- Bill Conley
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Though the class of 2009 team recruiting rankings expand from a top 10 to a top 15 this month, the top five remain the same from the last update, in August. There are legitimate arguments for any of the top four teams -- USC, Ohio State, LSU and Texas -- claiming the top spot.
Keep in mind that recruiting is a marathon and that there is a long way to go until national signing day on Feb. 4. Expect many of the teams in the top 15 to see significant increases in numbers once December and January roll around and official visits start heating up after the regular season in college football comes to a close.
Alabama and Miami surge into the top 10 and reshuffle the deck a little bit. The Tide jump to No. 6 as a result of a very impressive September and early October with the additions of No. 2 ILB Nico Johnson (Andalusia, Ala.) and Darrington Sentimore (Destrehan, La.). Also, OT D.J. Fluker (Foley, Ala.) moved into the top five offensive tackles after we saw him dominate on offense for Foley.
The Canes join the club at No. 9; they are starting to surge with the addition of athletes Jamal Reid (Mayo, Fla./Lafayette) and Kayvon Webster (Miami/Pace). More speed is on the way for them, and this class should only add more positives to the "Baby Canes."
Oklahoma, having been pretty stagnant, and Tennessee, having lost QB Josh Nunes (Upland, Calif.) to Stanford, drop slightly from the last rankings. Clemson drops out altogether with the decommitments of Under Armour All-American safeties Craig Loston (Aldine, Texas/Dwight D. Eisenhower) and Devonte Holloman (Rock Hill, S.C./South Pointe) and athlete Larry Raper (Shelby, N.C.) after the departure of coach Tommy Bowden.
Michigan joins the top 15 at No. 11 -- up close and personal, its commits have speed and athleticism. Auburn enters at No. 12 with quick, speedy playmakers such as WR Brandon Heavens (Bessemer, Ala./Bessemer Academy) and ATH Travante Stallworth (Leesville, La.). Whether Tommy Tuberville runs a version of the spread after offensive coordinator Tony Franklin's firing may determine whether they remain committed.
North Carolina and Penn State fill out the rankings at No. 14 and 15.
Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Luginbill is a college football and recruiting studio analyst for ESPNU.
USC retains its top spot as the 2009 team recruiting rankings expand to the 15 best classes, writes Tom Luginbill.