June 28, 2007

Fast start puts Bruins on top of team rankings

Rivals.com has released its first official team rankings for the class of 2008.

While signing day is still more than six months away, there definitely has been a group of schools that have jumped out of the gate and proven they're well on their way to having elite classes.

The first set of team rankings are based strictly on high school players - neither junior college nor prep school prospects have been ranked at this time.

Rivals.com national recruiting editor Jeremy Crabtree breaks down the top 25 and gives us his take on those team's efforts.

Team rankings top 25
2008 total commits: 21
Headliner: Rahim Moore
2007 class rank: 38
The Bruins have done what they've been hoping to do for a long time - become a more dominant player in their own back yard. Only one of UCLA's 21 commitments comes from outside California, and 13 pledges are four-star prospects.
2. Texas
2008 total commits: 20
Headliner: D.J. Monroe
2007 class rank: 5
The Longhorns have done another masterful job of landing some great in-state talent while also luring players from other parts of the country. The addition of Nolan Brewster from Colorado is a prime example. The depth of this early class comes from great players like DeSean Hales, D.J. Monroe, Aaron Williams and Dan Buckner. Those are skill players any school would love to have.
3. Notre Dame
2008 total commits: 16
Headliner: Kyle Rudolph
2007 class rank: 8
The Irish have assembled a great offensive class. Elite 11 quarterback Dayne Crist and five-star tight end Kyle Rudolph are already in the fold. Depth along the defensive line was also a need area, and Notre Dame has secured five commits from defensive tackles or ends.
4. Oklahoma
2008 total commits: 15
Headliner: Jermie Calhoun
2007 class rank: 14
The Sooners have definitely raided Texas. Five-star running back Jermie Calhoun is the top player in the Lone Star State. Five-star offensive lineman Stephen Good and five-star defensive end R.J. Washington are also from Texas. In all, 11 of the Sooners' 15 commits are from Texas. OU also got a pledge from EA Sports Elite 11 quarterback Landry Jones.
5. Georgia
2008 total commits: 16
Headliner: A.J. Green
2007 class rank: 9
UGA's great start is a result of its ability to protect its own back yard and also do well in the region. The Bulldogs have nine in-state commits, including five-star defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson. Five-star receiver A.J. Green from South Carolina is also a special player.
6. Florida State
2008 total commits: 12
Headliner: E.J. Manuel
2007 class rank: 19
Florida State has been much more aggressive early than in years past. The effort has paid off with a great foundation for a truly special class. Five-star quarterback E.J. Manuel is a big boost for the Seminoles' group. FSU also has to be excited about five-star linebacker Nigel Bradham and four-star linebackers Nigel Carr and Vincent Williams.
7. Southern California
2008 total commits: 8
Headliner: Tyron Smith
2007 class rank: 2
It never seems to end for Pete Carroll. The Trojans have eight pledges now, and six of the eight are ranked in the Rivals250. Three of the eight are five-star players who are also ranked in the top four in California. The leaders in the class have to be five-star offensive tackles Matt Kalil and Tyron Smith. USC quarterbacks should be safe with those two up front.
8. Ohio State
2008 total commits: 9
Headliner: Michael Brewster
2007 class rank: 15
The Buckeyes have put together what has to be one of the best offensive line classes in the nation. Five-star offensive tackle Michael Brewster is about as special as they come. J.B. Shugarts and Mike Adams are also quite impressive. The one player that doesn't get talked about enough is four-star athlete Devoe Torrence.
9. Texas A&M
2008 total commits: 19
Headliner: Derrick Hall
2007 class rank: 42
Texas gets all the attention in state, but the Aggies have done a very solid job early in this cycle. Four-star prospects like Derrick Hall, Rod Davis, Tommy Dorman and Tony Jerod give A&M's class some firepower.
10. Nebraska
2008 total commits: 14
Headliner: Baker Steinkuhler
2007 class rank: 13
The Cornhuskers are No. 10 despite having three of their 13 commitments not ranked the Huskers have commitments from three junior college players. Nebraska's great early class is bolstered by standouts like five-star offensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler and four-star quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
11. Miami
2008 total commits: 10
Headliner: Patrick Johnson
2007 class rank: 18
The Hurricanes have five-star cornerback Patrick Johnson on the list, but USC definitely is making a strong push for him. However, this Miami class is made up of much more than just Johnson. Four-star prospects like linebacker Jordan Futch, offensive lineman Brandon Washington and defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis are all highly regarded players.
12. Michigan
2008 total commits: 8
Headliner: Boubacar Cissoko
2007 class rank: 12
The Michigan pledge list is one of the prettiest ones around. Six of the Wolverines' eight commitments are four-star players. Boubacar Cissoko, Brandon Moore and Dann O'Neill are the headliners, but three-star offensive lineman Rocko Khoury has a huge upside.
13. Clemson
2008 total commits: 11
Headliner: DaQuan Bowers
2007 class rank: 21
The Tigers have already pulled in five-star defensive end DaQuan Bowers and four-star prospects like A.J. Harmon, Andre Ellington and Marquan Jones. Clemson might have landed a major steal in quarterback Kyle Parker.
14. Alabama
2008 total commits: 10
Headliner: Michael Williams
2007 class rank: 10
Nick Saban has been aggressive early, and it has paid off with 10 very solid commitments. Defensive ends Michael Williams and Undra Billingsley are very good players. They headline a group of solid defensive ends.
15. LSU
2008 total commits: 9
Headliner: Matt Branch
2007 class rank: 4
The Tigers as always have done a great job in Louisiana. Seven of their nine commitments are from the Pelican State. Tight end Matt Branch and offensive linemen Brandon Taylor are the early headliners, but even lower ranked guys like P.J. Lonergan and Ryan St. Julien are talented prospects.
16. Wisconsin
2008 total commits: 13
Headliner: Tyler Westphal
2007 class rank: 33
The Badgers' run over the past few weeks has been amazing. Wisconsin is up to 13 commitments, with nearly half of those coming since June 15. Defensive end Tyler Westphal is the top-ranked prospect to commit, but receiver Wes Kemp and offensive linemen Peter Konz have the potential to be special, too.
17. Ole Miss
2008 total commits: 19
Headliner: Darius Barksdale
2007 class rank: 26
The Rebels have had a good week, adding to their already large commitment list. Demareo Marr, Willie Packer, Aljoshua Tillman, Chris Wilkes, Bud Barksdale, Darius Barksdale and Quin Sanford are in the fold. Barksdale, a four-star player, was a huge get for Ole Miss.
18. Pittsburgh
2008 total commits: 7
Headliner: Lucas Nix
2007 class rank: 25
Five-star offensive tackle Lucas Nix was a huge pickup for the Panthers. He will get a chance to open up holes in the future for four-star running back Chris Burns. Pittsburgh defensive line coach Greg Gattuso has also done a masterful job so far.
19. Arizona
2008 total commits: 7
Headliner: Gerell Robinson
2007 class rank: 43
The Wildcats have done well early, and it's no surprise that a lot of the success can be attributed to players from California and Arizona. Wildcats recruiting coordinator Tim Kish has done a great job pulling in two Rivals100 prospects cornerback Robert Golden and athlete Gerell Robinson.
20. California
2008 total commits: 6
Headliner: Spencer Ladner
2007 class rank: 22
The Bears never seem to grab the headlines like USC or UCLA, but Jeff Tedford has again put together a great class. Tight end Spencer Ladner and offensive lineman Tyler Rigsbee are the top-ranked prospects on the commit list. Quarterback Beau Sweeney could be great in the Bears' offense.
21. Penn State
2008 total commits: 4
Headliner: Mike Yancich
2007 class rank: 27
The Nittany Lions are red-hot after picking up two of their four commitments in the last week. Linebacker Michael Mauti was a very good get from Louisiana, and the addition on Tuesday of four-star linebacker Mike Yancich was huge for Penn State. The Lions still have a long way to go in this class, and have a chance to move up as signing day draws closer.
22. Tennessee
2008 total commits: 8
Headliner: Aaron Douglas
2007 class rank: 3
The Vols are certainly one team that is likely to climb in the rankings. Tennessee has only eight pledges thus far. Tight end Aaron Douglas is the headliner for UT. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder is ranked a 5.9 on the Rivals Rating Scale.
23. Arkansas
2008 total commits: 8
Headliner: Matt Hall
2007 class rank: 30
Arkansas has a star average of 3.0, and that doesn't include a junior college player that has yet to be ranked. The headliner of the Arkansas class so far has to be four-star offensive lineman Matt Hall.
24. Oklahoma State
2008 total commits: 12
Headliner: Kody Spano
2007 class rank: 28
The Cowboys have done a solid job early on, and haven't been noticed much nationally because of the starts by Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. This OSU class does have some talented players. Linebacker Alfred Dupree is a great get from Dallas Skyline.
25. Boston College
2008 total commits: 7
Headliner: Josh Haden
2007 class rank: 45
With the coaching change for the Eagles, Boston College is definitely one of the early national surprises. Landing four-star running back Josh Haden was huge, plus guys like defensive end Nick Halloran and running back Isaac Johnson are solid gets.
Ten teams to watch
ARIZONA STATE - Dennis Erickson will have the Sun Devils involved with many of the top players in the West.

AUBURN The Tigers just have too many blue-chippers on their list to not be in the top 25 later in the year.

FLORIDA UF has only two commits defensive back Dee Finley and defensive end Earl Okine but both are four-star prospects.

GEORGIA TECH With only four commits at this point, Tech will definitely move up the charts.

ILLINOIS Ron Zook recruits with the best of the best. While they're just outside the top 25 now, don't count on the Illini to be here for long. Illinois is involved with a lot of big-name kids that could put them in the top 25.

MARYLAND The Terrapins are in competition for the top talent in their region.

MICHIGAN STATE The Spartans have already become a force under Mark Dantonio. If they can get Jonas Gray and others locally, they could be one of the national surprises.

N.C. STATE The recent addition of five-star Brandon Barnes might be a sign of more great things to come.

SOUTH CAROLINA As with Illinois, Steve Spurrier has too much talent in his back yard to not have an elite class.

WEST VIRGINIA Rich Rodriguez has his program on solid footing. That should help reel in quality recruits.

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