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January 21, 2011

Tight battle for top spot in team rankings

MORE: Team rankings Top 50 | The final Rivals250 | Previewing the big visit weekends

Alabama overtook the top spot in the team recruiting rankings from Texas on Friday, but will it be a temporary stay?

A closer look at the current standings in the rankings reveals several potential moves at or near the top.

Team Rankings Top 25
1. Alabama
Total commits: 21
Alabama's class is led by a pair of five-star prospects, one on each side of the ball, in safety Hasean Clinton-Dix and all-purpose back Demetrius Hart. Nick Saban has shown in his time in Tuscaloosa that the Crimson Tide will close strong and they are aiming to do that one again in 2011. The top target likely to announce for Alabama between now and Signing Day is offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
Top remaining targets: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, DE Jadeveon Clowney, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Nickolas Brassell
2. Texas
Total commits: 22
As has become routine, Mack Brown and Texas have this class nearly completed with less than two weeks remaining before Signing Day. The crown jewel of the class is five-star running back Malcolm Brown. Texas did not retain the commitment of offensive tackle Christian Westerman as he made the switch to the National Champion Auburn Tigers on Friday. With not much space left and the teams immediately on their heels looking to add more, it will be tough for the Longhorns to retain the No. 2 spot in the rankings.
Top remaining targets: DE Brandon Alexander, DE Jermauria Rasco
3. LSU
Total commits: 21
LSU has a trio of five-stars topping its class, all of whom are in-state prospects - offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The remaining focus of the class will be on the defensive side of the ball, specifically the front seven, and coach Les Miles is looking to land a few of the nation's best in those spots.
Top remaining targets: DT Timmy Jernigan, DE Ray Drew, DE Jermauria Rasco, LB C.J. Johnson, OT Antonio Richardson
4. Florida State
Total commits: 22
Jimbo Fisher and company did a very good job stocking up their class during the early portion of the process, specifically when they brought in five-star running back James Wilder Jr. and five-star safety Karlos Williams. Down the stretch they have a legitimate shot to land at least two prospects who are considered the top player at their position in the nation - tight end Nick O'Leary and outside linebacker Tony Steward.
Top remaining targets: LB Tony Steward, TE Nick O'Leary, DE Jermauria Rasco, DT Timmy Jernigan, DE Jadeveon Clowney, DT Elkino Watson, LB Arrington Jenkins
5. USC
Total commits: 25
Lane Kiffin and company haven't allowed NCAA sanctions to put a cramp in their recruiting. The Trojans are once again assembling a top class which is currently led by wide receiver George Farmer and athlete De'Anthony Thomas. The Trojans have cast a wide net in hopes of adding a few more pieces to their class down the stretch.
Top remaining targets: ATH Marqise Lee, WR Junior Pomee, CB Ryan Henderson, OG Cyrus Hobbi, OT Troy Niklas, LB Denzel Perryman
6. Oregon
Total commits: 20
Oregon's class is strong at the top, led by five-star athlete Colt Lyerla. The Ducks also did a good job of going into California to snag wide receiver Devon Blackmon and defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. With Chip Kelly's squad looking to return to the national title game, they are looking to add even more depth and talent over the next two weeks.
Top remaining targets: LB Lamar Dawson, DT Delvon Simmons, ATH Marqise Lee, DT Christian Heyward, DE Branden Jackson, DE Lake Koa-Ka'ai
7. Notre Dame
Total commits: 23
Brian Kelly's class at Notre Dame got a shot in the arm recently when the Irish were able to swing two former commitments back their way - defensive end Aaron Lynch from Florida State and defensive end Stephon Tuitt from Georgia Tech. The class is led by their haul on the defensive front, which in addition to Lynch and Tuitt also includes five-star Ishaq Williams. With their class nearly complete, they will look to add one or two more pieces before Signing Day most likely.
Top remaining targets: RB Savon Huggins, OT Troy Niklas
8. Auburn
Total commits: 19
The National Champions are likely to have a furious closing where they steal many headlines like they did during the 2010 season. In recent weeks, Gene Chizik and company already landed five-star linebacker Kris Frost and stole away Brent Calloway from Alabama. They were able to pull Christian Westerman away from Texas and down the stretch they will look to snag Texas Tech commitment Marcus Roberson, as well as others.
Top remaining targets: CB Marcus Roberson, TE Brandon Fulse, DE Ray Drew, RB Isaiah Crowell, LB Tre Mason, DT Gabe Wright, LB Devaunte Sigler, S Erique Florence, OT Antonio Richardson
9. Clemson
Total commits: 24
Clemson is looking to reload its roster in 2011 and they have done that with their recruiting class, especially at certain offensive positions. At wide receiver the class is led by Sammy Watkins. An equally electric player to Watkins is running back Mike Bellamy, a fellow five-star. Down the stretch, Dabo Swinney and company are hoping to add some five-star firepower on defense as well.
Top remaining targets: DE Jadeveon Clowney, LB Stephone Anthony, DT Phillip Dukes, LB Tony Steward, DE Ray Drew, LB Brandon Ellerbe, TE Jerell Adams
10. Georgia
Total commits: 21
The Bulldogs have talked throughout the process of landing a 'Dream Team', largely consisting of Peach State products. So far, they have kept talent such as defensive back Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome, Damian Swann and Sterling Bailey home, but down the stretch it will be pivotal for Mark Richt and company to reel in some top-flight in-state prospects, most notably five-star running back Isaiah Crowell and five-star defensive end Ray Drew.
Top remaining targets: LB Kent Turene, RB Isaiah Crowell, DE Ray Drew, DE Johnathan Jenkins
11. Ohio State
Total commits: 21
The Buckeyes 2011 signing class will be led by a trio of high ranking four-star prospects - quarterback Braxton Miller, defensive tackle Michael Bennett, and defensive back Doran Grant. It could be capped off by the addition of one of the nation's elite prospects, linebacker Curtis Grant. The five-star inside linebacker is very high on Florida and Ohio State, with North Carolina and Virginia also in the picture.
Top remaining targets: LB Curtis Grant, ATH Darius Jennings, OG Aundrey Walker, QB Cardale Jones
12. Oklahoma
Total commits: 16
Bob Stoops once again dipped into Texas and landed a few of the nation's best prospects, specifically wide receiver Trey Metoyer and running back Brandon Williams, both of whom have been awarded five-star status. The Sooners were recently dealt a blow when Brandon Carter switched his commitment to TCU. At this time, it seems the 2011 class may be completed for the powerhouse based in Norman.
Top remaining targets: None
13. North Carolina
Total commits: 22
The Tar Heels have loaded up on a class of 22 prospects, with a focus in-state and out-of-state. The in-state haul was led by quarterback Marquise Williams, wide receiver T.J. Thorpe, defensive tackle Devonte Brown, and linebacker Travis Hughes. Butch Davis also went to Virginia to land offensive lineman Landon Turner and Indiana for offensive lineman Kiaro Holts. The Tar Heels hope to bring in a few more players before the dust settles as well.
Top remaining targets: RB Savon Huggins, CB Samuel Smiley, LB Stephone Anthony, LB Curtis Grant, DT Phillip Dukes, DE Max Issaka, LB Keeon Virgile
14. Texas Tech
Total commits: 25
The Red Raiders got huge news earlier this week when four-star defensive back Marcus Roberson committed. Now, they just have to stave off the efforts of Auburn and others to change his mind. Roberson is joined at the top of the class by tight end Jace Amaro. Roberson isn't the only commitment they must work to retain, four-star running back Kenny Williams and other commitments are also looking at options down the stretch. Also, look for Tommy Tuberville and company to try to add some more on defense.
Top remaining targets: ATH Frankie Williams, DE Branden Jackson, DT Delvon Simmons, DE Desimon Green, DE Bryant Dubose, TE Brandon Fulse
15. Nebraska
Total commits: 17
Offensive lineman Tyler Moore and running back Aaron Green headline the Cornhuskers haul in 2011. The Huskers best chance of landing another highly ranked player is likely defensive tackle Todd Peat Jr.. In addition to Peat, they are in the thick of things with numerous other targets who can help strengthen the overall haul brought in by Bo Pelini and staff.
Top remaining targets: DT Todd Peat Jr., TE Darien Bryant, DE Joseph Carter, WR Aaron Ernest, DE Lake Koa-Ka'Ai, LB Keeon Virgile, K Matt Wile
16. California
Total commits: 18
The Golden Bears have loaded up on in-state talent to put together a solid list of commitments. Amongst their best prospect are defensive tackles Mustafa Jalil and Viliami Moala, defensive end Todd Barr, and running back Brendon Bigelow. Out of state, Jeff Tedfordsnagged the likes of defensive end Brennan Scarlett from Oregon, defensive back Avery Walls from Virginia, and offensive lineman Matt Williams from North Dakota. An addition or two is possible, but not more than that.
Top remaining targets: CB Kameron Jackson
17. Tennessee
Total commits: 21
Derek Dooley and his staff have added four major additions since the start of November, all four prospects are considered four-star talent - offensive lineman Marcus Jackson, defensive tackle Maurice Couch, wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett, and athlete Izauea Lanier. As far as current commitments, the Vols are in a fight to retain the services of linebacker A.J. Johnson, who the Florida Gators are pursuing heavily. The Vols will look to add even more pieces down the stretch with a lot of open prospects still on their radar.
Top remaining targets: LB Lamar Dawson, DT Mickey Johnson, DE Leon Mackey, LB Curt Maggitt, DT Gabe Wright, RB Marlin Lane, S Byron Moore, TE Brandon Fulse, RB Andrew Buie, OL Cameron Clear, OT Antonio Richardson
18. Florida
Total commits: 15
After undergoing a drastic change to their coaching staff since the conclusion of the 2010 season, the Gators have done a fair job of retaining their commitment list. The class is led by the top quarterback in the nation, Jeff Driskel, and a versatile offensive athlete in running back Mike Blakely. Over the final two weeks, Will Muschamp will look to work a little magic and close strong with his first class in Gainesville.
Top remaining targets: DT Timmy Jernigan, CB Marcus Roberson, DE Anthony Chickillo, DE Johnathan Jenkins, DE Tevin Westbrook, OT Jacob Fisher, WR Junior Pomee, LB Denzel Perryman, LB A.J. Johnson, LB Stephone Anthony, LB Curtis Grant, DT Elkino Watson
19. South Carolina
Total commits: 30
Steve Spurrier is once again bringing a lot of prospects into Columbia. The class is led by two trenchmasters, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and offensive lineman Brandon Shell. With nearly a loaded class, spots will be limited down the stretch but the Gamecocks are still likely to land the No. 1 prospect in the nation, Jadeveon Clowney, and another prospect or two.
Top remaining targets: DE Jadeveon Clowney, DT Phillip Dukes, TE Jerell Adams, LB Cedrick Cooper, ATH Ahmad Christian, DE Roderick Byers, DT Leon Mackey
20. Arkansas
Total commits: 27
Arkansas has already loaded up for 2011, landing 28 commitments. Despite that hefty number of commitments the staff is still welcoming numerous prospects on campus over the final two weekends and adjustments will happen in the class. The top of the group includes two in-state commitments, quarterback Brandon Allen and offensive lineman Brey Cook. They also did well in the Lone Star State luring away tight end Chris Barnett and defensive back Tevin Mitchel.
Top remaining targets: ATH Desmond Roland, ATH Anthony Pierson, ATH Brandon Swindall, LB Kiero Small, CB Michael Hunter, TE Dillon van der Wal, TE Jerell Adams, WR Kane Whitehurst, TE Andrew Peterson, RB Tarek Odom, DT Mickey Johnson
21. Stanford
Total commits: 18
Jim Harbaugh's departure from Palo Alto led to a couple bits of bad news for Stanford on the recruiting front, as USC raided The Farm and stole outside linebacker Anthony Sarao and all-purpose back Amir Carlisle. Despite those losses, the Cardinals still have a Top 25 class behind the strength of linebacker James Vaughters, safety Wayne Lyons, offensive lineman Brendon Austin, defensive end Charlie Hopkins, and wide receiver Ty Montgomery. They will look to fill the spots made void by departures over the next couple weekends.
Top remaining targets: DE Lake Koa-Ka'Ai, CB Ronnie Harris, OT Troy Niklas, CB Jermaine Whitehead
22. Ole Miss
Total commits: 25
Houston Nutt has successfully kept four of the top in-state prospects home, landing wide receivers Donte Moncrief and Tobias Singleton, as well as offensive lineman Aaron Morris and athlete Cody Prewitt. Ole Miss was dealt a blow when Miami (Fla.) Southridge duo of Andrew Johnson and Gerod Holliman decommitted, eventually switching to Louisville. This weekend, they get another shot at the duo in hopes of luring them back to the Rebels. They aren't the only targets still out there for the Rebels either, as they are still after in-state targets such as five-star linebacker C.J. Johnson.
Top remaining targets: LB Cedrick Cooper, DT Donald Pennington, WR Nickolas Brassell, S Gerod Holliman, CB Andrew Johnson, LB C.J. Johnson, RB Tre Mason, WR Josh Pinkston, ATH Joe Price, DT Walton Taumoepeau
23. Louisville
Total commits: 23
Charlie Strong has sent a clear message at Louisville, he is going to after the best prospects possible regardless of location or competition. He has had a successful haul in Florida, specifically South Florida, landing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, wide receiver Eli Rogers as well as defensive backs[/db]Andrew Johnson[/db] and Gerod Holliman from there. In state, he also lured four-star quarterback DaMarcus Smith. Look for the Cardinals to work to retain what they have, and add three to four more.
Top remaining targets: DT Elkino Watson, OG Spencer Region, OG Kaleb Johnson, TE Benson Browne, DE Bryant Dubose, RB Alonzo Harris, RB Trayion Durham.
24. TCU
Total commits: 25
Texas Christian surged to the Top 25 this past week with some big news. Four-star defensive tackle Chuck Hunter committed. Then three-star defensive tackle Jon Lewis switched from Texas Tech to the Horned Frogs. The switching wasn't over as three-star defensive back Brandon Carter (Oklahoma) and three-star offensive lineman Carter Wall (SMU) also made the move. As for the remainder of their class, look for the Horned Frogs to possibly add one more prospect.
Top remaining targets: DE Brandon Alexander
25. Washington
Total commits: 22
Steve Sarkisian is becoming a royal pain to USC, UCLA, Cal and others in California, while also doing a good job at keeping in-state talent at home. A recent switch of defensive end Stephan Nembot from Washington State and commitment from WR Marvin Hall has the Huskies hanging onto a spot in the top 25.
Top remaining targets: CB Kameron Jackson, RB Bishop Sankey, OG Akeem Gonzales

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