NCAAF

Class rankings: Texas skyrockets into top 10 after landing Arch Manning

More than half of the top college football recruits in the ESPN 300 remain undeclared, but several highly touted prospects are starting to come off the board and impact the class rankings.

The No. 1 overall prospect Arch Manning gave coach Steve Sarkisian and Texas a huge boost with his commitment to the Longhorns shortly after concluding a trio of official visits, also making trips to Georgia and Alabama. Texas has struggled through inconsistency and misevaluations over the past decade at QB but in Manning gain a player who could bring stability and impact play to the position and help return Texas to national title contention.

A grandson of Archie Manning and nephew of Super Bowl champions Peyton and Eli, Arch brings a strong background at the position and blends a bit of all the strengths of his relatives, including Peyton’s strong instincts, Eli’s arm strength and poise, and Archie’s mobility. His addition, along with that of three-star TE William Randle, who should provide a familiar target because they’re high school teammates, help thrust Texas into the top 10.

But Texas still has a ways to go to catch the teams in the top five. A consistent presence near the top of the class rankings in recent cycles, Ohio State is again contending for the No. 1 class. The Buckeyes made a big move to keep their wide receiver unit a strength, landing three ESPN 300 WRs in as many days: No. 4 WR Brandon Inniss, No. 12 WR Noah Rogers and No. 19 WR Carnell Tate.


ESPN 300 commits: 9 | Previous ranking: 1

Independent rank: 1
Top offensive commit: WR Braylon James (No. 46)
Top defensive commit: DE Keon Keeley (No. 23)

The Fighting Irish have inked two consecutive top-10 classes and are not only off to a strong start to extend that streak, but also contending for the nation’s top class. New coach Marcus Freeman has his fingerprints all over this class with multiple key additions on the defensive side of the ball. Keeley is a lengthy edge defender who can be a disruptive pass-rushing presence. LB Drayk Bowen was a big in-state pickup as the top-rated player in Indiana. The Irish have two ESPN 300 defensive back commits in Peyton Bowen out of Texas and Adon Shuler out of New Jersey. There is also some promising offensive talent on board, led by ESPN 300 WR James, a lengthy vertical threat who posted a laser 4.47 40 this spring on the camp circuit.


ESPN 300 commits: 9 | Previous ranking: 3

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Brandon Inniss (No. 25)
Top defensive commit: CB Dijon Johnson (No. 113)

A staple near the top of the recruiting rankings, the Buckeyes are recruiting at a high level once again. The Buckeyes made a statement at WR, picking up three ESPN 300 WRs in as many days in Inniss, Noah Rogers and Carnell Tate. Tate and Rogers are nice-sized targets at roughly 6-foot-2, and Inniss is an explosive target with good hands. ESPN 300 offensive linemen Luke Montgomery and Joshua Padilla, along with high three-star Austin Siereveld, were key in-state keeps in the trenches. Ty Lockwood is a tight end with the tools to be a well-rounded player at the position. They pulled strong secondary talent out of Florida in No. 12 cornerback Johnson and Cedrick Hawkins, who projects to that unit and can be an excellent player with his great feet and physical style of play.


ESPN 300 commits: 9 | Previous ranking: 2

SEC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Bo Hughley (No. 100)
Top defensive commit: CB A.J. Harris (No. 20)

The defending national champions are contenders to sign a seventh straight top-three class. Located in a talent-rich state, the Bulldogs are doing well at home with commitments thus far from three of the top 10 prospects in Georgia, including Hughley. They pulled WR Raymond Cottrell, a 6-3, 205-pound prospect with quick, strong hands out of Florida. During their title run, the Bulldogs got great production from freshman TE Brock Bowers, and they are now adding more young talent to that position with commitments from ESPN 300 TEs Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie. Their championship defense was popular during the NFL draft, with five members selected in the first round, and the Dawgs are now working to restock that unit with talent. They’re off to a good start in doing so with commitments from a trio of top-10 CBs in Harris, Justyn Rhett and Marcus Washington.


ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 6

Big Ten rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: OG J’ven Williams (No. 45)
Top defensive commit: DE Jameial Lyons (four stars) DE Tomarrion Parker (No. 112)

The Nittany Lions spent most of the 2022 cycle near the top of the class rankings, and early in the 2023 cycle, they’re back near the top. They are doing a nice job in the offensive trenches with several talented OL pickups led by Williams, the top-rated player in the state and a mobile and physical blocker. They continue to find success in the Washington, D.C., area with multiple commits out of Virginia, including Alex Birchmeier, a flexible and aggressive blocker. TE Andrew Rappleyea was a nice flip from Michigan, as he is a productive receiving target with good hands and body control.


ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 10

ACC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Christopher Vizzina (No. 79)
Top defensive commit: DT Vic Burley (No. 61)

Trevor Lawrence set a high bar, and replacing him is not easy, but the Tigers continue to add talented options under center. They signed the No. 2 overall quarterback in the 2022 cycle in Cade Klubnik and now landed ESPN 300 signal-caller Vizzina, a strong-armed, accurate and poised passer. Four-star WR Noble Johnson is a nice-sized target that is capable of creating problems with good explosiveness and the ability to break tackles after the catch. In the trenches defensively, the Tigers have secured some very good talent. David Ojiegbe is a powerful player that can be tough versus the run and Burley was a big win on the recruiting trail as he is a multisport athlete in high school with good explosiveness and upside. At linebacker, Jamal Anderson is a rangy defender that can be a sideline-to-sideline presence.


ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 4

Big 12 rank: 1 of 10
Top offensive commit: QB Jake Strong (four stars)
Top defensive commit: S Brenden Jordan (No. 186)

New coach Joey McGuire has been known as a strong recruiter and brings a high-energy style to the Red Raiders. Now with a full cycle to work, this is a team to watch in recruiting. The foundation of the class is built on in-state talent, including quarterback Strong, a passer who has continued to improve throughout his high school career and has good arm strength and accuracy. Jordan can be a sound tackler in the secondary, and four-star cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt is a smooth mover who can also be physical in run support. Edge defender Isaiah Crawford is a lengthy prospect with nice upside.


ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 5

ACC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR DeAndre Moore Jr. (No. 17)
Top defensive commit: CB Aaron Williams (No. 143)

The Cardinals’ 2022 class took a bit to come together, as they finished near the bottom of the ACC, but they are off to a much stronger start for 2023. QB Pierce Clarkson is a passer with a strong arm and background at the position, as he’s the son of longtime quarterbacks coach Steve Clarkson. Receiver Jahlil McClain should have good synergy with Clarkson, as the two are high school teammates at St. John Bosco in California. Moore was another big-time pull out of California, as the No. 2 WR is a speedy and sudden playmaker with the tools to quickly become a dangerous offensive weapon. DE Adonijah Green is a pickup with a high ceiling for development. He is a lean but lengthy player with good initial quickness and was among the top performers at a loaded Under Armour Camp in Atlanta this spring.


ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 7

SEC rank: 2 of 14
Top offensive commit: TE Luke Hasz (No. 64)
Top defensive commit: DE Kaleb James (four stars)

The Razorbacks are stacking up talent at tight end with three ESPN 300 commits. Hasz comes out of a winning program in Oklahoma and, as a receiving target, runs good routes and has sure hands. Shamar Easter was a home-state keep and is a lengthy target with a big catch radius and good hands. Jaden Hamm runs well and can be an aggressive blocker. LB Carson Dean is a name to watch in this class, as he is an active presence with good range and agility and could develop into a highly productive player in the mold of Arkansas LB Bumper Pool.


ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 11

Pac-12 rank: 1 of 12
Top offensive commit: QB Malachi Nelson (No. 2)
Top defensive commit: CB Braxton Myers (No. 116)

Lincoln Riley has assembled a small but talented offensive class so far. Two key in-state pickups who were planning to join Riley at Oklahoma flipped to their hometown school when Riley made the change. Nelson is the No. 2 QB in the class with a smooth release and the ability to make tough throws on the move. Makai Lemon is a high school teammate of Nelson and has good hands and quickness. WR Zachariah Branch, out of Las Vegas, is one the fastest players in this class and can be an electrifying playmaker with the ball in his hands. The Trojans also added some defensive talent, namely Myers, a well-rounded and tough cornerback.


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Greg McElroy explains what Arch Manning’s commitment means for the Longhorns.

ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 16

Big 12 rank: 2 of 10
Top offensive commit: QB Arch Manning (No. 1)
Top defensive commit: CB Jamel Johnson (No. 110)

Steve Sarkisian secured a huge win for Texas’ recruiting, beating Georgia and Alabama for No. 1 overall player Manning. The five-star QB is a polished player at the position with good arm strength and competitive toughness — all of which would be expected from a Manning — but he will also bring good mobility to keep plays alive and be able to pick up yards with his legs. Manning was a key out-of-state pickup, but Texas also landed some top in-state defensive prospects, led by Johnson, a defensive back with good ball skills and the size and toughness to support the run. Along the defensive line, ESPN 300 prospect Dylan Spencer gives the Longhorns an explosive player with a good motor in the trenches. ATH Ryan Niblett was a key in-state addition on offense, as he can be a big-play threat with his outstanding speed.


ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 8

Big Ten rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: OG Dylan Senda (three stars)
Top defensive commit: S Damon Walters (No. 226)

The month of May kicked off a fruitful run on the recruiting trail for the Wildcats as they landed multiple commitments, including adding some ESPN 300 defensive talent. Their talent run in May bolstered an already good group of OL commits, as Jordan Knox and Alex Doost came on board and joined top-25 OG prospects Senda and Anthony Birsa. They scored one of the top in-state prospects in Walters, who can be an aggressive, big-hitting safety. They pulled out of Texas ESPN 300 DL Ashton Porter, who can be a well-rounded player with his blend of power and agility. A talented LB addition out of Ohio is Nigel Glover, who is a physical player with good agility and can be productive against the run and pass. DL Dylan Roberts might not be a highly touted name, but he has the tools to be a productive presence in the trenches with good explosiveness, strength and an active style of play.


ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 9

Group of 5 rank: 1
Top offensive commit: RB Manny Covey (three stars)
Top defensive commit: CB Daeh McCullough (No. 168)

The Bearcats are showing they are ready for a move to the Big 12 with their play on the field and their ability to recruit among the better classes in the country. ESPN 300 defender McCullough is a DB with nice size and quick feet who can be a physical presence. Four-star LB Trevor Carter was a big in-state win, and interior OL Evan Tengesdahl was another strong, home-state pickup, as he took home positional MVP honors this spring at the Under Armour Camp in Ohio. Khamari Anderson can be a productive target in the passing game, as he is a smooth runner with good hands. High three-star RB Covey can be a versatile player, as he possesses great ball skills and can be a productive receiving target out of the backfield.


ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 12

SEC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Nicholaus Iamaleava (No. 13)
Top defensive commit: LB Caleb Herring (No. 109)

The Volunteers were able to score a big, early win on the recruiting trail with the commitment of ESPN 300 QB Iamaleava. Among the top QBs in the country, he is not only a talented passer, but he also moves well. While he is a player they can build this class around, TE Ethan Davis was among the first commits for 2023. A talented basketball player as well, he is still developing but has good ball skills and the ability to win contested matchups. The top-rated player in the state, Herring, an edge defender that can be a sideline-to-sideline presence, was another key addition for this rebuilding program.


ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 13

Big Ten rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: OG Johnathan Slack (No. 296)
Top defensive commit: LB Jordan Hall (No. 166)

The Spartans are working to notch a second straight top-20 class and are off to a good start. Offensive guards might not get fan bases fired up, but Slack is a very good in-state pickup, as he’s a blocker with good feet and excellent functional strength. The Spartans went into rival Big Ten country to land DE Andrew Depaepe out of Iowa, a player with good strength and a motor. They landed top-three ILB Hall out of IMG, a powerful defender that closes well and should be able to come in and quickly contribute to their defense. They went into Texas to land a powerful thrower at QB in Bo Edmundson.


ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 14

Big 12 rank: 3 of 10
Top offensive commit: TE Matt Klopfenstein (four stars)
Top defensive commit: LB Christian Brathwaite (No. 300)

QB Austin Novosad is a smooth passer with good arm talent who reminds us of LSU quarterback Myles Brennan. Micah Gifford can be a productive receiving target, as he possesses good quickness and has shown he can make the tough play in contested matchups. The Bears have not ventured out of state much but pulled a talented TE out of Arizona in Klopfenstein, who possesses good hands and will work well as a blocker. Defensively, Brathwaite not only possesses good initial explosiveness, but good pursuit range as well.


ESPN 300 commits: 6 | Previous ranking: 15

Pac-12 rank: 2 of 12
Top offensive commit: WR Ashton Cozart (No. 92)
Top defensive commit: CB Cole Martin (No. 183)

New head coach Dan Lanning led Georgia’s championship defense last year but now focuses on trying to build a similar unit with the Ducks. ESPN 300 CB Martin is a good place to start, as he is a player with good feet and upside. CB Kodi Decambra loves to compete and at the least should quickly be a productive special teams contributor. Despite his strong defensive background, Lanning’s first full class at Oregon is defined by promising offensive talent. The Ducks landed big targets for their passing attack in the 6-foot-3 Cozart, who is long, fast and posted a laser-timed 4.45 40 at the Dallas Under Armour camp, and Jurrion Dickey, who had an MVP performance at the UC Report Elite Camp in Oakland, California, this spring.


ESPN 300 commits: 5 | Previous ranking: 17

SEC rank: 4 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Eli Holstein (No. 59)
Top defensive commit: CB Jahlil Hurley (No. 18)

The Crimson Tide have a small but talented class, with three among the top 60 nationally and top five at their respective positions. Hurley is an agile and smooth corner with good length, and safety Elliot Washington has good range, can change directions well and is a physical presence in the back end. Yhonzae Pierre might not be among the most touted names in this class, but he was a very strong in-state pickup, as he is a quick, flexible defender who can develop into a disruptive edge defender. The Tide added their first offensive commit in QB Holstein, a one-time Texas A&M verbal, who is an accurate passer with good arm strength and mobility for his size (6-4, 225).


ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 19

Big 12 rank: 4 of 10
Top offensive commit: WR Cordale Russell (No. 270)
Top defensive commit: DE Avion Carter (No. 91)

It has been many years since TCU has gone into a recruiting cycle with a new head coach, but Sonny Dykes and staff are showing they can keep the Horned Frogs recruiting at a high level. Not surprisingly, they are taking advantage of the rich pool of talent in-state with multiple commits, including DL Carter. He’s a defender with a good initial burst, can be stout versus the run, disrupt as a pass-rusher and plays with good effort. They have several potential receiving weapons on board led by Russell, a 6-foot-2 target, and four-star Jordyn Bailey, who plays with good speed and can be a vertical weapon.


ESPN 300 commits: 4 | Previous ranking: 18

SEC rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: TE Mac Markway (No. 122)
Top defensive commit: CB Daylen Austin (No. 138)

A key for Brian Kelly will be keeping the Tigers an in-state recruiting power. Many of the state’s top players remain uncommitted, but LSU landed the top-rated RB in Louisiana in Trey Holly. Texas is also an important recruiting ground for the Tigers, and they pulled ESPN 300 CB Ryan Yaites, a defender with good length and tremendous quickness. A good pickup out of California that can add to the Tigers’ rich DB history is Austin, as he possesses good length and excellent feet and is also not afraid to mix it up and be physical.


ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 21

Big 12 rank: 5 of 10
Top offensive commit: ATH Rodney Gallagher (No. 172)
Top defensive commit: DE Justin Benton (four stars)

Neal Brown landed a potential anchor for his defense over the coming season in LB Josiah Trotter. In the mold of his All-Pro father, Jeremiah, Trotter can be a tough, productive presence between the tackles. Offensively, the Mountaineers secured their QB in Raheim Jeter, a big, strong-armed passer. They also are adding to the backfield a talented three-star RB in Jahiem White, who displays good vision and the ability to produce after contact. A key addition is ESPN 300 ATH Gallagher, who projects to wide receiver. Also a talented basketball player, he displays natural playmaking ability with good quickness and ball skills and a high ceiling for development with a focus on the position.


ESPN 300 commits: 3 | Previous ranking: 20

ACC rank: 3 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Chris Parson (No. 181)
Top defensive commit: DT Keith Sampson (No. 209)

The Seminoles are working to add more talent to their quarterback room. After signing ESPN 300 QB A.J. Duffy in 2022, they have added another top-300 signal-caller in Parson. A player with the mobility to create problems as a runner, he can also be a dangerous big-play threat as a passer with a strong arm and impressive deep ball. The Seminoles added some strong additions to their defensive line in Sampson, who can be a stout presence, and Lamont Green Jr., a lengthy defender who runs well and has good upside.


ESPN 300 commits: 0 | Previous ranking: 22

Pac-12 rank: 3 of 12
Top offensive commit: QB Ryan Staub (four stars)
Top defensive commit: DE Carson Mott (three stars)

While USC works to reestablish itself as a dominant recruiting force in the Pac-12, Colorado is making some noise of its own on the recruiting trail, working to sign one of the top classes in the conference. The Buffaloes went into California to secure their QB in the four-star Staub, a passer with a quick release and confident swagger. Edward Schultz and Isaiah Hardge, a quick playmaker who can be dangerous in space, have the tools be develop into productive players. A nice get out of Philadelphia is massive and aggressive OL Naquill Betrand.


ESPN 300 commits: 1 | Previous ranking: 23

Pac-12 rank: 4 of 12
Top offensive commit: QB Brayden Dorman (No. 205)
Top defensive commit: S Sean Brown (three stars)

When Jedd Fisch took over the Wildcats, there was a lot of work to be done, but he looks to be putting together the pieces to help elevate the program. A key addition is ESPN 300 QB Dorman, a strong-armed and accurate passer. With a talented QB on board, they have also added one of the top OLs out West in Rhino Tapaatoutai, a flexible and physical big man. They’re addressing the secondary with multiple commitments for the backend, including Arian Parish, a safety with good range who is willing to hit, and Solomon Davis, who has received interest on both sides of the ball but projects to contribute defensively for Arizona.


ESPN 300 commits: 0 | Previous ranking: 24

Big Ten rank: 5 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Marco Lainez III (four stars)
Top defensive commit: DE Chase Brackney (three stars)

Not surprisingly, the Hawkeyes’ class is not real flashy, but it has a very solid foundation. QB Lainez is a consistent, smooth and accurate passer who looks like a nice fit for Iowa’s offense. Known for its eye for and developing offensive lineman, Iowa landed top-five center Leighton Jones. Defensively, Brackney displays good power to collapse the pocket and set the edge vs. the run.


ESPN 300 commits: 2 | Previous ranking: 25

Big 12 rank: 6 of 10
Top Offensive Commit: QB Jackson Arnold (No. 39)
Top Defensive Commit: LB Kaleb Spencer (three stars)

The Sooners took a hit when five-star QB Malachi Nelson decommitted and followed Lincoln Riley to USC. The new staff rebounded quite well though landing Arnold, the No. 6-ranked QB in the class, who has a smooth, compact delivery as well as good pocket mobility. They also have a promising target in the passing game on board in ESPN 300 WR Keyon Brown, a target with a good blend of height and speed. One of the top prospects in-state, Erik McCarty, is staying close to home and is versatile player that could contribute on either side of the ball for the Sooners.


Scorecard | 2022 class rankings | 2021 class rankings | 2020 class rankings

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