Now that National Signing Day has come and gone, National Letters of Intent have been submitted and a slew of commitments have been solidified.
The arms race for talent in men's college soccer never comes to a full stop, and there is still a long way to go between now and the start of preseason in August, but many schools have already started to announce their full recruiting classes.
Despite the risk of NLI signees still slipping away to professional contracts (see: Zachary Herivaux in 2015, a Providence commit who signed on with the New England Revolution) and shaking up the landscape even further, here's a breakdown of the Top 5 men's Division I recruiting classes at this point in the cycle:
1. Wake Forest
After losing a strong core of seniors to graduation and a few key contributors to professional soccer, the Demon Deacons boast a deep and versatile group of incoming freshman. Look for Isaiah Parente (Crew SC Academy) and Koby Carr (Houston Dynamo) to make an instant impact in the starting line-up. If Wake Forest can add another attacker and a goalkeeper or two to their class within the next few weeks, they should be set to make another run at a College Cup in 2018.
Isaiah Parente (Crew SC Academy | Midfielder)
Kyle Holcomb (Pateadores | Forward)
Koby Carr (Houston Dynamo | Defender)
Aristotle Zarris (LA Galavy Academy | Midfielder)
John Rula (FC Dallas | Defender)
Jake Swollen (Minnesota Thunder Academy | Midfielder)
Elijah Kerr (Dix Hills SC | Defender)
With their full 2018 recruiting class officially announced, UCLA is poised to rebound from what was a disappointing 2017 campaign -- especially by their incredibly high standards as a traditional powerhouse program. The Bruins are bringing in five players ranked within the top 20 of most major recruiting databases, although there is a risk that many of these could be swayed to sign professional deals (including Developmental Academy standouts Justin Garces and Matthew Hundley). Given that, the guaranteed addition of junior college transfer Mohammed Kamara, who scored 70 goals in two seasons at Tyler Junior College, ensures that UCLA will be adding some serious offensive firepower at the very least.
Franuel Amaya (Paseadores | Midfielder)
Justin Garces (Atlanta United | Goalkeeper)
Matthew Hundley (Colorado Rapids | Midfielder)
Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State | Defender)
Cody Sundquist (Placer United | Midfielder)
Alejandro Mendez (IMG Academy | Midfielder)
Mohammed Kamara (Tyler Junior College | Forward)
With key signees in defender Carlos Asensio and forward Grayson Barber set to make an immediate impact in the ACC for the Tigers, Clemson should build upon a successful 2017 season and stay competitive in one of the top conferences in the country. While they typically rely on international talent to supplement their recruiting efforts, it seems that head coach Mike Noonan is making a big bet on a group of USDA-groomed players.
Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United | Defender)
Grayson Barber (Sporting KC | Forward)
George Marks (North Carolina FC Youth | Goalkeeper)
James Brighton (Atlanta United | Forward)
John Martin (Caroline Elite Soccer Academy | Midfielder)
Chris Matlashewski (South Carolina United FC | Forward)
Mason Visconti (Sporting KC | Forward)
Although the University of Portland is not usually discussed as a top-tier team in Division I college soccer, the Pilots made a surprising splash on National Signing Day -- landing a group of talented Development Academy products that include LA Galaxy Academy midfielder Jake Arteaga and Orlando City Academy forward Alejandro Pereira. Transfers Francesco Tiozzo (Winthrop) and Brian O'Hara (California) should also be able to step in immediately and bolster a roster that is already deep at every position.
Jake Arteaga (LA Galaxy | Midfielder)
Alejandro Pereira (Orlando City | Forward)
Gregory Tracey (Colorado Rapids | Midfielder)
Kelee Cornfield-Saunders (LA Galaxy | Defender)
Tristan Weber (San Clemente HS | Forward)
Georges El-Khoury (Seacoast United | Goalkeeper)
RJ Stretch (Seattle Sounders | Midfielder)
Francesco Tiozzo (Wintrop | Defender)
Brian O'Hara (University of California | Defender)
After an eighteen-win season that ended at the hands of the eventual national champions in the NCAA College Cup Semifinals, Akron has reloaded with a massive recruiting class. Both midfielder Colin Biros and defender Carlo Ritaccio should feature in the starting lineup, and international signees Marco Milanese, Daniel Oliviera, Diogo Pacheco and Cristian Gennaro have the potential to fill the void left by an immensely talented senior class.
Colin Biros (Crew SC Academy | Midfielder)
Carlo Ritaccio (BW Gottschee | Defender)
Nick McCausland (Internationals SC | Defender)
Marco Milanese (Napoli SC | Defender)
Ivan Nokolic (Sigma FC | Forward)
Daniel Oliviera (Belenenses | Defender)
Diogo Pacheco (Belenenses | Midfielder)
Sammy Tojaga (Real Salt Lake | Midfielder)
Cristian Gennaro (Orizzonti United | Midfielder)
Dion Akhigbe (Challenger | Midfielder)
Dennis Cole (Sacramento State | Midfielder)
Leonard Sohn (Manhattan | Defender)
Kotaro Used (Louisville | Midfielder)
* denotes the official class announcement has been released
As professional contracts are signed and more recruiting classes are published, we will continue to monitor, analyze and update this list, culminating with our final Top 10 recruiting class rankings this summer. Stay tuned!
Author: Nick Woolf