The norm in most recruiting cycles is that there are a flurry of verbal commitments during the final two or so weeks of July. Prospects that have a good idea of where they are going tend to want to not carry the process into preseason football practice, the start of the high school season and the academic year, so we begin to see plenty of movement in the Chase for the Recruiting Champion.
Royce Freeman, a five-star running back from California, gave a big boost to Oregon's class with his commitment earlier this month. The Ducks are trending upward.
Below are 11 programs that have made significant upward moves within the current top 50 of the 247Sports Team Rankings for the Class of 2014 for various reasons.
Note- trends according to 247Sports team rankings as of 9 a.m. on July 16, 2013.
Oregon (+20 ten-day trend)- The Ducks landed five-star (247Sports) running back Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif.) and as they typically do, they are starting to ascend in the team recruiting rankings as their class grows. Oregon does not often have a huge number of commitments during this point in the cycle, so this eight-person class, which ranks No. 41 in the 247Sports team rankings currently, is quite a start in terms of quality. Elite 11 quarterback Morgan Mahalak, rising four-star cornerback Arrion Springs and the top prospect in Hawaii for the 2014 cycle, linebacker Jordan Hoiem, also highlight the class. High-end prospects like Top247 athlete Budda Baker and five-star all-purpose back Joe Mixon remain.
Vanderbilt (+12)- Though it’s been sort of under-the-radar in terms of the national spotlight, July has been an outstanding month for the Commodores as five quality prospects have jumped on the ship (no pun intended). Four-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers and three-star cornerback Tre Herndon are two big Volunteer State gets and Vanderbilt dipped into Illinois (becoming a very kind state for Vanderbilt) for three-star defensive back Trent Sherfield, Louisiana for three-star offensive lineman Bailey Granier and Virginia for three-star quarterback/athlete Trace McSorley, who could very well end up being one of the most valuable prospects in the class because he’s a great athlete and a big winner at the high school level. He’s sort of a throw back to the days where colleges loaded rosters with high school quarterbacks because they were the best players on the field for their teams. The Commodores have the No. 23 class currently for 2014 according to 247Sports and have 14 verbal commitments. Several major targets remain including Top247 linebacker Nyles Morgan (from Illinois), offensive tackle Andrew Mike, defensive lineman Derek Barnett and more.
Georgia (+10)- Dawg Night, Georgia’s annual July prospect showcase camp, typically brings the Bulldogs great momentum and a flurry of commitments and this year was no different as three-star safety Kendall Gant, three-star receiver Shakenneth Williams, four-star (and ascending) offensive tackle Dyshon Sims and Top247 offensive guard Isaiah Wynn all committed. The Bulldogs now have 15 commitments and are No. 4 in the 247Sports team rankings. Georgia positioned itself well with Top247 linebacker Christian Miller and currently the Bulldogs lead Alabama. UGA also is positioned well with Top247 defensive tackle Elisha Shaw and is in the hunt for five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter.
Virginia Tech is battling Kentucky for Ohio offensive tackle Brady Taylor, whose stock has risen this summer.
Virginia Tech (+9)- The Hokies benefited from adding four-star safety Holland Fisher and three-star cornerback Cequan Jefferson back to their commit list as the pair will attend Fork Union Military Academy this year and enroll at Virginia Tech for next season. That being said, new offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, just as he did at Auburn, has continued his trademark evaluation and recruiting on the offensive line beyond a school’s geographic recruiting footprint. Since the end of May, the Hokies have added New Jersey trenchmen Tyrell Smith and Billy Ray Mitchell, Eric Gallo from Pennsylvania and Colt Pettit from Ohio. All are three-star, good upside prospects. Virginia Tech currently has 16 verbal commitments and is No. 17 in the 247Sports team rankings. The Hokies have their eyes on four-star, in-state athlete Raymon Minor and Ohio tackle Brady Taylor in the immediate future. Top247 athlete Noah Brown out of New Jersey and in-state defensive tackles Derrick Nnadi and Ricky Walker also are priorities, along with Top247 running back Shai McKenzie from Western Pennsylvania.
Nebraska (+7)- The Cornhuskers have contributed to the ongoing purge of top talent from the state of Missouri by landing a pair of Show Me Staters this month in receiver Monte Harrison and tight end Freedom Akinmoladun. Texas all-purpose back Larenzo Stewart’s commitment was sandwiched between those two. Nebraska has three in-state commits in this class. The Huskers also have three commits from the state of Texas and seem to be re-establishing in-roads there. All told, Nebraska has 11 verbal commitments, so there’s upside here and the No. 42 class according to the 247Sports team rankings. Four-star defensive tackle Peyton Newell could be the next highly-regarded prospect to jump in and the Huskers are working Oklahoma four-star receiver commit Dallis Todd hard.
South Carolina (+7)- Top247 wide receiver Shaq Davidson gave the Gamecocks a huge verbal commitment on July 2 and South Carolina finished off a strong defensive back class by landing Al Harris Jr. from Florida last week. Six of the Gamecocks’ 10 current verbal commits are from the state of South Carolina and three in-state, Top247 linemen- Donell Stanley, Dexter Wideman and Poona Ford are major targets moving forward. South Carolina is currently ranked No. 30 in the 247Sports team rankings.
Stanford (+7)- Much like their Pac-12 conference mates Oregon, the Cardinal typically doesn’t fill a high percentage of its spots until after the halfway point of the cycle. The commitment of 247Composite five-star quarterback Keller Chryst at the end of the June, followed by a pair of talented jumbo athletes in Harrison Phillips and Lane Veach jumping on board this week has Stanford on the rise. Top247 targets like defensive end Solomon Thomas, defensive end/tackle Nifae Lealao, tight end Dalton Schultz, defensive end/tight end Garrett Dickerson and others like highly-touted Oregon linebacker Joey Alfieri remain. Stanford has nine current verbal commitments and its class is ranked No. 35 in the 2014 class by 247Sports.
Top247 running back Shai McKenzie is a big target for two risers- Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Temple (+7)- The Owls continue to recruit well and swipe talented, under-recruited prospects from around the region. Four-star cornerback Anthony Davis is the highest-rated prospect currently committed and three-star safeties DaeJuan Funderburk and Delvon Randall are both talented. Funderburk, offensive tackle James McHale and defensive end Jared Folks all have committed since July 1 as Temple’s class has swelled to 17 and is currently ranked No. 39 nationally.
Florida State (+6)- The Seminoles jumped to the No. 2 spot in the 247Sports team rankings following updates to the 247Sports rankings and 247Composite and earning commitments from safety Trey Marshall, offensive lineman Corey Martinez and athlete Treon Harris (they fell to No. 3 earlier today when Tennessee jumped them). Florida State has one of the top linebacker classes (if not the top) in the country with Kain Daub, Delvin Purifoy and Jacob Pugh and though the Noles have 18 verbal commitments, they are factors with most of the top uncommitted national-level prospects. Just this week, Top247 wide receiver Josh Malone and Top247 tight end Mike Gesicki are among the visitors. Florida State is also a major player with McKenzie (probably the leader in the clubhouse) and four-star running backs Derrell Scott and Aeris Williams.
Wisconsin (+6)- Since June 25, the Badgers have added Top247 quarterback D.J. Gillins, running back Taiwan Deal and safety Austin Hudson, giving the Badgers a total of 11 commits and the No. 32 class nationally according to 247Sports. JUCO linebacker D’Vonta Derricott and Georgia athlete Zavior Hoxie are among the prospects that the Badgers currently have the best shot of adding to this group, which features six in-state verbal commitments.
Washington (+6)- The Huskies had a successful Rising Stars Camp in late June/early July, earning verbal commitments from three California prospects- Top247 receiver Erik Brown, cornerback Jonathan Lockett, safety Lavon Washington and in-state outside linebacker Drew Lewis. As is the case with Oregon and Stanford, Washington does not have a high number of commits (seven), so there is plenty of upside here. Top247 offensive tackle Kaleb McGary and four-star defensive back John Plattenburg Jr. are among the top targets that the Huskies have an excellent shot at landing.