Commentary

Ohio State will be tough to unseat

Originally Published: November 10, 2009
By John Stovall | Scouts Inc.

While much has changed since the last time Scouts Inc. ranked recruiting classes, the list of top classes could get a complete overhaul because many of the top prospects are slated to make their decision during the early signing period, which begins Wednesday. Here's where things stand heading into a vital week on the recruiting calendar:

• If we had redone our rankings heading into signing week, the top five would remain relatively static. It would likely consist of Ohio State, Syracuse, Michigan State, Memphis and Illinois -- with the Spartans, who recently added big man Adreian Payne (Dayton, Ohio/Jefferson Township), being the only newcomer to the top five. North Carolina's two-man class likely would've dropped down.

• Ohio State has held the top spot since we started these 2010 class rankings. With four ESPNU 100 prospects among six recruits heading to Columbus, the Buckeyes will be hard to unseat. But with Harrison Barnes and Tobias Harris still pondering their choices, a few programs could challenge OSU. Both Duke, which recently added Kyrie Irving (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick), and North Carolina could threaten for the top spot if they secured the services of the nation's top recruit. Cuse, which is in the running for Harris and PG Josh Selby (Baltimore/Lake Clifton), could make a run at No. 1 if it ends up getting a commit from another top prospect.

• Barnes and Harris are going to announce next week. They aren't the only top-10 prospects out there who could have a major impact on the class rankings. Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Pine Crest) and C.J. Leslie (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) are sitting on the fence about when they'll announce.

• Kansas and Kentucky each have one ESPNU 100 prospect locked up in their 2010 classes and remain in contention for several elite talents. Just a hunch here: If they aren't in the class rankings by the end of next week, the Jayhawks and Wildcats will find their way into them before all is said and done with the 2010 class.

• As of right now, it looks like there will be only a few newcomers to our rankings. After adding talented big Dwight Powell (Toronto/IMG Academy) and wing Anthony Brown (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View), the Stanford Cardinal have the talent to earn a spot. South Carolina's recent additions -- C Damontre Harris ( Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian) and SG Brian Richardson (Wilson, N.C./Greenfield) -- could have pushed the Gamecocks into the rankings. Tuesday's news that Josh Smith (Covington, Wash./Kentwood) has picked UCLA also could push the Bruins into the rankings.

• Teams moving in means others will move out. With the decommitment of Daniel Bejarano (Phoenix/North) the Texas Longhorns don't have a top-25 class. (Of course, this could be remedied if Cory Joseph (Toronto/Findlay Prep) picks UT.) Other programs that could be moving out include Baylor and Notre Dame.

John Stovall is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He has worked as part owner and Director of Scouting for Prep Spotlight Scouting Service and magazine for 15 years.