begin to officially welcome recruits and transfers for the 2023 cycle. Wednesday makes the start of the early signing period and the nation’s top 25 recruiting classes provide an early look at which programs could be in for big seasons in the coming years thanks to a talent infusion.
UCLA was recently bolstered the addition of 5-star quarterback Dante Moore, who was previously committed to Oregon before flipping to Chip Kelly and the Bruins. Of note, Arkansas is trying to salvage a top-20 class despite two coaching staff departures — defensive coordinator Barry Odom to UNLV and tight ends coach Dowell Loggains to South Carolina — and three decommitments leading into the early signing period. Over the weekend, the Razorbacks lost two three-star commits and four-star athlete Micah Tease.
Sonny Dykes and staff are doing everything they can to bank off this season’s heightened national notoriety and trip to the College Football Playoff with a top-20 class at this point. That group includes commitments from a quartet of four-stars from the transfer portal, including Alabama wideout Jojo Earle and Alabama offensive lineman Tommy Brockermeyer. The Horned Frogs might not be done collecting talent with collegiate experience, either, with other high-profile transfers from in-state schools also linked to Fort Worth.
South Carolina lost Jaheim Bell and MarShawn Lloyd, among others, to the transfer portal earlier this month, two top-shelf playmakers during this season’s 8-4 finish. However, the Gamecocks feel good about the four transfer commits they’ve landed since and are in for a note rise during the early signing period if they’re able to get a couple high-end targets, notably Syracuse quarterback commit Lanorris Sellers and four-star tackle Oluwatosin Babalade, who decommitted last week then re-committed on Tuesday night.
Florida State made quite the splash last week when the Seminoles picked up commitments from elite tight end Jaheim Bell, who gives the program six transfers this cycle. Couple that with five-star commit Hykeem Williams and four additional Top247 guys and Mike Norvell’s 2023 class is loaded at the top with premium talent. All this comes after the program’s 9-3 finish this season, highlighted by a five-game winning streak entering the bowl game.
Michigan currently holds the nation’s top-ranked transfer class per 247Sports with five commitments, including nods from Arizona State offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson and linebacker Ernest Hausmann from Nebraska. Those are both plug-and-play players for the Wolverines in 2023 that fill major needs at important positions. Michigan remains in pursuit of Washington (D.C.) Archbishop Carroll No. 1 athlete Nyckoles Harbor as well, one of only two uncommitted five-stars.
No program has suffered more transfer portal losses than the Aggies since the end of the regular season. Coming off a record-setting recruiting haul in 2022, it’s hard to a paint a positive picture in College Station for Jimbo Fisher’s efforts during this 2023 cycle unless the Aggies are able to flip a couple players, sign a top-tier uncommitted prospect or go portaling. As of Tuesday, Texas A&M’s highest-rated commits are five-stars David Hicks (DL) and Rueben Owens (LB).
Considering Penn State’s returning strength offensively with Drew Allar as the future of the program at quarterback along with two stud ballcarriers, offensive line was a focal point for 2023 and the Nittany Lions have aced that plan. Five-star commit J’Ven Williams and four-star Alex Birchmeier are two offensive linemen who will have opportunities to play early in Happy Valley and learn from a couple multi-year starters ahead of them. It looks like Penn State will close with a top-15 class after landing at No. 8 in the 2022 cycle, per 247Sports.
The Gators took a hit on signing day with EDGE Isaiah Nixon flipping back to UCF after previously flipping from the Knights to the Gators in June. Florida is reportedly in the hunt for a transfer quarterback and Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall has interest. The Gators are in dire need at the position following Anthony Richardson’s NFL Draft declaration and Jalen Kitna’s dismissal. Four-star signal caller Jaden Rashada is one of the nation’s best at the position, but asking him to play as a true freshman is not the plan for the Gators. He is the highest-rated commit for 2023 and Florida has stacked three four-star receivers to aid in that transition, from a playmaker standpoint.
Dabo Swinney’s a firm believer in developing high school talent and has largely neglected the transfer portal since inception. And even with starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei leaving for the portal after the ACC Championship Game, it doesn’t appear the Tigers have changed their recruiting approach with Cade Klubnik assuming the starting role in 2023. Right now, Clemson
After nearly winning the Pac-12 this season and coming up just shot of a College Football Playoff berth, USC is once again thinking offense-first from a recruiting standpoint. Lincoln Riley and the Trojans currently have three five-star commitments (including two wide receivers) and believe they have their future Caleb Williams replacement at quarterback in elite passer Malachi Nelson. USC currently holds the sixth-best class in the transfer portal, per
Tennessee has already welcomed more than a dozen early enrollees, including five-star quarterback Nicholaus Iamaleava, who is practicing with the Volunteers already ahead of the Orange Bowl. He is who the coaching staff believes can lead Tennessee to a league championship and then some in the coming years. Josh Heupel has parlayed a 10-win season and NIL advantages into a top-10 haul in Knoxville.
Will Notre Dame take a transfer quarterback this cycle? With NC State’s Devin Leary off the board to Kentucky, it looks like Texas signal caller Hudson Card could be the guy for the Irish, but he has not announced where he’ll sign yet. Marcus Freeman’s first full class at Notre Dame will finish inside the top 10 and potentially the top five with steam late. A big blow, however, was five-star safety Peyton Bowen — the crown jewel at the top of a balanced group — flipping to Oregon, though his national letter of intent to the Ducks is not signed just yet.
Oregon lost its biggest commit this week, five-star quarterback Dante Moore, after he flipped to UCLA. But that seems like a distant memory as the Ducks came absolutely firing out of the gate on Wednesday with a slew of top-notch additions. The Ducks made up for Moore’s loss at quarterback by flipping 4-star signal-caller and longtime Baylor commit Austin Novosad, and 5-star EDGE Matayo Uiagalelei — he’s the younger brother of Clemson transfer quarterback and former Tigers starter DJ Uiagalelei — chose the Ducks over Ohio State and hometown powerhouse USC. Those two are now the two highest-rated Oregon signees as the Ducks have vaulted up to No. 8 in the rankings.
At least for now, the Sooners’ brand still recruits itself. The lack of on-field success in Brent Venables’ first season did not affect Oklahoma’s recruiting efforts judging by this expected haul. The Sooners are portal-heavy with the nation’s fourth-best transfer class, including a pledge from top-rated edge rusher Dasan McCullough (Indiana). He’ll likely play opposite of five-star Adepoju Adebawore, who could be an instant-impact player in Norman along the defensive front.
Brian Kelly and LSU cleaned up in the transfer portal last cycle out of necessity, but they’ve got a different recruiting mindset this time around coming off the program’s SEC West crown. Five of the top 100 players in the 2023 class per 247Sports are committed to the Tigers. Kelly is continuing this program’s noticeable momentum where it matters and hopes to finish the season with his 10th win in Year 1 later this month in the Citrus Bowl against Purdue.
Brandon Inniss is Ohio State’s top commit, the lone five-star in a class that has slipped outside of the top five entering the early signing period. The Buckeyes are looking to sign the top-ranked class in the Big Ten and looking to strengthen the haul in the coming days before the College Football Playoff. Much of the recruiting buzz in recent days around Columbus centers on the surprising decommitment of 2024 pledge Dylan Raiola, the top quarterback in next year’s cycle.
No program is closing on a hot streak quite like Mario Cristobal and Miami. The Hurricanes just landed top-10 transfer Javion Cohen from Alabama out of the portal and already have commitments from three five-stars in the 2023 cycle, including the top two players in Florida (cornerback Cormani McClain and offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa). Miami might not be done, either. It’s an encouraging sight for Cristobal and company after a rough first season of his regime.
Steve Sarkisian is continuing to recruit at a national championship-level for the Longhorns and his crown jewel for the 2023 cycle is Arch Manning, this class’s No. 1 overall player per 247Sports. The quarterback of the future in Austin has been instrumental in getting others to join forces as well. Texas led college football with four five-star commits entering the early signing period, though Alabama now leads the charge there. One of those players, top-ranked linebacker Anthony Hill, made his pledge last week after backing off a decision from Texas A&M previously.
Kirby Smart and Georgia have made it clear, to nobody’s surprise, that the cupboard will once again be stocked to the brim with talent in Athens. While Georgia prepares to defend its national championship in the College Football Playoff, Smart can breathe easy knowing his staff has done everything they can to secure another top-end haul. Keep an eye on Travis Hunter, the top player in the portal. Georgia is a potential destination for the Jackson State two-way threat.
Consider Alabama’s ranking a testament to Nick Saban’s staff of elite recruiters and deal-sealers on the trail. Even after a down season by Alabama’s standards — the Crimson Tide still played at a level almost any other program would be satisfied with — Saban and company are on top with all 27 commits singing their letters of intent on Wednesday. That includes six five star prospects, including top 10 players nationally in EDGE Keon Keely and defensive back Caleb Downs. It’s clear that ‘Bama isn’t going away.© 2005-2022 CBS INTERACTIVE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc.