College Soccer News issues its initial ranking of the top ten 2020 recruiting classses in the country. The list is based on the information currently available and will be expanded to include the top thirty classes after additional information becomes available. The teams ranked at the top of the deck are not likely to change but past experience has established that it is wise to delay the comparison and evaluation of recruiting classes beyond that until sufficient information is available. That is particularly true this year due to the potential impact of the restrictions that suspended in-person recruiting and on-campus visits.
College Soccer News' recruiting class rankings are a projection of two factors. The first is the level of success the indivdual members have had against the highest level of competition. The second is the ability of the entire class to meet the short and long term needs of the program. The difference in the level of talent among the top recruiting classes is very slim so distinctions in the ordering of classes often comes down to the potential of the class to meet immediate needs. The real measure of any recruiting class is ultimately determined on the field of play over a four year period.
#1 – Duke – The Blue Devils have added an extremely talented, deep, and balanced nine-member class that is arguably the strongest from top to bottom as any in the country. The class includes defenders Adam Armour and Antino Lopez, midfielder Peter Stroud, and goalkeeper JT Harms who are all ranked among the top fifty members of the high school class of 2020 by College Soccer News and whose resumes include playing with the U.S. U-17 National Team. If this class stays together, they will win a lot of games during their stay in Durham.
#2 – Indiana – Todd Yeagley did an excellent job of merging a top-notch recruiting class in with returnig players last year. He will have the opportunity to do it again in 2020 with another banner class on the way to Bloomington. The good news is that the Hoosiers do not have the immediate needs that must be addressed that they had this time last year. Junior transfers center back Callum Stretch, an All-Summit League Second Team selection and two-year starter at Denver, and outside back Nyk Sessock, a starter for the past two seasons at Pittsburgh, should hit the ground running. Midfielders Kyle Folds and Emerson Nieto out of the Indiana Fire Academy and forward Lukas Hummel out of the Saint Louis FC are among a highly regarded group of incoming freshmen who are impact players. Forward Nathan Ward and defenders Joey Maher, and Lawson Redmon round out a talented class that is eager to do their part to carry on the winning tradition that exists at IU.
#3 – Georgetown – National Championships pay dividends on the recruiting trail. The 2020 recruiting class at Georgetown validates that premise. Hoyas head coach Brian Wiese will enter the 2020 campaign with several signicant voids to fill on both sides of the ball. His 2020 recruiting class which spans the nation looks to be just what the doctor ordered. The nine newcomers have resumes that include top level competitive play that will enable this group to help fill immediate voids while developing the skills needed to play an even greater role in the future. Forwards Marlon Tabora Ponce and Pranav Jha, midfielders John Franks, Chris Hegardt, Trevor Burns and Kyle Linhares, defenders Kenny Nielsen and Dominic De Almeida, and goalkeeper Ryan Schewe round out a soccer savvy class that will compete for playing time right out of the gate.
#4 – SMU – The Mustangs annually bring on board a banner recruiting class which always includes an impact player or two from talent rich Texas. The 2020 class is no exception. The class is headlined by four transfers who are likely to make an immediate impact for a team that is coming off an impressive 18-2-1 season in which they won the American Athletic Conference title for the third consecutinve year and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. Junior midfielder Skage Simonsen, a transfer from St. John's where he was the 2018 All-Big East Freshman of the Year and a 2019 All-Big East Second Team selection, and sophomore forward Papa Ndoye, a transfer from LIU who was the NEC Rookie of the Year, should help fill the void that exists due to the graduation of All-American forward Garrett McLaughlin (16g, 5a). Junior center back Timo Hummrich, a transfer and two-time All-CAA selection from Delaware, and sophomore back Judson Burns, a transfer from Clemson, should help fill the gap that exists due to the graduation of All-American defender Eddie Munjoma (12g, 8a) and Philip Ponder.. Midfielder Cesar Garcia who played for FC Dallas and forward Jose Ortiz out of the Solar Soccer Club are among the freshmen who hail from Texas who could make an immediate impact. Midfielders Tyler Oakson, Nathan Ashley, Kellan Barry, Cody Black, and Harvey Castro round out a solid recruiting class that will join an SMU side that is slated to return eight starters.
#5 – Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons may have had the number one class in the country if defender John Tolkin and midfielder Bryce Duke who initially indicated they were going to Wake Forest had not elected to enter into the professional ranks. Regardless, this nine member group is a top five caliber class with the skills needed to fit nicely into Wake Forests' possession oriented style of play in which everyone on the pitch is capable of adding to the attack. The class includes Prince Amponsah out of the NYCFC Academy, Cristian Escribano out of the FC Dallas Acadmey, and Jahlane Forbes out of the Orlando SC Academy, Hosei Kijima out of the IMG Academy and Garrison Tubbs out of Atlanta United FC Academy. The midfielders are Chase Oliver out of the Atlanta United FC Academy, Oscar Sears out of IFK Stocksund, and Colin Thomas out of the United Futbol Academy. Thomas Raimbault out of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy is the lone forward. The future is bright at Wake Forest.
#6 – Louisville – John Michael Hayden has added a recruiting class that has the potential to strengthen the Cardinals on both sides of the ball and create upward movement in the hierarchy of the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. Forwards Aboubacar Camara out of the Philadelphia Union and Nico Diaz who honed his skills with Inter Miami CF and the Orlando City SC Academy are among the newcomers who should add punch to the attack and help fill the void that exists due to the departure of Cherif Dieye (7g, 6a). Defenders Nico Carrera out of the FC Dallas Academy and Bryce LeBel who played for the New York Red Bulls should help fill the void that exists on the defensive side of the ball. Highly regarded goalkeeper Osmar Chavero out of the Houston Dynamo and midfielders Macoumba Ba out of the Montverde Academy, Roarke Schmeider who enrolled in January out of the Internationals SC and Eric Danquah out of Montverde Academy are among other members of a balanced recruiting class that will join a solid contingent of returning players.
#7 North Carolina – North Carolina has added a recruiting class that should help UNC rebound from a 7-7-4 season in which they were absent from the NCAA Tournament field. The class, which has not yet been formally announced, includes defenders Axel Alejandre whose resume includes playing with the U.S. U-17 and U-15 National Teams and Riley Thomas out of the United Futbol Academy. Midfielders include High School All-Americans Yaya Bakayoko out of Martin Luther King High School in New York, Jameson Charles out of Washburn High School and the Minnesota Thunder Academy, and Sammed Bawa out of the Taft School, Garrett Kessel who played with the North Carolina Fusion, and Jonathan Sinclair who played for F.A. Euro. The lone forward in the class is Akelm Clarke out of Black Rock FC and the Loomis Chaffe School.
#8 – Clemson – Mike Noonan seeks to build on the momentum of a banner 2019 eighteen win sesaon with the addition of a very solid group of newcomers that includes midfielder Callum Johnson who transfers in from Boston College where he scored eight goals and contributed ten assists while appearing in fifty-two contests over three years. The class also features defenders Ben Erkens who was the Gatorade South Carolina Boys Soccer Player of the Year, Brandon Parrish who was the Tennessee Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year, Titus Sandy Jr. out of highly regarded Charlotte Soccer Academy, and Harmady Diop out of the Montverde Academy. Midfielder Josh Hallenberger out of the Houston Dyanmo Academy and goalkeepers Trevor Manion out of the Penn Fusion Soccer Academy and Seth Wilson out of the FC Dallas Academy who has played with the U.S. U-17 Mens National Team round out the recruiting class. Talented midfielder Tanner Tessmann who had initially signed to play both football and soccer at Clemson instead elected to enter the professional ranks signing a homegrown contract with FC Dallas.
#9 – Akron – Akron reloads as well as any team in the country but last year the bounce in the level of their play that normally occurs didn't happen. As a result opponents exploited the weaknesses that existed and the Zips string of twelve consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament unexpectedly came to an end. The remedy may be on the way via a 2020 recruiting class that should enhance the level of competition for playing time across the board and help fill the gaps that exist. Members who enrolled in the spring include midfielders Ryan Combe who played with the Raca Sport Club U-19 team in Brazil and Hazem Sohby who is a senior transfer from Ottawa University in Arizona and defender Jordan Seaman out of the Internationals Soccer Academy. Other expected members include goalkeepers Will Meyer who is a senior transfer from Louisville and Josue Hangi who played for Atlanta United, forwards Jason Shokalook out of the Internationals Soccer Academy and Damon Williams out of South Carolina United who should add depth up-top, midfielders Dyson Clapier out of the Portland Timbers Academy and Connor Lee out of the Internationals Soccer Academy, and defenders Paul Jones who played with South Carolina United and Nick Scott out of the Internationals Soccer Academy.
#10 – Stanford – Stanford's 2020 recruiting class may not be as strong as the 2019 class that included forwards Ousseni Bouda and Gabe Segal, midfielder Cam Cilley and defenders Keegan Hughes and Keegan Tingey but then again it does not necessarily need to be and for that matter few classes in the country will be. Nonetheless, Jeremy Gunn will welcome another recruiting class, which has not yet been formally announced, to The Farm that will create competition for playing time, add depth, help address the gaps that need to be filled, and that looks to be aligned well with a very talented and experienced contingent of returning players. The class includes defenders Conner Maurer out of the New York Red Bulls, Noah Adnan out of the Bethesda Soccer Club and Ryan Dunn who played for the Charlotte Independence Soccer Club and the Carolina Rapids. Maurer is ranked by College Soccer News as one of the top fifty players in the 2020 high school class. The class also includes midfielders Connor Evans out of the Portland Timbers Academy and Layton Purchase out of Real Colorado and highly regarded goalkeeper Eliot Jones who played for the New England Revolution whose resume includes playing time with the U.S. Youth National Team.
#10 – Portland – Nick Carlin-Voight enters his fifth season at the helm of the program at Portland with a 2020 recruiting class that could give the Pilots the edge they need to overtake St. Mary's in the West Coast Conference race and return the Pilots to the NCAA Tournament field after being absent in 2019. Forward Jason Reyes, a junior transfer from Kentucky who scored eleven goals and contributed six assists the past two seasons, should add an additional dimension to the offense. Defender Paul Odendahl, a graduate student transfer from Coastal Carolina will add experience to the backline. Defender Kevin Bonilla, a U.S. U-20 Team member out of the FC Dallas Academy and midfielder Nicholas Fernandez out of the Barca Academy are among what looks to be a very promising and motivated group of freshmen.