How each Top 25 team is addressing its biggest need in recruiting

AP Photo/PennLive.com, Joe Hermitt

Even the best teams have needs to be addressed in recruiting. How have the programs in Mark Schlabach's Way-Too-Early Top 25 regrouped for next season?

1. Clemson

Anticipating a need on the defensive line, the Tigers went heavy here, with a star-studded class that includes four ESPN 300 defensive linemen, including five-star ends Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry, both of whom are already on campus. With Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell returning to school for their senior seasons, Clemson will be overloaded at this position in 2018, allowing for more development with the younger players. -- Andrea Adelson

2. Alabama

The whole secondary is getting a makeover with all four starters gone, so there's some work to be done there. Cornerback could get a swift infusion of talent, though, with Saivion Smith, the No. 1-rated junior college corner, already signed and Alabama coaches hot on the trail of uncommitted five-star Patrick Surtain Jr., who visited campus this past weekend. -- Alex Scarborough

3. Ohio State

The Buckeyes lost defensive linemen Tyquan Lewis, Tracy Sprinkle, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard to graduation and the NFL draft. There will be quite a few big names returning along the line, but next season could very well be their last season in Columbus. The Buckeyes were able to reel in five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, ESPN 300 defensive tackles Tommy Togiai and Tyler Friday, ESPN 300 defensive end Tyreke Smith and three-star end Alex Williams to go with junior college tackle Antwuan Jackson to fill the depth chart for the future. -- Tom VanHaaren

4. Oklahoma

Although defense across the board is a huge need, the Sooners also needed to secure a future replacement for unanimous All-American left tackle Orlando Brown, who left early for the NFL draft. OU did just that in signing Brey Walker from its own backyard. The product of Moore, Oklahoma, just a few miles from Norman, is the No. 5 tackle recruit in the country. At 6-foot-7, 330 pounds, he already has the frame to become OU's next big-time blindside protector. -- Jake Trotter

5. Georgia

Let's face it: Georgia's offensive line overachieved last season. So it's no wonder that Kirby Smart went heavy in the trenches by signing five O-linemen, including Cade Mays, ESPN's No. 3 offensive tackle, and Trey Hill and Jamaree Salyer, the No. 1 and 2 guards. -- Scarborough

6. Wisconsin

The Badgers needed playmakers and speed in this class, and though they have some youth on the roster at wide receiver, they saw some injuries and departures at the position. The staff is likely finished recruiting for the 2018 class and was able to fill the need at receiver with several commitments. Athlete Aron Cruickshank could help at receiver as well as A.J. Abbott II, Taj Mustapha and Isaac Guerendo. Having four receivers added to the depth chart should make the position one of strength in the near future. -- VanHaaren

7. Washington

The Huskies have to figure out a way to replace Dante Pettis at receiver and returner, but quarterback Jake Browning will return a few young guys with high ceilings. Still, Washington wanted to add some quality, dynamic depth here, and signing ESPN 300 members Marquis Spiker and Austin Osborne certainly helped. -- Edward Aschoff

8. Miami

The Hurricanes lost starting defensive tackles R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton early to the NFL draft, leaving defensive line as one of the big areas they need to address this recruiting cycle. That has made it imperative that Nesta Silvera from nearby Plantation American Heritage signs in February. Silvera has been a long-time Miami commitment but is taking other visits and has chosen to make his official announcement on Feb. 7. Miami also has hosted ESPN 300 defensive end Andrew Chatfield and four-star end Dennis Briggs and has interest in ESPN 300 tackle Keondre Coburn, a Texas commit. -- Adelson

9. Michigan State

Defensive back was a big focus for Michigan State in this class, but the defensive line is one that continues to be recruited. So far, the Spartans have defensive ends Parks Gissinger and Zachary Slade as well as defensive tackle Jacob Slade committed in the class. The staff is still targeting a few players to add to the class along the line, including Dashaun Mallory and Habakkuk Baldonado. -- VanHaaren

10. West Virginia

The Mountaineers ranked just sixth in the Big 12 in sacks last season, but major help is on the way for Tony Gibson's defense. West Virginia signed ESPN 300 defensive end Dante Stills, who had offers from the likes of Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Penn State. A West Virginia native, Stills' father, Gary, played for the Mountaineers and recorded 26 sacks during a standout career. If the younger Stills can match that kind of production, West Virginia will soon have a prolific piece to place on its defensive line. -- Trotter

11. Penn State

The Nittany Lions needed receivers and tight ends in this class, and they were able to fill the future holes on the depth chart. At tight end, the staff is losing both Mike Gesicki and Tom Pancoast but was able to land ESPN 300 prospects Zack Kuntz and Patrick Freiermuth, as well as three-star Judge Culpepper. At wide receiver, Penn State has five-star Justin Shorter signed as well as ESPN 300 receivers Jahan Dotson, Daniel George and Shaquon Anderson-Butts. -- VanHaaren

12. Stanford

This was always going to be a small class for the Cardinal, but it was important that coaches get some quality bodies along the defensive line. The staff thinks it did that by signing three ESPN 300 defensive linemen in December. Getting Andres Fox and Tobe Umerah out of the southeast was a plus, too. -- Aschoff

13. Auburn

Forget replacing Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway for a moment. Gus Malzahn has never failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher, after all. Focus instead on the receivers, where the Tigers desperately need a difference-maker. Then welcome Anthony Schwartz, Seth Williams and Matthew Hill, who could fill that need as three of the top six highest-rated players in Auburn's class. -- Scarborough

14. Michigan

Tight end was a need for Michigan that could be included here, but offensive tackle became a need as well. As it currently stands, Michigan has tackle Jalen Mayfield committed as well as Ryan Hayes, but Hayes is listed as a tight end and could remain at that position. The coaches are still targeting tackle Jarrett Patterson, ESPN 300 Nicholas Petit-Frere and a potential grad transfer from Calvin Anderson, who is transferring from Rice. Michigan still has some work left to do to fill this need. -- VanHaaren

15. Virginia Tech

The Hokies have made a habit of developing strong defensive backs, and in this recruiting cycle, they had to address a need at the position, as three starters are gone and depth needs to be built. To that end, they signed six defensive backs in December, including ESPN 300 safety Chamarri Conner, junior college transfer cornerback Jeremy Webb and four-star cornerback D.J. Crossen. Crossen and Jermaine Waller already are on campus. -- Adelson

16. TCU

With starter Kenny Hill graduating, the Horned Frogs addressed their need at quarterback by inking one of the best in the country in Justin Rogers. The Louisiana native, who is the nation's No. 4 dual-threat QB recruit, had offers from the likes of Texas, Miami and LSU. Rogers is still rehabbing from an ACL injury suffered last year. Once he fully recovers, he figures to challenge Shawn Robinson for the title of TCU's QB of the future. -- Trotter

17. Boise State

The Broncos needed to replenish their receiving corps in the 2018 class, and they did exactly that by signing five in December. Junior college signee John Hightower could make an immediate impact, as could four-star Khalil Shakir. -- Aschoff

18. USC

Of course, signing recently reclassified stud quarterback J.T. Daniels was huge for the Trojans, but there's no question that USC has to sign a strong offensive line class. Right now, the Trojans have signed the nation's No. 2 center prospect and an ESPN 300 member in Justin Dedich and three-star Liam Douglass, who some around the program think is one of the most athletic linemen USC has signed in years. -- Aschoff

19. Mississippi State

You think the Bulldogs aren't aware that quarterback Nick Fitzgerald needs help in the passing game? A lack of playmakers at receiver was the team's Achilles' heel last season. So the No. 1, 2 and 3 highest-rated players in the class all came from the same position, including the No. 1-rated junior college receiver, Stephen Guidry. -- Scarborough

20. Notre Dame

It seems vague, but Notre Dame has been looking to improve its defense for quite some time now. This class, there was a major focus for the staff to land prospects who could compete right away and make the defense better. The coaches were able to land commitments from Derrik Allen, Houston Griffith, Shayne Simon, Jack Lamb and Jayson Ademilola, all ESPN 300 defensive prospects. Linebacker Bo Bauer is a four-star, just outside the ESPN 300, and is joined by three-stars Justin Ademilola, Ja'Mion Franklin, Ovie Oghoufo and Paul Moala. -- VanHaaren

21. UCF

New coach Josh Heupel believes in making the offensive line a priority when taking over a program, so it makes sense that UCF signed six linemen, including the two junior college transfers he was able to bring in shortly after getting hired. UCF loses two stalwarts on the offensive line in Aaron Evans and Chavis Dickey, and replacing them will be a top spring priority. -- Adelson

22. Florida State

New coach Willie Taggart had to salvage the 2018 recruiting class as soon as he arrived in Tallahassee, and he did a good job of making sure the Seminoles bulked up at defensive back, where they signed four of their top players, including Asante Samuel Jr., A.J. Lytton and Isaiah Bolden. Several other top cornerbacks remain on the priority list for the February signing date. But the Seminoles are also making a push for more receivers. They lost Auden Tate and are thin overall at the position. They signed only one receiver in December. -- Adelson

23. LSU

The Tigers need help in the trenches -- on both sides of the ball -- with defensive end Christian LaCouture, nose tackle Greg Gilmore, center Will Clapp, and offensive tackles K.J. Malone and Toby Weathersby all gone. Ed Orgeron & Co. already have five ESPN 300 linemen, and junior college tackle Badara Traore and guard Damien Lewis could contribute early. -- Scarborough

24. Texas

With All-American DeShon Elliott bolting early for the NFL draft, the Longhorns needed to replenish the safety position. Tom Herman and his staff, notably safeties coach Craig Naivar, responded by delivering, by far, the top class at the position in the country. Texas signed three of the nation's top four rated safeties in B.J. Foster, DeMarvion Overshown and Caden Sterns, giving the Longhorns an enviable foundation at a key position in the pass-happy Big 12. -- Trotter

25. South Carolina

Losing D.J. Smith, Chris Lammons and JaMarcus King hurts the depth of the secondary, but help is on the way with four-star cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Jonathan Gipson already signed. -- Scarborough