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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Sizing up a few top D-I recruiting classes

By Sheldon Shealer

Christiano Francois
St. Benedict's senior Christiano Francois shields the ball from Loyola defender Michael DeGraffenreidt.
Unlike college football programs, which will pretty much complete their signing classes in one blockbuster day, college soccer has more of a trickle effect -- some now, some later. Therefore, it’s a bit premature to rate classes before they have been finalized, especially since the addition of transfers and/or international players can drastically change the perception of a class. That said, there are a few potential signing classes that appear considerably strong, and to no surprise it’s dominated by ACC programs.

Akron: A couple years ago, coach Caleb Porter built a powerhouse behind a strong Ohio-based class. That seems to be the case again this year as the Zips landed Youth National Team defender Andrew Souders and Ohio high school state player of the year Matt Foldesy. Throw in a trio of national recruits Alfred Koroma, Fernando Pina and Dillon Serna and it appears Akron is simply reloading.

Cal Poly: The jury is still out because of the reported commitments, rumors are swirling of a couple players heading to other universities. However, if Cal Poly holds together a class that includes Sean Dhillon, Ruben Duran, Wade Hamilton and Kebe Mamadou, it could put this program back in the spotlight.

Georgetown: Want offense? Check out the Hoyas class. Georgetown has four forwards incoming and two of them topped 100 career high school goals. The marquee catch in this group is Youth National Team member Brandon Allen.

Maryland: The help the Terps get in the Class of 2012 is on the attack with forwards Donovan Fraser and Christiano Francois and in the back with defenders Michael Ambrose and Dakota Edwards.

North Carolina: The defending national champs are clearly reloading with a few players who are likely to walk in and start as freshmen. Topping that list is Jonathan Campbell, a two-time ESPNHS High School All-American, who will fit nicely in UNC’s youthful starting back line.

UCLA: The Bruins’ class took an expected hit when early verbal Marc Pelosi signed a professional contract. Still the loss of Pelosi does not kill what figures to be another strong class, led by Mario Rodriguez and Javan Torre, along with Holden Fender, Grady Howe, Cole Nagy and Juan Cervantes.

Virginia: The Cavs may have a solid claim to the best class, one enhanced by the late addition of Shane O’Neill from Colorado and the change-of-mind from Zach Carroll in Michigan. Carroll originally committed to Michigan, but a coaching change re-opened his recruiting and now this U.S. Youth National Team player is heading to Charlottesville, Va. The Cavs’ class is heavy on midifelders and forwards with such notables as Marcus Salandy-Defour, Darius Madison, Scott Thomsen, Jordan Poarch, Brian James and Todd Wharton.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons don’t lose a starter from last year’s team and now it brings in a blockbuster class highlighted by a trio of Maryland natives Jalen Robinson, Mike Gamble and Andrew Harris. Could this be the class that pushes Wake Forest back into the national elite?