Judging five key college football recruiting overreactions

Recruiting in college football can bring high emotions and strong opinions from each fan base, which also means there can be some overreactions.

Whether they're positive or negative, some opinions can paint an accurate picture, while others can be exaggerated. There are still five months until the early signing period, but some major storylines are starting to unfold.

Maybe it's Georgia's loaded class looking to take down Alabama's crown of recruiting champion. Maybe it's one school supposedly running away in a three-team battle in the Big Ten. Maybe it's an SEC team on the precipice of falling off the edge.

Here is a look at five storylines in the recruiting world and whether or not they carry a lot of weight or if they are overreactions.

Georgia will finish with the best class in the ESPN era

The Dawgs have the No. 1 class overall and have 19 ESPN 300 commitments this cycle, seven more than the next-closest program.

The Nos. 1 and 2 recruits in the class, cornerback Ellis Robinson IV and quarterback Dylan Raiola, are committed to Georgia, and the staff does not seem to be slowing down.

The verdict: Slight overreaction

Alabama has long been the standard for comparing historical recruiting classes in the ESPN 300 era. Since ESPN started ranking recruits in 2006, Alabama has typically dominated. In the 2023 cycle, Alabama had 23 ESPN 300 commitments, 15 of which were ranked in the top 100. That also included five commitments ranked as five-stars and 11 recruits ranked in the top five of their respective positions.

Let's not forget that Alabama's 2017 class, which totaled 21 ESPN 300 prospects out of 26 total signees, developed eight future first-round NFL draft picks, including Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith and Alex Leatherwood.

It seems very possible Kirby Smart and his staff could catch the 23 mark from Alabama's 2023 class. The coaches have two five-stars committed so far but are in the race for more, including defensive end Williams Nwaneri (No. 12), linebacker Justin Williams (No. 14) and athlete K.J. Bolden (No. 16). Getting two of those could help push the Dawgs into the conversation with past Alabama classes.

Of the current commits, 11 are ranked in the top 100 and seven are in the top five of their respective positions. It's not out of reach for Georgia to put together a historic class, but the way Alabama has recruited in the past, it just might be difficult to get the best ever.

This 2024 class will turn USC's defense around

The Trojans' defense ranked 106th of 131 FBS teams last season in yards allowed per game (423.9). They ranked 124th in yards allowed per play, No. 80 in rush yards allowed per game, No. 112 in pass yards allowed per game and No. 120 in offensive touchdowns allowed.

Compare that to the USC offense, which finished No. 3 in yards per game, pass yards per game and No. 4 in offensive points scored per game. The contrast between the two units is dramatic and was evident in the final game of the season when USC lost 46-45 to Tulane, allowing 32 points in the second half.

With that in mind, Lincoln Riley and his staff focused on defense through the transfer portal, landing Georgia defensive tackle Bear Alexander and Texas A&M defensive lineman Anthony Lucas, both former four-star recruits in the 2022 class, and along the recruiting trail.

The verdict: Not an overreaction

In the past, Riley's top recruits have generally been offensive prospects. USC's top five ranked commitments in the 2023 class were all on the offensive side, including two five-star wide receivers and No. 1 QB Malachi Nelson, but that is starting to change in 2024.

The top two recruits in this cycle are both defensive players in cornerback Dakoda Fields and defensive lineman Kameryn Fountain. Half of the 10 ESPN 300 commits are defensive players, and the staff likely isn't done yet.

USC is still in the running for linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa, and the Trojans are trying to flip Georgia safety commit Peyton Woodyard.

If the staff can add in a few more big playmakers on defense and fill more holes through the transfer portal, the Trojans should be on their way to creating a more well-rounded team.

It's time for Alabama to panic

Alabama is sitting at No. 13 in the class rankings right now and No. 5 in the SEC, trailing Georgia (No. 1), Florida (No. 2), LSU (No. 10) and South Carolina (No. 12).

Georgia, which is coming off back-to-back national championships and is seeking its eighth straight top-three class, has knocked the Crimson Tide off their pedestal and is aiming to take over as college football's premier school.

The verdict: Overreaction

The Crimson Tide have finished with the No. 1 overall class in 2023, 2021, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. Nick Saban knows how to recruit, and his staff has gone on a recent run, getting commitments from ESPN 300 corners Zabien Brown and Jameer Grimsley, as well as German linebacker Justin Okoronkwo, in July.

The coaches have gotten off to a slower start in the past, and quite frankly, a lot of the slower starts can be contributed to the fact that higher ranked players sometimes wait longer to decide. The staff is still in on ESPN 300 offensive lineman Casey Poe, ESPN 300 running back Daniel Hill, five-star receiver Micah Hudson and plenty of others. Nine of the top 16 recruits and 15 of the top 30 prospects are still uncommitted.

The staff is recruiting at a high level and while it might be sitting at No. 5 in the conference right now, Saban and his coaches are primed to have a big close for this cycle down the stretch.

The Aggies are in trouble

Texas A&M went 8-4 in 2021 and finished with the No. 1-ranked class in the 2022 cycle that was at the time heralded as one of the best classes ever.

Since then, the Aggies went 5-7 in 2022, finished with the No. 13 class in the 2023 cycle and have had 27 scholarship players enter the transfer portal since December. The staff currently has the No. 16 class overall in the 2024 cycle.

The verdict: Not an overreaction

There is little evidence thus far to show that things are turning around for Texas A&M on the field. The staff finished with 24 ESPN 300 commitments in the 2022 class, then had 10 in 2023 and now currently have six. That is a steady decline in the number of top recruits who are choosing Texas A&M over the past few years.

This class is not over, and It's certainly possible Texas A&M makes a push, especially after landing the No. 1 wide receiver, Cameron Coleman, last week, but the coaches currently have the No. 7 class in the SEC.

Texas and Oklahoma are set to join the conference as well, which will only make recruiting more competitive for the Aggies. The Longhorns can now tell in-state recruits they can choose Texas and play in the SEC, which the Aggies had been using as a recruiting tool prior to the latest realignment cycle.

Texas A&M is going to have to show improvement on the field if they want to stop the decline in recruiting.

Ohio State will run away with the best recruiting class in the Big Ten

The Buckeyes currently have the No. 3 overall class and the top class in the Big Ten. Ryan Day and his staff have had a ton of success in the 2024 cycle with 11 ESPN 300 commitments, including five-star wide receiver Jeremiah Smith and quarterback Air Noland.

The verdict: Overreaction

While Day is recruiting at a high level, Michigan and Penn State are right behind, as the Wolverines and Nittany Lions sit at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

The Buckeyes have 11 commits in the top 300, while Michigan has 12 and Penn State has 10. This has been as close of a race in the conference in quite some time, and either of the three teams could finish out front.

Ohio State is still in the mix for five-star defensive end Dylan Stewart, ESPN 300 defensive lineman Eddrick Houston and ESPN 300 cornerback Aaron Scott among a handful of others. The Wolverines are also in it for Scott, as well as ESPN 300 receiver Gatlin Bair, defensive end Brian Robinson and edge rusher Jacob Smith, among others.

The Nittany Lions are still in it for ESPN 300 linebacker Chris Cole, four-star linebacker Jaylen Harvey and plenty of other big-name recruits as well.

The race is hardly over, and Ohio State will have to battle to keep the top spot. In the bigger picture, the level of competition is a big win for the Big Ten, especially with USC and UCLA joining the league in 2024.