Once again the usual suspects find themselves parked atop our men’s college top recruiting-class rankings.
Our 2017 VolleyballMag.com rankings are based on voting done by a VBM panel of NCAA Division I-II men’s coaches and do take into consideration international signees and transfers.
A year ago, Stanford stood atop this list with UCLA checking in at No. 3.
UCLA, which had the most first-place votes this year by a good margin, cleaned up on 2017 VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 selections with five and is this year’s top-ranked class. The Bruins have the No. 3 recruit in the class in setter Adam Parks.
Stanford checks in at No. 2 and possesses the No. 1 recruit in the class in Maryland product Jaylen Jasper, who will be named the 2017 VolleyballMag.com boys’ high school player of the year later this month.
USC, which has generated a number of highly ranked classes over the last decade, was out of the top 10 last year, but checks in at an elite No. 2 position this year, thanks to a massive recruiting class for coach Jeff Nygaard. The Trojans welcome a class-high seven Boys Fab 50 selections, including 6-10 Sam Lewis, who is the No. 4-ranked recruit in the class.
BYU, runner-up at the last two NCAA championships, was voted No. 4 thanks in part to snagging highly touted Puerto Rico native Gabi Garcia, who had originally committed to Cal Baptist before that program was disbanded. The Cougars also added another international player in Brazil 6-9 middle Felipe De Brito Ferreira.
Defending MPSF champion Long Beach State rounds out the top five with coach Alan Knipe landing three Fab 50 selections and adding two international players, one each from Denmark and England.
Six teams on this year’s list also appeared in last year’s recruiting rankings. Stanford is No. 2 this year and was first last year. UCLA is first this year and was third in 2016. Ohio State was fourth a year ago and is ninth this year. Penn State is 10th this year after turning in a No. 6 class in 2016. UC Irvine is No. 6 this year after being No. 8 last year, while Loyola was ninth in 2016 and is seventh this year. Long Beach State moved up to five this year after having the No. 10 class last year.
No. 1 UCLA
Incoming players: Colin Bailey (6-6, OH-RS, Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.), Rise VBC); Grant Maleski (6-9, MB, Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.), Adversity VBC); Ian Parish (6-9, MB, Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.), MB Surf); Adam Parks (6-4, S, Oak Park (Calif.), Rise VBC); Alex Parks (6-3, OH, Oak Park (Calif.), Rise VBC); Garland Peed (6-1, S, Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.), Coast VBC)
Analysis: The Bruins garnered many first- and second-place votes among the VolleyballMag.com coaches voting panel for this class, which features five 2017 VBM Boys Fab 50 selections. Adam Parks is ranked the No. 3 recruit in the class of 2017 by VolleyballMag.com. Parish was part of the Loyola High School team that won a California regional title this spring.
“This is an outstanding group of student-athletes who will join us next year,” UCLA coach John Speraw said. “The combination of size, physicality and volleyball IQ will complement the current team and impact our gym immediately. They all are multi-dimensional athletes who could play different positions by the time they graduate and they all possess the character we look for.”
No. 2 Stanford
Incoming players: Leo Henken (6-5, OH-RS, University (St. Louis, Mo.), HP St. Louis); Jaylen Jasper (6-7, OH, Broadneck (Annapolis, Md.), Annapolis VBC); Kyler Presho-Hartung (6-8, MB, San Clemente (Calif.), 949 VBC); JP Reilly (6-4, OH-RS, Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.), MB Surf)
Analysis: Cardinal coach John Kosty has put together yet another strong class after having VBM’s top-ranked class last year. All four players are 2017 VBM Boys Fab 50 selections, including Jasper, who is the No. 1-ranked recruit in the class according to VolleyballMag.com. Reilly is coming off a championship season with Loyola High School, while Henken and Presho-Hartung also come from strong youth pedigrees. All four players also have USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline experience.
“Our recruiting class brings us four highly skilled players who will have a great impact on our program,” Kosty said. “They join a highly touted 2016 recruiting class that will make us a young, but talented team.”
No. 3 USC
Incoming players: Sam Lewis (6-10, MB, Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Team Rockstar); Mitch Haly (6-7, MB, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Cole Paxson (5-10, libero, Laguna Beach (Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Noah Franklin (6-6, OH, Huntington Beach (Calif.), Team Rockstar); Clay Dickinson (6-7, OH, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Billy Fauntleroy (6-7, OH-MB), New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.), Adversity VBC); Kyle Gear (6-6, OH, Gates Chili (Rochester, N.Y.), Victor VBC); Chris Hall (6-2, S, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), MB Surf); Christopher McBee (6-4, OH, Palos Verdes (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), MB Surf); Pete Obradovich (6-4, OH, Laguna Beach (Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC)
Analysis: The Trojans restocked and then some here with 10 incoming recruits. Of that 10, seven earned VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 designation earlier this year. McBee, Hall, Dickinson, Lewis, Haly and Paxson all have been part of the USA Volleyball HP programs.
“We are adding physicality and height,” USC coach Jeff Nygaard said. “We also are fortunate to be bringing in players that have next-level and international-caliber experience.”
Obradovich’s dad, Steve, played on the 1977 USC men’s NCAA title team before establishing AVP stardom.
No. 4 BYU
Incoming players: Cyrus Fa’alogo (6-4, S-OH, Copper Hils (West Jordan, Utah), Long Beach CC); Felipe De Brito Ferreira (6-9, MB, Colegio Regina Mundi, Brazil); Gabriel Garcia (6-5, RS, St. Francis School (Carolina, Puerto Rico), Borinquen Coqui); Garrett Halsey (6-5, RS-OH, Servite (Anaheim, Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Zach Hendrickson (6-0, libero, Saint Xavier (Louisville, Ky.), Louisville Fury); Branden Oberender (6-7, MB, Royal (Simi Valley, Calif.), Bones VBC); James Reed (6-4, RS-OH, Green Valley (Henderson, Nev.), Vegas United); Charles Siragusa (6-8, RS-OH, McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.), 949 VBC)
Analysis: The Cougars’ class features a mix of international players, highly touted juniors players and a transfer. Fa’alogo transferred in from Long Beach City College (where he was an all-CCAA state-championship tournament selection this spring) and will be a sophomore. He also is a former USA boys’ youth national team member. De Brito Ferreira has experience with the U19 Brazil national team, while Garcia, once headed to Cal Baptist before it shuttered its men’s program, received numerous votes from VBM’s Boys Fab 50 panel for being one of the top five recruits in the class of 2017. For more on Garcia, click here. Siragusa, out of the strong McQuaid Jesuit prep program in Rochester, N.Y., was a 2017 VBM Boys Fab 50 selection. Reed racked up impressive kill numbers for Green Valley High in Nevada.
No. 5 Long Beach State
Incoming players: Carlos Rivera (6-3, S, Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Alexander Anastassiades (6-8, RS, Huntington Beach, Calif.), HBC); Simon Anderson (6-9, MB, Middlefart, Denmark); Ryan Poole (6-5, OH, St. Ignatius College, England, Malory Eagles); Spencer Olivier (6-6, OH, Beckman (Tustin, Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Gary Adams (6-6, MB-RS), Murrieta Valley (Calif.), The HBC); Marc Moody (6-8, Lake Nona (Orlando, Fla.), Ocean Bay VBC).
Analysis: The 49’ers landed three VolleyballMag.com Fab 50 selections in their 2017 recruiting class in Rivera, Olivier and Moody.
“All of these players bring solid skill sets, high volleyball IQs and a thirst to compete,” Long Beach State coach Alan Knipe said. “We look forward to all of them joining our volleyball family and adding to our great team culture.”
Olivier has tasted success at the club and USA Volleyball HP levels. Rivera has been part of numerous Balboa Bay club teams that have medaled at junior nationals. Additionally, he’s a member of the Puerto Rican U19 national team. Anderson and Poole are international signees. Anderson played for the Middlefart VBC and was named the best middle blocker for the U19 NEUZA team and was ranked the No. 2 rising start in the Danish League in both 2015 and 2016. Poole has seen action with England’s U19 team and is a two-time England Junior Beach Volleyball player of the year.
No. 6 UC Irvine
Incoming players: Sean Farmer (6-4, S, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Sports Performance); Alexandre Nsakanda (6-4, RS, Franco-Cite, Ontario, Canada); Joel Schneidmiller (6-6, OH, Saratoga (Calif.), Bay to Bay VBC); Zevan Williams (6-3, MB-OH, Clovis (Calif.), AJ Faille (6-0, libero, Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.), Rise VBC); JB Kam (6-3, OH, Orange Coast CC); Andre Castro (6-0, libero, San Diego Mesa College).
Analysis: The Anteaters’ recruiting class here covers the juniors, transfer and international player categories well. Farmer, Schneidmiller and Williams are 2017 Boys Fab 50 selections. Schneidmiller is rated the No. 2 recruit in the class by VolleyballMag.com. Farmer is a product of highly successful high-school and club programs.
“This class complements our current raw size and developing talent,” UCI coach David Kniffin said. “I expect these guys to change how we play the game. And I will lean heavily on their athleticism, experience and desire to win.”
Nsakanda is Canadian and the Anteaters added JUCO transfers in Kam and Castro.
No. 7 Loyola-Chicago
Incoming players: Devin Joslyn (6-6, OH, Canisius, Buffalo, N.Y.), Eden VBC); Thomas Kovanic (6-8, OH, West Aurora (Aurora, Ill.), Sports Performance); Garrett Zolg (6-3, S, Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif.), The HBC)
Analysis: Not a huge class by any means, but the Ramblers and coach Mark Hulse picked up three impact players. Joslyn, Kovanic and Zolg all are VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 selections from earlier this year.
“This class dramatically improves our depth at two or three positions with all three guys coming in with the skills and tools to compete for starting roles right away,” Hulse said. “That will be big for us. As a young team with six or seven returning starters it adds a level of competitiveness to the gym and keeps guys hungry. Best off all, all three are high-character guys who have come from club and high-school programs with high expectations.”
No. 8 Pepperdine
Incoming players: Alex Gettinger (6-4, OH, Lafeyette (Wildwood, Mo.), HP St. Louis); Troy Magorien (6-5, RS, Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.), MB Surf); Jon Minsberg (6-1, S, Saddleback Valley Christian (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), 949); Zac Norvid (6-0, libero, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Sports Performance); Spencer Wickens (5-11, libero, McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.), Pace Bootlegger).
Analysis: The Waves put together a fine class here. Gettinger, Norvid and Wickens are 2017 VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 picks. Norvid recently was part of an Illinois high-school state-championship team, while Wickens comes from the boys’ volleyball hotbed of upstate New York.
No. 9 Ohio State
Incoming players: Robbie Murphy (6-5, OH, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Hitmen VBC); Martin Lallemand (6-6, OH-RS, Athenee Royal de Hannut High School, Belgian youth national team); Spencer Lawrence (6-4, MB, Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay VBC); Luke Meidel (6-1, libero, O’Fallon (Mo.); HP St. Louis); Chase Moothart (5-10, libero, Orange Coast College, Balboa Bay VBC); Todd Herget, 6-3, OH, Darien (Conn.), Mizuno East VBC).
Analysis: The two-time defending NCAA champions added plenty of roster depth. Murphy and Lawrence are Boys Fab 50 selections. Murphy was part of the recent Glenbard West High School team that won another Illinois state title. Moothart is a transfer from well-known JUCO Orange Coast in California, while Lallemand is a native of Antwerp, Belgium. Lawrence’s brother, Kyle, played at Ohio State from 2009-2013.
No. 10 Penn State
Incoming players: Henrik Lauten (6-5, OH, Warner University (Lake Wales, Fla.)), Jack Goedken (6-4, RS, Carlsbad (Calif.), Coast VBC), Louis Murray (6-2, libero-S, Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.), MB Surf), Henry Payne (6-4, OH, Clarence (N.Y.), Eden VBC); Will Bantle (6-4, OH, Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.), MB Surf.
Outlook: Payne is another upstate New York volleyball product, while Bantle recently enjoyed high-school championship success at Loyola of Los Angeles. Both are 2017 VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 picks.
“Henry has shown a live arm and we believe his work ethic and athletic ability will serve him well at this level. He has taken advantage of his high-school and club experiences and I firmly believe he will contribute sooner rather than later with us,” Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said. “Will has shown outstanding ball control skills and a high volleyball IQ. His high-school and club development will certainly provide him with the experience to make the transition to the collegiate game very smooth. I have no doubt he will make those around him better.”
Lauten is a transfer from NAIA member Warren University in Florida., where he was an NAIA honorable-mention All-American selection after helping lead the team to the national semifinals last year. Murray has enjoyed success at both the high school and club levels, while Goedken is a product of the San Diego area.
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order): Ball State, Cal State Northridge, George Mason, Hawaii, IPFW, Lewis