Too-Early Top 25 recruiting primer

Now that teams know which players will be declaring for the NFL draft, it's time to take another look at the teams we're expecting to compete for the national championship in 2014.

So, with signing day mere weeks away, here's how the teams in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 are looking on the recruiting trail:

1. Florida State Seminoles
Who they have: The Seminoles previously held the No. 1 spot in the class rankings before falling to No. 6, but a big week at the Under Armour All-America Game -- three of FSU's top four commits pledged that week -- could propel FSU back into the top two by signing day.
Dalvin Cook and Lorenzo Featherston committed to the Noles before the game and No. 40 Travis Rudolph pledged during. Now with 29 commitments, the Noles are close to done in what should be a special class. ESPN 300 linebackers Kain Daub, Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy highlight the nation's strongest LB class. ESPN 300 QB J.J. Cosentino could eventually succeed Jameis Winston, although No. 7 dual-threat Treon Harris might get a shot, too. Florida State needed offensive linemen more than anything to protect its quarterbacks after 2014 and found a few. Chad Mavety, No. 8 in the ESPN Junior College 50, committed in December and is ready to contribute right away.
Who they want: Florida State is still in search of a landmark commitment at offensive tackle -- at least among high school prospects. Damian Prince will commit on signing day and it could come down to FSU and Florida. Fellow ESPN 300 OT Roderick Johnson could commit to FSU any day now. The Noles would like a five-star in this class and Marlon Humphrey visited Jan. 17, but without Pruitt it will be a tough sell. The Noles could land the top two receivers as Malachi Dupre (Jan. 24) and Ermon Lane (Jan. 31) visit close to signing day.
Storyline to watch: Will the Noles finish in the top two for the third time in four years? That type of run gives Jimbo Fisher, a Nick Saban protégé, the opportunity to knock off Alabama as the dominant team of the next decade. When all the faxes are in on signing day, FSU could realistically have signatures from eight of the country's top 40 recruits. -- Jared Shanker

2. Oregon Ducks

Who they have: The Ducks stand to lose plenty of talent in the defensive backfield after this season, but they'll replace some of that with ESPN 300 CB Arrion Springs and juco CB Dominique Harrison. Offensively, the Ducks are set at QB, with Morgan Mahalak, and at RB, with the ESPN 300 combination of Royce Freeman and Tony James. ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker will begin his career as a wide receiver, and Jalen Brown is a terrific four-star addition at receiver, as well. Four-star linebacker Jimmie Swain is a great fit for the Ducks' defense, and he'll be joined by No. 1 juco defensive end Tui Talia and defensive linemen Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins.
Who they want: Offensive tackles Kaleb McGary and Nick Gates would round out the offensive line, while ESPN 300 safety Mattrell McGraw would be another big addition to the secondary. ESPN 300 athlete John Smith is something of a long shot at this point, but the Ducks will make a run at him. Defensive tackles Trey Lealaimatafao and Poona Ford are looking hard at the Ducks, and Oregon will look to land at least one of the talented linemen on signing day.
Storyline to watch: It's obvious that the Ducks aren't going to settle for what they already have along the offensive and defensive lines, as late offers are going out to big men on both sides of the ball. Oregon hasn't had any issue loading up at the skill positions, but how the Ducks close with linemen will go a long way toward how this class is viewed. -- Erik McKinney

3. Auburn Tigers
Who they have: Auburn's success on the field has translated into success in recruiting, as well. The Tigers have commitments from quarterback
Sean White, who won the Elite 11 and Under Armour All-America Game MVP awards; running back Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford), the No. 33-ranked player in the country; and Tre' Williams, the fifth-ranked linebacker in the country. Wide receiver D'haquille Williams is the top-rated junior college prospect in the country. Auburn was also able to get defensive backs Stephen Roberts and Kalvaraz Bessent to flip their commitments from Alabama.
Who they want: The Tigers already have 21 verbal commitments, including nine ranked in the ESPN 300, and scholarship numbers are getting tight. Linebacker Rashaan Evans, defensive end Andrew Williams and offensive guard Jordan Sims appear to be three of the top remaining targets for the Tigers.
Storyline to watch: Will Auburn capitalize on its on-field success by finishing strong in recruiting? Landing Evans, Williams and Sims would certainly put a finishing touch on an already strong recruiting class. -- Derek Tyson

4. Alabama Crimson Tide
Who they have: Alabama continues to be the nation's top-ranked class that has only gotten better since picking up commitments from No. 11
Tony Brown and No. 22 Laurence Jones at the Under Armour All-America Game. Brown, the nation's No. 2 cornerback, and Jones, the No. 3 safety, give Alabama two top defensive back prospects with the size Nick Saban covets and needs. The Crimson Tide now have 24 commitments, including No. 3 Cameron Robinson, one of four five-star prospects committed along with No. 6 Da'Shawn Hand, Brown and No. 12 Bo Scarbrough. The Crimson Tide's class features 17 ESPN 300 prospects, including nine prospects ranked No. 1 or No. 2 at their positions.?
Who they want: There are limited spots left in Alabama's class, but two players remain at the top of the wish list: No. 15 Marlon Humphrey and four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam. Humphrey, the son of former Alabama standout Bobby Humphrey, is another lengthy cornerback with elite athleticism. While he was once thought to be a lock for the Crimson Tide, Florida State has made a push. Alabama also continues to pursue No. 17 Malachi Dupre, No. 24 John Smith and No. 52 Rashaan Evans.?
Storyline to watch: Alabama has filled nearly every need on the offensive and defensive line, has a pass-rushing outside linebacker committed in Christian Miller, a possible future starter at quarterback in David Cornwell and has two big-time versatile athletes committed in Scarbrough and No. 71-overall Ronnie Clark. Should the Crimson Tide secure Humphrey, they will have filled the need for size at corner, and another wide receiver would provide the icing on the cake. -- Gerry Hamilton

5. Michigan State Spartans
Who they have: The Spartans have two ESPN 300 commitments with defensive back
Montae Nicholson and offensive lineman Brian Allen. Nicholson was somewhat of a surprise, but a huge addition to the defensive haul in 2014. That includes Enoch Smith Jr. and Robert Bowers. It wouldn't be a Michigan State recruiting class without a Bullough committed as the Spartans have Max and Riley on the roster and now have younger brother Byron committed in the 2014 class as well. The offensive line has also been addressed nicely in this class with Allen, juco prospect David Hedelin, Nicholas Padla and Chase Gianacakos.
Who they want: There aren't many spots left in the class for Michigan State, but there are still a few names on the board. The coaching staff is targeting a few prospects committed elsewhere in Virginia Tech offensive line commit Brady Taylor. Michigan State is also still in the race for ESPN 300 defensive tackle Malik McDowell, a big in-state target for the coaching staff.
Storyline to watch: With the Spartans' Rose Bowl win, how will that impact the future of recruiting in East Lansing? The staff has made a name for itself by developing lower-ranked prospects, but is now starting to hear from bigger names it hadn't heard from before. Continuing to find the right prospects that fit the Spartans' system will be a big deal to sustain success at Michigan State. -- Tom VanHaaren

6. Oklahoma Sooners
Who they have: The Sooners have loaded up with offensive skill-position players. So far, the Sooners' top seven recruits are either quarterbacks, wide receivers or running backs, and the top six are ESPN 300 recruits, led by RB
Joe Mixon. Recruiting tall wide receivers and tight ends has been a point of emphasis for OU's staff, which has verbal pledges from WR Dallis Todd, TE Carson Meier, TE Mark Andrews and WR Jeffery Mead.
Who they want: The Sooners are looking good on the offensive side of the ball, but they could use a couple more defensive commitments. The prize get for the Sooners right now is DB Steven Parker II. Parker is ranked No. 139 in the ESPN 300 and could be a major force for an Oklahoma secondary always prepared for the high-octane offenses of the Big 12. Defensive lineman Deondre Clark has been a longtime commitment to LSU, but he's made no bones about looking around some before finally settling in on a decision. Clark is slated to visit Oklahoma on Jan. 17, LSU on Jan. 24 and then Arizona State on Jan. 31. Most people assume OU is LSU's biggest threat.
Storyline to watch: Bob Stoops has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough -- players who aren't the four- or five-star athletes -- and turning them into gems. Keep your eye on players like three-star DT Cedric Johnson and three-star DE Sekou Clark as we inch closer to national signing day. Clark doesn't have an Oklahoma offer, but one could come soon. -- Damon Sayles

7. UCLA Bruins
Who they have: The Bruins are loaded at wide receiver and in the defensive backfield, with ESPN 300 WR
Austin Roberts, ESPN 300 CB Adarius Pickett and ESPN 300 ATH Jaleel Wadood joining WRs Alex Van Dyke and Jordan Lasley, as well as CB Denzel Fisher and safety Ron Robinson. ESPN 300 DT Ainuu Taua is a big addition along the defensive line, while three-star OG NaJee Toran anchors the offensive-line recruiting, and four-star running back Nathan Starks has an opportunity to see the field as a true freshman.
Who they want: UCLA is still in on a number of big-time prospects, both locally and out of state. While the Bruins are loaded at WR and DB, ESPN 300 prospects Michiah Quick and John Smith are still very much on the wish list, as are big-time teammates Malachi Dupre, Mattrell McGraw and Kenny Young. ESPN 300 OG Damien Mama is the big target on the offensive line, while ESPN 300 DE Solomon Thomas remains in play. QB and Kansas State commit Aaron Sharp has emerged as a late target at the position.
Storyline to watch: The Bruins are going hard after a number of elite out-of-state prospects and have set up an impressive list of visitors for the final weekend before signing day. With ESPN 300 prospects Malachi Dupre, Marlon Humphrey, Bryce Dixon, Michiah Quick and Mattrell McGraw slated to be on campus together, that final weekend could mean the difference between a very good class and an elite one. -- Erik McKinney

8. Georgia Bulldogs
Who they have: The Bulldogs have put together one of the best backfield classes in the country. Running backs
Sony Michel and Nick Chubb will provide a nice one-two punch in the future and both are ranked among the top 65 players in the country. Quarterback Jacob Park, the No. 4 pocket passer in the country, has a big arm and is also a tremendous athlete. Defensively, Georgia has a commitment from Lamont Gaillard, the nation's No. 2 defensive tackle in the country.
Who they want: Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter, the No. 13 player in the country, is the top remaining target for the Bulldogs. Georgia will host Carter for his last official visit the weekend before signing day. Linebacker Rashaan Evans is another top target for the Bulldogs.
Storyline to watch: With the defensive coaching staff overhaul, will Georgia be able to close strong? Jeremy Pruitt is a strong recruiter and already had a good relationship with Carter, but will it be enough to close the deal? -- Derek Tyson

9. Stanford Cardinal
Who they have: Stanford has always had a reputation as a big-time destination for quarterbacks. It's living up to that standard again with the commitment of
Keller Chryst, the nation's No. 3 pocket passer. Chryst is joined by fellow ESPN 300 prospects in athlete Christian McCaffrey, defensive tackle Nifae Lealao and safety Brandon Simmons. The linebacker group for the Cardinal is tremendous, as four big-time targets are committed: Jordan Perez, Joey Alfieri, Bobby Okereke and Lane Veach.
Who they want: Stanford remains involved with several of the nation's best players and will do its best to continue to stockpile defensive talent. At the top of the wish list is Solomon Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 256-pound, four-star defensive end who is No. 25 in the ESPN 300 and has been admitted academically to Stanford. The Cardinal also remains in good position with offensive tackle Casey Tucker, the top prospect from Arizona, and four-star tight end Dalton Schultz, who would be another nice addition to carry on a strong tight end tradition.
Storyline to watch: It's no secret that Thomas, Tucker and Schultz are the top three targets left for the Cardinal. Can Stanford finish 3-for-3 on its ESPN 300 targets? If so, there will be the same buzz around this Cardinal class as there was in 2012, when Stanford loaded up with one of the strongest offensive line classes in history. -- Erik McKinney

10. Baylor Bears
Who they have: The Bears' class features five ESPN 300 players, highlighted by WR
K.D. Cannon, the nation's No. 4 player at the position. With Cannon, Davion Hall, Ishmael Zamora and Chris Platt, all ESPN 300 players, Baylor has one of the country's most dangerous receiving corps. ESPN 300 LB James David is expected to lead a very talented defensive unit. DB T'Kevian Rockwell could be the next big thing to shine at "Bear," Baylor's nickel position.
Who they want: Now that they have their big prize in Cannon, the Bears are looking to keep their pledges verbally committed. Baylor has room for one or two ESPN 300 defenders from within the state. Defensively, the Bears hope to sneak in the back door and land a player like DE Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), but it will be tough, as they are on the outside looking in at this point. One player to watch will be CB Trai Mosley, a Nebraska commit who many feel will follow his high school teammate, DB Chance Waz, to Baylor.
Storyline to watch: With Lache Seastrunk declaring for the NFL draft, Baylor will be searching for a dependable running back for the future. This could be a great opportunity for RB Terence Williams to shine. Williams, a four-star athlete, currently is Baylor's only running back pledge of the 2014 class, and he will be given the opportunity to show himself worthy for immediate game time. -- Damon Sayles

11. South Carolina Gamecocks
Who they have: The Gamecocks' class features a number of talented defenders, including No. 88
Dante Sawyer, No. 108 D.J. Smith and No. 162 Bryson Allen-Williams. South Carolina currently has seven ESPN 300 pledges, led by versatile tight end prospect Kevin Crosby. Wide receiver and No. 146 Shaquille Davidson is a key commit, especially with Bruce Ellington declaring early for the NFL draft. Three-star cornerback prospect Al Harris is the son of former NFL corner Al Harris.?
Who they want: South Carolina remains in the hunt for No. 26 Damian Prince, No. 86 Chris Lammons, No. 108 Derrell Scott, No. 120 Wesley Green, Florida State commit and No. 179 Dexter Wideman and others.?
Storyline to watch: It's a very successful class for South Carolina if Steve Spurrier and staff can add one or two more cornerbacks with the need for impact and depth at the position needed in 2014. Should the Gamecocks flip Wideman and ink either Scott or Prince, South Carolina will have filled nearly every need in a class smaller in numbers than recent years. -- Gerry Hamilton

12. LSU Tigers
Who they have: The Tigers got the one prospect they absolutely had to have during the Under Armour All-America Game, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect,
Leonard Fournette. Along with Fournette, Les Miles and staff secured a commitment from No. 18 Jamal Adams, giving the Tigers 14 ESPN 300 commitments, including five of the nation's top 40 prospects in Fournette, Adams, No. 29 Trey Quinn, No. 31 Clifton Garrett and No. 37 Brandon Harris. The Tigers' class also includes No. 1 offensive guard Garrett Brumfield and No. 4 safety Edward Paris Jr.
Who they want: LSU remains in the hunt for five-star and No. 9-ranked Adoree' Jackson, No. 14 Lorenzo Carter, No. 17 Malachi Dupre, No. 164 Travonte Valentine and others. Of the prospects at the top of the list, the uber-athletic Dupre currently is the best bet to ink with LSU.?
Storyline to watch: The Tigers may not have snagged as many of the top prospects out of the state as the fan base desires, but should Les Miles and staff sign Dupre, it's hard to not deem the class a success. Should the Tigers strike gold with Jackson or Carter, LSU would very likely finish with the No. 2 class overall. -- Gerry Hamilton

13. Ohio State Buckeyes
Who they have: The nation's No. 1 linebacker,
Raekwon McMillan, brings the Buckeyes back into the top 10. Urban Meyer also has a pledge from four-star athlete Noah Brown. ESPN 300 offensive linemen Demetrius Knox and Jamarco Jones help OSU get a much-needed shot in the arm in the trenches. The class has shown its strength, as CB Damon Webb, OLBs Dante Booker Jr. and Kyle Berger, ATH Curtis Samuel and DE Jalyn Holmes -- all members of the ESPN 300 -- participated at The Opening. QB Stephen Collier, WR Terry McLaurin, RB Parris Campbell Jr., DE Dylan Thompson and OT Kyle Trout also went to Oregon for the event. Teammates Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore recently committed to the Buckeyes, adding to the tremendous haul.
Who they want: There aren't many spots left in the 2014 class, and plenty of spots have already been filled. The Buckeyes are still working hard on ESPN 300 defensive linemen Malik McDowell of Michigan and Solomon Thomas, as well as tight end David Njoku. The coaches are also hoping to land Virginia Tech offensive line commit Brady Taylor to finish out this class.
Storyline to watch: With new defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. and defensive coordinator Chris Ash on board, it will be interesting to see how that impacts defensive recruiting. Johnson has major ties to the East Coast and had a ton of success at Penn State. The defense was the weakness for this team, so addressing those needs will be a priority. -- Tom VanHaaren

14. Wisconsin Badgers
Who they have: Stop if you've heard this before: Wisconsin is bringing in a talented offensive lineman. The Badgers' top commitment is ESPN 300 lineman
Jaden Gault, a 6-foot-6 tackle ranked No. 11 nationally at his position. Joining Gault is three-star guard George Panos, also an in-state product. New coach Gary Andersen is mining his new state; the Badgers have six in-state pledges with four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans among them. The prize of the class could end up being four-star D.J. Gillins, the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback.
Who they want: Offensive line is still a focus for the Badgers in this class. The target list includes four-star offensive tackle Frank Ragnow, Kaleb McGary and George Rushing. The Badgers will have a few visitors on campus before signing day to try to close out this class.
Storyline to watch: Andersen is already recruiting prospects to move closer to the offense he is used to running. With Gillins enrolled early in the 2014 class, that is a big step toward the offensive goal. How that offense develops and what other prospects Wisconsin decides to recruit will be the storyline to watch with the Badgers. -- Tom VanHaaren

15. USC Trojans
Who they have: ESPN 300 members
Viane Talamaivao, Bryce Dixon and Toa Lobendahn headline USC's recruiting class, which has gained eight prospects since head coach Steve Sarkisian arrived from Washington. Talamaivao and Lobendahn, ranked No. 5 and No. 8 respectively among offensive guards, could factor into the starting lineup next season. The Trojans also hold verbal commitments from a few other local ESPN 300 prospects: offensive lineman Chris Brown, defensive end Malik Dorton and athlete Rahshead Johnson. Assistant coach Keith Heyward shored up a position of need by bagging three-star defensive backs Jonathan Lockett and John Plattenburg. The recent recruiting success has extended beyond California's borders -- not long after taking the helm, Sarkisian went out of state to snag ESPN JC 50 defensive tackle Claudeson Pelon and four-star defensive end Don Hill.
Who they want: Some big fishes remain for the coaching staff. Five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson, who has visited campus numerous times and traveled to see USC at the Las Vegas Bowl, recently included the Trojans in his final six. ESPN 300 athlete John "JuJu" Smith, who at this point could be considered a heavy lean to USC, is scheduled to officially visit on Jan. 24. And then there's ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, who has a longtime friendship with Talamaivao and has USC in his final four. Sarkisian might not be content there, though, as he will also look to bag ESPN 300 athlete Michiah Quick and BYU linebacker commit Fred Warner, among others.
Storyline to watch: With 15 scholarship spots to allocate in the 2014 class, USC might have to do some reshuffling over the next few weeks given the number of recruits Sarkisian and his staff are still pursuing. The Trojans hold 13 verbal commitments, but they hope to close the class with a bang. At this point, the current class could be considered fluid. -- Blair Angulo

16. Texas A&M Aggies
Who they have: After a tremendous 2013 effort, the Aggies have not missed a beat with the 2014 class, proving they can recruit with the best of the best. To make Kevin Sumlin's offense go, a star quarterback is needed, and that's why landing No. 3 pocket passer
Kyle Allen was huge. At the Under Armour All-America Game, the Aggies landed five-star athlete Speedy Noil, huge on several levels because of the caliber of prospect and where he came from, which was LSU's backyard. They also landed U.S. Army All-American Frank Iheanacho. The Aggies have also reloaded on the defensive side of the ball with a commitment from Texas' top player and the nation's best defensive end Myles Garrett, ESPN 300 defensive tackles DeShawn Washington (the state's best at that position) and Zaycoven Henderson, ESPN 300 defensive end Qualen Cunningham and athlete Nick Harvey, who will play defensive back.
Who they want: With the recent loss of safety commit Dylan Sumner-Gardner to Boise State, the Aggies need another safety, because depth there is thin on the current roster. They're still chasing ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker II and recently offered ESPN 300 safety Mattrell McGraw. Linebacker is another area they could still attack, and ESPN 300s Otaro Alaka and Kenny Young are among the prospects in play. They continue to push for out-of-state prospects like OG Braden Smith.
Storyline to watch: Defense is the area where the Aggies need the most help and they've done a commendable job of recruiting on that side of the ball. They're still hoping to add prospects at linebacker and in the secondary, though. How will they finish the class in those two spots? -- Sam Khan Jr.

17. North Carolina Tar Heels
Who they have: It was a major blow for UNC when No. 9 RB
Elijah Hood committed to Notre Dame after the Tar Heels were the front-runners during the spring. However, Hood decided he wanted to stay closer to home and flipped to UNC, giving Larry Fedora the highest-rated recruit of his tenure. ESPN 300 offensive tackle Bentley Spain was one of the other top in-state targets, and the Tar Heels beat out numerous programs for his commitment. ESPN 300 quarterback Caleb Henderson was a big pickup for the Tar Heels in April. Four-star guard Josh Allen has the quickness and strength to help immediately in the trenches alongside Spain. In Ty Tomlin, North Carolina is getting an inside linebacker with the strength, athleticism, range, instincts and motor to play early. Three-star defensive end Robert Dinkins has promise as a pass-rusher off the edge, and three-star defensive lineman Jeremiah Clarke could project to multiple positions along the line.
Who they want: UNC is almost done, although the staff wishes it had a few more scholarships to hand out. Despite the scholarship reductions, the Heels have a talented class and can add another piece or two. A couple of receivers the staff would like to bring on board are Trevion Thompson, a local ESPN 300 recruit, and three-star Devin Perry out of Tennessee.
Storyline to watch: The Tar Heels are in a solid position for Thompson and Perry, but if neither commits to UNC then it could be a quiet signing day, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Don't be surprised if the Tar Heels' class does not change between now and signing day. -- Jared Shanker

18. Washington Huskies
Who they have: The Huskies' class is one of the smallest in college football right now, as it didn't develop much momentum under former coach Steve Sarkisian and hasn't yet gained traction under Chris Petersen. There are some talented prospects among Washington's eight verbal commitments, including tight ends
Chase Blakley and Drew Sample. Safety Lavon Washington is the Huskies' highest-rated pledge, while the safety tandem of Darren Gardenhire and JoJo McIntosh is important for Washington's presence in Southern California.
Who they want: Offensive line is an important position in this class, and the Huskies will go after Kaleb McGary, Breeon Auzenne and Andrew Mike, among others. Along the defensive line, Jaylen Johnson, who committed to Petersen while he was with the Broncos, will be a priority. The Huskies now find themselves in the thick of things for quarterback Kyle Carta-Samuels and safety Khalil Oliver.
Storyline to watch: Petersen basically inherited a blank canvas of a recruiting class. The Huskies have added a couple pieces since Petersen took over, but with only nine verbal commitments, Washington's class could look very different on signing day. There are still a few ways this class could finish, but there are few classes in the country with as many question marks heading into the final few weeks of the 2014 recruiting cycle. -- Erik McKinney

19. Clemson Tigers
Who they have: In
Deshaun Watson, Clemson has an elite QB who is already enrolled and could help the Tigers compete for ACC and national titles. To complement Watson, Clemson has home-run threats in ESPN 300 RB Jae'lon Oglesby and ESPN 300 WRs Demarre Kitt and Artavis Scott. The Tigers have added ESPN 300 TEs Milan Richard and Cannon Smith, who should be highly productive under OC Chad Morris. In OL Taylor Hearn, Clemson is getting a mauler in the trenches. Coach Dabo Swinney and his staff have told C.J. Fuller, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound athlete, that he will be given the opportunity to start at tailback, although he is versatile enough to help out in the secondary. Two days after Fuller committed, ESPN 300 RB Adam Choice gave the Tigers another solid addition. They got their first defensive commits in May with ESPN 300 LB Korie Rogers and four-star LB Chris Register.
Who they want: The Tigers don't have the same numbers as some other ACC teams, leaving room to climb -- or fall. The offensive talent clearly is the highlight of the 2014 class, but impact players on defense will help close the gap on FSU. Swinney hopes help comes in the way of ESPN 300 defensive end Andrew Williams on the defensive line. The Tigers receive his final official visit. On the interior, Vols commit DT Cory Thomas visited Jan. 17. One more weapon could be on the horizon for Morris as ESPN 300 WR Trevion Thompson is high on the Tigers and visited Jan. 17.
Storyline to watch: The Tigers' class had so much promise at the end of November, but just about every pivotal remaining target went elsewhere. Even worse is they all reside on the defensive side of the ball, an area Clemson will need to shore up to compete with the Noles. If Clemson does not add any more commits on defense, will it have done enough to knock FSU from its perch atop the ACC? -- Jared Shanker

20. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Who they have: Notre Dame's Pots of Gold, the Irish's new recruiting ploy, is making its mark as top commit
Nyles Morgan is the latest recipient to commit to ND. Top-ranked tight end Tyler Luatua, Kolin Hill and Nile Sykes also received pots and committed to the Irish. Notre Dame has remarkable balance in its class, as of the top 18 pledges, nine are on offense and nine are on defense. The Irish have one of the country's best OL hauls with top-ranked commit Alex Bars, four-stars Sam Mustipher and Quenton Nelson and three-star Jimmy Byrne. Four-star DL Andrew Trumbetti and Jay Hayes are joined by four-stars Sykes and Richard Yeargin III, dynamic pass edge rushers with experience putting their hand in the dirt. ESPN 300 QB DeShone Kizer jumped on his Notre Dame offer and has help on the outside from ESPN 300 WRs Justin Brent and Corey Holmes.
Who they want: Brian Kelly is putting together yet another strong class in South Bend, and the Irish hope to finish in the top 10. The defensive line is a need, with Matt Dickerson decommitting, and the Irish hope recent Vandy decommit Michael Sawyers makes a late visit to campus. California is always a priority for the Irish and elite playmakers John "JuJu" Smith and Michiah Quick, both top-10 athletes, have Notre Dame among their favorites. Also among the defensive backfield targets is Terrence Alexander, who visited Jan. 17. Four-star Isaiah McKenzie tried committing to Notre Dame previously, and now the Irish have stiff competition from the Gators. The good news is Notre Dame gets the final official visit on Jan. 31.
Storyline to watch: Irish fans are beginning to worry whether signing day will bring any new commitments, as there is some work left to be done with remaining targets. McKenzie, who impressed just about everyone during Under Armour week, could be the most likely as he visits just before signing day. -- Jared Shanker

21. Iowa Hawkeyes
Who they have: Athlete
Jay Scheel is the lone ESPN 300 commit for Iowa in 2014, but he isn't the only talented prospect the Hawkeyes have coming in. Four-star quarterback Tyler Wiegers switched his commitment from Rutgers to Iowa late in the process and could end up being a huge get for the Hawkeyes. Iowa benefited from picking up an under-the-radar defensive back from Detroit in the 2013 class with Desmond King, and might have found another diamond in the rough in 2014 with Jalen Embry.
Who they want: With 18 commits already on board there aren't many spots available leading up to signing day. The coaching staff does still have its eye on a few prospects, though. Defensive end Torey Hendrick and offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor are part of that list.
Storyline to watch: There hasn't been a lot of success at Iowa recently, but that hasn't seemed to impact recruiting. The Hawkeyes have taken major strides for the future in recruiting, especially on the offensive side. Iowa landed four-star quarterback Tyler Wiegers in the 2014 class and ESPN Jr. 300 quarterback Jack Beneventi in 2015. Having Beneventi already on board could help attract other top Midwest prospects to Iowa. -- Tom VanHaaren

22. Missouri Tigers
Who they have: The Tigers are embracing their new SEC ties by hitting Florida and Georgia heavily. The Tigers were able to land highly-regarded prospects in Florida like four-star receiver
Lawrence Lee and running back Trevon Walters (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee), and receiver Nate Brown was a steal out of Georgia. Mizzou has also rebounded in state by landing ESPN 300 offensive tackle Andy Bauer, tight end Kendall Blanton and five other local players. Bauer, an Under Armour All-American, could be the anchor of the Tigers' offensive line in the future. Three-star Tavon Ross has been comitted to the Tigers since late August, but Alabama, Georgia and others are making a strong push at him down the stretch. Mizzou will likely have to work hard to keep him on board.
Who they want: Mizzou will sign around 28 players in the class, so spots are limited. The Tigers are looking to add defensive line help and have jumped into the race for former Louisville defensive tackle commit Poona Ford, but Texas and Oregon are also pushing him. The Tigers are also hoping to land ESPN 300 linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed, who visited in late October, and he would be a major get from the Sunshine State. If they miss on him, they might push hard to get a commitment from defensive tackles D.J. Williams or Daniel Cage.
Storyline to watch: Missouri has been very good under Gary Pinkel in making sure there are no signing day surprises. Most of the players pledged to Mizzou are relatively solid, other than Ross, who could eventually buckle under the pressure of the local SEC teams. But watch for a calm signing day for one of Pinkel's best recruiting efforts in a while. -- Jeremy Crabtree

23. Texas Longhorns

Who they have: Texas will enter the 2014 season with a new coach in Charlie Strong and eight ESPN 300 commits. Strong is considered a defensive-minded coach, and ESPN 300 DE Derick Roberson leads the defensive charge, with ESPN 300 DB Edwin Freeman and CB Jermaine Roberts expected to be leaders in the secondary. Freeman also can play OLB if necessary. Offensively, ESPN 300 dual-threat QB Jerrod Heard is expected to be the future of the program. He will have weapons around him in ESPN 300 WR Armanti Foreman and ESPN 300 RB Donald "Duke" Catalon.
Who they want: Strong's hire resulted in a domino effect of decommitments on the defensive line. Texas will need to rebuild its line, and the Longhorns are hoping to add ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and ESPN 300 DT Poona Ford -- a Louisville decommit -- to the 2014 class. Texas is still keeping its fingers crossed about landing ESPN 300 DB Steven Parker II, a versatile safety who can see early playing time next season.
Storyline to watch: Strong has a couple of players once thought to play at Louisville high on his charts for Texas. Along with Ford, three-star DT Chris Nelson (Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian) is a player to watch, as he decommitted from Louisville when Strong left. -- Erik McKinney

24. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Who they have: Nebraska's class fills needs, especially on the lines with ESPN 300 guard
D.J. Foster and Under Armour All-America guard Tanner Farmer on offense, and defensive linemen such as tackle Terrell Clinkscales of Dodge City (Kan.) Community College and junior college end Joe Keels. While the Cornhuskers have a four-star signal-caller committed in Zack Darlington, his long-term health remains a major concern. Diminutive running back Larenzo Stewart brings legitimate 4.4 speed and kick-return ability.
Who they want: Nebraska remains in the hunt for several talented prospects, and like other schools it is raiding the Louisville commit list. Four-star wide receiver and Cardinals commit DeSean Blair and four-star safety and fellow Louisville pledge Michael Johnson are scheduled to visit in January. Cincinnati three-star defensive end commit Spencer Williams is also a top target remaining, as is Utah offensive tackle commit Kenyon Frison.
Storyline to watch: With the presumptive addition of Charlton Warren to the coaching staff, what happens in the southeast? Warren, defensive coordinator at Air Force, is from Atlanta and has strong connections in an important region for Nebraska. The pool of prospects for Warren at Air Force was limited in comparison to what he would encounter as a recruiter for the Huskers. Watch for Nebraska to emerge late with a player or two in Georgia. Warren could also help in Florida with Blair and Johnson. -- Mitch Sherman

25. UCF Knights
Who they have: ESPN 300 quarterback
Tyler Harris is the No. 12 pocket passer in the country and could compete for early playing time because he's enrolled early and there's a gaping hole left behind by Blake Bortles' departure. Defensive tackle Jamiyus Pittman was a huge get shortly after the Knights' Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor. He had been a longtime Ole Miss commitment. C.J. Jones is one of the top running backs in Florida and would have been heavily recruited had he not committed during the spring. Safety Mike Rogers was a steal out of the Peach State. He turned down offers from Clemson, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ohio State and Ole Miss, and many coaches expect him to challenge for playing time early.
Who they want: The Knights will have a smaller class in 2014 because of the young talent on the roster and the small senior class. The low numbers will hurt from a rankings standpoint, but the quality is certainly there compared with the rest of its American counterparts. UCF would like to add some additional depth at linebacker and defensive line before signing day, but for the most part its needs at quarterback, receiver, running back and especially on the offensive line have already been filled. Keep an eye on defensive end Brandon Thorpe and linebacker Errol Clarke down the stretch. Both had good sophomore seasons and could be real steals for the Golden Knights.
Storyline to watch: The Knights are in prime position to steal a prospect or two down the stretch. The BCS victory is already paying dividends and with the Knights limited on a final few spots, they can put the full-court press on the remaining targets. George O'Leary is a diligent recruiter, so look for the Knights to nab an in-state recruit or two away from an ACC or SEC program before signing day arrives. -- Jeremy Crabtree