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How recruiting shaped LSU, Oregon and other top 25 college football surprises

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Some new teams outside of the regular blue bloods have pushed their way into the AP Top 25, such as SMU, Baylor and Cincinnati. LSU is No. 1 in the poll for the first time since 2011.

Several teams have been on the rise, and all of them have built their programs in different ways through recruiting.

Here is a look at some of the surprise teams this season and how they were built on the recruiting trail.

1. LSU

The Tigers have always recruited well, but their rise in the rankings on the field is what has surprised many. Currently sitting atop the AP poll, LSU earned its biggest recruiting win for its current roster by landing transfer quarterback Joe Burrow. He wasn't a high school prospect who committed to LSU, but landing an elite transfer has to be considered a recruiting win in this landscape.

Outside of Burrow, LSU has averaged a recruiting class ranking of 8.2 over the past five classes. The lowest came in 2018 when the Tigers had the No. 14-ranked class, and the highest ranking was in 2016 with the third-best class overall.

During that time period, LSU has landed 68 ESPN 300 recruits, but the 2017 class is where LSU is receiving the most production this season.