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Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2019

Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Recruiting is the foundation for winning national championships, competing for CFB Playoff berths or performing 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 five 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 (and player development) 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) has won five national championships since 2009. Additionally, the Crimson Tide, Georgia and Ohio State - the top three teams in this metric - have all played for or won a national title in the CFB Playoff era. Three teams from the SEC rank inside of the top four for 2019, with Ohio State (No. 3) and USC (No. 5) rounding out the top five. 

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 2019

Rk

Team

 

Conf

19

18

17

16

15

Avg

W/L

Conf. W/L

1

Alabama

SEC

1

7

1

1

1

2.2

67-6

37-3

2

Georgia

SEC

2

1

3

7

5

3.6

52-16

29-11

3

Ohio State

Big Ten

14

2

2

4

7

5.8

62-7

39-4

4

LSU

SEC

5

15

7

3

6

7.2

44-19

25-15

5

USC

Pac-12

20

4

4

8

2

7.6

43-23

31-14

6

Florida State

ACC

18

11

6

2

3

8

45-20

25-15

7

Auburn

SEC

11

12

9

9

8

9.8

41-25

21-19

8

Clemson

ACC

10

6

16

10

9

10.2

65-7

36-4

9

Texas

Big 12

3

3

26

11

10

10.6

33-31

24-21

10

Oklahoma

Big 12

6

9

8

20

14

11.4

54-13

38-7

11

Texas A&M

SEC

4

17

12

18

11

12.4

40-25

20-20

12

Notre Dame

Ind

15

10

11

15

13

12.8

44-20

 

13T

Florida

SEC

9

14

10

13

21

13.4

40-23

25-15

13T

Tennessee

SEC

12

20

17

14

4

13.4

34-29

14-26

13T

Penn State

Big Ten

13

5

15

19

15

13.4

45-21

27-16

16

Michigan

Big Ten

8

21

5

5

37

15.2

43-21

29-14

17

Oregon

Pac-12

7

16

19

28

16

17.2

42-24

26-19

18

Miami

ACC

28

8

13

21

26

19.2

40-25

24-16

19

South Carolina

SEC

17

19

21

26

19

20.4

32-32

16-24

20T

Ole Miss

SEC

22

31

30

6

17

21.2

35-27

17-23

20T

UCLA

Pac-12

44

18

20

12

12

21.2

31-32

20-25

22

Washington

Pac-12

16

13

22

29

27

21.4

47-21

30-15

23

Stanford

Pac-12

21

39

14

16

24

22.8

48-19

32-13

24

Nebraska

Big Ten

19

22

23

24

30

23.6

32-31

20-23

25

Mississippi State

SEC

24

27

24

31

18

24.8

42-23

21-19

26

Michigan State

Big Ten

30

32

35

22

22

28.2

43-22

27-16

27T

Virginia Tech

ACC

26

24

25

41

29

29

39-27

22-18

27T

North Carolina

ACC

32

23

27

35

28

29

30-33

19-21

29

Arizona State

Pac-12

31

37

37

27

20

30.4

35-29

23-22

30T

Arkansas

SEC

23

55

28

25

23

30.8

28-35

11-29

30T

TCU

Big 12

33

25

31

23

42

30.8

47-19

30-15

32

Baylor

Big 12

35

30

39

17

36

31.4

36-28

22-23

33

Kentucky

SEC

34

38

29

34

38

34.6

34-29

17-23

34T

Maryland

Big Ten

46

28

18

42

49

36.6

25-37

13-30

34T

Wisconsin

Big Ten

27

44

40

32

40

36.6

53-15

34-9

36

NC State

ACC

29

26

52

49

31

37.4

40-25

20-20

37T

Oklahoma State

Big 12

37

33

38

44

39

38.2

44-21

27-18

37T

Utah

Pac-12

43

34

33

36

45

38.2

44-22

25-20

39

Louisville

ACC

72

29

32

37

32

40.4

36-28

21-19

40

Missouri

SEC

36

42

50

53

25

41.2

35-29

18-22

41

Pitt

ACC

55

46

34

30

47

42.4

34-31

24-16

42

West Virginia

Big 12

49

35

57

39

35

43

40-24

27-18

43

California

Pac-12

41

43

70

38

34

45.2

30-32

16-29

44

Iowa

Big Ten

40

40

41

46

60

45.4

44-22

27-16

45

Duke

ACC

47

61

47

33

51

47.8

36-28

16-24

46

Arizona

Pac-12

56

58

45

43

43

49

32-32

20-25

47

Minnesota

Big Ten

42

36

58

48

63

49.4

35-29

17-26

48

Washington State

Pac-12

64

45

44

55

41

49.8

40-24

28-17

49

Georgia Tech

ACC

52

51

46

59

44

50.4

35-28

20-20

50

Indiana

Big Ten

38

48

63

56

52

51.4

26-36

11-32

51T

Northwestern

Big Ten

51

59

48

51

54

52.6

41-24

29-14

51T

Vanderbilt

SEC

58

41

64

54

46

52.6

24-28

9-31

53

Virginia

ACC

39

64

56

60

50

53.8

25-37

14-26

54

Texas Tech

Big 12

67

74

51

45

33

54

27-35

15-30

55

Iowa State

Big 12

48

53

53

52

66

54.4

24-38

15-30

56

Colorado

Pac-12

45

52

36

69

71

54.6

26-37

13-32

57

Illinois

Big Ten

63

54

43

71

48

55.8

20-41

9-34

58

Syracuse

ACC

53

50

55

66

58

56.4

25-36

13-27

59T

Purdue

Big Ten

25

49

71

80

65

58

21-41

12-31

59T

Wake Forest

ACC

54

60

65

58

53

58

28-35

12-28

59T

Rutgers

Big Ten

61

57

42

74

56

58

19-42

7-36

62

Oregon State

Pac-12

68

69

49

46

61

58.6

14-46

6-39

63

Kansas State

Big 12

62

68

60

73

55

63.6

37-27

24-21

64

Boston College

ACC

60

67

66

75

62

66

31-32

14-26

65

BYU

Ind

79

78

67

50

64

67.6

37-27

 

66

Kansas

Big 12

65

62

68

89

74

71.6

9-51

3-42

Conference Data

Takeaways from Roster Rankings

* The SEC claims three out of the top four teams in the roster rankings for 2019.

* Additionally, seven other SEC teams rank inside of the top 25 in roster rankings, including Auburn (No. 7), Texas A&M (No. 11) and Florida and Tennessee tied for No. 13.

* Alabama has signed the No. 1 class in four out of the last five years (2015-19).

* Georgia was No. 5 in the roster rankings prior to the 2016 season. However, thanks to elite recruiting by coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs have climbed to No. 2 overall. Georgia has not inked a class lower than third nationally over the last three years.

* Florida State ranked No. 3 among rosters prior to the 2016 season but has slipped to No. 6. Additionally, the gap between the Seminoles and Clemson has decreased. The Tigers ranked No. 12 prior to ’16 but are No. 8 nationally headed into ’19.

* USC is the only Pac-12 team ranked inside of the top 15 for the roster rankings. The Trojans No. 20 class in 2019 is the lowest over the last five hauls.

* Texas and Oklahoma are the only teams from the Big 12 inside of the top 25 of the roster rankings.

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* Assuming Michigan signs a class in the top 10-15 next season, coach Jim Harbaugh’s team should jump in this ranking. The Wolverines have averaged a 9.75 finish over their last four hauls. However, the overall average is dragged down by a No. 37 class in 2015.

* Notre Dame has not inked a class lower than No. 15 in each of the last five years. The Fighting Irish have yet to sign a class ranked higher than No. 10 in that stretch.

* Oregon’s No. 7 class in 2019 helped coach Mario Cristobal’s team jump from No. 20 nationally in the roster rankings last fall to No. 17 this season.

* Since inking the No. 6 class in 2016, Ole Miss’ last three hauls have averaged a No. 28 finish.

* UCLA has fallen from No. 13 in roster rankings prior to the 2016 season to No. 20 going into ’19.

* According to the numbers, TCU and Wisconsin consistently outperform their recruiting rankings. The Horned Frogs are tied for 30th but are 47-19 overall since 2015. The Badgers are tied for 34th but are 53-15 since ’15. Only four teams – Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma – have more wins than Wisconsin over that span.

* Washington State is another team that continues to outperform its recruiting ranking. The Cougars are 40-24 since 2015 and rank No. 48 in terms of roster talent.

* Minnesota ranked No. 56 in this article prior to the 2016 season but has climbed to No. 47. That’s due to improved recruiting by coach P.J. Fleck, as the Golden Gophers reeled in the No. 36 class in 2018 and the No. 42 haul in ’19.

* Duke has been on a steady climb up this list over the last few years. After ranking No. 54 prior to the 2016 season, the Blue Devils are up to No. 45.

* Virginia inked the No. 39 class in 2019, which is the best of coach Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure and the program’s highest rank since a No. 32 haul in ’14.

* Only one team (Michigan State) has ranked outside of the top 25 in roster rankings and earned a trip to the CFB Playoff.

* The roster rankings indicate Utah is fourth in talent among teams in the Pac-12 South, but coach Kyle Whittingham’s program has outperformed Arizona State and UCLA in conference play from 2015-18. Additionally, the Utes have more overall wins (44) than USC (43) in that span.

* Since the start of the BCS Era (1998), no team ranked lower than 18th (Miami) has claimed a national championship.

* Purdue averaged a No. 72 finish from 2015-17 but has improved that total to No. 37 over the last two years.