Posted by Bryan Fischer
Senior Writer Dennis Dodd tackled the difficult task of putting together the CBSSports.com preseason top 25. One of the common themes is that the national champ usually has to come from behind in the polls. Taking a look at the recruiting rankings, it's usually the opposite. Sure there are the Signing Day closers, such at USC or Florida, but the Alabama's, Texas' and Florida State's of the world put together a good class early and head to February with a good idea of who they're signing while holding out hope a top guy will put on their hat late in the process.
Here's a breakdown of the current MaxPreps Top 25 recruiting rankings and a little bit of insight as to who will eventually be declared recruiting national champion.
1. Michigan (top recruit: #33 Terry Richardson)
2. Texas (#3 Cayleb Jones)
3. Florida (#12 D.J. Humphries)
4. Florida State (#5 Mario Edwards)
6. Alabama (#19 Geno Smith)
One Big Ten team, one Big 12 team, two SEC teams and the ACC banner-carrier are the favorites to take home the mythical February title. It's no surprise to see some of the names on this list but newcomer Michigan is one considering Brady Hoke has yet to coach a game. It's not a deep year for Midwest talent but the Wolverines have certainly grabbed the creme of the crop and as a result sit in the pole position past the halfway point.
5. Miami (#77 Jelani Hamilton)
7. Texas A&M (#51 Trey Williams)
9. Auburn (#30 Zeke Pike)
10. LSU (#58 Avery Johnson)
11. Virginia Tech (Donaldven Manning)
15. Clemson (#16 Travis Blanks)
18. Notre Dame (#13 Jarron Jones)
The next group of teams has an outside shot of moving up into the top five and challenging for the title with a strong close. Miami is in a difficult position in that they have a strong class filled with local talent but given the NCAA investigation swirling around the program, no one knows how long Al Golden can keep things up. With recent news that the Aggies would be moving to the SEC, one figures they could see a bounce and grab one or two top prospects by selling playing time in the nation's best football conference. Auburn has done well again this year and is seeing a championship bounce with their current group and could see other prospects come around to playing on the Plains. LSU and Virginia Tech have put together under the radar classes but they're both strong enough to put them in position to move up with a top 100 recruit committing. Clemson and Notre Dame both have small classes but have shown they can get things done between now and players putting pen to paper.
8. Virginia (#50 Michael Moore)
12. Penn State (#36 J.J. Denman)
13. South Carolina (#20 Shaq Roland)
14. Arizona State (#45 Evan Goodman)
16. Oklahoma (#47 Durron Neal)
This group of teams look like they can make a strong push to finish in the top five but it will be a steep up hill battle. Virginia is ranked highly due to the numbers they have and when others catch up in that department, they'll slide back down to the middle of the pack. Penn State has been solid but not spectacular in a good year for Pennsylvania talent. South Carolina is comfortable with their class but likely won't grab a top 10 player to push them up and Arizona State will likely not finish as the top Pac-12 class at the end of the day. Oklahoma is limited in terms of numbers this year and while they might sneak in the top group, it will be hard to go much further.
17. Cincinnati (#72 Bennie Coney)
19. Missouri (#91 Jonathan Williams)
20. Michigan State (#63 Sevon Pittman)
21. Wisconsin (#67 Dan Voltz)
22. Indiana (#2 Gunner Kiel)
23. Rutgers (#71 Leonte Caroo)
24. Washington (#70 Cyler Miles)
25. West Virginia (Brandon Napoleon)
It's a nice year for this group of team but it will be tough for any of these schools to move above 15 in the rankings. Likewise, it might be tough for Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State to stay in the top 25 as other schools start filling out their class with 20 or more recruits.