College Podcast: Breaking Down Recruiting Rankings

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On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy discuss the recently-released final recruiting ranking of 2021 classes, topped by UCLA. Note that recruiting rankings take into account incoming freshmen and junior college transfers but do not include four-year transfers.

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Quite a bit of history was made in the rankings this time around. Despite annually putting quality recruiting classes together, this is the first time UCLA has led the rankings. Oregon State’s sixth-ranked class is the first ranked class for the Beavers since the 2016 group that included future first overall pick Adley Rutschman. Both Duke and Wake Forest boast first-ever ranked recruiting classes, and each is in the top 15. Dallas Baptist, scoring a point for mid-majors, also has its first ranked recruiting class.

In a recruiting environment unlike any other over the last couple of years, there was plenty to talk about.

Among the topics discussed at length in this episode are: 

  • What put UCLA over the top as the No. 1 recruiting class
  • The four teams that were in consideration for the top spot at the start of the process
  • Why UCLA doesn’t get acknowledged as a recruiting powerhouse in college baseball when the evidence suggests that it should be
  • Florida, Vanderbilt and Arkansas putting together excellent classes, as has come to be the default for those three programs
  • Tennessee’s top-five class, which continues the process of building the Volunteers back up into an SEC power and should help make the 2022 team one capable of another run to the College World Series
  • Alabama reeling in the No. 8 class as it tries to pull itself up in the rugged SEC by stacking high-end talent on top of more high-end talent
  • Duke having not just its first ranked recruiting class but a top-10 class, led by a top-75 draft prospect in shortstop Alex Mooney
  • Wake Forest putting together its first ranked class at No. 13, highlighted by lefthander Josh Hartle
  • Dallas Baptist’s No. 18 class, which could serve as a big step forward in its goal of getting to the CWS
  • Southern California’s recruiting class earning a spot in the rankings for the second straight year, suggesting that real progress is being made in the program
  • Clemson’s two-sport star Will Taylor, the highest-ranked draft prospect to end up on a college campus
  • Nebraska building on its Big Ten title last season with a ranked class

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