Gators move to #1 on ESPN

Florida again makes the biggest jump in the latest edition of our class rankings, which we updated to reflect recent movers and shakers. The lineup shuffled quite a bit as we approach signing day.

The Gators’ class surges to the top, unseating Miami with a flurry of upper-echelon prospects coming on board in the last 10 days. There is just too much team speed, impact guys and athleticism with needs being met now for us not to place them at the top.

Miami drops only to No. 2 and Georgia to No. 3. As Florida continues to add elite players to its growing class and so does Clemson, their rise in the rankings created a bit of a windfall and also led us to reevaluate some classes behind them. We also expanded from a top 15 to a top 25. Obviously rankings are a hot topic this time of year, but they are subjective as always. Our criteria for a class is likely much different than others, which is what makes all this debatable and fun.

Notre Dame noticeably drops No. 3 to No. 7; it has compiled a very good class with multiple needs being addressed but doesn’t have as many elite or impact guys as the classes ranked ahead of them.

Teams No. 15 thru 25 may surprise some as well, but really take a close look at the classes and you will see all have a legitimate argument for being there.

23 verbal commitments, 11 ESPN 150 prospects

The addition of four ESPN 150 players plus depth throughout with the addition of CB Adrian Bushell (DeSoto, Texas) has solidified this ranking for now.

26 verbal commitments, 10 ESPN 150 prospects

Yes, the Canes have lost a few but still have pledges from four of the top seven outside linebackers, including No. 1 OLB Arthur Brown (Wichita, Kan./East) and No. 2 OLB Sean Spence (Miami/Northwestern). Needs have been met at wide receiver and quarterback.

25 verbal commitments, nine ESPN 150 prospects

A lot of impact guys coupled with needs at running back being addressed. It needs to keep TE Dwayne Allen (Fayetteville, NC/Sanford) from being lured away.

20 verbal commitments, seven ESPN 150 prospects

The No. 1 overall player in DaQuan Bowers (Bamberg, S.C./Bamberg-Ehrhardt) plus multiple ESPN 150 guys, including DT Brandon Thompson‘s (Thomasville, Ga.) addition this week, has really elevated an already stellar class for the Tigers.

18 verbal commitments, eight ESPN 150 prospects

Recent in-state commits FB Jermil Martin (Cleveland/Glenville) and S Zach Domicone (Xenia, Ohio/Beavercreek) fill needs. Still in the mix for No. 1 QB Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette, Pa.) and No. 3 CB Brandon Harris (Miami/BTW). Have been in a holding pattern as of late.

19 verbal commitments, eight ESPN 150 prospects

With Julio Jones (Foley, Ala.) a serious candidate to be a Sooner, Oklahoma could add to an impressive group. It added teammates ESPN 150 WR Jameel Owens and Stacy McGee (Muskogee, Okla.) and two junior college commits.

22 verbal commitments, 10 ESPN 150 prospects

Has a very strong class but needs to close strong to bump back into the top five.

16 verbal commitments, eight ESPN 150 prospects

Needs met in the offensive line and at wide receiver as well as defensive line help, too. Must do its best to retain ATH Joe Adams (Little Rock, Ark./Central Arkansas Christian).

26 verbal commitments, four ESPN 150 prospects

In a holding pattern right now with a great class, its best in years. Needs to close strong with Julio Jones’ signature and a couple others. Nonetheless, this class should get the ball rolling in the right direction for Nick Saban and his staff.

20 verbal commitments, nine ESPN 150 prospects

Same old class, different year—and we mean that in a good way. Texas continues to grab who it wants, when it wants.

23 verbal commitments, four ESPN 150 prospects

This is the one class that could close very strong down the stretch as they are heavily in the mix for many of the nation’s top undeclared prospects, including WR Deandre Brown (Ocean Springs, Miss.). Could end up in the top eight or higher.

19 verbal commitments, five ESPN 150 prospects

Could late surge snare QB Terrelle Pryor, among others? Stay tuned.

21 verbal commitments, five ESPN 150 prospects

Off the field issues and the departure of John Lilly to Georgia has not made a dent—FSU is posting a strong class. OT Zebrie Sanders (Clayton, Ohio/North Clayton) was a nice pickup.

21 verbal commitments, four ESPN 150 prospects

It just has to hold onto all these guys and solidify this class between now and February 6th.

27 verbal commitments, three ESPN 150 prospects

Added DE Eric Harper (Marrero, La./John Ehret), who previously was committed to Nebraska and Louisiana Tech. After reportedly having his scholarship pulled, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (Weatherford, Texas) is now back on board. Could close with some surprise commitments on signing day.

29 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospect

Every year it proves college rosters aren’t made up top to bottom with high-profile kids. It gets the few highly-touted guys here and there, but its true recruiting prowess lies in its evaluation of the player graded in the 77-79 range who end up being great ones.

27 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospects

Not as many high-profile names in this class as last year, but a ton of very good football players with the upside to be great like DE Corey Liuget (Hialeah, Fla.).

25 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospects

Besides the postgraduates in this class, it is still a tough class with some playmakers at wide receiver, which is a need. The Tigers are like Virginia Tech in that they know what a football player is regardless of hype.

20 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospects

The Ducks have become national all of a sudden as winning, Nike and those great uniforms have garnered interest from some of the land’s best players.

21 verbal commitments, two ESPN 150 prospects

The class is a little top heavy but the middle portion is strong with guys like LB William Beasley (Milton, Fla.). Regardless, QB Mike Glennon (Centreville, Va./Westfield) is the guy to look to in this class.

19 verbal commitments, four ESPN 150 prospects

Despite still not leading Pitt to a bowl game Dave Wannstedt remains a top recruiter, especially in Western Pennsylvania. Four ESPN 150 prospects include the big, talented wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin (Aliquippa, Pa.).

19 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospect

Boasting a strong class in the spring of 2007, the Cornhuskers class was headed for an all-time meltdown, but new head coach Bo Pelini has stopped the bleeding and has Nebraska headed back in the right direction. Luring back linebacker Will Compton (Bonne Terre, Mo./North County) and defensive end Josh Williams (Denton, Texas) have been small victories for this new staff.

27 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospect

Following a successful first season at the helm in 2007, Dennis Erickson is piecing together a solid first full class. The recent addition of running Ryan Bass (Corona, Calif./Centennial) is a nice addition.

14 verbal commitments, one ESPN 150 prospect

Joe Pa seems to be restocking the shelves at Linebacker U. Louisiana native Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) leads a solid class of linebacker commits.

18 verbal commitments, two ESPN 150 prospects

Bobby Petrino’s first class features two ESPN 150 prospects in promising quarterback Tyler Wilson (Greenwood, Ark.) and running back De’Anthony Curtis (Camden, Ark./Fairview).

Also considered: Washington, Missouri, Minnesota, Stanford, Colorado, South Carolina and Arizona.

Craig Haubert and Billy Tucker contributed to these rankings.

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Luginbill is a college football and recruiting studio analyst for ESPNU.