Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer 8d

2022 college football recruiting class rankings: Alabama, Oklahoma rise in top 10

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Penn State maintains control of the top spot in the class rankings, but the battle for the No. 1 class is developing into a competitive race. Alabama, which has notched three top-ranked classes over the past five cycles, is once again in serious contention, now sitting at No. 2. The Crimson Tide's class includes double-digit ESPN 300 prospects. They recently added another four-star offensive lineman in Elijah Pritchett, a flexible and aggressive big man with excellent length.

More than half of the five-stars remain uncommitted, but that is beginning to change, and as it does it will impact the rankings. Gabe Brownlow-Dindy was a top-10 prospect who came off the board, and his commitment to Oklahoma helped the Sooners jump into the top 10. The No. 2-ranked defensive tackle is not only explosive, but he also moves well for 6-foot-3, 280 pounds. He can be a versatile and disruptive force in the trenches.

Oregon leads the Pac-12 in recruiting, but behind the Ducks, Stanford is establishing itself as the second-strongest class in the conference and among the top 15 nationally. The Cardinal recently added four-star TE and onetime Florida commit C.J. Hawkins, who is tall with good ball skills and body control and offers a wide catch radius.

Kentucky is not only having success on the field but also making strides on the recruiting trail. The Wildcats' class is led by one of the top OT prospects in the nation in Kiyaunta Goodwin, and they also recently added a rangy and agile edge defender with a high ceiling for development in Tyreese Fearbry.

1. Penn State Nittany Lions

ESPN 300 commits: 12 | Previous ranking: 1 

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Kaden Saunders (No. 30)
Top defensive commit: DE Dani Dennis-Sutton (No. 79)

The Nittany Lions' 2021 class never reached higher than No. 15 and ultimately finished outside the top 25, but in 2022 they are competing for the top spot. They have had great in-state success with commitments from six of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania, including ESPN 300 OT Drew Shelton. Key in-state defensive pickups include Dennis-Sutton, who possesses a good initial burst, strength and agility; and Ken Talley, an explosive player with a good motor. They have two quarterbacks in the class, led by top-three QB-PP Drew Allar, a strong-armed passer with good feet, and Beau Pribula, who possesses some traits in the mold of former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. Coach James Franklin is on his way to assembling one of the most talented groups of pass-catchers in this class, which includes the four-star Saunders, a good route runner who can create yards after the catch with his suddenness.

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