A new No. 1 and four new teams highlight updated recruiting class rankings

The early signing period is officially in the rearview mirror, and it was much busier than expected. Four top-25 prospects — D.J. Wagner (Kentucky), Isaiah Collier (USC), Cody Williams (Colorado) and Baye Fall (Arkansas) — made commitments during the period, with another four top-50 prospects — Ron Holland (Texas), Andrej Stojakovic (Stanford), Mikey Williams and Javonte Taylor (Memphis) — announcing decisions in the day prior to the period. Kaden Cooper (Oklahoma), Assane Diop (Colorado) and Ty-Laur Johnson (Memphis) were three other ESPN 100 prospects who made commitments. And days later, A.J. Johnson (Texas), the lone top-25 prospect remaining, came off the board.

Now that the book is shut on the signing period, we have a good idea of how the pecking order looks for the 2023 recruiting classes. Zero top-25 prospects remain uncommitted, leaving Bronny James as the top-ranked available recruit. Only three top-50 prospects are still on the board and only a handful of other ESPN 100 prospects are still out there. Simply put, there’s very little room for movement.

Here are some of the biggest storylines in the rankings:

Kentucky at No. 1 is pretty much set in stone: Nobody’s catching Kentucky. The Wildcats were a close No. 2 entering the signing period, then went out and landed top-ranked prospect Wagner. That gives John Calipari four of the top eight prospects in the 2023 class, with Wagner joining top-10 prospects Justin Edwards, Aaron Bradshaw and Robert Dillingham, along with top-30 prospect Reed Sheppard. With zero one top-25 prospect left, there’s no chance for Duke or anyone else to catch Kentucky — barring a string of decommitments or other surprises.

Duke with an exceptionally good No. 2 class: After finishing with the No. 1 class in 2022, Duke had a stranglehold on No. 1 in 2023 for the entire cycle — until Kentucky landed Wagner. The Blue Devils drop to No. 2, but they’re in great shape with their class. Jon Scheyer brought in four five-star prospects: Mackenzie Mgbako, Sean Stewart, Caleb Foster and Jared McCain, as well as top-40 recruit T.J. Power. The group has a good balance of shot-making, perimeter shooting, rebounding and guys who can create looks for themselves and others.

Michigan State and UConn back in the top five: Michigan State and UConn, two of the most successful programs in the last 25 years, find themselves back near the top of the class rankings. The Spartans have four ESPN 100 prospects, led by elite recruit Xavier Booker, the biggest stock-riser of last spring and summer. It’s not just Booker, though, as Jeremy Fears is an attack-first point guard and one of the best players at his position in the class.

Meanwhile, UConn has five four-star pledges, with three finding themselves in the ESPN 100. Stephon Castle is the headliner of the group, but Solomon Ball and Jaylin Stewart are highly productive and will make an impact at the next level. Keep a long-term eye on Jayden Ross, too.

Iowa State leads the surprises: The Cyclones are not often found in the top 10 of the recruiting class rankings, especially given how T.J. Otzelberger built last year’s Sweet 16 team with mostly transfers. But he’s bringing in top-10 prospect Omaha Biliew and top-50 forward Milan Momcilovic, one of the best frontcourt duos entering college next season.

Iowa State isn’t the only surprise class. Stanford, led by top-30 recruits Andrej Stojakovic and Kanaan Carlyle, is pushing for a top-10 finish, while Sean Miller has Xavier right behind the Cardinal in his first full recruiting cycle of his second stint as the Musketeers’ head coach. Colorado closed with perhaps the best signing period of anyone outside Kentucky. Ole Miss and Kansas State are two more programs with surprisingly impressive classes exiting the early signing period.

Top commit: PG D.J. Wagner (No. 1)
Previous ranking: 2

With Wagner committing to the Wildcats during the signing period, Kentucky is now on track to land its seventh No. 1 recruiting class since John Calipari took over in 2009 — with Wagner the fourth No. 1 recruit to pick the Wildcats. He’s an elite scorer who is at his best grabbing defensive rebounds and pushing the ball in the open court. His ability to get into the lane and finish or assist is second-to-none in the class. No. 2 recruit Justin Edwards challenged for the top spot with his competitive nature, versatile defense and highly productive summer offensively. Edwards scores by finalizing plays inside, along with a hard straight-line face-up game and a 3-point shot. He possesses the physical tools to be an NBA wing. Fellow top-five recruit Aaron Bradshaw is a game-changer at both ends of the floor, finishing around the rim and blocking shots at the other end. Top-10 SG Robert Dillingham is a pure scoring presence, as well as a bonafide shot creator and playmaker. No. 26 Reed Sheppard will blend in right away with his fundamental play, offensive skill and decision-making.

Top commit: PF Mackenzie Mgbako (No. 4)
Previous ranking: 1

In Jon Scheyer’s first recruiting class after being named Mike Krzyzewski’s successor, the Blue Devils landed the No. 1 class in the country. And in Scheyer’s second recruiting class, Duke is atop the rankings once again. Four five-star prospects lead the way: Mackenzie Mgbako, Sean Stewart, Caleb Foster and Jared McCain, while T.J. Power is at No. 40. It’s also worth mentioning that there was another five-star commitment, but Australia native Tyrese Proctor opted to reclassify and enroll for the upcoming season. Mgbako can make a case as the best player in the country after a consistently productive summer when demonstrated his motor and ability to pose matchup problems for opponents. Stewart is an elite rebounder, while Foster is one of the best point guards in the class. McCain can really score, while Power had a fantastic grassroots season and can make shots inside and out.

Top commit: C Xavier Booker (No. 3)
Previous ranking: 3

Four commitments, four ESPN 100 prospects. The Spartans have an impressive 2023 cycle thus far with a group that gets them back on the right foot after not landing a top-25 class in 2022. Xavier Booker is the big name. By far the biggest stock-riser of the spring and summer, Booker went from unranked to the No. 3 overall prospect in the country off the back of elite performances on the grassroots circuit and an MVP showing at the Pangos All-American Camp. Jeremy Fears is one of the best point guards in the class, bringing aggressiveness and energy at both ends of the floor. Coen Carr and Gehrig Normand are also ranked inside the top 100, but they’ll bring different skill sets to the table. Carr is extremely explosive, while Normand is a knockdown shooter.

Top commit: PF Kwame Evans (No. 12)
Previous ranking: 4

Oregon has a talented trio of ESPN prospects on the books for next season and currently the best early class in the Pac-12. No. 12 Kwame Evans and No. 15 Mookie Cook have terrific position size. At 6-foot-9, Evans, a left-handed forward, demonstrates outstanding ball skills with a shooting touch and great versatility. Cook is an extremely talented 6-7 wing from Portland who decommitted in June but recommitted to Oregon in August. No. 48 Jackson Shelstad, the Ducks’ first commit back in November 2021, plays at in-state West Linn High School, which produced former Duck and current Boston Celtic Payton Pritchard. He brings leadership intangibles, outside shooting and facilitation skills. With extreme length and size, look for Dana Altman to exploit the mismatch on the offensive end and utilize their wingspan in his zone press on the defensive end.

Top commit: PG Stephon Castle (No. 23)
Previous ranking: 5

Dan Hurley and his staff did their work early in the 2023 class, securing five commitments before the end of September. The first commitment was the best of the group: top-25 point guard Stephon Castle. Castle possesses great size at 6-6 and is an excellent passer and decision-maker with the ball in his hands. Two other ESPN 100 prospects in the class are Solomon Ball and Jaylin Stewart. Ball was one of the best scorers on the Nike EYBL circuit, while Stewart was highly efficient and productive in the spring and summer and brings plenty of versatility. Four-star wing Jayden Ross is an intriguing long-term prospect, and 7-foot center Youssouf Singare provides a defensive anchor inside.

Top commit: SF Scotty Middleton (No. 18)
Previous ranking: 6

The Buckeyes had Bronny James on campus for a visit in early September, but the eldest son of LeBron James has yet to make an announcement. Still, Chris Holtmann and staff have put together impressive back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes, landing seven ESPN 100 prospects who fit their style of play and team culture. No. 18 SF Scotty Middleton is the highest-ranked prospect, bringing two-way production with his defensive prowess and offensive versatility. Top-40 PG Taison Chatman displays deep range and the ability to navigate in ball screens with poise. No. 51 Devin Royal has a durable frame with an inside-out scoring ability and can play a small-ball forward or a power wing as a dual forward role. He was the third-most-efficient scorer in the Nike EYBL, according to Synergy. Four-star Austin Parks brings back-to-the-basket size at 6-10, footwork and post moves.

Top commit: PF Omaha Biliew (No. 9)
Previous ranking: 7

After building the Cyclones’ Sweet 16 team primarily via the transfer portal — Tyrese Hunter the obvious exception — T.J. Otzelberger has switched tactics and gone after some big names in the 2023 class. Top-10 recruit Omaha Biliew became the program’s highest-ranked commitment in the modern recruiting era when he picked Iowa State in late July, giving Otzelberger one of the best rebounders and defensive players in the class. Biliew is joined by big-time stock-riser Milan Momcilovic, a skilled forward who can step out and shoot. Four-star wing Jelani Hamilton and Kansas City product Kayden Fish are also in the fold.

Top commit: PF Ron Holland (No. 10)
Previous ranking: unranked

It’s only a two-man class for Chris Beard, but with both prospects ranked in the top 25, it’s good enough for a second straight top-10 class for the Longhorns. Ron Holland picked Texas shortly before the early signing period, opting to stay in state for college instead of going to Arkansas or UCLA. Holland is an elite defender who can guard multiple positions and contributes to winning — he recently helped lead USA Basketball to the U17 gold medal in Spain. He’ll likely replace top-five freshman and potential lottery pick Dillon Mitchell next season. What vaulted Texas into the top 10 was A.J. Johnson‘s commitment the week after the signing period ended. At 6-foot-5 with a tremendous high ceiling, Johnson is an impact player at both ends of the floor. He can make shots, beat defenders off the bounce and is steadily improving.

Top commit: SG Mikey Williams (No. 30)
Previous ranking: 8

As recently as one week before the signing period, there was no sign Memphis would find itself anywhere near the class rankings. But Penny Hardaway and the Tigers went on a three-commitments-in-two-days run the weekend prior to the signing period, added another ESPN 100 prospect during the period and now have a talented six-man group coming to town. The headliner is Mikey Williams, a social media sensation who has been a national name for years. He’s an explosive offensive player who can score as well as anyone in the class. Committing on the same day was Javonte Taylor, a former five-star recruit who is looking to regain some of the momentum he had earlier in his high school career. ESPN 100 prospect Ty-Laur Johnson is a scoring point guard who is aggressive getting to the rim. Four-star Carl Cherenfant is another explosive wing player who makes his biggest impact in the open floor. Ryan Forrest and David Tubek round out the class.

Top commit: C Baye Fall (No. 20)
Previous ranking: unranked

It’s not quite the Razorbacks’ 2022 class that saw three five-star prospects land in Fayetteville, but Eric Musselman is once again bringing in an instant-impact group — and his third top-10 class in four years. Layden Blocker has been in the fold for months; he’s a top-25 recruit who will look to push the pace with the ball in his hands. He has terrific speed and quickness, and he is an adept playmaker. Arkansas’ class was boosted into the top 25 when five-star frontcourt prospect Baye Fall committed to the Razorbacks during the signing period. Fall’s defensive ability is his calling card right now. He’s a terrific shot-blocker with good lateral speed to cover ground.

Top commit: PG Isaiah Collier (No. 6)
Previous ranking: unranked

After landing three five-star prospects in the 2019 and 2020 classes, Andy Enfield finally got back on the five-star track in 2023 — in a big way. Isaiah Collier picked the Trojans over Cincinnati, UCLA and Michigan on the final day of the early signing period. One of the two best guards in the country, Collier is a truly elite passer and playmaker. He has great size for the position (6-4, 205), can consistently make shots from the perimeter and contributes in all facets of the game. Enfield and the Trojans picked up the inside track for Collier when they landed ESPN 100 center Arrinten Page back in October. Page is a high school and AAU teammate of Collier, and he’ll find himself on the receiving end of plenty of Collier’s passes, especially in transition. Four-star guard Silas Demary can score effectively but is also capable of handling the ball and initiating offense for others.

Top commit: SG Freddie Dilione (No. 27)
Previous ranking: 9

Since his arrival in Knoxville, Rick Barnes has been relentless on the recruiting trail. Tennessee’s recruiting class had a productive summer. Freddie Dilione went from No. 98 to No. 27 because of his secure scoring ability with excellent positional size at 6-5. He will be an immediate threat both on and off the ball, especially in isolations with spacing. Center J.P. Estrella is a promising 6-11 big man with skills and the understanding of how to function with his teammates, which creates on-court chemistry. Estrella, who went from unranked to the top 50, is developing his post-up and face-up packages at a rapid rate. Four-star Cade Phillips is a strong finisher who rebounds with length, bounce and secure hands, and wing Cameron Carr — who committed right before the early signing period — rounds out the class.

Top commit: SG Elmarko Jackson (No. 28)
Previous ranking: 10

Bill Self and Kansas are coming off a top-five class that included three top-30 prospects, and while nobody in the 2023 group is on the level of Gradey Dick, the Jayhawks are once again bringing in an impact class. They’ve done all their work since the end of the July evaluation period, starting with ESPN 100 guard Chris Johnson committing in early August. He’s aggressive with the ball in his hands and loves to drive to the rim and finish in the lane. Four-star guard Jamari McDowell, another Texas native, picked the Jayhawks in September. And putting Kansas into the top 10 nationally was top-30 point guard Elmarko Jackson committing in mid-October. Jackson is a talented two-way guard who has emerged as one of the most physically gifted playmakers in the class.

Top commit: SF Cody Williams (No. 14)
Previous ranking: unranked

Tad Boyle and the Buffs had a game-changing early signing period, starting with beating out LSU for five-star recruit Cody Williams to start the week and landing ESPN 100 forward Assane Diop to end the week. Williams is the headliner. He’s the program’s first five-star recruit since the ESPN recruiting database began in 2007 and Boyle’s first-ever five-star recruit. Williams has a tremendously high ceiling, similar to his older brother, recent lottery pick Jalen Williams. With his size and two-way ability, Williams will make an immediate impact next season. Diop can fill multiple frontcourt roles, plays with a motor, can rebound the ball and run the floor. Four-star guard Courtney Anderson rounds out a talented trio.

Top commit: SF Andrej Stojakovic (No. 24)
Previous ranking: 11

Jerod Haase has rarely had trouble attracting high-end talent to Palo Alto, with five-stars Ziaire Williams and Harrison Ingram committing in back-to-back classes in 2020 and 2021. And now the Cardinal are bringing in two more top-30 recruits, with Stojakovic joining Kanaan Carlyle days before the signing period. Stojakovic, the son of former NBA player Peja, is one of the better offensive players in the class, with his size, skill and shot-making ability on the wing. He chose Stanford over a final group that also included Oregon, Texas and UCLA. Carlyle committed to Stanford last winter and is now playing for Overtime Elite before going to the Pac-12. He can play either guard position and is at his best going to the rim off the bounce.

Top commit: PG Trey Green (No. 53)
Previous ranking: 12

It hasn’t taken long for Sean Miller, who landed top-seven classes in seven straight seasons at Arizona, to make an impact on the recruiting trail for the Musketeers. Xavier’s 2023 class is headlined by two ESPN 100 prospects, Trey Green and Dailyn Swain. Green, a 5-9 point guard, had a terrific spring and summer, showing capable playmaking ability and making better than 40% of his 3s. Swain is excellent in transition and possesses an intriguing ceiling. Four-star forward Reid Ducharme is a New England product and had some huge games — including three 30-point efforts and a 42-point performance — in July. Kachi Nzeh is the fourth member of the group.

Top commit: PG Josh Hubbard (No. 74)
Previous ranking: 13

Last year, Ole Miss finished strong with the 12th-ranked class. Now, the Rebels are in the top 10. Coach Kermit Davis has been successful in his backyard, winning an in-state battle for PG Josh Hubbard, the No. 1 prospect in the state of Mississippi. He thrives in the transition game and brings a winning background. Also inside the ESPN 100 is workhorse Rashaud Marshall, a center who committed in July and displays the engine needed to battle in the paint and on the glass. Four-star combo forward Jordan Burks is long and lanky who can contribute in the long term. Three-star Jacob Gazzo is a sleeper who is both skilled and bouncy. In a conference that has boasted the most ESPN 100 prospects over the last two years, Davis is keeping pace in the SEC.

Top commit: PG Simeon Wilcher (No. 19)
Previous ranking: 14

Carolina had some misfortune in the 2023 class when elite prospect G.G. Jackson decommitted and ultimately wound up in the 2022 class with South Carolina. But Hubert Davis has a very good duo lined up at this stage. Five-star guard Wilcher has been in the fold for more than a year. He’s an excellent offensive player, capable of playing either guard spot and showing high-level ability as a scorer and creator. ESPN 100 forward Zayden High was a stock-riser during the spring and summer, bursting onto the scene during the April Nike EYBL sessions. High is an intriguing offensive piece given his ability to score inside but also stretch the floor with his shooting ability.

Top commit: C Brandon Garrison (No. 37)
Previous ranking: 15

Mike Boynton had an impressive two-month recruiting run from early July to mid-September, a stretch in which the Cowboys netted four commitments. It started with the lone ESPN 100 prospect in the group, four-star center Brandon Garrison. Garrison is an effective inside scorer and rebounder — especially on the offensive glass — and represented USA Basketball at the FIBA U18 Americas during the summer. Four-star guard Jamyron Keller followed in August, with in-state wing Connor Dow pledged in September. Justin McBride, a summer breakout performer, rounded out the four-man group by picking Oklahoma State over Missouri and Arizona State.

Top commit: SF DeShawn Harris-Smith (No. 54)
Previous ranking: 16

Kevin Willard’s three-player class form a big statement. The Terps are prioritizing recruiting in the DMV area, and this is only the beginning. No. 54 SF DeShawn Harris-Smith and No. 65 SF Jamie Kaiser are from nearby Virginia, while four-star SG Jahnathan Lamothe is from in-state Baltimore. Harris-Smith brings major credibility as a two-way contributor who possesses a rugged frame. He distributes with accuracy and makes outside shots. Kaiser was a late stock-riser with a potent 3-point shot, body strength and strong bounce, helping his New World team win the Adidas championship. Lamothe is a comfortable outside shooter and free throw shooter who brings playmaking ability.

Top commit: C Amani Hansberry (No. 64)
Previous ranking: 17

For the fourth straight year, Brad Underwood has secured multiple ESPN 100 prospects in his recruiting class. The Fighting Illini landed summer stock-riser Amani Hansberry in late August. Hansberry is expanding his face-up game but is already difficult to handle in the post despite his 6-7 size because of his physicality, motor and impressive decision-making. He was joined in late September by Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn, who decommitted from Purdue over the summer. He is a capable ball handler and playmaker who is also comfortable off the ball as a scorer and shot-maker.

Top commit: SG R.J. Jones (No. 42)
Previous ranking: 18

First-year head coach Jerome Tang built a reputation as a skilled and tireless recruiter, as well as an impressive teacher of the game, when he helped build Baylor into a national champion. He looks to have similar success at Kansas State. Coming to campus are a talented pair of ESPN 100 guards in No. 42 R.J. Jones and No. 81 Dai Dai Ames. Jones will provide pure shot-making and scoring abilities, both in transition and against a set defense. Look for him to be one of leading scorers as a freshman. Ames, a scoring point guard, is quick and will run the transition offense with his speed. Three-star Macaleab Rich will bring a different dynamic, as he is a versatile forward who will carve out space inside or take it off the rim and push the break.

Top commit: C Devin Williams (No. 41)
Previous ranking: 19

Remember the questions when Mick Cronin took over in Westwood about whether the former Cincinnati coach could attract elite talent to UCLA? Those have been answered time and time again over the past couple of seasons, including by a top-five recruiting class in 2022. And Cronin already has frontcourt reinforcements lined up for the 2023-24 campaign. Top-50 center Devin Williams is the headliner so far with his length, explosiveness and face-up game out to the 3-point line. He’s joined by ESPN 100 forward Brandon Williams, a New Yorker who was convinced to head out west for college.

Top commit: SF Kaden Cooper (No. 44)
Previous ranking: unranked

Oklahoma moved into the rankings with the addition of in-state player Kaden Cooper during the early signing period. Cooper chose the Sooners over Alabama. He’s one of the most explosive players in the class, and he makes his biggest impact as a slasher and cutter at this stage of his development. Cooper is also an elite defender. Porter Moser already had ESPN 100 wing Jacolb Cole in the fold. Cole is a solid all-around player with versatility who can keep defenses honest from the perimeter. This is the second class in a row in which Moser has landed multiple ESPN 100 prospects, after bringing in Milos Uzan and Otega Oweh in the 2022 cycle.

Top commit: C Joseph Tugler (No. 77)
Previous ranking: 20

Kelvin Sampson and his staff have built Houston into a national contender with a 2021 Final Four run and last season’s Elite Eight appearance. His 2023 recruiting class has toughness, size and versatility. No. 77 Joseph Tugler is one of the best rebounders in the country, plays through contact and finishes like a veteran. No. 93 Jacob McFarland, who has excellent NBA potential, is a major vertical threat as a lob-catcher and play-finisher. At 6-11, he possesses soft hands with a scoring touch, patience as a shot-blocker and anticipation as a weakside rebounder. Three-star SG Kordelius Jefferson plays hard on both ends of the floor.

Dropped out: Baylor (21), Louisville (22), Cincinnati (23), Vanderbilt (24), Georgia (25)

Previous class rankings: 2022 | 2021 | 2020

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