2022 college football recruiting class rankings: Texas surges past Georgia, Ohio State into top five

Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns landed four ESPN 300 defensive linemen to help Texas skyrocket up the 2022 recruiting class rankings. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Commitments have slowed with the start of college football season, but action on the recruiting trail never stops, as proved by several teams being able to strengthen their classes and climb in the rankings.

The biggest mover was Texas, which took a defensive approach to catapult itself from outside the top 10 into the top five. The Longhorns added four ESPN 300 defensive line prospects, led by in-state top-10 DT Jaray Bledsoe, an explosive and agile big man with a high ceiling for development. The future SEC member also went deep into the conference's recruiting footprint to pull ESPN 300 DE Justice Finkley, a powerful and technically sound defender who should be a quick contributor, out of Hewitt-Trussville in Alabama.

Oregon still leads the way in the Pac-12, but Stanford has managed to close the gap as the Cardinal break into the top 15. The Cardinal added a pair of high three-star perimeter players from the East Coast in Terian Williams II, an athlete out of Georgia who projects to the secondary, and WR Elic Ayomanor, a lengthy target out of the Northeast.

Amid the change in leadership at South Carolina, the Gamecocks' class finished last in the SEC for the 2021 cycle, but with a full year to work, new coach Shane Beamer is competing for a top-25 class nationally. The Gamecocks were able to claw their way up a spot after adding a potential pass-rushing sleeper out of Florida in Bryan Thomas Jr., an explosive edge player with good body control.

1. Penn State Nittany Lions

ESPN 300 commits: 12 | Previous ranking: 1

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: WR Kaden Saunders (No. 28)
Top defensive commit: DE Dani Dennis-Sutton (No. 81)

The Nittany Lions' 2021 class never reached higher than No. 15 and ultimately finished outside the top 25, but in 2022 they are competing for the top class. They have had great success in-state with commitments from six of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania, led by top-10 OT Drew Shelton. Key in-state defensive pickups include Dennis-Sutton, who possesses a good initial burst, strength and agility; and Ken Talley, an explosive player with a good motor. They have two quarterbacks in the class, led by No. 3 QB-PP Drew Allar, a strong-armed passer with good feet, and Beau Pribula, who possesses some traits in the mold of former Penn State QB Trace McSorley. Coach James Franklin is on his way to assembling one of the most talented groups of pass-catchers in this class, which includes the four-star Saunders, a good route-runner who can create yards after the catch with his suddenness.