The last time Alabama finished with the top recruiting class in the nation, the Tide went on to win that year’s BcS title. The question after Signing Day 2011 is, can history repeat itself?
For the second time in three years, and barring any last-minute tweaking by the recruiting service, the Crimson Tide have claimed Rivals‘ mythical title of the country’s top recruiting class. ‘Bama came into the day in the same position, and held off a late charge from USC that wasn’t stemmed until the Trojans lost five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas to Oregon. USC tentatively finished with the No. 4 class.
Florida State (No. 1 in ESPN’s rankings) and Texas flipped positions from where they started today, with the Seminoles finishing No. 2 and the Longhorns No. 3. Georgia rounded out the top five with their highest finish since coming in at No. 4 in 2006.
LSU, Auburn (No. 1 in Scout.com rankings), Clemson — which had arguably the best day of any school in the country, all things considered — Oregon and Notre Dame (No. 1 in MaxPreps rankings) were Nos. 6-10. Clemson and Oregon earned their first top 10 rankings in Rivals history.
All told, the SEC, as expected, dominated the upper echelon of the rankings, putting a staggering nine of their 12 schools inside the Top 25. Eight of those were Top 20 schools. The Pac-10 and ACC were next with five and four, respectively, while the Big Ten — which included Nebraska — and Big 12 had three each.
At the opposite end of the spectrum were the schools from the non-automatic qualifying conferences. TCU (No. 26) and Utah (No. 37) were the highest-ranked non-AQs, and both of those schools are headed for one of the Big Six conferences — the Utes to the Pac-10 this year, the Horned Frogs to the Big East in 2012. SMU is the only school that will be in a non-AQ conference in ’12 ranked in the Top 50 — and they came in at No. 50.
Oh, and the Big East? Their best finish in the rankings was Louisville at No. 30. The conference, which is still an automatic BcS qualifier, saw just four of their eight schools finish inside the Top 50.
For the complete list of rankings, visit Rivals.com HERE.