USA TODAY High School Sports‘ Friday Night Notes is a weekly high school recruiting recap that looks at the latest news from around the country—from the Class of 2023 to ’24 and beyond.
It’s not hard to figure out the biggest winner of the 2022 early signing period. Alabama went into this week already having the best recruiting class of the 2023 cycle, and it only got better over the last few days. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide added five-star prospects at four crucial positions for the modern game, securing their place at the top of this recruiting cycle.
Here’s who came on board.
Five-stars DL James Smith & EDGE Qua Russaw – Carver (Ala.)
These two five-star teammates from Carver (Ala.) were a package deal, having sold themselves as being joined at the hip when it comes to recruiting.
After getting courted by Auburn, Florida and Georgia and Texas A&M, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday afternoon they announced that they’ve signed their letters of intent with Alabama.
— Rosie Langello (@RosieLangello) December 21, 2022
5 star OT Kadyn Proctor – Southeast Polk (Iowa)
The Tide also pulled off a huge flip, stealing five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor from Iowa. Proctor (6-foot-7, 330 pounds) is the No. 2 OT in this class and No. 12 overall. Asked why he chose Alabama, Proctor says it wasn’t about NIL money, but about challenging himself, per Hawk Central.
“I thought I was settling at Iowa and when I went down there (Alabama), I saw all the guys that are as big as me and have the same mindset as me and worked like me… That’s just what I wanted to do. I don’t want to come into this school and everybody thinks I’m one of the best players there already. I want to grow. That’s not how I grow. I’ve got to get hit in the mouth before I can grow..”
5-star CB Desmond Ricks – IMG Academy (Fla.)
Saban wasn’t done yet, though. He also managed to sign the No. 2 cornerback in the 2023 class in Ricks (6-foot-1, 170 pounds). A rare athlete, Ricks has a 4.5 second 40-yard dash time and a 39″ vertical. Ricks had offers from 35 other schools, including SEC rivals Florida, LSU and Auburn.
Alabama’s 2023 recruiting class tops out at 17 points higher than the next-closest school…
Georgia, Oregon and Texas
Alabama wasn’t the only team that came out a winner. Here are some other programs that got stronger over the last few days.
The nation’s No. 2 ranked team in the recruiting race also did well for themselves. The Bulldogs scored a big win by adding another powerful weapon to their defense in five-star EDGE Damon Wilson from Venice (Fla.). Wilson is the No. 2 player at his position and is now their best recruit in Georgia’s 2023 class. They also signed four-star defensive tackle Jordan Hall and flipped three-star running back Kyron Jones from NC State.
For a moment there, it looked like the Ducks had pulled off a huge recruiting coup by flipping five-star safety Peyton Bowen. However, he flipped again to Oklahoma hours later. Nevertheless, Oregon came out with a good haul, highlighted by the signing of five-star EDGE Matayo Uiagalelei. They also managed to flip four-star quarterback Austin Novosad from Baylor and four-star cornerback Daylen Austin from LSU.
The Longhorns also had a strong week, picking up four-star EDGE Tausili Akana and flipping four-star wide receiver DeAndre Moore from Louisville. More importantly, Texas didn’t lose any of their commits to other schools, including 2023’s No. 1 overall recruit, QB Arch Manning.
Auburn, Mississippi State and South Carolina are among the other teams that are getting high marks for their work during the early signing period.
Resetting the 2023 recruiting cycle rankings
With the recruiting landscape having shifted dramatically over the last few days, now is a good time to re-examine the 2023 cycle power rankings. Here’s how the top 15 teams stack up according to 247 Sports.
1. Alabama – 28 commits – 328.97 points
Alabama’s class has seven five-star recruits and 20 four-star recruits.
2. Georgia – 27 commits – 311.80 points
The Bulldogs have two five-star recruits and 21 four-stars.
3. Texas – 23 commits – 301.59 points
The Longhorns have four five-star prospects and 11 four-stars.
4. Miami – 26 commits – 294.85 points
Miami has three five-stars and 14 four-star players.
5. Oklahoma – 25 commits – 289.69 points
After picking up Bowen, the Sooners have three five-stars and 13 four-stars.
6. Ohio State – 20 commits – 287.66 points
Ohio State has one five-star and 18 four-stars.
7. LSU – 25 commits – 286.27 points
The Tigers also has one five-star and 18 four-star recruits.
8. Notre Dame – 24 commits – 279.94 points
Notre Dame has no five-star prospects but 20 four-stars.
9. Tennessee – 25 commits – 277.39 points
The Vols have one five-star prospect and 12 four-stars.
10. Clemson – 26 commits – 275.47 points
Clemson has one five-star and 18 four-star recruits.
11-15: Oregon, Florida, Texas A&M, Penn State and USC.
USA TODAY Sports Media Group also looks the recruiting game from the other side of the tunnel, with a collection of college wires that have each fan base covered—in all sports—all season long.
Make sure to bookmark your team: