Verbal commits for the '25 college football class show future trouble for one conference

Recruiting elite high school talent still matters in building college football championship rosters. One conference is struggling to compete in the 2025 cycle.

The pace of change in the college football world continues unabated. With more unknowns than ever before coaching staffs must rebuild rosters that change drastically every season. Recruiting top high school players still matters, though how much varies from program to program. One thing that has changed little is in attracting the most elite high school prospects, the big dogs still eat.

Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting is going well. A widely speculated Alabama recruiting debacle has not occurred due to Nick Saban's retirement. The 2025 recruiting class cycle is months away from completion, but Kalen DeBoer has done so well, that Alabama fans have moved past relief to genuine excitement.

Using average player ratings is always the best way to measure a recruiting class. Using the On3 Industry player ratings, the Crimson Tide is at No. 7, with an average rating of 91.62. Clemson at 91.63 and Georgia at 91.72, edge just past Alabama.

At the top is Ohio State at 93.38, followed by Florida State at 92.8, LSU at 92.69, and Oregon at 92.19. Any program with an average of 90 or higher is doing quite well. The other programs doing so are USC (91.48), Michigan (90.71), Auburn (90.25), Texas A&M (90.22), Texas (90.18), and Notre Dame at 90.07.

Between 89.93 (Miami) and 88.19 (UNC) are 11 more programs. The other nine (in descending order) are Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Penn State, Ole Miss, Kentucky, South Carolina and Washington.

Absent from that upper recruiting tier of 24 teams are any Big 12 programs. The SEC has 13 of the 24 programs. The Big Ten is next with five, followed by the ACC with four programs in the top 24.

After North Carolina at No. 24, the Big 12 is represented by TCU, UCF, and Colorado. Rounding out a top 30 in order are Wisconsin, Kansas, and Iowa.

It is impossible to ignore how far behind the Big 12 is in recruiting. The conference is devolving into an also-ran in the recruitment of elite high school players.

The ACC is in a stronger position now. Not if, but when Florida State and Clemson make their exits, the ACC might not be much better off than the Big 12.

It is possible that for some of the Big 12 and ACC programs (not including Clemson), the Transfer Portal can solve many recruiting deficiencies. Except, the SEC and the Big Ten have also pretty much cornered the Transfer market's top plums.