The class of 2013 is quickly becoming a distant memory with the class of 2014 junior days and commitments fully underway. With that said, now that all of the headlining prospects have signed (Arizona defensive back Priest Willis to UCLA was the last one), it’s time to take a look at the best classes by position on defense.
Five-star defensive end Carl Lawson stuck with Auburn in the end and helped give the Tigers the top defensive line class in the 2013 cycle.
There are a number of tremendous defensive line hauls in the 2013 class, but the pick here goes to Auburn. Nobody had a better close the last week of signing day than the Tigers solidifying the commitment of five-star weak-side defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) and picking up national signing day signatures from five-star prospects Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County) and Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind.). Add in mid-term junior college defensive tackle prospect Ben Bradley (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson C.C.), and Auburn behind the impressive work of Rodney Garner put together an uber talented four-man class.
Both Florida and LSU made serious run here. The Gators inked seven defensive line prospects, while Les Miles and staff signed the same number; including five four-star prospects.
Also considered – Ohio State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Michigan, Alabama and others.
The linebacker position came down to a pair of SEC teams in Florida and Alabama with the back-to-back national champions getting the nod due to the signing of five-star inside backer Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala.). The 6-foot-1, 237-pound downhill hammer joined five-star edge rush prospect Jonathan Allen (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and another quick and explosive edge prospect in Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab). Rounding out the foursome for Nick Saban and staff is three-star inside backer Walker Jones (Ridgley, Tenn./Evangelical Christian).
The Gators also inked a very impressive group led by Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa.) and Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast. All told, Will Muschamp and staff signed four linebackers, and a safety or two that could easily end up spinning down in time.
Also considered – Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State and others.
There were several terrific defensive back classes signed in 2013, but this one came down to Ohio State and Alabama with the Buckeyes receiving the nod. Urban Meyer and staff put together a terrific class with talent at every position. While five-star Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland) is the headliner and especially after his signing day announcement, the trio of corner prospects is eye catching to say the least. Eli Apple (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern), Cameron Burrows (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) and Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) are al talented and possess different strengths. Add in four-star safety Jayme Thompson (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) and Ohio State inked five Top247 defensive backs.
The Crimson Tide also signed five Top247 prospects that are likely to end up in the defensive backfield. While corners Maurice Smith (Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles) and Jonathan Cook (Spanish Fort, Ala.), and safety Anthony Averett (Woodbury, N.J.) are locked into the defensive back position, there are questions if both ArDarius Stewart (Birmingham, Als./Fultondale) and Eddie Jackson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Boyd Anderson) will end up on the defensive side.
Two other classes definitely considered were UCLA with five talented prospects, and LSU with the top trio of cornerback prospects in the class.
Also considered –LSU, UCLA, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and others.
Gerry Hamilton is the lead National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GerryHam247