Class rankings are a bedrock of the recruiting industry and provoke the most debate from analysts, fans and even the coaches (who claim they don't look at them but really do check them out). While there is often a varied opinion about recruits -- few are "can't miss prospects" -- it seems like there's more consensus about the class of 2013 then past years.
Last week, MaxPreps released updated rankings and Rivals did the same on Tuesday. If you looked over them, you'll notice more than a handful of names that top each position. This made the Eye on Recruiting blog wonder, how much consensus has there been in the past? So we took the five major media recruiting services -- MaxPreps, Rivals, Scout, 247 and ESPN -- rankings from 2010-2013 and charted their top their top overall recruit, top recruit at each position and top player from California, Texas and Florida for every class.
The results? Indeed, it looks like there is more agreement on the top players for the upcoming class than any other the past several years. Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche is only the second consensus No. 1 overall recruit (Jadeveon Clowney in 2011 the other) and one of six spots where all five services agreed upon. Each company has different methodology but it's an interesting look at where everybody stacks up. This isn't a complete analysis we should caution and only looks at the top players.
Obviously the big deal for the upcoming group is Nkemdiche, who has been regarded as the top overall prospect for the past two years (at least) and probably ranks behind only Clowney as a recruit coming out of high school the past decade. There is close to a consensus on Max Browne being the top signal-caller in the class and everybody sees Su'a Cravens as the safety you can't pass on. Laremy Tunsil and Reuben Foster are both consensus top seven recruits with every service ranking Foster in the top three. Also notable is tight end Adam Breneman, who headlines a strangely strong year for tight ends by being in the top two at his position on every list.
2012 saw wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham come close to a consensus No. 1 overall ranking but he was nudged out by Mario Edwards after the latter's big senior year (Green-Beckham set the national receiving record so he wasn't exactly a slouch either). Though the two were the only players that everybody agreed about (with Edwards as Texas' top player), there was some positions that came close. At quarterback, Gunner Kiel and Jameis Winston were the top two players on everybody's board and if you broke them apart as dual threat/pro-style, there would indeed be a consensus reached. What is interesting to see in this class is somebody like Arik Armstead, who had a wide range of rankings and positions, from top athlete to offensive tackle. Keep in mind he headed to Oregon as a defensive tackle but wasn't the top guy at that spot in anybody's rankings.
A weak year for tight ends, Kent Taylor also came close to being the unanimous choice while Johnathan Gray just missed too. It's also interesting to note that nobody could agree on who the top player at linebacker was but, looking at overall rankings, everybody thought it was a weak year at the top.
Clowney was celebrated as the first consensus top recruit in some time and based on how he abused some offensive tackles in the SEC, it's hard to look back and disagree. It was a weak year for signal-callers but Jeff Driskel was mostly regarded as the top guy and there was complete agreement on the trenches with Cyrus Kounadjio being a consensus top three player. One interesting thing to note is how all over the map De'Anthony Thomas was.
If any class comes close to 2013 in terms of reaching a consensus, it's 2010. Everybody had Seantrel Henderson or Ronald Powell at the top and the former was everybody's top lineman. Robert Woods came close to running the table but was ironically stopped by his now-former USC teammate Kyle Prater. The only state that produced two consensus top players was Texas and Jeffcoat was half of the reason why.