2022 men's college basketball recruiting class rankings: Duke, Kentucky have competition in top three

Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman landed two top-10 prospects to push the Razorbacks inside the top three of the 2022 class rankings. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

For most of the past couple of months, it looked like there were just two schools with any chance at the No. 1 men's basketball recruiting class in the country: Duke and Kentucky. The Blue Devils and Wildcats had returned to the top of the pecking order after a couple of seasons away, and the two recruiting powerhouses were poised to battle for the next few months.

Then coach Eric Musselman came crashing through the door, landing two top-10 prospects in a three-week span and vaulting Arkansas to the No. 2 spot in the rankings. Nick Smith was the top uncommitted player in the country in late September; he picked the Razorbacks. With Smith off the board, Jordan Walsh became the top uncommitted player. Then 2½ weeks later, he committed to Arkansas.

Those commitments -- the two highest-ranked Arkansas recruits since the ESPN recruiting database started in 2007 -- throws a wrench into the Duke-Kentucky battle at the top, as does the news that Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 1 recruit in the class, could opt to enroll at Kentucky for the second semester. If that happens, Sharpe comes out of Kentucky's 2022 class and the Wildcats would see their ranking fall. Throw in the fact that J.J. Starling, Duke's top-ranked remaining target, committed to Notre Dame, and there might be more No. 1 suspense than we expected.

With the early signing period less than a month away, here are four recruitments to watch in the race for the No. 1 class: