By Dave Miller, National Football Post
With the 2013 version of National Signing Day in the books, let's take a look at the National Football Post's final Top 25 Class of 2013 team recruiting rankings.
1. Alabama: The rich get richer, as the Crimson Tide once again closed strong to make a very good class even better. Jonathan Allen joins Tim Williams to give the Tide two stud defensive ends, and Dee Liner elected to head to Tuscaloosa as well instead of choosing Auburn. The defensive tackle is versatile enough to move along the line for the Tide. He’ll be joined by fellow tackle and former Texas commit A’Shawn Robinson. Meanwhile, Nick Saban and Co. also netted receiver Robert Foster, top tight end O.J. Howard, running backs Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny as well as freakish athlete Derrick Henry. And Cooper Bateman gives ‘Bama a good pocket-passer in this class. But the real wild card could be Alvin Kamara, who can be a major weapon as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Yes, another tailback for ‘Bama. And yet another strong recruiting cycle for Saban and his staff.
2. Florida: Will Muschamp has once again put together a dynamite class highlighted by defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III. He will be joined by defensive tackles Caleb Brantley and Jay-nard Bostwick as well as Alex Anzalone, who likely will play outside linebacker. Muschamp was looking to add more offensive playmakers, and running back Kelvin Taylor, who is the state of Florida's all-time leading rusher, leads the way along with fellow tailback Adam Lane. The Gators also signed several wide receivers, including Ahmad Fulwood and versatile Alvin Bailey.
3. Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish won't officially be "back" until they can have sustained success, and that begins on the recruiting trail. Brian Kelly's haul is led by outside linebackers Jaylon Smith and Doug Randolph as well as athlete and former USC commit Max Redfield, who will likely play safety in South Bend. But the much-improved defensive line received the biggest boost when former USC commit Eddie Vanderdoes picked the Irish late Wednesday night. The defensive tackle is one of the best in this class. The Irish also have a pair of top offensive tackles as well as Top 5 running back Greg Bryant.
4. Ohio State: Urban Meyer has brought his SEC-level recruiting prowess to the Big Ten for the second cycle in a row, as the former Florida head coach has brought in a loaded defensive backfield to Columbus, led by three of the Top 15 cornerbacks in the nation — Eli Apple, Gareon Conley and Cam Burrows. Safety Vonn Bell joins the trio in the secondary. Meanwhile, tackle Joey Bosa and outside linebacker Mike Mitchell lead the defensive haul. But the Buckeyes needed to add playmakers on offense as well, which they were able to do when former Oregon commit Dontre Wilson flipped and JUCO receiver Corey Smith was brought in as well.
5. Michigan: Brady Hoke and his staff put an emphasis on the offensive line this cycle, and that unit is led by the trio of David Dawson, Patrick Kugler and Logan Tuley-Tillman. Quarterback Shane Morris is also on board, but running back Derrick Green is the gem of the class. The downhill back is a perfect fit for the Al Borges offense.
6. Ole Miss: As if the nation’s top wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell, wasn’t enough, the Rebels officially added the nation’s best overall player, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, as well as the top offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil, and the top uncommitted safety, Antonio Conner, to their historic haul. Offensive tackle Austin Golson is also headed to Oxford, and junior college defensive tackle Lavon Hooks will step in immediately. Meanwhile, dropback signal-caller Ryan Buchanan and dual-threat DeVante Kincade join running back Mark Dodson Jr. in the backfield. Just an unprecedented class for Ole Miss.
7. Florida State: The Seminoles continue to bring in top talent, including defensive tackle DeMarcus Walker, who flipped from Alabama. Jimbo Fisher and Co. were also able to land defensive tackle Keith Bryant and outside linebacker Matthew Thomas after getting cornerback Jalen Ramsey to flip from USC. Closing strong? Nothing new for the ‘Noles. Athletes Ryan Green and Levonte Whitfield are also aboard to add firepower to the offense.
8. LSU: The Bayou Bengals are excited about landing Kendell Beckwith, the second-best player in Louisiana. He will likely play outside linebacker or defensive end after starring on both sides of the ball at the prep level. Quarterbacks Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings lead the way offensively, while a plethora of defensive linemen are also part of this class, including tackles Greg Gilmore and Maquedius Bain as well as end Tashawn Bower.
9. Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin is working his magic in College Station, and he has loaded up on receivers for Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Ricky Seals-Jones, who can be a dynamite red-zone option, and Sebastian LaRue lead the way. The Aggies also concentrated on linebackers and defensive tackle as well, as inside ‘backer Jordan Mastrogiovanni and DT Justin Manning are also heading to College Station. Quarterback Kohl Stewart is intriguing, but he has a career ahead of him in baseball as well.
10. Auburn: The Tigers did lose the pledges of top recruits such as linebacker Reuben Foster and defensive tackle Dee Liner to Alabama, but first-year head coach Gus Malzahn managed to salvage this class. Defensive end Carl Lawson remained committed, and it seems as if his recommitment helped other recruits come to The Plains. Defensive tackle Montravious Adams is a stud, and defensive end Elijah Daniel flipped from Ole Miss. Wide receivers and prep teammates Tony Stevens and Dominic Walker are also on their way, while quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who was named Mr. Football in Alabama, remained pledged. The Tigers also did a good job working the JUCO route since Malzahn's arrival, too, which should provide immediate help.
11. UCLA: Adrian Klemm, who is the team's running game coordinator/offensive line and top recruiter, is paying dividends for Jim L. Mora's staff. The Bruins are building up front, led by center Scott Quessenberry and guards John Lopez and Caleb Benenoch. They also are bringing in one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks, Asiantii Woulard. But the real impact will be in the defensive backfield, where safeties Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman will be joined by cornerback Johnny Johnson. Mora was also able to get inside linebacker Isaac Savaiinara, who was uncommitted until Wednesday, as well as defensive end Kylie Fitts, who was a former USC commit.
12. USC: The Trojans definitely didn’t close out well, but Lane Kiffin and Co. still managed to put together a strong haul despite scholarship reductions. The staff put a priority on defense, as the program received commitments from safeties Su'a Cravens and Leon McQuay III, two of the best in the country. Defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow and outside linebackers Michael Hutchings and Quinton Powell are also in the group, along with Max Browne, the best pocket passer in this class.
13. Georgia: The Bulldogs were unable to land top offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, but Mark Richt was able to take care of needs at linebacker and in the secondary. Johnny O'Neal and Tim Kimbrough will help the middle part of the Bulldogs’ defense while cornerback Shaq Wiggins and safety Tray Matthews will add to the secondary. Meanwhile, JUCO receiver Jonathon Rumph should step in and contribute right away.
14. Clemson: The gem of the Tigers’ class is shutdown cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who was one of the best uncommitted prospects left heading into Wednesday. They were also able to get commitments from three stud defensive ends: Ebenezer Ogundeko, Dane Rogers and Shaquille Lawson. Outside linebacker Dorian O'Daniel and inside linebacker Ben Boulware also are headed to Death Valley. Offensively, wide receivers Kyrin Priester and Mike Williams could emerge as nice weapons, and guard Tyrone Crowder, who announced on Signing Day, will help pave the way for the ground game.
15. Washington: Top recruiter Tosh Lupoi has helped strengthen the Huskies’ class for the second straight season, as defensive talent continues to be stockpiled in Seattle. End Joe Mathis and tackle Elijah Qualls headline the haul. The Huskies also have nice offensive talent aboard, highlighted by receivers Damore'ea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels. Quarterback Troy Williams is also an intriguing talent.
16. Oklahoma: The Sooners have compiled some strong offensive talent, led by running back Keith Ford, quarterback Cody Thomas and wide receiver Dannon Cavil. Meanwhile, safety Hatari Byrd is a great "get" for the secondary, and athlete Stanvon Taylor could play in the defensive backfield as well. Defensive ends D.J. Ward and Matt Dimon are also headed to Norman.
17. Texas: The Longhorns focused on offensive linemen and were able to land center Darius James, the best in the nation, as well as Top 10 offensive tackles Kent Perkins and Jake Raulerson. Wide receivers Jacorey Warrick and Jake Oliver will also be coming to Austin. Mack Brown and Co. had to actually do some closing this year, which is atypical for a program that gets a lot of commitments from juniors.
18. Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer has managed to put together a strong class despite a rough 2012 campaign. The Hokies focused on the secondary, led by cornerback Kendall Fuller, who may be the team's highest-regarded recruit since running back Kevin Jones, and safety Holland Fisher, who could be the team’s future rover. Dual-threat quarterback Bucky Hodges is an intriguing offensive player, and Braxton Pfaff is a very good offensive guard.
19. Vanderbilt: James Franklin continues to work wonders in Nashville, as he put together the best class in school history. It is led by wide receiver Jordan Cunningham, who knows how to make a tough catch and has good body control. DeAndre Woods and Carlos Burse will join him at receiver. Meanwhile, tackle Jay Woods leads a defensive haul that also includes outside linebacker Zach Cunningham and cornerback Tre' Bell.
20. Nebraska: Dual-threat quarterback Johnny Stanton headlines Bo Pelini's class, and he’s joined offensively by out-of-state running backs Adam Taylor and Terrell Newby II. Meanwhile, defensive end Randy Gregory is a JUCO who could be plugged in immediately. The linebacker corps also received help with Marcus Newby and Josh Banderas.
21. South Carolina: Defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin and running back David Williams were nice snags by Steve Spurrier because they are out-of-state finds. Meanwhile, Larenz Bryant leads a nice linebacker haul, and the 'Cocks were able to snag offensive tackle Na'Ty Rodgers late. He will join a good group of OTs that includes D.J. Park, Alan Knott and J.P. Vonashek. Meanwhile, early-enrollee quarterback Connor Mitch could be the future of the offense.
22. North Carolina: Larry Fedora was able to snag out-of-state quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and he'll arrive with a nice group of receivers, including Jordan Fieulleteau, Ryan Switzer and Johnathan Howard. Meanwhile, cornerback Brian Walker and defensive tackle Greg Webb help at positions of need.
23. Mississippi State: Dan Mullen was able to hang onto defensive end Chris Jones when many believed he would flip to Ole Miss. Junior college wide receiver Jeremey Chappelle should pay immediate dividends, while dual-threat Cord Sandberg could be the quarterback of the future. The Bulldogs also were able to flip intriguing wide receiver Fred Ross from Oklahoma State, and they were able to land athlete Ashton Shumpert, one of the state’s best athletes.
24. Miami (FL): Al Golden may not have been able to beat out Florida State and Florida for some of the late signees, but he continues to bring in very good talent to Coral Gables despite likely looming NCAA sanctions. The class is led by wide receiver Stacy Coley, who was one of the best uncommitteds heading into Wednesday. Quarterback Kevin Olsen, who is the brother of former Hurricanes tight end Greg Olsen, co-headlines this class. And JUCO tight end Beau Sandland should contribute right away. Meanwhile, end Al-Quadin Muhammad, safety Jamal Carter and cornerback Artie Burns are nice “gets.”
25. Oklahoma State: The Pokes will be bringing in some dynamic wide receivers, including Ra'Shaad Samples and Marcell Ateman. Meanwhile, junior college transfer Sam Wren will bring help to the defensive line at end, while Vincent Taylor and Ben Hughes add much-needed depth to the defensive line.