With National Signing Day 2017 fast approaching, the next No. 1 recruiting class likely will be decided by three teams: Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia. If it’s Alabama, then it will be the sixth consecutive recruiting national title for the Crimson Tide. Ohio State and Georgia, meanwhile, have never finished atop the 247 Composite Team Rankings, whose data goes back to 2000.
In that time — 17 recruiting cycles — there have been nine different teams that finished with the No. 1 recruiting class, according to 247’s composite team rankings. Alabama’s current run of dominance includes four national titles in six years, as it prepares for a possible repeat on Monday in Tampa. Not surprisingly, that on-the-field dominance has coincided with its recruiting dominance.
But, of those other eight teams, who has gotten the most value out of a No. 1 class?
SEC Country took a look, breaking down the win-loss record of each team in the five years following a No. 1 class. That would coincide with the complete eligibility of every recruit in a signing class, as redshirt seniors would be in the program for those five years. Because of that timeline, the recruiting classes from 2013 through 2016 were not considered.
Spoiler alert: Alabama does NOT have the worst No. 1 class of all time.
But it is a different SEC team …
1. 2012 Alabama: 64-6 (.914)
Alabama’s 2012 signing class won national titles in 2012 and 2015, and have one more shot to get a third this Monday.
NOTE: Alabama’s really just competing with itself now. Alabama’s 2012 class has a chance to go 65-6 in its five years of eligibility. The 2013 class is currently 51-3, 2014 is 30-3 and 2015 is 28-1. Of course, the 2016 class is currently perfect — 14-0.
2. 2011 Alabama: 62-7 (.899)
Alabama’s 2011 signing class helped the Crimson Tide win national titles in 2011, 2012 and 2015. The group had three 5-star commitments, which included current NFLers Cyrus Kouandjio and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
3. 2002 Texas: 55-9 (.859)
Texas’ 2002 signing class was led by Vince Young, and it ended with a national title in 2005.
4. 2005 USC: 55-10 (.846)
USC had five 5-star recruits, including Mark Sanchez and Rey Maualuga. The group went to the BCS national championship game in 2005, but lost to Texas. They never returned in their remaining time in Los Angeles.
5. 2009 LSU: 53-13 (.803)
LSU edged Alabama for the No. 1 overall class, and was led by familiar names like Morris Claiborne (a 3-star recruit!), Rueben Randle and Barkevious Mingo. This group played for the national title after the 2011 season, but lost to Alabama.
6. 2006 USC: 51-14 (.785)
USC’s 2006 class had plenty of star power on National Signing Day, but no one really became a memorable national star during their successful run in college.
7. 2007 Florida: 50-17 (.746)
This group is now more well known for their stories after National Signing Day (Cam Newton and Aaron Hernandez, for instance), but Joe Haden blossomed into a first-round pick and this class won a national title after the 2008 season.
8. 2000 Tennessee: 47-17 (.734)
A group that had five 5-star recruits — but, undoubtedly, the most famous was 4-star tight end Jason Witten.
9. 2001 Florida State: 44-20 (.734)
Signed a month after the Seminoles lost the national championship to Oklahoma, this group never played for a title during their time in Tallahassee.
10. 2003 Florida: 46-18 (.719)
Led by 5-star recruits Andre Caldwell and Chris Leak, Florida’s 2003 class went on to a national title following the 2006 season.
11. 2008 Notre Dame: 41-23 (.641)
Notre Dame’s class ended up having a crazy five years in South Bend. The group didn’t win more than nine games in a season in their first four years of eligibility — and then went 12-0 in the regular season and punched a ticket to the BCS national title game in 2011.
(Some say, however, that if you find a quiet area of Miami, you can still hear the wails from the butt-kicking that Alabama unleashed in that year’s championship game.)
12. 2004 Miami: 37-25 (.597)
And now we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel, the teams that did less with more. The drop-off in this class’ college record was swift— nine-win seasons in its first two years, then never more than seven in the last three. This coincided with the end of the Larry Coker era, and Miami has yet to reach national relevance since.
Perhaps the most well-known signee was Willie Williams, and that was because of his recruiting diary. He was eventually dismissed from Miami, and then Louisville.
13. 2010 Florida: 37-26 (.587)
Just barely edging out the Hurricanes for the Worst No. 1 Recruiting Class are the Florida Gators. The last class Urban Meyer would sign as the Gators’ head coach had one good season (11-2, Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville in 2012 under Will Muschamp) but never even won a divisional championship. The class had an extensive list of defensive players who would go onto college stardom and the NFL; but the offensive class was — ahem — lacking.
Perhaps this is the class that can be called the Patient Zero for Florida’s offensive flu, which is still ongoing.