February 11, 2015 – College Soccer News issues its initial rankings of the Top 30 Men's College Soccer Recruiting Classes in 2015 based on the information available at this time. When it comes to recruiting the rich always seem to get richer so to speak but there were some noticeable surprises this year. The landscape may change in the coming months as additional information becomes available regarding who is going to go where so in August College Soccer News will update its rankings based on the additional information available at that time and will expand its rankings to include the Top 50 Recruiting Classes in the country.
1. Maryland – Some may argue about #1 but if you look at what Maryland lost and what Maryland gains in this class it is as special as it gets. National team players Jorge Calix, Sebastian Elney, Eryk Williamson, Daniel Reeves, Connor Smith, and Amar Sejdic will make a huge impact in College Park next season, and players like Andrew Samuels, Adolfo Ovalle and Aaron Franco might give Maryland the deepest class in the 2015’s. Remember the name Adolfo Ovalle, he may not have the resume of those with national team experience, but he may end up being the best player coming to College Park next season, If he doesn’t sign with Real Salt Lake.
2. UCLA – The Bruins never seem to skip a beat in recruiting and this year is no different, they load up yet again. Jose Hernandez, Erik Holt, Malcolm Jones, Robert Knight, Stephen Payne, Jackson Yueill and David Villegas are heavy hitters to a program that loses very little from a team that made a run to the national finals last year. This class is balanced front to back, and will help strengthen the notion that UCLA will once again be a favorite to get back to the NCAA National Finals. Expect UCLA’s class to help add depth to a program that has never lacked in talent. Of all the talent coming into Westwood, Malcolm Jones might be the most ready to come in and play right away, an athletic, and talented back could fit right in with the Bruins backline.
3. South Florida – There is no team in the country that prospered more from the transfer market this year than South Florida. Brendan Hines-Ike from Creighton and Michael Bajza from NC State are just the tip of the iceberg. National Junior College Player of the Year Nazeem Bartman from Tyler Junior College, Jamaican Youth National Team forward Kendan Anderson from ASA Junior College, and Australian International Melvin Beckett from Lewis and Clark Junior College highlight a Bulls class that could give them the talent to make a final four run. Nazeem Bartman was compared to Dom Dwyer by Tyler coach Steve Clemmons who had both players, that should be all you need to know.
4. Virginia– The signing of Edward Opoku late upgrades a class that was already loaded with top talent. Verbals from Derrick Etienne, Wesley Wade, Christophe Koffi, and Malcolm Dixon would have made this a top ten class, add Opoku to the mix and this class has the making of being special. The reigning national champs became deeper and more athletic with this group, expect all these players to play a part in the coming years.Opoku might end up being the best player in this class, if he can adjust to the physical play of college soccer, he could one of the better ones to come through the University of Virginia, and that alone says a lot.
5. Georgetown– Youth National team players are becoming a norm at Georgetown, and this class is no different. The additions of youth national teamers Peter Schropp and James Marcinkowski fill needs for Georgetown. Will Carlson, Ethan Lockner, Kyle Zajec, and Brendan McDonough will add depth to a program that has become a consistent top 10 program. James Marcinkowski is the best keeper in the class, has great hands, distributes well, and he can play with his feet as well as any field player in the country, expect him to play in between the pipes, sooner rather than later.
6. UC Santa Barbara – If South Florida had the best transfer market this year UCSB wasn’t too far behind. Transfer additions are led by Michigan transfer Ahinga Selemani, Duke transfer Seo-In Kim, Kevin Armstrong from New Mexico, Kevin Feucht from the College of Charleston, and Adepapo Adeniyi from the University of Mobile. Add that to Right to Dream star Geoffrey Acheampong, Youth National Teamer Konstandin Moni, and UCSB has enough fire power to make a strong run in the NCAA tournament in the coming year. Geoffery Acheampong has special qualities to his game, expect him to come in and impact UCSB immediately.
7. Wake Forest– Get to know the name Jack Harrison, the midfielder from the Berkshire school is as good as anyone in the country and should make an immediate impact for the Demon Deacons. Add Youth National teamer Bradley Dunwell, as well as academy standouts Nathanael Rennhack and Samuel Raben and the class fills itself with depth to an already talented Wake Forest team.
8. Syracuse – Anyone following college soccer knows that the run Syracuse made last year was no surprise. Over the last few years their recruiting classes have been consistently top-tier. This year is no different. Youth national teamers Austin Aviza, Christopher Gomez, and Miles Robinson should all help immediately. JUCO All American forward Ben Polk from Herkimer will be a handful up top. Add Morgan Hackworth, Jordan Hagman from Europe, and Spencer Held from California, and the class should help to keep Syracuse on the rise as they move forward.
9. Ohio State – For the first time in school history, Ohio State lands a top ten recruiting class. Led by 4 recruits with youth national team experience including Junior College All American Yaw Amankwa, University of Michigan transfer Nate Kohl, U18 national team players Grzegorz Solawa and Parker Siegfried this class has the makings of something special and adds strength and depth to an already strong side. Add former College Soccer News Freshman All American transfer Christopher Froshauer from Dayton who joined the program in January in goal, and #100 recruit Abdirizak Mohamed in the fall, with 7 starters returning from a team that made the NCAA second round in 2014 and there might be something brewing in Columbus for the next few seasons to come. Amankwa is the key to the class and his transition from junior college to DI might determine just how good Ohio State will be in the coming season.
10. North Carolina – Another year and another solid recruiting class for the Tar Heels. Alex Comsia from Canada’s U20’s should help immediately, but Will Campbell, Dominic Jensen, Alex Moztarzadeh, Jelani Pieters, Johan Welch and Martin Salas could certainly be contenders on a North Carolina team that is looking to make another deep run in the tournament next season.
11. Stanford – Stanford didn’t need a big class based on what they have coming back next season, but their additions should certainly play a part in the immediate future. Stanford’s addition of Youth National Team player Amir Bashti is just the start of the class. Expectations are high for Pierce Ashworth, Tanner Beason, Colin Hyatt, and Justin Kahl to come in and keep this Stanford program among the elites of the West Coast and Nationally.
12. Penn – The Quakers had a rough 2014 season going 6-9-2 overall, this class might help soften the blow to the past, and lay a nice pathway into the future. No Ivy League school has a more impressive class coming than Penn. Youth national team players include Nigel Blackwood, Gavin Barger and Etan Mabourakh as well as former youth national team players Erik Swenson and Gideon Metrikin. Add Eremuse Momoh, Scott Forbes and Jerel Blades to the mix and Penn has one of the more impressive classes in the country. Penn’s class has the players it’s only a matter of time to see how quickly they fit into the college game.
13. Michigan State- Michigan State lost more this year then maybe any other team in the country that made the NCAA tournament, with the graduation of both mids, both forwards, and one centerback. It might be a rebuilding year in East Lancing but this class could help. Led by Hunter Barone and scoring sensation Ryan Sierakowski from Chicago to help lead the offense, and Connor Corrigan and Kaden Keller to help add to the defense this is the type of class that has the bite and grit that has made Damien Rensing so successful in his time at East Lansing. Michigan State’s offense might rely heavily on Sierakowski next fall, and if he is able to mold to the DI level his impact might be felt immediately by the Big Ten.
14. Oregon State – Oregon State landed the biggest surprise on signing day with the addition of Christian Lucatero, a midfielder out of Houston that certainly bolsters the class. Don Tchilao out of Arizona is a name to get familiar with as he was a goal scoring machine in high school. Add to that Carter Auth, Nick Bellenger, Nathan Braaten, David Brown, John Chambers, Hassani Dotson, and Evan Sungvornrajasabn and you have a class that adds depth to a program looking to grow. The strength of this class will rely heavily on whether or not Lucatero arrives on campus in the fall, or if the Dynamo will sign him to a homegrown deal.
15. SMU – The Mustangs named former assistant coach Kevin Hudson Head Coach, and things look to be getting brighter in Dallas since the new move. A program rich in tradition SMU is looking to bounce back into national prominence after falling below its normal standards over the last few seasons. The class is highlighted by U20 National Teamer Caleb Smith, who originally had given a verbal to Duke, but chose to stay closer to home. Thomas Barboza has pro like talent and Matthew McLaughlin is a handful up top. Transfer Taylor Curtis from Louisville will join Christian Boorom, Kevin Meinecke, Bryan Missana, Keaton Parks, Philip Ponder and Andrew Ramsey round out the class for new Head Coach Kevin Hudson.
16. Cal State Fullerton – Cal State Fullerton landed the top recruit in the country in 2015 with Amirgy Pineda, the big question is will he arrive on campus by the fall as clubs from all over have expressed interest in the midfielder’s services. Elijah Barajas, Jake Fischer, and Oscar Flores round out a class that will help to add depth to a C.S.Fullerton team that made the NCAA tournament last season. Pineda is the real deal, if he makes it to campus for the fall his impact will be felt immediately.
17. Indiana – Indiana’s recruiting class will be a handful in the coming years. Local products Rece Buckmaster and Jeremiah Gutjahr are as good of midfielders as you can get. Add Andrew Gutman, Jordan Kleyn, Sam Stockton, Austin Panchot, and Cody Jewett to the mix and this class will be contending for the Big Ten titles for the next four years. Buckmaster should be the next great midfielder to be produced by the Indiana, clean on the ball, great vision, and excellent at unlocking defenses.
18. Providence – Providence’s magical run in the 2014 season to the final four should come as no surprise to anyone who follows college soccer. Craig Stewart has made Providence a top level program since taking over as head coach in 2012 and this recruiting class should help sustain the rise in the program. Youth National team players Brendan Constantine, Zachary Herivaux, and Guyllain Kabala should all see time in their first season at Providence. Add John Hamilton, William Risigo, Alex Vigliotti and Kyler White to a roster that was already deep and final fours may become a common place for the Friars.
19. Saint Louis – The Billikens had a great run in 2014, but with key loses in major positions this might be a class that will be called upon to impact the program right away. The class is highlighted by Matheus Martins Silva from Montverde, and youth national team forward Nash Popovich. Both could see time right away. Eric Davies, JT Cook, Jeffery Palomarez, Ben Yeager, Brady Lenius, and Anthony Brown are all good players that add depth, and could see quality minutes in the coming season. Saint Louis has a lot of pieces to replace but if Popovich can come in and score goals, the Billikens won’t miss the graduating seniors too much.
20. Penn State – Everything in Happy Valley changed when U20 National Team Center back Robert Sagel decided to transfer from Temple, he helped make a good class turn into a very good class. DC United product Brennan Ireland, Canadian youth National teamer Dayonn Harris, Travis Keil, Ibrahima Kouyate, Wes Bergevin, McKinley Curran, and Austin Maloney round out a very promising class in Happy Valley. Dayonn Harris is the key piece to the class, athletic and technical and should be difficult for Big Ten teams to deal with when he goes forward.
21. California – Head coach Kevin Grimes continues to prove that he is one of the better coaches in all of college soccer. A coach that over the last few seasons, has taken good players, and made them into MLS first rounders. This class may just follow suit. Highlighted by US National team goalie Jonathan Klinsmann who is the son of Jurgen Klinsmann, this class also brings in Adam Eaton, Samuel Junqua, Shinkya Kandono, Christian Segovia, and Noah Texter. It may not seem like a big name class now, but give Grimes time and history will tell you that there will be an MLS first rounder in the group.
22. Monmouth – Monmouth’s head coach Robert McCourt might be one of the best kept secrets in college soccer, since 2004 McCourt has gone 120-44-36 and this class might just help add to the win totals. U18 National team defender Kyle Duncan headlines the group, but Jalil Blalock and Zachary Pereira. have the skill and talent to help right away. Add Daniel Aversano and Chase Covello into the mix and Monmouth looks to have another team that could be marching into the NCAA tournament. Duncan is the impact player in this class, expect him to make an immediate impact for Monmouth and a player who will help carry the program into the NCAA tournament for the next four years
23. Washington – Jaime Clark has a knack for finding hidden gems from all over the country. With the loss of Christian Roldan, Darwin Jones, Andy Thoma, and Spencer Richey to Major League Soccer, Clark attempts to reload the Huskies with the new group. Led by National Team defender Quentin Pearson and Joey Parish, this well balanced recruiting class will add depth to the Huskies. Add Corban Anderson, Ryan Degroot, Kasey French, Andrew Conwell, and Saif Kerawala and Washington shouldn’t skip a beat in the coming season.
24. North Carolina State – The Wolfpack lands a quality class with the addition of Aidan Wixted, Tyler Gabarra, Stephen Elias, Ben Locke, Lesley Nchanji, and Tanner Roberts. Roberts and Wixted might be the keys to the class. Roberts is a strong powerful forward who had no problem scoring goals for his academy team, and Wixted might be the guy to take the place of Conor Donavan who signed early with Major League Soccer.
25. Notre Dame – Bobby Clark adds seven players in the 2015 class, all guys that will fit a system that has made Notre Dame a powerhouse since Clark arrived at South Bend. Sean MacLeod could see minutes right away, and Ian Aschieris, Myles Brown, Sean Dedrick, Felicien Dumas, and Thomas Ueland will add depth to a Notre Dame side that made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament last season.
26. Northeastern – The biggest sleeper of all classes might be Northeastern. A program that struggled in 2014 has a recruiting class that should help them reload immediately. Led by Kevin Carvalho from Philadelphia Union, and Andrew Lombard from the Red Bull this class is very good. Mohamed Kenawy has youth national team experience, and Christopher Flores can be a difference maker going forward. Finish the class with Adam Gibbs, Alexandre Reissmann, Chris Scatterday and Tristian Tippeconnic and there is enough here for Northeastern to have something special in the coming seasons.
27. Tulsa – Tulsa has been consistent over the last few years, competing for conference titles throughout, and this class should only help continue the trend. This class is highlighted by U18 National team forward Juan Sebastian Sanchez, a creative forward who has a knack for scoring goals. The additions of Ashby Clark, Marcel DaSilva, Keegan King, Munashe Raranje and Miguel Velasquez all will add depth to a very good Tulsa side.
28. Michigan – Michigan who had the #2 recruiting class in 2014 fell short of the expectations the program was building toward. With three freshmen transferring after their first semester in Ann Arbor (Selamani, Kohl, and Duska) Michigan will look to reload with this coming class. Remember the name Francis Atuahene, the midfielder is as good as any player in the country and the addition of Marcello Borges from the Red Bull might help soften the sting of those who left Ann Arbor after a lackluster season.
29. Marquette – Marquette lost some quality pieces in 2014, with Axel Sjoberg, Charlie Lyon, and Coco Navarro going to the professional ranks, so recruiting was a major priority for Marquette. Midfielder Ruben Sanchez and defender Kees Westra highlight the class, but Luis Barraza and Tobin Howell could be contributors depending on how quickly they can adapt to the speed of college soccer.
30. UC Irvine – The Anteaters went 16-6-3 in 2014, only to lose to Providence who eventually made a final four run and with a large number of players returning this recruiting class just adds to the strength of a program that could make a deep run again this season. Ivan Canales and Jorge Lara are two guys to keep an eye on, but Daniel Crisostomo, Julian Font, Luis Leon, Michael Lopez and Alex Waldron are all capable of coming in and getting minutes. Look for a big year from UC Irvine in 2015.