Our list of the top recruiting classes features two newcomers to the rankings, both from the SEC. The Florida Gators and South Carolina Gamecocks enter the top 15 at No. 8 and No. 13, respectively. Florida may not have a lot of scholarships available in this class, but the Gators are making the most of the ones they have; we feel this class will still add a few more blue-chippers before it's all said and done.
South Carolina is getting hot on the gridiron at the right time, and it is translating that on-field success to the recruiting trail. Defensively, this class is reflective of what the Gamecocks are showing on Saturdays -- speed, physicality and toughness. RB Ben Axon (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee) is a nice addition after decommitting from the Clemson Tigers.
Speaking of Clemson, its once-promising class, which was in the top 10 of our first edition of the 2009 class rankings, has lost three ESPNU 150 prospects since Tommy Bowden's firing. His replacement will have to do a bang-up job regrouping in a short period of time.
Also gone from the rankings are Auburn and Penn State, but we feel Penn State could be back in the top 15 at anytime. Auburn's class is in a holding pattern until a new offensive coordinator or scheme is determined. With Tommy Tuberville's future in question, this class could be starting from scratch if a change is made down the road.
A change at the No. 2 spot sees LSU jump Ohio State with the addition of S Craig Loston (Aldine, Texas/Eisenhower) and gives the Tigers 10 ESPNU 150 prospects, including our new No. 1 player in the land, ATH Russell Shepard (Houston/Cy-Ridge).
The production of QB Garrett Gilbert (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis), amongst others in this deep Texas class, thrusts the Longhorns into the No. 3 spot.
Due to Florida's entrance into the top 10, only Notre Dame moves up (to No. 7 from No. 9 with the addition of WR Shaquelle Evans). Florida State, Miami and Oklahoma each drop one spot.
By the way, we know it is early, but Tennessee may have the best recruiting class of any team ever that did not have a coach and was 3-7. Think about that!