The release of the first College Football Playoff rankings has several fan bases excited for the home stretch of the 2022 season, but all programs are also keeping an eye on the future. As the December early signing period quickly approaches, key commitments and an increase in decommitments are generating movement in the class rankings, including inside the top 10.
Miami hasn't signed a top-five class in well over a decade, but first-year head coach Mario Cristobal has the Hurricanes in contention to do so. With a class already anchored by No. 1 OT Francis Mauigoa, they were able to add top-rated CB Cormani McClain, making Miami one of only three programs with multiple five-star commits. The impactful in-state verbal gives them a lengthy, smooth and confident corner with good speed and quickness to lock receivers down; he can be physical in his play as well.
Florida lost out on McClain but is still assembling a strong defensive back class after adding high three-star safety Bryce Thornton and ESPN 300 top-10 CB Dijon Johnson. Helping the Gators rise in the rankings, they also flipped top-five OG Roderick Kearney from Florida State. A powerful and tenacious blocker, Kearney has the tools to be a multiyear starter for the Gators.
As Nebraska battles another potential losing season and navigates a coaching transition, the Cornhuskers got a positive boost on the recruiting trail. Interim head coach Mickey Joseph was able to keep local ESPN 300 ATH Malachi Coleman at home despite the coaching uncertainty. Coleman possesses an outstanding blend of size (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) and speed that could allow him to develop into a disruptive EDGE defender or big-play receiving target. Whether Nebraska can build off that commitment remains to be seen, but for now, it gives the Huskers enough to move inside the top 40.
Big commitments have spurred changes in the class rankings, but several top uncommitted prospects are poised to further shake things up over the final months. Four five-stars remain undeclared, including CB Desmond Ricks, who recently reclassified from 2024 to the 2023 class. Now the No. 2-ranked corner, Ricks is a fluid defender with elite length who is considering programs such as Alabama, Florida and LSU. His commitment is an example of one that can still impact the class rankings.
ESPN 300 commits: 18 | Previous ranking: 1
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.