Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati will play in the College Football Playoff on Friday. All four teams have had their own recruiting path up to this point. Below is a breakdown of those rosters based on how they were rated by the Rivals star ranking.
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Georgia (17): Darnell Washington, George Pickens, Kendall Milton, Zamir White, James Cook, Nolan Smith, Kelee Ringo, Derion Kendrick, Brock Vandagriff, Arik Gilbert, JT Daniels, Adam Anderson, Tate Ratledge, Broderick Jones, Amarius Mims, Jamaree Salyer, Clay Webb
Alabama (11): Ga’Quincy McKinstry, Trey Sanders, Bryce Young, Dallas Turner, Camar Wheaton, Tommy Brockermeyer, Evan Neal, Will Anderson, Demouy Kennedy, Chris Braswell, JC Latham
Michigan (2): Christopher Hinton, Daxton Hill
Overview: Both Georgia and Alabama are absolutely loaded with five-star talent, but the Bulldogs have been getting by in recent years and have five stars across the pitch, especially in the backfield and along the offensive line. Some are producing and some are not. Some are still behind others waiting their turn to be next. But Nolan Smith is having a great year on defense and Zamir White and James Cook are doing well off the pitch.
For Alabama, Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy. Will Anderson is also dominant down the back line with a staggering 32.5 tackles per loss, including 15.5 sacks. Evan Neal will likely be the first drafted offensive lineman.
The two five-star Michigan roster both made it into the 2019 recruiting class when Christopher Hinton committed in the summer before his junior season and stuck with the Wolverines, and Daxton Hill, who gave up on the his Michigan engagement and chose Alabama before returning back to the Wolverines on signing day.
Alabama (60): Jameson Williams, Demarco Hellams, Jalen Milroe, Daniel Wright, Terrence Ferguson, Javion Cohen, Darrian Dalcourt, Deontae Lawson, Damon Payne, Kendrick Blackshire, Quandarrius Robinson, Shane Lee, Ian Jackson, Chris Allen, Brian Robinson, Devonta Smith, Josh Jobe , King Mwikuta, Jalyn Armor-Davis, Javon Baker, Ja’Corey Brooks, Christian Harris, John Metchie, Jordan Battle, Jojo Earle, Henry To’oto’o, Traeshon Holden, Kristian Story, Terrion Arnold, Christian Leary, Malachi Moore , Brian Branch, Paul Tyson, Slade Bolden, LaBryan Ray, James Brockermeyer, Braylen Ingraham, Emil Ekiyor, Timothy Smith, Jahleel Billingsley, Keanu Koht, Drew Sanders, Jase McClellan, Major Tennison, Stephon Wynn, Monkell Goodwine, Tim Keenan Burroughs, Justin Eboigbe, Jah-Marien Latham, Byron Young, Agiye Hall, Kendall Randolph, Amari Kight, Cameron Latu, Phidarian Mathis, Kaine Williams, Jahquez Robinson, Tommy Brown, Roydell Williams
Georgia (49): Rian Davis, Brock Bowers, Arian Smith, Warren McClendon, Lovasea Carroll, Sedrick Van Pran, Xavian Sorey, Adonai Mitchell, Carson Beck, Trezmen Marshall, Lewis Cine, Nakobe Dean, Nyland Green, Smael Mondon, Kamari Lassiter, Jalen Kimber, Kenny McIntosh, Jermaine Burton, Quay Walker, Dominick Blaylock, Mekhail Sherman, Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Micah Morris, Austin Blaske, Channing Tindall, Travon Walker, Dylan Fairchild, Tymon Mitchell, Julian Rochester, Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, Jonathan Jefferson, Devonte Wyatt , Zion Logue, Warren Brinson, Jordan Davis, Warren Ericson, Marcus Rosemy, David Daniel, Robert Beal, John Fitzpatrick, Jalen Carter, Daijun Edwards, Chad Lindberg, Kearis Jackson, Nazir Stackhouse, Justin Robinson, Tykee Smith, Christopher Smith, William Poole
Michigan (39): Blake Corum, Brad Hawkins, Rayshaun Benny, Jaydon Hood, Andre Seldon, Greg Crippen, Karsen Barnhart, Kechaun Bennett, Trente Jones, George Rooks, Jordan Morant, AJ Henning, Gemon Green, Darion Green-Warren, Giovanni El-Hadi, Mazi Smith, Cornelius Johnson, Raheem Anderson, Zak Zinter, Chuck Filiaga, Junior Colson, Kalel Mullings, Trevor Keegan, Jeffrey Persi, Louis Hansen, Michael Morris, Erick All, Aidan Hutchinson, Tristan Bounds, Donovan Edwards, Donovan Jeter, Makari Paige, JJ McCarthy, Cristian Dixon, Jalen Perry, Braiden McGregor, Cade McNamara, Joshua Ross, Quinten Johnson
Cincinnati (9): Evan Prater, Leonard Taylor, Jowon Briggs, Chamon Metayer, Jadon Thompson, Jaheim Thomas, Malik Vann, Cameron Jones, Blue Smith
Overview: Alabama’s top running back, Brian Robinson, and the top two receivers, John Metchie and Jameson Williams (an Ohio State transfer), were all four-star prospects, along with lead tackler Henry To’oto’o, a transfer from Tennessee. Four elite stars, many of whom could have been five stars based on their college performance and NFL Draft projection, are productive across the board for the Crimson Tide.
Looking back, four-star Brock Bowers is playing much better than the eighth best tight end of the 2021 class, leading the Bulldogs with 47 holds for 791 yards and 11 touchdowns. Four former four-star Channing Tindall, Nakobe Dean, Lewis Cine and Quay Walker lead Georgia in tackles, while Dean also has five sacks.
Aidan Hutchinson was ranked eighth-best strong-sided defender and 129th in the 2018 class, both clearly too low for his Michigan production, especially considering he could be the first overall pick in the draft. Linebackers Joshua Ross and Junior Colson are having great seasons and both have been four stars, as has running back Blake Corum, the big-play specialist in Wolverines’ attack.
For Cincinnati, Malik Vann has 8.5 tackles for defeat this season and some of the Bearcats’ four stars are transfers like Blue Smith from Ohio State and Jowon Briggs from Virginia. They could contribute more in the coming years.
Cincinnati (54): Charles McClelland, Ahmad Gardner, Ja’von Hicks, Justin Harris Ethan Wright, Jordan Jones, Ja’Quan Sheppard, Coby Bryant, Tre Tucker, Isiah Cox, Michael Young Jr., Arquon Bush, Deshawn Pace, Bryon Threats, Sammy Anderson, Iesa Jarmon, Alec Pierce, Tyler Scott, De’Arre McDonald, Ryan Montgomery, Drew Donley, Daved Jones, Jerome Ford, Ty Van Fossen, Taj Ward, Cameron Junior, Brady Lichtenberg, Myjai Sanders, Marquez Bell, Myles Montgomery, Malik Rainey , Armorion Smith, Zeiqui Lawton, Caleb Schmitz, Landon Fickell, Justin Wodtly, Devin Hightower, Leroy Bowers, Joel Dublanko, Luke Collinsworth, Chris Scott, Josh Whyle, Noah Davis, Jacob Dingle, Payten Singletary, Sterling Miles, John Williams, Marcelo Mendiola, Gavin Gerhardt, Mao Glynn, Jake Renfro, Jah-Mal Williams, Jack Dingle, Robert Jackson
Michigan (36): Andrel Anthony, Ja’Den McBurrows, Julius Welschof, Gabe Newburg, Taylor Upshaw, Ike Iwunnah, Jordan Whittley, Kris Jenkins, Joel Honigford, Luke Schoonmaker, Jack Stewart, Reece Atteberry, Ryan Hayes, Andrew Stueber, David Ojabo, Eamonn Dennis, Nikhai Hill-Green, TJ Guy, Jaylen Harrell, German Green, Joey Velazquez, Hassan Haskins, Tyler McLaurin, George Johnson, Michael Barrett, Tommy Doman, Tavierre Dunlap, Rod Moore, Vincent Gray, Alan Bowman, Dan Villari, Roman Wilson, Mike Sainristil, DJ Turner, RJ Moten, Anthony Solomon
Georgia (18): Ameer Speed, Brett Seither, Jared Zirkel, Jake Camarda, Tramel Walthour, Ryland Goede, Ladd McConkey, Jackson Meeks, Javon Bullard, Chaz Chambliss, Latavious Brini, Cameron Kinnie, Justin Shaffer, Xavier Truss, Owen Condon, Devin Willock, Marlin Dean Jared Wilson
Alabama (12): Khyree Jackson, Thaiu Jones-Bell, DJ Dale, Anquin Barnes, Jaeden Roberts, Caden Clark, Will Reichard, Damieon George, Seth McLaughlin, Chris Owens, Robbie Ouzts Tanner Bowles
Overview: Many of Cincinnati’s top directors were three-star recruits. Chief rusher Jerome Ford was a three-star relocation to Alabama. Leading catchers Alec Pierce and Tre Tucker have also been three stars, as has lead tackler Joel Dublanko, who has 106 stops so far this season.
Michigan is full of three-star prospects, and to be fair many of them should have been at least four-star after their field performances. Michigan and Purdue were Power Five’s only offers for RB Hassan Haskins, but he leads the Wolverines with 1,294 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Fast catcher Roman Wilson of Honolulu St. Louis is second of the team in yards received. Linebacker David Ojabo has 11 sacks (just three fewer than Hutchinson) and five forced fumbles. He was a senior three-star from Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy.
For Georgia, Ladd McConkey leads all wide receivers and is one of the main targets of the Bulldogs’ attack. Defender Latavious Brini has 38 tackles and has eight breakup passes, tied for team advantage. Damieon George is a major contributor down the offensive line for the Crimson Tide.
The biggest shortcoming in the recruiting rankings when it comes to the College Football Playoff is arguably that Georgia starting quarterback Stetson Bennett was a two star. But Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder was also a two-star and had no other offers. The Bearcats have 25 two-star prospects on their roster.
Michigan receiver Ronnie Bell should have been one of the biggest goals for the Wolverines this season, but he injured his knee earlier in the season. It was a two-star Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill that didn’t list any other Power Five offerings.
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