2023 football recruiting class recap: Winners, sleepers, top schools

Malachi Nelson, Jackson Arnold & Arch Manning ESPN Illustration, images courtesy Elijah Hernandez, ThreeStep Sports

College football's 2023 recruiting cycle has all but come to an end after February's national signing day.

Alabama finished with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class for the eighth time since Nick Saban took over as head coach, and this class could be his biggest yet: five five-star recruits, 13 prospects ranked in the top 50 and 23 ranked in the ESPN 300.

Four quarterbacks are in the top five overall, led by Malachi Nelson, who initially committed to Oklahoma in July 2021 but decommitted and flipped to USC in November 2021, days after Lincoln Riley's coaching change.

But perhaps no quarterback drew as much attention as Arch Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl champions Peyton and Eli. Manning, who broke his uncles' Isidore Newman (Louisiana) School records, committed to Texas in June 2022, shortly after the Longhorns spent $280,000 on the recruiting trip when Manning came to visit.

December brought its share of chaos as well. Dante Moore, the No. 2 quarterback in the class, flipped from Oregon to UCLA, while top-10 offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor flipped from Iowa to Alabama. On the first day of the early signing period, five-star safety Peyton Bowen flipped from Notre Dame to Oregon, only to flip his commitment again the following day by signing with Oklahoma.

Top-50 quarterback Jaden Rashada flipped from Miami to Florida and signed with the Gators, but he was released from his national letter of intent less than two weeks ago after his reported $13.5 million name, image and likeness deal fell through. On signing day, he made his destination final, announcing he will join Arizona State.

The cycle is still not technically 100% complete. Duce Robinson, the No. 1 tight end who is ranked No. 40 overall, did not sign a letter of intent on Wednesday. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Robinson, who is also a coveted baseball prospect, told "College Football Live: Signing Day Special" he plans on playing college football but still needed more time to decide where.

"The plan is fluid," Robinson said. "I plan on making a decision at some point, hopefully before move-in day ... and seeing where the [MLB] draft will take us from there."

With most of the dust settled, our reporters break down the biggest takeaways from the 2023 recruiting cycle, from how good Alabama's class will be to the prospects who will impact college football immediately.

Jump to:
Signing day winners | No. 1 class
Arch Manning's outlook at Texas
Teams hitting needs | Coaching victories
Impact freshmen | Sleepers

Who won the February signing period?