Poised for a big finish

Several programs are set up to have big finishes to the 2013 recruiting cycle. Here’s a look at the five with the best shot.

Georgia could land the nation's top offensive line prospect for 2013, Laremy Tunsil.

1. Georgia

Current Ranking- No. 9 nationally

If you are just considering five-star prospects, there is no program in better position than the Bulldogs. Forget the so-called “Dream Team” a couple of cycles ago, this class could end up being the best on paper that Mark Richt has signed during his career at UGA. The nation’s top offensive tackle prospect, five-star Laremy Tunsil and the nation’s top defensive tackle prospect, five-star Montravius Adams, could fall Georgia’s way, as well as the top inside linebacker prospect, five-star Reuben Foster. Four-star running back Alvin Kamara, who was extremely impressive in the Georgia state championship game last weekend, also should be considered a lean to the Bulldogs. Should all of these head to Athens, UGA could contend for the nation’s top class honors.

Georgia target list

2. Ole Miss

Current Ranking- No. 21 nationally

It seems every time you look up, the Rebels are involved with another highly-regarded, nationally-ranked prospect. The nation’s No. 1 high school prospect, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, has Ole Miss high on his list as his brother plays for the Rebels. Additionally, Ole Miss is strongly in the mix for 247Composite five-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, five-star safety Tony Conner and four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel. The nation’s top junior college prospect, defensive tackle Lavon Hooks was thought to be heading to Oxford had he announced Monday night and the Rebels still are in the thick of it. Five-star defensive end Carl Lawson (still committed to Auburn), four-star running back Kalio Moore (committed to Mississippi State, but interested in Ole Miss, too) tight end Arshad Jackson, who parted ways with Auburn on Tuesday, and others all have interest in the Rebels. This could be the biggest storyline of the recruiting cycle should Ole Miss finish like it could.

Ole Miss target list

Five-star USC commit Eddie Vanderdoes will have a big impact on the 247Sports team rankings should he decide to go somewhere other than USC.

3. Notre Dame

Current Ranking- No. 6 nationally

Playing for the BCS Championship always provides a boost to a program’s recruiting efforts and since the Fighting Irish already were recruiting at a high level, what remains is a chance to make this class potentially special. Four-star safety Max Redfield should be considered a Notre Dame lean as should four-star defensive end Alquadin Muhammad. Five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes is expected to visit South Bend officially in January. Four-star defensive end Deon Hollins, who is committed to UCLA, says he will visit Notre Dame officially. Then, there’s the chance that the Irish will land Top247 running back Tarean Folston, which combined with current commit Greg Bryant will give Notre Dame one of the best duos of freshmen running backs in the country for this cycle.

Notre Dame target list

4. Alabama

Current Ranking- No. 2 nationally

As is usually the case, the Crimson Tide is set up for a big finish. Alabama is a factor with Tunsil and Nkemdiche and will get a visit from Adams and perhaps Conner. Many believe that had five-star safety Vonn Bell elected to make a commitment before the holidays that Bama would have landed him. This Friday, five-star receiver Robert Foster will decide and will pick either Pitt or the Crimson Tide. Carr and several others also remain possible. Should Alabama finish relatively strong, Alabama could again finish with the nation’s top recruiting class.

Alabama target list

USC is feeling good about 247Composite five-star safety Leon McQuay III from Tampa-area power Armwood High.

5. USC

Current Ranking- No. 1 nationally

The Trojans have had the nation’s top class for the majority of the recruiting cycle and have a couple of major targets left that could give them enough distance to coast to the No. 1 class. Confidence is high in Troy that USC will land 247Composite five-star safety Leon McQuay III and flip 247Composite five-star lineman A'Shawn Robinson Five-star cornerback Priest Willis, four-star safety Tahaan Goodman and others are still possibilities. Of course, should the Trojans lose Vanderdoes, it could have an impact going the other direction.

USC target list


Clemson- No. 12 nationally
Could the Tigers get Nkemdiche back in the fold and land Adams and five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander? It’s certainly possible. Lawson, four-star receiver Marquez North and four-star offensive guard Tyrone Crowder are also possible, Crowder even likely. Simply put, there’s a chance for a huge finish for Dabo Swinney and his coaching staff. Clemson target list

LSU- No. 8 nationally
The Tigers could end up with Willis and in-state four-star prospect Kendell Beckwith is an LSU lean. If there is a push, then the Tigers can easily land four-star defensive end Tim Williams. Four-star tight end Josh McNeil, a former Alabama commit, is a lean to LSU after his visit this past weekend and if elite junior college receiver Courtney Gardner decides to play college football, it will likely be in Baton Rouge. Four-star cornerback Artie Burns (committed to Miami) officially visited the Tigers in November and remains a target. LSU target list

Michigan- No. 6 nationally
Four-star running back Derrick Green is still somewhat of a strong possibility for the Wolverines, who also are in the mix for McQuay III. Michigan needs help at receiver and though they have fallen behind in the quest for Treadwell, you can’t count them out. Florida defensive end Jay-nard Bostwick is scheduled to make an official visit in January. Michigan target list

Ohio State- No. 3 nationally
The Buckeyes are major players for Bell and are strongly in the mix for four-star linebackers Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson. The coach of four-star receiver Tony Stevens says he will visit Columbus officially. You also never know who the Buckeyes and Urban Meyer will be successful in turning as we head down the home stretch of the cycle. Ohio State target list

Texas A&M- No. 7 nationally
The Aggies are one of the hottest programs in college football and that is reflective in their recruiting efforts this cycle. Texas A&M is in the thick of things for Alexander, Mitchell and four-star linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea and could have several other surprises between now and signing day. Texas A&M target list

UCLA- No. 16 nationally.
The Bruins, who picked up a huge commitment from four-star receiver Eldridge Massington on Tuesday night, are major players for Willis and Vanderdoes has been receptive to their overtures and it would not be a shock if he ended up there. Four-star receiver Devon Allen and cornerback L.J. Moore both are UCLA leans and Goodman could end up at UCLA should the Trojans fill up. UCLA target list

JC Shurburtt is the National Recruiting Director for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @jcshurburtt

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