By Corey Long – @CoreyLong
Updated Dec. 19, 2019.
Follow @walterfootball for updates.
A quick refresher of definitions before we begin:
A blue-chip prospect is someone I expect will be a multi-year starter and has NFL draft upside.
A red-chip prospect is someone I believe will be a multi-year starter at the college level.
The top-20 recruiting classes in the Class of 2020 recruiting cycle
Just missed the cut
New coach Mike Norvell has two quarterback signees, who will likely be the two guys he starts the 2020 season with (barring a graduate transfer) and they added quality wide receivers Bryan Robinson and Kentron Poitier.
The Bulldogs didn’t make much of a splash Wednesday and they have been hovering around the 20-25 mark most of the cycle.
The Hurricanes had a top 20 class going in to today and took it on the chin a little bit. It’s not that the Hurricanes’ class is bad, but they got passed by schools that did better.
The Tar Heels weren’t in play for much today so they couldn’t move up in the rankings. Just the way it goes.
Three years from now we might look back at Georgia Tech’s 2020 recruiting class as the starting point for a nice run from Geoff Collins’ team. There’s going a lot of excitement surrounding their freshman quarterbacks and skill players.
The Top 20 in Reverse Order
20. Stanford Cardinal (20 commitments)
Key Prospects: RB E.J. Smith, CB Ayden Hector, OT Myles Hinton
Quick Thoughts: The commitment and signing of Smith will get the most attention because Emmitt Smith is his father, but this a solid class from top to bottom. I really liked the offensive line class. It looks like Stanford is going back to its identity of being a power football team.
19. Nebraska Cornhuskers (24 commitments)
Key Prospects: LB Keyshawn Greene, OT Turner Corcoran, WR Marcus Fleming
Quick Thoughts: Rumors of Scott Frost’s recruiting demise are greatly overstated. The Cornhuskers staff knuckled down and closed impressively in Florida and with junior college transfers.
18. Kentucky Wildcats (20 commitments)
Key Prospects: DT Justin Rogers, DE Samuel Anaele, Josaih Hayes
Quick Thoughts: I felt like Kentucky had a shot at a surprise Wednesday, and the program landed Mississippi prospect Josaih Hayes. The roster Mark Stoops is building continues to improve annually.
17. Michigan (25 commitments)
Key Prospects: ATH A.J. Henning, LB Kalel Mullings, DE Braiden McGregor
Quick Thoughts: Some will have Michigan’s class higher, but that’s because the Wolverines are adding in quarterback J.D. Johnson, who is on their commitment list but is medically disqualified from playing football. I think Michigan needs to re-think its recruiting strategy if it is serious about competing with Ohio State. It just feels like the programs recruit in two different circles right now.
16. Washington (22 commitments)
Key Prospects: LB Sav’ell Smalls, WR Jalen McMillan, OT Roger Roengarten
Quick Thoughts: When Washington secured the signings of Smalls in the fall and cornerback Jacobe Covington and athlete Sam Adams II last week, the staff was done. There was no Wednesday drama.
15. South Carolina (21 commitments)
Key Prospects: DE Jordan Burch, RB MarShawn Lloyd, LB Mohamed Kaba
Quick Thoughts: Everything was about Burch today, and no one needed his signature more than South Carolina. And the Gamecocks got it.
14. Oklahoma (20 commitments)
Key Prospects: OL Nate Anderson, DE Reggie Grimes, RB Seth McGowan
Quck Thoughts: Jase McClellan flipped to Alabama. The Sooners did added cornerback Kendall Dennis, so all is not lost.
13. Tennessee (23 commitments)
Key Prospects: S Keshawn Lawrence, DT Omari Thomas, DE Tyler Baron
Quick Thoughts: Tennessee went all-in on the first day of the early signing period, and the program’s aggression paid off with signings from Baron and linebacker Len’Neth Whitehead, among others. The Volunteers staff was among the big winners of the day and proved they can still recruit against the big dogs in the SEC.
12. Notre Dame (18 commitments)
Key Prospects: RB Chris Tyree, WR Jordan Johnson, TE Michael Mayer
Quick Thoughts: The Fighting Irish were expected to stay put, but the class added Ramon Henderson, a good-looking prospect from California.
11. Penn State (27 commitments)
Key Prospects: TE Theo Johnson, S Enzo Jennings, WR KeAndre Lambert
Quick Thoughts: Penn State stayed out of the fray Wednesday and moved into the top 10 for a little while when Oregon was slipping. The Nittany Lions just missed the top 10 at the end, but Wednesday was a solid pull for head coach James Franklin.
10. Florida (24 commitments)
Key Prospects: DT Gervon Dexter, CB Ethan Pouncey, LB Derek Wingo
Quck Thoughts: The Gators was rumored to be in contention for a ton of potential flips, none bigger than defensive lineman Timothy Smith. But Smith signed with the Crimson Tide. Still, this is a top-10 class for Florida as long as the signees all qualify.
9. Oregon (22 commitments)
Key Prospects: LB Justin Flowe, LB Noah Sewell, QB Jay Butterfield
Quick Thoughts: It was an up-and-down day for the Ducks. They lost top-end wide receiver Johnny Wilson to Arizona State, but gained Flowe. Flowe and Sewell will be the more feared linebackers in the Pac-12 for the next few years.
8. Texas (16 commitments)
Key Prospects: RB Bijan Robinson, QB/ATH Ja’Quinden Jackson, DT Vernon Broughton
Quck Thoughts: After losing wide receiver Quentin Johnston two days ago, the Longhorns staff was playing defense Wednesday and protected the rest of their class. Texas is low on numbers, but high on quality.
7. Texas A&M (22 commitments)
Key Prospects: WR Demond Demas, DE Donell Harris, QB Haynes King
Quck Thoughts: The Aggies held off Florida and signed Donnell Harris. Jimbo Fisher and his staff will now focus all their attention on undecided running back Zachary Evans.
6. LSU (21 commitments)
Key Prospects: TE Arik Gilbert, CB Elias Ricks, LB Phillip Webb
Quick Thoughts: The additions of Webb and offensive tackle Marcus Dumervil were nice, but otherwise this was a rough day on the Bayou. Losing their top two wide receivers, Rakim Jarret, to Maryland, and Jermaine Burton, to Georgia, just hurts. The Tigers were expected to challenge Clemson for No. 1 and instead they fell out of the top five. Oof.
5. Ohio State (25 commitments)
Key Prospects: WR Julian Fleming, OT Paris Johnson Jr., CB Clark Phillips III
Quick Thoughts: The Buckeyes added Stroud to this class, setting up their quarterback situation for the future. Phillips, however, will not sign until Thursday, and Utah is still trying for a flip, so it’ll be a restless night for Ryan Day.
4. Auburn (24 commitments)
Key Prospects: RB Tank Bigsby, LB Wesley Steiner, DE Zykeivous Walker
Quick Thoughts: Auburn pulled an inside straight Wednesday, landing nearly all its targets, like athlete Jeremiah Pegues, cornerback Eric Reed and linebacker Desmond Tisdol. The Tigers then pulled a fast one last when they flipped edge rusher Romello Height from Miami. It was a banner day for Gus Malzahn and his staff.
3. Georgia (19 commitments)
Key Prospects: RB Kendall Milton, DE/LB Mekhail Sherman, OT Broderick Jones
Quick Thoughts: The additions of wide receivers Jermaine Burton, who flipped from LSU, and Arian Smith made Wednesday a huge win for Georgia. Blue-chip tight Darnell Washington’s announcement awaits in a couple of weeks. Can Georgia still contend for the top class in the nation? Kirby Smart and his staff have the opportunity to add numbers.
2. Alabama (26 commitments)
Key Prospects: QB Bryce Young, DE Chris Braswell, RB Jase McClellan
Quick Thoughts: On ESPNU’s broadcast, Jim Mora Jr. commented that none of the prospects announcing picked up an Alabama hat. Well, he should’ve known the class was basically full to start the day. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, running back Jase McClellan, who had been committed to Oklahoma, signed with the Crimson Tide.
1. Clemson (23 commitments)
Key Prospects: DT Bryan Bresee, QB D.J. Uiagalelei, RB Demarkcus Bowman
Signing Day Outlook: Clemson didn’t land Jordan Burch or Justin Flowe, but it also had the top class to start the day and fended off all challengers. The rich could’ve only got richer Wednesday, which the Tigers did, and they remain incredibly rich.
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