Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2018

Where does your team rank in terms of talent heading into 2018?

Recruiting is the foundation for winning national championships, competing for CFB Playoff berths or winning at a high level in college football. While recruiting rankings aren’t 100 percent accurate, there is plenty of truth in the rankings and evaluations by the experts. Additionally, with advances in technology to watch more prospects, along with more offseason camps, the rankings for prospects and classes as a whole are more accurate than they were just a few years ago. Since the start of the CFB Playoff era, all four champions have come from teams ranked inside of the top eight in overall roster talent. It’s no secret what a program needs in order to win big at this level. Great coaching, support staffs, state-of-the-art training facilities and luck certainly helps, but talent on the roster provides a significant head start in the race to win it all each season. 

 

Just how important are recruiting rankings and the overall talent evaluation? Alabama (No. 1) and Georgia (No. 3) played for the national championship in 2017. Additionally, the Crimson Tide, Ohio State and Florida State have combined for seven out of the last nine college football national championships. Alabama - the No. 1 team in roster talent - has won five titles since 2009.

 

Below are the national recruiting ranking averages for the Power 5 schools, Notre Dame and BYU over the last five classes according to 247Sports Team Composite rankings and each team's record over the last five seasons. Obviously, this doesn't take into account attrition. However, with a five-year window in place, this should be considered relatively even across the conference.

 

By Conference: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2018 
RK Team   18 17 '16 '15 '14 Avg W/L Conf.
1 Alabama 7 1 1 1 1 2.2 64-7 36-4
2 Ohio State 2 2 4 7 3 3.6 61-8 39-3
3 Georgia 1 3 7 5 8 4.8 49-18 27-13
4 Florida State 11 6 2 3 4 5.2 54-13 30-10
5 USC 4 4 8 2 10 5.6 48-20 33-12
6 LSU 15 7 3 6 2 6.6 44-19 25-15
7 Auburn 12 9 9 8 6 8.8 45-22 25-15
8 Clemson 6 16 10 9 17 11.6 61-9 35-5
9 Notre Dame 10 11 15 13 11 12.0 41-23 -
10 Tennessee 20 17 14 4 7 12.4 34-29 14-26
11 Texas A&M 17 12 18 11 5 12.6 40-25 19-21
12 Oklahoma 9 8 20 14 14 13.0 53-13 37-8
13 Texas 3 26 11 10 16 13.2 31-32 24-21
14 Florida 14 10 13 21 9 13.4 34-28 23-17
15 Penn State 5 15 19 15 24 15.6 43-22 25-17
16T Miami 8 13 21 26 12 16.0 42-23 25-15
16T UCLA 18 20 12 12 18 16.0 38-26 23-22
18 Michigan 21 5 5 37 20 17.6 40-24 24-18
19 Ole Miss 31 30 6 17 15 19.8 38-25 19-21
20 Oregon 16 19 28 16 21 20.0 44-22 28-17
21 South Carolina 19 21 26 19 19 20.8 36-28 18-22
22 Stanford 39 14 16 24 13 21.2 50-18 33-12
23 Washington 13 22 29 27 37 25.6 46-21 28-17
24T Nebraska 22 23 24 30 36 27.0 37-27 22-20
24T Mississippi State 27 24 31 18 35 27.0 41-24 20-20
26 Michigan State 32 35 22 22 25 27.2 49-17 30-12
27T North Carolina 23 27 35 28 31 28.8 35-30 22-18
27T Arizona State 37 37 27 20 23 28.8 38-27 26-19
29 Virginia Tech 24 25 41 29 27 29.2 41-25 23-17
30 Baylor 30 39 17 36 26 29.6 40-24 26-19
31 Arkansas 55 28 25 23 29 32.0 29-34 11-29
32 Kentucky 38 29 34 38 22 32.2 26-36 12-28
33 TCU 25 31 23 42 43 32.8 44-21 28-17
34 Louisville 29 32 37 32 45 35.0 46-19 28-12
35 Maryland 28 18 42 49 40 35.4 27-36 13-29
36 Oklahoma State 33 38 44 39 28 36.4 47-18 31-14
37 Wisconsin 44 40 32 40 33 37.8 54-14 35-7
38 NC State 26 52 49 31 34 38.4 34-30 15-25
39 Pitt 46 34 30 47 44 40.2 34-30 21-19
40 West Virginia 35 57 39 35 38 40.8 36-28 23-22
41 Missouri 42 50 53 25 39 41.8 39-26 21-19
42 Utah 34 33 36 45 67 43.0 40-24 21-24
43 Arizona 58 45 43 43 30 43.8 35-30 20-25
44 California 43 70 38 34 54 47.8 24-37 12-33
45 Washington State 45 44 55 41 55 48.0 35-29 25-20
46 Texas Tech 74 51 45 33 42 49.0 30-33 16-29
47 Iowa 40 41 46 60 59 49.2 43-23 27-15
48 Vanderbilt 41 64 54 46 46 50.2 27-35 10-30
49 Duke 61 47 33 51 60 50.4 38-27 19-21
50 Georgia Tech 51 46 59 44 56 51.2 35-28 20-20
51 Northwestern 59 48 51 54 47 51.8 37-26 22-20
52T Virginia 64 56 60 50 32 52.4 19-42 10-30
52T Minnesota 36 58 48 63 57 52.4 36-28 18-24
54 Indiana 48 63 56 52 48 53.4 26-36 12-30
55 Syracuse 50 55 66 58 50 55.8 22-39 11-29
56T Iowa State 53 53 52 66 58 56.4 19-42 11-34
56T Rutgers 57 42 74 56 53 56.4 24-38 10-32
58T Illinois 54 43 71 48 72 57.6 20-41 8-34
58T Oregon State 69 49 46 61 63 57.6 19-42 9-36
60 Wake Forest 60 65 58 53 65 60.2 25-37 11-29
61 Colorado 52 36 69 71 74 60.4 25-38 12-33
62 Kansas State 68 60 73 55 49 61.0 40-25 26-19
63 Boston College 67 66 75 62 52 64.4 31-33 14-26
64 BYU 78 67 50 64 66 65.0 38-26 -
65 Purdue 49 71 80 65 69 66.8 16-45 7-35
66 Kansas 62 68 89 74 51 68.8 9-51 3-42

 

Conference Data
Conference Avg. Class Rank Teams in Top 25*
37.4 (14 teams) 3
39.4 (10 teams) 2
38.6 (14 teams) 4
33.8 (12 teams) 5
19.1 (14 teams) 10
*Top 25 classes also include Notre Dame

 

Recruiting Talent Translates Into Playoff Berths

Since the start of the BCS era (1998), no team ranked lower than 16th in this year’s roster rankings have claimed a national championship. Of course, the data has changed a bit since 1998, and the overall outlook for some programs has been altered in recent years, but as expected, teams need to rank high in recruiting in order to compete for the national title. Three of the lowest teams to win a national title since 1998 – Miami, Florida and Texas – are due to rebound in the roster rankings over the next five years.

 

During the playoff era, only one team to make the top four – Michigan State – ranked outside of the top 25 of the roster rankings. And the four champions – Alabama (twice), Ohio State and Clemson – all ranked inside of the top eight. If a program is unable to recruit at an elite level, specializing in talent development (Michigan State), having one of the nation’s best coaches (Washington) or a Heisman Trophy winner/elite player (Deshaun Watson) at quarterback (Oregon) helps to level the playing field.

 

Takeaways from Roster Rankings

 

* For the third year in a row, Alabama and Ohio State claim the top two spots in the roster rankings.

 

* The SEC has half (five) of the top-10 teams in terms of roster talent.

 

* No SEC team ranks below 50 in the overall rankings, and 10 of the league’s 14 programs ranks inside of the top 25.

 

* Five out of the top eight teams in the roster rankings have claimed a spot in the CFB Playoff.

 

* Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and USC are the only teams to record a class of 10th or better every year from 2014-18.

 

* Georgia continues to climb in annual roster rankings. After inking the No. 1 class in 2018, the Bulldogs’ five-year average is 4.8 – up from seven last year.

 

* Penn State is another team on the move in the roster rankings. Prior to the 2016 season, the Nittany Lions tied for 26th on this list. After the 2018 signing class, coach James Franklin’s team has climbed to No. 15 nationally. In three out of the last four classes, the Nittany Lions have inked a haul inside of the top 15.

 

* LSU’s No. 6 rank on this list is the lowest mark since Athlon started this article as an annual exercise in 2014.

 

* Seven of the top eight teams in roster rankings have won a national championship since the BCS era (1998).

 

* Tennessee has the fewest wins (34) of the teams that ranked inside of the top 10 nationally in recruiting rankings from 2014-18.

 

* USC checks in at No. 5 on the roster rankings, but the Trojans are the only team from the Pac-12 inside of the top 15.

 

* Of the teams outside of the top 25 in the roster rankings, Wisconsin (54 wins) is the most successful program over the last five years. Only four other teams – Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State – have 54 or more wins in that span.

 

* Oklahoma’s recruiting has been on the upswing over the last two years. The Sooners have inked back-to-back classes inside of the top 10 after averaging a 16th place finish nationally from 2014-16.

 

* Texas No. 3 class in 2018 is its first top-five haul since 2012.

 

* Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has made a significant impact on the recruiting trail during his first two years in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers inked a No. 71 class in 2017 (up from No. 80 in 2016) but improved to No. 49 nationally in 2018.

 

* P.J. Fleck’s first chance to recruit an entire year at Minnesota paid big dividends for the Golden Gophers. The No. 36 class was Minnesota’s best over the last five seasons.

 

* Since reeling in the No. 6 overall class in 2016, Ole Miss’ last two hauls have ranked No. 30 (2017) and No. 31 (2018).

Event Date: 
Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 02:37

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