National Signing Day for 2018 has come and gone, and with that, ESPN has provided an update to their “way-too-early” Top 25 for next season.
One of the biggest stories on National Signing Day was Georgia’s explosive run to lock up the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, a move that did not go unnoticed at ESPN. Georgia was one of the most significant movers in ESPN’s rankings, leapfrogging Oklahoma and Ohio State to take the No. 3 spot behind No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama.
Clemson remains No. 1 in the rankings, mostly thanks to several defensive starters opting to return for the 2018 season. Clemson passed Alabama in the rankings several weeks ago when the players announced that they were indeed returning for one more year.
Clemson currently projects to return eight starters from a defense that finished second in scoring defense — behind only Alabama — at 13.6 points allowed per game.
The Top 10 at ESPN currently stands as follow:
4. Ohio State
9. Michigan State
10. Penn State
Two Group of 5 teams were able to sneak into ESPN’s rankings here: perennial Mountain West contender Boise State is in at No. 19 after an 11-3 season in 2018 while undefeated Central Florida clocks in at No. 22.
If Central Florida is actually ranked in the AP or Coaches Polls when those are released in the preseason, that could prove to be significant. The Knights weren’t even ranked until Week 6 of last season, something that definitely hurt their chances of creeping up into a legitimate ranking in the College Football Playoff.
ESPN’s full “way-too-early” rankings with full breakdowns can be seen here.