The Associated Press
Alabama and Georgia are competing for the honor of having the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class at the same time they are preparing for their respective College Football Playoff semifinals.
But there’s a third Southeastern Conference program that is assembling an equally impressive recruiting class without ever having earned a playoff berth.
Texas A&M has joined its SEC rivals atop the team recruiting rankings heading into today, the first day that high school senior prospects can finalize their college plans. The race is close enough that the unofficial team recruiting champion might not be determined until the later signing date on Feb. 2.
“Alabama’s finished No. 1 nine of the last 11 years,” said Steve Wiltfong, the national recruiting director for 247Sports. “Texas A&M has really come on here. Georgia’s got a great class. Those three are kind of duking it out.”
Alabama is currently first, Georgia second and Texas A&M third according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports.
Texas A&M has verbal commitments from four of the nation’s top 19 prospects according to the 247Sports Composite. That list included defensive lineman Walter Nolen (2nd), wide receiver Evan Stewart (6th), defensive lineman Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy (16th) and quarterback Conner Weigman (19th). The Aggies are still contending for other top-20 recruits as well.
Although Texas A&M owns a somewhat disappointing 8-4 record this season and hasn’t won a national title since 1939, the Aggies have made progress under Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies are 34-14 in Fisher’s four seasons, including a 9-1 mark and Orange Bowl win last season.
Texas A&M could face some challenges maintaining its recruiting momentum after losing defensive coordinator Mike Elko, who is taking over as Duke’s head coach. But in a season that’s been noteworthy for all its coaching upheaval, Texas A&M may be benefiting from its relative stability.
Fisher is the longest-tenured head coach of any Power Five school in the state of Texas.
“It’s just one of those programs that everybody feels is right on the verge of making something really big happen, and a lot of kids are attracted to that,” said Adam Gorney, national recruiting director for Rivals. “Alabama’s going to get theirs. Georgia’s going to get theirs. But now Texas A&M is sort of right in that upper echelon of being able to recruit at that level.”
Recruiting updates will be televised live on ESPN, ACCN and BTN today.