2022 college football recruiting class rankings: SEC powers battle for No. 1 after top prospect commits

Walter Nolen, the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2022, picked Texas A&M over Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and Florida. UCReport

The race for college football's No. 1 class continues to intensify as the start of the early signing period (Dec. 15) draws closer. Already on course to meet in the SEC title game, Alabama and Georgia are also slugging it out on the recruiting trail with the Crimson Tide able to claw past the Bulldogs and claim the top spot in the class rankings.

Having signed the nation's No. 1 class twice in the previous three cycles, Alabama looks to make it three out of four. The Tide moved up after landing two four-star prospects. Benefiting from the coaching change at LSU, they were able to pull out of Louisiana one-time Tigers commit Aaron Anderson, who is not only an ESPN 300 WR but also one of the most dynamic return specialists in the country and who could quickly be an impact special-teams contributor. They also landed a four-star defensive lineman in Isaiah Hastings, a prospect from Canada who played his senior season in Florida and possesses explosiveness, power and promising upside.

There are other contenders emerging near the top of the rankings as well, including Oklahoma, which breaks into the top five. The Sooners, who replace Oregon in the top five, were able to pass the West Coast school by flipping one-time Ducks commit Nicholas Anderson, an ESPN 300 WR who gives the Sooners another potential offensive weapon, as he possesses quick feet and the ability to extend plays after the catch.

Texas A&M had a big surge on the recruiting trail and is close to cracking the top five. The Aggies landed the No. 1 prospect in the nation in Walter Nolen, an explosive, agile and high-motor player who can give them an impact presence in the trenches. Their offensive class also got a boost, as they landed in-state ESPN 300 WR Chris Marshall, who can be a big-play target with his length, speed and excellent ball skills.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

ESPN 300 commits: 14 | Previous ranking: 2

SEC rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: OT Tyler Booker (No. 7)
Top defensive commit: DE Jeremiah Alexander (No. 11)

Alabama is back in contention for the No. 1 overall class. The Tide hold commitments from multiple players who rank among the top two at their position, including No. 1 OT Booker, a big, flexible, high-effort player with all the tools to be one of Alabama's next dominant offensive linemen. They scored big at RB, landing top-rated Emmanuel Henderson, an explosive runner with good vision. ESPN 300 QB-DT Ty Simpson is the son of a college coach who possesses a compact and smooth delivery. Getting five-star Alexander back into the mix after he decommitted during his junior season was big, as the top in-state prospect can be an explosive and quick front-seven defender. Robert Woodyard, a top-10 in-state prospect as well, is another strong pickup on defense.