2023 CFB recruiting class rankings: New top 40 in ESPN 300 update

Commitments at this stage in the football recruiting cycle remain tepid with only a pair of ESPN 300 prospects coming off the board in the previous two weeks. Those who have extended and retracted verbal commitments, combined with an extensive midseason player ranking update, still managed to have an impact on the class rankings.

Alabama, which in the update gained a five-star in No. 1 safety Caleb Downs as well as a new ESPN 300-ranked commit, remains at No. 1, but a familiar foe now sits behind the Crimson Tide. Defending national champion Georgia continues its rise in the rankings, moving to No. 2 after landing ESPN 300 RB Roderick Robinson II. Having had success in California with offensive players like RB Kendall Milton and standout TE Brock Bowers, the Bulldogs scored again in the Golden State by flipping Robinson from UCLA. A runner with an impressive blend of size (6-foot-2, 240 pounds) and speed, Robinson has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season and gives Georgia a back who can handle the lead-back workload as well as provide big plays.

While Oklahoma battles through on-field struggles, including a shutout loss to rival Texas, the Sooners were able to push past the Longhorns in the recruiting rankings and now sit at No. 4. While a five-star quarterback has led Texas' class since June (No. 2 Arch Manning), Oklahoma can say the same, as Jackson Arnold moved up the player rankings to No. 8 and gives the Sooners' overall class the slight edge.

The Pac-12's top class remains a seesaw battle with USC leapfrogging Oregon. The Trojans are currently the only class to include three five-stars in QB Malachi Nelson and WRs Zachariah Branch and newest five-star Makai Lemon. A high school teammate of Nelson's, Lemon will arrive with good synergy with his QB, but regardless of who is throwing him the ball, he has proved to be an elite target with his quickness, body control and fierce competitive demeanor.

The combination of a new ESPN 300 commit and a boost in the player rankings of previous commits has Ole Miss as the big riser. The Rebels' class is small in overall numbers but boosted by good quality, featuring eight four-star commits. Among that group is new verbal Braxton Myers, a top-20 CB who possesses good length, speed and toughness.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

ESPN 300 commits: 18 | Previous ranking: 1

SEC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: RB Richard Young (No. 18)
Top defensive commit: S Caleb Downs (No. 12)

The Crimson Tide are positioning themselves to contend once again for one of the best classes in the nation. They landed some impressive talent to their secondary with in-state pickup Tony Mitchell, who has a nice blend of length, fluidity and speed, as well as Jahlil Hurley, an agile and smooth corner with good length. Downs is the No. 1 safety who can provide a physical presence with his aggressive, hard-hitting style of play. Yhonzae Pierre might not be among the most touted names in this class, but he is a very strong in-state pickup, as he is a quick, flexible defender who can develop into a disruptive edge defender. They landed the top two RB prospects in the nation in Young, an explosive and versatile back out of Florida, and Justice Haynes, who rushed for over 2,000 yards as a junior, out of Georgia. This could very well be Bryce Young's last season in Tuscaloosa, and to prepare, the Tide landed two ESPN 300 QBs. Eli Holstein, a one-time Texas A&M commit, is an accurate passer with good arm strength and mobility for his size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds). Dylan Lonergan, who is also a very talented baseball prospect, is a poised and promising QB as well.