2023 college football recruiting class rankings: Alabama, Oklahoma climb thanks to rising QBs

In each of the previous four college football recruiting cycles, Alabama and Georgia finished among the top three classes, and while neither is currently within that group, both are moving toward it.

The Bulldogs sit on the cusp of crashing the top three again after multiple ESPN 300 commitments, led by two big additions on defense. On the heels of picking up top-five linebacker Raylen Wilson out of Florida, they returned to the sunshine state to add No. 3 LB Troy Bowles. The son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles, the four-star is an instinctive and physical player who could be an immediate contributor. In the secondary, they landed No. 2 safety Joenel Aguero, an explosive and aggressive presence in the mold of former Bulldogs defender Richard LeCounte III.

Alabama has more ground to make up in the rankings, but the Crimson Tide are ascending and have broken into the top 10. With Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young likely to move on after this season, Alabama has added a second ESPN 300 signal-caller to this class, as Dylan Lonergan joins new five-star Eli Holstein. Lonergan, also a talented baseball prospect, is a poised and accurate passer with good arm strength. Further bolstering their offensive class, the Tide also secured commitments from No. 2 running back Justice Haynes and ESPN 300 offensive lineman Olaus Alinen. The son of former Georgia RB Verron Haynes, the younger Haynes, who ran for over 2,000 yards as a junior, gives the Crimson Tide a powerfully built and agile runner.

USC benefitted from the latest player rankings update and was able to take over the top spot in the Pac-12. QB Malachi Nelson moved to the top of the ESPN 300 rankings, giving the Trojans not only the No. 1-ranked overall QB but also the No. 1-ranked wide receiver, as Zachariah Branch moved into that slot. One of the fastest players in this class, new five-star Branch has consistently demonstrated he is one of the most electric offensive playmakers with his blend of speed, quickness and excellent ball skills.

Lincoln Riley's departure from Oklahoma surprised many, but the Sooners have rebounded quite well and now sit ahead of their former head coach. Oklahoma was a big mover with a blend of new ESPN 300 pickups and several previous commits making sizable jumps in the updated player rankings. QB Jackson Arnold, OL Cayden Green and edge defender Adepoju Adebawore all made jumps of at least 20 spots in the ESPN 300. On top of that, the Sooners also added commitments from top-10 OLB Lewis Carter and RB Daylan Smothers.

1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

ESPN 300 commits: 14 | Previous ranking: 1

Independent rank: 1
Top offensive commit: WR Braylon James (No. 54)
Top defensive commit: DE Keon Keeley (No. 24)

The Fighting Irish have inked two consecutive top-10 classes and are not only off to a strong start to extend that streak but also contending for the nation's top class. New coach Marcus Freeman has his fingerprints all over this class with multiple key additions on the defensive side of the ball. Keeley is a lengthy edge defender who can be a disruptive pass-rushing presence. LB Drayk Bowen was a big in-state pickup as the top-rated player in Indiana. The Irish have two ESPN 300 defensive back commits in Peyton Bowen out of Texas and Adon Shuler out of New Jersey. There is also some promising offensive talent on board, led by ESPN 300 WR James, a lengthy vertical threat who posted a laser 4.47-second 40-yard dash this spring on the camp circuit.