 class rankings | 2020 class rankings

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