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February 5, 2009

Signing Day 2009: The top 25 teams

MORE: Signing Day Surprises | Team Recruiting Rankings | Signing Day Central

Rivals.com takes a closer look at the final top 25 teams in the national team rankings.

See where your favorite team stacked up on National Signing Day as we break down each of the top 25 classes.

A look at top 25 signing classes
1. Alabama
Head of the class: OT D.J. Fluker, RB Trent Richardson
Buzz: Alabama dominated its home state again, landing the state's top seven players. The Tide also landed the top prospect in Florida in running back Trent Richardson, a terrific safety in Rod Woodson from Mississippi and three solid offensive linemen from Georgia. This is the second consecutive No. 1 class hauled in by Saban and company.
Big fish that got away: OL Bobby Massie (to Ole Miss).
2. LSU
Head of the class: WR Rueben Randle, QB Russell Shepard
Buzz: This is an unbelievable class with in-state stars such as Chris Davenport, running back Michael Ford, Barkevious Mingo and offensive lineman Chris Faulk and out-of-staters such as Shepard, linebacker Kevin Minter, athlete Drayton Calhoun, and safety Craig Loston. The Tigers loaded up.
Big fish that got away: CB Janzen Jackson (to Tennessee).
3. Ohio State
Head of the class: LB Dorian Bell, CB Corey Brown
Buzz: The Buckeyes jumped out of the gate early, securing a majority of their commitments before the season even got into high gear. As always, Ohio State did a lot of their damage in their backyard, plus they went national to score some other key prospects. A late addition of four-star offensive tackle Marcus Hall was a nice boost right before Signing Day.
Big fish that got away: CB Justin Green (to Illinois)
4. USC
Head of the class: QB Matt Barkley, DE Devon Kennard
Buzz: Another year, another elite class for the Trojans. USC once again has the best class in the Pac-10, and this year's group has plenty of stars other than Barkley and Kennard. Patrick Hall is one of the nation's best athletes, and the five-star prospect should star at safety in the future. Kennard might have ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the nation, but he suffered a knee injury.
Big fish that got away: LB Vontaze Burfict (to Arizona State)
5. Texas
Head of the class: QB Garrett Gilbert, DE Alex Okafor
Buzz: Texas landed three in-state five-star recruits in Gilbert, Okafor and offensive lineman Mason Walters. Further bolstering that in-state dominance, the Longhorns landed one of the state's best defenders in Calvin Howell, a great possession receiver in Greg Timmons, a jumbo athlete in Chris Whaley and a shut-down corner in Marcus Davis. Texas also added depth to the offensive line beyond Walters with Thomas Ashcraft, Garrett Porter and Paden Kelley and two of the nation's best tight ends in Barrett Matthews and Trey Graham. After Oklahoma snatched up some of the state's best in 2008, the Longhorns locked down the state in 2009.
Big fish that got away: LB/DE Jarvis Jones (to USC)
6. Florida State
Head of the class: DT Jacobbi McDaniel, CB Greg Reid
Buzz: Florida State had another great recruiting year and hit on most of their needs. Two four-star running backs, Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson, lead the offensive charge along with wide receivers Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith and linemen Henry Orelus and Aubrey Phillips. On defense, McDaniel and Reid are five-star pickups and are joined by four-star defensive ends Brandon Jenkins and Demonte McAllister, four-star linebacker C.J. Mizell and four-star defensive backs Jajuan Harley. Athlete Willie Downs could be an impact guy on offense or defense, and FSU did a great job getting quarterback Will Secord away from Arkansas.
Big fish that got away: RB Trent Richardson (to Alabama)
7. Michigan
Head of the class: DT William Campbell, S Justin Turner
Buzz: While it was a disappointing season on the field for the Wolverines, there were only a few disappointments in the recruiting front. Rich Rodriguez was able to scour the nation for the type of offensive skill players led by quarterback Tate Forcier and athlete Jeremy Gallon that should help immediately.
Big fish that got away: DT DeQuinta Jones (to Arkansas)
8. North Carolina
Head of the class: WR Jheranie Boyd, DE Donte Moss
Buzz: North Carolina's recruiting has changed since Butch Davis took over the program. The Heels now are consistently involved with top players up and down the East Coast. UNC nailed it at numerous key positions including along the defensive line, at linebacker and at wide receiver. UNC dominated its home state, pulling in seven of the top 10 players.
Big fish that got away: OT Xavier Nixon (to Florida)
9. Georgia
Head of the class: QB Aaron Murray, CB Branden Smith
Buzz: Georgia signed two big-time quarterbacks (both already are enrolled), a touchdown machine in running back Washuan Ealey and playmakers at receiver in Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten. There's a strong group of linemen headed to Athens. Smith is one of the nation's best corners.
Big fish that got away: LB/DE Jarvis Jones (to USC).
10. Florida
Head of the class: WR Andre Debose, LB Jelani Jenkins
Buzz: This is another good class for Urban Meyer and his Gators. The national champs loaded up on speed and athleticism with Debose, Joshua Evans and Mike Gillislee. The Gators filled big needs on the offensive line and at linebacker. Five-star prospect Gary Brown has a chance to be a big-time defensive tackle.
Big fish that got away: RB Trent Richardson (to Alabama)
11. Miami
Head of the class: ATH Ray Ray Armstrong, RB Lamar Miller
Buzz: Obviously, running back Bryce Brown would be the headliner of this class had he decided to sign. But Armstrong and Miller are talented prospects and lead a strong class for the 'Canes. In addition to Miller, Miami signed another talented running back in Mike James. Miami also did well along the offensive line. But it's on defense where the Hurricanes really hit the jackpot. Armstrong will be a monster at linebacker or safety, and the defensive line is loaded. Brandon McGee is a great get at cornerback.
Big fish that got away: WR Andre Debose (to Florida)
12. South Carolina
Head of the class: ATH Damario Jeffery, ATH Stephon Gilmore
Buzz: Steve Spurrier and his staff reeled in a good class. This group is loaded with athletes such as Gilmore, Jeffery, Matt Coffee, Leon Mackey, Chaz Sutton, Devonte Holloman and Jarvis Giles. Getting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery an in-state star who once was committed to USC was huge for the Gamecocks.
Big fish that got away: OL Quinton Washington (to Michigan)
13. Oklahoma
Head of the class: CB Gabe Lynn, DT JaMarkus McFarland
Buzz: The Sooners landed another nationally regarded class, thanks mainly to the defensive group heading to Norman. The Sooners reeled in three top-50 national prospects Lynn, McFarland and linebacker Ronnell Lewis. Major depth was added at linebacker with head-hunter Tom Wort a major steal from the state of Texas.
Big fish that got away: WR Rueben Randle (to LSU)
14. UCLA
Head of the class: WR/TE Morrell Presley, OT Xavier Su'a Filo
Buzz: Rick Neuheisel said he was going to make recruiting his No. 1 priority. Some outsiders might view the Bruins' class as second-rate compared with USC's, but there's no question there is more talent heading to Westwood than in years past. The Bruins moved up the charts with a nice NSD effort that saw them land surprises signings from Su'a Filo, a Rivals100 offensive lineman, four-star athlete Randall Carroll and four-star athlete Damien Thigpen.
Big fish that got away: LB Manti Te'o (to Notre Dame)
15. Arkansas
Head of the class: ATH Ronnie Wingo Jr., CB Darius Winston,
Buzz: With limited talent in-state this year, the Arkansas staff scoured the heartland and the southeast for top prospects and brought in a nationally ranked class. Winston and offensive lineman Colby Berna were big pickups and ensured that the top in-state players stayed home. The Razorbacks signed good players from Texas and Louisiana. Brandon Mitchell a former LSU basketball commitment may be the sleeper of the class at quarterback.
Big fish that got away: OL Aubrey Phillips (to Florida State)
16. Michigan State
Head of the class: RB Edwin Baker, OT David Barrent
Buzz: The Spartans were one of the nation's biggest surprises, and they also surprised a lot of local observers with their dominating in-state class. Led by recruiting coordinator Mark Staten and ace recruiter Dan Enos, Michigan State scored some major head-to-head wins against Michigan.
Big fish that got away: DE Michael Buchanan (to Illinois)
17. Tennessee
Head of the class: CB Janzen Jackson, WR Nu'keese Richardson
Buzz: The Vols' coaching staff did a nice job of getting some visits from some outstanding prospects, and they even signed a few. Tennessee managed to land some good ones in Jerod Askew, James Green, Eric Gordon, Mike Edwards, Nigel Mitchell-Thornton, Marlon Walls and JerQuari Schofield. Richardson, Darren Myles, Marsalis Teague and Greg King were big Signing Day pickups. The Vols also managed to add Jackson, a five-star cornerback prospect, to the class the next day.
Big fish that got away: WR Marlon Brown (to Georgia)
18. Ole Miss
Head of the class: WR Patrick Patterson, RB Rodney Scott
Buzz: Few teams had as impressive a close as the Rebels. Signing Day saw Houston Nutt welcome in linebacker Mike Marry, four-star quarterback Raymond Cotton, Mississippi's top prospect in wide receiver Patrick Patterson and Bobby Massie - Michael Oher's heir apparent. The exciting day only added to a group that already included highly touted prospects such as defensive tackle Corey Gaines and outside linebacker D.T. Shackelford.
Big fish that got away: WR Marlon Brown (to Georgia)
19. Auburn
Head of the class: QB Tyrik Rollison
Buzz: Auburn closed exceptionally well, getting running back Dontae Aycock and wide receivers Emory Blake and DeAngelo Benton on Signing Day. Auburn landed a gem at quarterback in Rollison and a big-time back in Onterio McCalebb. Pilson, Philip Lutzenkirchen, Jamar Travis, Andre Harris and Reggie Taylor are other top-notch prospects headed to the Plains.
Big fish that got away: LB Greg King (to Tennessee)
20. Stanford
Head of the class: WR Jemari Roberts, LB Shayne Skov
Buzz: Easily one of the nation's biggest surprises. The Cardinal's average national recruiting ranking the past three years was 51st, but Jim Harbaugh reeled in the school's first top-25 class since 2003. The Cardinal did a tremendous job in California and nationally.
Big fish that got away: G Michael Philipp (to Oregon State)
20. Notre Dame
Head of the class: LB Zeke Motta, LB Manti Te'o
Buzz: It was an up-and-down season for Notre Dame, on the field and on the recruiting trail. The Irish started out well and scored some big-time early commitments, then lost some players late. But that doesn't take away from the good group heading to South Bend. Major needs were met along the offensive line with Zach Martin and Alex Bullard, and linebacker also was filled with some impact prospects.
Big fish that got away: CB Marlon Pollard (to UCLA)
22. Texas A&M
Head of the class: RB Christine Michael, WR Uzoma Nwachukwu
Buzz: With the exception of Michael, Texas A&M didn't clean up with the most highly rated in-state players. The Aggies did pick up a laundry list of quality players from within Texas and a few great ones from outside. Four-star prospect Patrick Lewis is an undersized offensive lineman who is tenacious and could be an option at either guard or center. Another Louisiana native, Jonathan Stewart, is a physical linebacker who will add toughness to the defense. Chris Henderson is a disruptive interior defensive lineman, and Steven Terrell adds size and athleticism to the secondary.
Big fish that got away: S Craig Loston (to LSU)
23. Mississippi State
Head of the class: WR Chad Bumphis, DE Fletcher Cox
Buzz: Despite being faced with the obstacles of a 4-8 season and a coaching change, Mississippi State put together a terrific class that has its strength from within the state borders. The top players of the class are Mississippi natives and extremely athletic additions to the roster. The Bulldogs also picked up one of the top junior college prospects in the country in defensive lineman Pernell McPhee and got some versatility in athletes such as Cameron Lawrence and Nickoe Whitley.
Big fish that got away: WR Patrick Patterson (to Ole Miss)
24. Virginia Tech
Head of the class: TE Logan Thomas, RB David Wilson
Buzz: Virginia Tech had one of their best recruiting years under Frank Beamer. Wilson is a franchise running back and Thomas is a mismatch for any defensive back or linebacker in the ACC. Wide receiver D.J. Coles has great size and is ready to compete right away, and offensive lineman Andrew Miller has good long-term potential. On defense, four-star defensive backs Jayron Hosley and Jerrodd Williams are athletic and versatile, and defensive linemen Lanford Collins, James Gayle and DeAntre Rhodes could be future stars.
Big fish that got away: QB Kevin Newsome (to Penn State)
25. Penn State
Head of the class: QB Kevin Newsome, OT Eric Shrive
Buzz: Penn State hasn't drawn the type of national headlines that Ohio State or Michigan have this recruiting season, but the group heading to Happy Valley definitely will keep the Nittany Lions on the right track. Quarterback was a monster priority for the Nittany Lions, so that's why landing four-star dual-threat Kevin Newsome was vital. The group is heavy on offensive linemen, and there are some great ones in the group, led by Shrive. The defensive back group also is special with four-star prospects Derrick Thomas and Darrell Givens at cornerback.
Big fish that got away: LB Jelani Jenkins (to Florida)

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