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Athlon continues its look at the nation's top recruiting classes from 2011.
-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Athlon begins its look at the nation's top recruiting classes from 2011. Today, the countdown starts with classes 21-30. Individual names listed below were "nationally rated" recruits. A nationally rated recruit is anyone who received at least one Athlon Consensus 100 vote. There were 269 in 2011.
11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23 signees - 5 AC100)
Click above for my analysis of the Irish class.
No. 22 Aaron Lynch, DE (Cape Coral, Fla.)
No. 27 Ishaq Williams, DE (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
No. 40 Ben Koyack, TE (Oil City, Pa. - pictured)
No. 41 Matt Hegarty, OL (Aztec, N.M.)
No. 45 Stephon Tuitt, DE (Monroe, Ga.)
No. 105 DaVaris Daniels, WR (Vernon Hills, Ill.)
No. 149 George Atkinson, ATH (Livermore, Calif.)
No. 164 Ben Councell, DE (Ashville, N.C.)
No. 194 Troy Niklas, OL (Anaheim, Calif.)
No. 223 Conor Hanratty, OL (New Canaan, Conn.)
No. 239 Anthony Rabasa, DE (Miami, Fla.)
12. Florida Gators (19 signees – 3 AC100)
This Gator class does not have the star power of the last Florida hauls, but bleeding hearts do not need to be shipped to Gainesville just yet. The nation’s No. 1 quarterback, Jeff Driskel, steps onto campus with a chance to push the incumbents (all three of them) for playing time.
As usual, Urba – uh, Will Muschamp – focused inward on the Sunshine State and locked up 12 (of his 17) signees from in-state. It was a great year in the state, even more so than normal, and names like Driskel, Blakely, Leonard, Roberson, Story and Saunders make that clear in 2011.
Defensive back was a huge area of concern and the Gators landed one of the best DB classes in the nation. Led by Marcus Roberson and Louchiez Purifoy, the secondary class is six deep with plenty of versatility for the new Gator staff.
No. 17 Jeff Driskel, QB (Oviedo, Fla.)
No. 67 Mike Blakely, RB (Bradenton, Fla.)
No. 73 A.C. Leonard, ATH (Jacksonville, Fla.)
No. 106 Marcus Roberson, DB (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
No. 132 Ja’Juan Story, WR (Brooksville, Fla.)
No. 138 De’Ante Saunders, ATH (Deland, Fla.)
No. 142 Jacoby Brissett, QB (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
No. 182 Javares McRoy, WR (Lakeland, Fla.)
No. 187 Jabari Gorman, LB (Miami, Fla.)
No. 257 Trip Thurman, OL (Dover, Del.)
No. 264 Louchiez Purifoy, DB (Pensacola, Fla.)
13. Cal Golden Bears (22 signees – 3 AC100)
One of the most underrated recruiting jobs of this season was Jeff Tedford and the Cal Golden Bears. Three AC100 talents, and 11 nationally rated recuits top a deep and talented haul for a team that struggled mightily on the field in 2010. Five stellar defensive line signees – including four nationally rated players – add tremendous size and depth to the front line. A three-man running back class should provide the next in what has been a very long line of incredibly productive tailbacks at Cal (headed by AC100 talent Brendon Bigelow). The secondary also got plenty of focus as at least four, and potentially six, new faces slated to play in the defensive backfield.
No. 45 Viliami Moala, DT, Cal (Sacramento, Calif.)
No. 87 Brendon Bigelow, RB (Fresno, Calif.)
No. 90 Todd Barr, DT (Lakewood, Calif.)
No. 137 Brennan Scarlett, DE (Portland, Ore.)
No. 143 Avery Walls, S (McDonough, Ga.)
No. 145 Stefan McClure, DB (Vista, Calif.)
No. 162 Mustafa Jalil, DT (San Diego, Calif.)
No. 169 Maurice Harris, WR (Greensboro, N.C.)
No. 190 Jason Gibson, LB (Gardena, Calif.)
No. 230 Jordan Rigsbee, OL (Chico, Calif.)
No. 232 Kyle Boehm, QB (San Jose, Calif.)
14. Oklahoma Sooners (17 signees – 3 AC100)
This was not a vintage Sooner class – as the sheer number limits its upside. But the quality remains the same for Bob Stoops. The defensive line got a lot of help with three nationally rated tackles and one end. The highest ranked prospects in this class, however, will have their hands on the ball as wideout Trey Metoyer and running back Brandon Wililams upgrade the skill positions. Look for scholarship numbers to be back up again next year. Much like Ohio State last year, there is nothing to worry about in Norman - they might have landed an athlete or two.
Nationally rated recruits:
No. 20 Trey Metoyer, WR (Whitehouse, Texas)
No. 21 Brandon Williams, RB (Brookshire, Texas)
No. 91 Jordan Phillips, DT (Towanda, Kansas)
No. 129 Nathan Hughes, DE (Klein, Texas)
No. 163 Danzel Williams, ATH (Arlington, Texas)
No. 176 Marquis Anderson, DT (Cibolo, Texas)
No. 217 Jordan Wade, DT (Round Rock, Texas)
No. 220 Dylan Dismuke, OL (Duncan, Okla.)
15. South Carolina Gamecocks (31 signees – 2 AC100)
It only took half of a decade, but Steve Spurrier is starting to flex his muscle on the recruiting trail. After keeping Marcus Lattimore at home, Spurrier landed the nation’s No. 1 in Jadeveon Clowney. This was a huge recruiting coup and further speaks to the Gamecocks ability to recruit against the traditional powers of the SEC.
In terms of size, this is one of the biggest classes in the nation. And with a class of this size, comes tremendous balance and depth. Every level of the defense will be getting at least five players – five DBs, two DEs, four DT and five LBs. The six-man offensive line group (hopefully) solves the blocking issues the other USC has had for decades.
Other than Damiere Byrd, the offensive skill guys lacked star power but have plenty of potential. With elite playmakers already featured on this offense, the new faces will have plenty of time to develop.
No. 1 Jadeveon Clowney, DE (Rock Hill, S.C.)
No. 65 Brandon Shell, OL (Charleston, S.C.)
No. 188 Phillip Dukes, DT (Manning, S.C.)
No. 224 Sheldon Royster, S (Jersey City, N.J.)
No. 250 Damiere Byrd, WR (Sicklerville, N.J.)
16. Tennessee Volunteers (27 signees – 2 AC100)
Derek Dooley and the Vols staff closed well, building upon the late recruiting momentum from the 2010 class (reports indicate that Tennessee could be in a for a huge 2012 class). The states of Georgia and Florida were very kind to the Big Orange, supplying 13 of the 27 signees. All told, Dooley used nine states.
With recent news about one particular starting defensive back, finding depth in the secondary was key. This five man DB class could easily grow to as many as eight if the “athletes” end up on defense. Three defensive tackles and running backs each also add depth to two major positions of need. Six offensive lineman, headlined by Nashville AC100 talent Antonio Richardson, help what was an already very young group. In very similar fashion, the linebackers (who will be very young in 2011) get plenty of help from nationally rated tackles Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson.
No. 56 DeAnthony Arnett, WR (Saginaw, Mich. - pictured)
No. 68 Antonio Richardson, OL (Nashville, Tenn.)
No. 112 Marlin Lane, RB (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
No. 151 Marcus Jackson, OL (Vero Beach, Fla.)
No. 153 Curt Maggitt, LB (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
No. 166 A.J. Johnson, LB (Gainesville, Fla.)
No. 186 Cameron Clear, OL/TE (Memphis, Tenn.)
17. Nebraska Cornhuskers (19 signees – 3 AC100)
Athleticism should not be a problem at quarterback for Nebraska. Jamal Turner and Bubba Starling, two of the top ten quarterback recruits in the nation, are tremendous athletes who could end up playing a variety of positions (or even sports) if they do not stick at quarterback. Aaron Green is the nation's No. 4 running back, and along with five stellar offensive lineman and two athletic quarterbacks, the ground attack for Big Red should be just fine.
Bo Pelini used nine different states to compile his 19-man class, including powerhouses Ohio, Florida, Texas and California.
No. 25 Aaron Green, RB (San Antonio, Texas)
No. 85 Jamal Turner, QB/ATH (Arlington, Texas)
No. 100 Tyler Moore, OL (Clearwater, Fla.)
No. 101 Charles Jackson, CB (Klein, Texas)
No. 116 Bubba Starling, QB/ATH (Gardner, Kan.)
No. 251 Todd Peat, DT (Tempe, Ariz.)
18. North Carolina Tar Heels (25 signees – 1 AC100)
Despite a tumultuous season and a seat that continues to increase in temperature, Butch Davis still managed to land a great class. He has been able to recruit nationally for years, and in 2011, Davis pulled the top four players in this class from outside of the Tar Heel State. Other than defensive back – which clearly got more attention (six signees) – every position is evenly represented. Two TEs, three RBs, three OLs, two LBs, two DEs, four DTs, one QB and one WR fill the 25-man class.
No. 83 Kiaro Holts, OL (Indianapolis, Ind.)
No. 102 Travis Hughes, LB (Virginia Beach, Va.)
No. 119 Delvon Simmons, DT (McKeesport, Pa.)
No. 128 Landon Turner, OL (Harrisonburg, Va.)
No. 173 T.J. Thorpe, ATH (Durham, N.C.)
No. 218 Marquise Williams, QB (Charlotte, N.C.)
No. 261 DeVonte Brown, DT (Fayetteville, N.C.)
19. Stanford Cardinal (19 signees – 2 AC100)
It will be interesting to see just how much Jim Harbaugh meant to Stanford recruiting. In a short period of time, he elevated Stanford to national recruiting power. This class, with nationally rated stars from Georgia, Florida and Colorado, is once again a diverse collection of new faces from across the fruited plains. Recruiting nationally is nothing new for the smart kids from Palo Alto, but Harbaugh took it to another level. This class used 13 different states with no more than five players coming from any one state (CA). Stanford closed well and posted an excellent class, but the true barometer will be in 2012.
20. Washington Huskies (23 signees – 2 AC100)
Steve Sarkisian is to Washington what Kelly, Harbaugh and Kiffin have been to their respective programs. He immediately upgraded the standing of the program in the minds of recruits everywhere. Most importantly, however, he has locked down the Evergreen State. All four nationally rated recruits – and five others – from in the state of Washington signed with the Huskies. Keeping in-state talent at home will be key for the future of Sarkisian’s squad. This class is long on offensive skill players: two QBs, two RBs, an elite TE and four WRs - including AC100 star Kasen Williams.
No. 33 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
No. 57 Kasen Williams, WR (Sammamish, Wash.)
No. 229 James Sample, DB (Sacramento, Calif.)
No. 235 Danny Shelton, DT (Auburn, Wash.)
No. 268 Bishop Sankey, RB (Spokane, Wash.)