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I've Got Five On It: The top classes as the Early Signing Period begins

Shaedon Sharpe
Shaedon Sharpe (

The signing window is officially open for the class of 2022, so there’s no better time to take a look at the nation's top classes as they stand today. This week in I Got Five On it, Rob Cassidy explores the top five classes in the team rankings and explores what each means for the future of the programs that landed them.


Early Signing Period: Five storylines to watch

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

2024 Rankings: Top 40




HEADLINER: Shaedon Sharpe (No. 1 overall)

Technically, Sharpe will reclassify to 2021 as he plans to enroll at Kentucky next semester and redshirt this season. For now, however, he remains at the top of the 2022 rankings and boasts an incredible well-rounded skill set highlighted by elite athleticism and the ability to create his own shot in almost any situation. Sharpe ascended to the No. 1 spot in 2022 after previous top prospects Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates reclassified to 2021 and enrolled at Memphis.

OTHER SIGNEES: G Cason Wallace (10), F ​​Chris Livingston (8), G Skyy Clark (21)

WHY THE CLASS MATTERS: Aside from the major influx of talent it will bring to Lexington, Kentucky’s 2022 group has to be hailed as a bounce-back class, as it was assembled on the heels of a woeful 9-16 season. The four-man class has put to bed any lingering doubts about John Calipari’s ability to to recruit at his previous level and also suggests the UK brand may be too big to fail for long in the NIL era.




Dereck Lively
Dereck Lively (Nick Lucero/

HEADLINER: Dereck Lively (No. 3 overall)

Duke toppled Kentucky in the race to land Lively, delivering a blow to a fellow blueblood while improving its class. Lively comes equipped with as much upside as anyone in the country, as his length and skill set are a rare blend. As the 7-footer adds more muscle, his production will begin to match his massive potential. His tools and trajectory make him a safe bet to play in the NBA. Lively is an elite shot-blocker that can score on the inside and knock down open jumpers from long range.

OTHERS: F Kyle Filipowski (5), Dariq Whitehead (9), Jaden Schutt (82)

WHY THE CLASS MATTERS: A case can be made that the transitional nature of this class makes it one of the most important recruiting hauls in program history. The Blue Devils asked elite level players to commit to play under a first-time head coach in Jon Scheyer and have found success in doing so. Following a legend’s footsteps is extremely difficult because faith in the program sometimes dips during the exchange of power, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Durham. If the Blue Devils struggle in the post-Mike Krzyzewski era, it won’t be because the transition on the recruiting trail didn’t go smoothly.




Brandon Miller
Brandon Miller (

HEADLINER: Brandon Miller (No. 12 overall)

Miller chose Alabama over a very real offer from the NBA G League, a situation that would have seemed unfathomable not long ago. The long, athletic and versatile Miller can handle the ball and defend multiple positions. He has all-SEC upside.

OTHERS: G Jaden Bradley (25), C Noah Clowney (43), G Rylan Griffen (70), F Nick Pringle (JUCO).

WHY THE CLASS MATTERS: This is the class that proves Nate Oats’ standing as a major player on the national stage isn’t a flash in the pan. The third-year Alabama head coach has parlayed on-court success into the ability to open recruiting doors that were closed to the program not long ago. Alabama beat out a long list of major programs to land Miller, but also bested the NBA G League, which might be his most impressive feat. If Miller thrives in Tuscaloosa, it’ll help establish the program as a landing place for players with high-level options in the NIL era.




M.J. Rice
M.J. Rice (

HEADLINER: M.J. Rice (No. 23 overall)

From a pure scoring standpoint, there are few better than Rice. Nobody in the class is more apt at drawing contact while finishing at the rim. The Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep senior reshaped his body this offseason and now looks as lean as ever. Rice can shoot it reasonably well, but his ability to take defenders off the dribble is what makes him special.

OTHERS: F Ernest Udeh, Jr. (29), F Gradey Dick (37), C Zuby Ejiofor (47)

WHY THE CLASS MATTERS: The Jayhawks’ haul is well rounded. It comes with a hyper-gifted scorer in Rice and also some serious inside beef in the form of Udeh and Ejiofor, both of whom are capable of pushing defenders around. Dick may be the most versatile player in the class as he comes with impressive bounce and the ability to fill it up from deep when he’s going well. Bill Self hasn't landed a top-five class since 2018, so the class is encouraging from that standpoint.




Nick Smith
Nick Smith (

HEADLINER: Nick Smith (No. 16 overall, yet to sign)

Arkansas fans had plenty of reason to celebrate when Smith chose the Razorbacks over schools such as Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas and others in late September. These days, the same fans will hold their breath, as the five-star guard has not yet signed his letter of intent and is unlikely to do so in the early period. The talented Smith considered multiple pro options before choosing Arkansas and that route could be back in play now.

OTHERS: Jordan Walsh (31), Derrian Ford (58), Joseph Pinion (125), Barry Dunning Jr., (131)

WHY THE CLASS MATTERS: The big question mark here, of course, is Smith. Arkansas' class has a much different feel if he’s not part of it. Keeping him in the fold is yet another test for a program that seems to be taking massive steps forward by the month. The situation provides some drama, however, and something to monitor in the weeks ahead. If Smith ends up elsewhere or elects to turn pro, Arkansas’ class will drop in the rankings significantly. The class is impressive either way and represents a step forward for Eric Musselman, who was once best known for his work in the transfer market.