Back in May, it looked like we were ready to close the book on the 2021 class. There was only one ESPN 100 prospect available and the class rankings seemed set in stone. In reality, things weren't truly settled until three months later, after Memphis landed potential top-five picks Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates, with both players reclassifying from 2022 in order to play for the Tigers this season.
So this will be the final update for the 2021 class rankings, but it's also worth looking back at a few of the big storylines from the cycle:
The recruiting dead period: The 2021 class will likely be the least-evaluated group of recruits in our lifetimes. Coaches weren't allowed to go out and watch players in person from March 2020 until June 2021 because of the pandemic. That's usually a huge 15 months for high school seniors, from live AAU periods in April and July to the senior high school season. College coaches were off the road and prospects also couldn't take visits to campuses during that time. What will this mean for the short-term future of the 2021 class? We'll find out next spring, but it wouldn't be a shock to see the transfer portal even busier than usual due to misevaluations and uninformed college decisions.
Reclassifications: Reclassifying isn't a new trend, but it completely changed the pecking order of the 2021 class late in the process. As mentioned earlier, Duren and Bates were the headliners. Before those two players committed, Penny Hardaway had the No. 19-ranked recruiting class in the country. The Tigers finished at No. 2 with those two in the fold. They weren't the only players to join college programs after the July AAU season ended. ESPN 100 prospects Justice Williams (LSU) and Corey Floyd (UConn) also gave their teams a boost in the final class rankings.