Ranking the 2020 Men’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #13-16

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We continue our spring recruiting series with a team-by-team look at the best recruiting classes entering the NCAA next season. The classes below are projected freshmen for the 2020-2021 season. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic presents a number of wrinkles to this analysis: some athletes didn’t get a senior-year taper meet. Some high-end recruits may opt to defer their enrollment for a year to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. There’s also still the possibility that the 2020-2021 school year is delayed, along with NCAA sports. All things considered, these ranks are based on the 2020-2021 NCAA season happening, but as we usually view these recruiting classes over their projected four years of college swimming, a potential delay or cancellation of the upcoming season doesn’t have as big an impact on this analysis as it would seem.

A few important notes on our rankings:

  • The rankings listed are based on our Class of 2020 Re-Rank from just last month. “HM” refers to our honorable mentions.
  • Like most of our rankings, these placements are subjective. We base our team ranks on a number of factors: prospects’ incoming times are by far the main factor, but we also consider potential upside in the class, class size, relay impact and team needs filled. Greater weight is placed on known success in short course yards, so foreign swimmers are slightly devalued based on the difficulty in converting long course times to short course production.
  • Transfers are included.
  • For the full list of all verbally committed athletes, click here. A big thank-you to SwimSwam’s own Anne Lepesant for compiling that index – without it, rankings like these would be far less comprehensive.

#16: Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies didn’t get any top-20 type prospects, but this class is notable for just how much sprint depth A&M was able to stockpile. Here’s a quick look at just the sprint freestylers in the bunch:

Obviously, each of those guys will need to take some steps forward to hit NCAA scoring level, but A&M is going to have no shortage of relay options to build on over the next four years. And they come in at a great time, with top sprinter Adam Koster out the door to graduation.

Probably the most immediate-impact addition is Vincent Ribeiroa 1:46.8 IMer with very solid breaststrokes (54.6/1:59.0). He and 54.8/1:57.4 breaststroker Alex Sanchez should help fill the void of the graduated Benjamin Walker. Meanwhile Thomas Shomper has a very intriguing 1:45.7 200 backstroke that suggests he’s got room to come down from 49s in both the 100 back and 100 fly.

#15: Tennessee Volunteers

It’s a gigantic class for Tennessee, and centered on 200 specialists. Harrison Lierz is one of the better swimmers outside our top 20 nationally – he’s 1:43.4 in the 200 back and 47.3 in the 100 back and should have lots of early opportunities to contribute with top Volunteer backstroker Matthew Garcia graduating.

Utah’s Jordan Tiffany is a very similar swimmer, but in butterfly: he’s 1:44.2 in the 200 and 47.3 in the 100. Both Lierz and Tiffany could develop into very good 200 IMers, too.

Will Jackson is an in-state pickup who should immediately boost the 800 free relay with a 1:35.7 time out of high school. Tennessee graduated half its legs from SECs and already had two splits slower than Jackon’s best time – both graduated legs. Jackson is also a 44.8 sprint freestyler, and could perhaps swim up to the 500 (4:24.2). Also helping in that 500 should be Jacob McDonald (4:21.0), who is also a 1:46 backstroker.

Tennessee generally does very well with divers, and their press release said the 18-person class will include four unnamed divers. (Canadian platform standout Bryden Hattie wasn’t expected to enroll until next year, though if he’s a freshman this year, he’s a high-impact pickup).

Canadian breaststroker Alexander Milanovich is a 1:02.2 long course breaststroker who should at least be an excellent 50/100 guy. Then there’s a ton of developmental sprint depth, most notably 20.3/44.8 sprinter Joseph Jordan.

#14: Auburn Tigers

A lot of really big recruiting classes coming in nationally on the men’s side. We’ve got 13 in this Auburn class, headed by long course 1:49.6 freestyler Mikkel Gadgaard of Denmark. Roughly converted to short course yards, he should be a 1:35-freestyler and perhaps a crossover 500 free/400 IM type guy. That meshes well with new training partner Michael Bonsonwho is a Louisiana high schooler going 1:35.8 and 4:22.0 in freestyle.

Head coach Gary Taylor has a strong distance background, and he got plenty of rangy talent this time around, adding Virginia’s Sam Oliver (15:09 in the mile and 4:21.3 in the 500).

Reid Mikuta should bolster the breaststrokes – he’s 53.2 and 1:56.3 out of high school and should be an early contributor there. (He’s also 1:47.5 in the 200 IM).

In terms of relay-building, there are a couple of decent sprinters further down in the class: 20.2/44.4 Logan Tirheimer20.1/45.8 Ty Wingfield and 20.8/44.6/1:37.2 Ryan HusbandThe past few classes are really showing how deep this class is nationally – almost every class has a few of these developmental sprint prospects coming in. But Auburn has generally done well with sprinters under its new staff, so keep an eye on these guys.

#13: Indiana Hoosiers

At the top, IU went all-in on breaststrokers to support star fly/free prospect Tomer Frankel out of Israel.

First, Frankel: the international is a speedy 51.9 in long course fly and should be an immediate 45-second type or better in short course yards. After the success Indiana had with Brazilian flyer Vini Lanza, expectations should be high for Frankel. Frankel is also a 1:47.1 long course freestyler (roughly converts to 1:33.6), and should be a perfect addition to an IU 800 free relay that returns three young legs from Big Tens last year. Other notable times for Frankel: 49.2 in the long course 100 free and 2:02.0 in the long course 200 fly.

Now we’ll turn to the deep breaststroke group, which has been a relative strength of the Hoosier program for quite some time now. Maxwell Reich is the best two-distance prospect, at 54.4 and 1:56.3 out of high school. Jassen Yep (54.3/1:57.4) has a little more speed but a little slower 200, and Tristan Dewitt (54.9/1:59.6) is even more sprint-oriented, though he supplements with a 1:46 IM.

And, as with the classes above, IU also adds a developmental sprinter: 20.5/44.4 Gavin Wight out of California.

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GA Swimmer
6 months ago

Uga might take #1

Hmm
Reply to  GA Swimmer
6 months ago

Stanford? Texas?

JCO
Reply to  GA Swimmer
6 months ago

UGA definitely has two of the top 3 swimmers in this class, which is huge for them. However, if I’m trying to win conference and national championships, I’d prefer a class like Stanford’s or Texas’s. 7-8 top 20/HM recruits is better than 2 top 5 recruits, at least in my opinion. I’d put UGA at 3 or 4

Quarantined Swimming
Reply to  JCO
6 months ago

Top 5 without a doubt are
1. Stanford
2. Texas
3. Cal
4. UGA
5. Michigan
Stanford and UT are interchangeable, while Cal and UGA could also go either way.

GA Boy
Reply to  JCO
6 months ago

I agree

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  GA Swimmer
6 months ago

Hate to burst your bubble but… “On the other side of never”; not even on “this side of never”!! Top 5 possibly🤔; number 1: Read above!

GA Boy
6 months ago

SEC! Deep recruiting classes coming to the best conference!

Ghost
Reply to  GA Boy
6 months ago

Other than Florida, tell me about how the other teams in Sec men meet have done at NCAAs!?! And even Florida has had trouble being top 3 there (I think) and nothing is wrong with top 5 or top 10 but don’t say they are best conference in men’s swimming in recruiting…..football yes!

JCO
Reply to  Ghost
6 months ago

Alabama has consistently been a top 10 team or right there for the last few years and A&M was scored out to get 5th at NCAAs this year. With the way Bama and UGA have been recruiting and swimming recently, I think they’ll be in the top 10 for at least the foreseeable future. The SEC may not have the title winning teams, but they have the most depth and strongest collective group of teams

96Swim
Reply to  Ghost
6 months ago

Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and Missouri have all finished top 10 in the last decade. Without really breaking down the numbers, I looked back at the top 10 for the last decade. If you came up with some system to assign points to the top 10, Pac12 likely comes out on top because of Cal’s consistency near the top plus top 10s from USC, Stanford, and Arizona. Either SEC or Big 10 next. SEC is deeper, but Big 10 has more top 3 performances. Then ACC, unless TX manages to finish higher completely on their own.

RTR
Reply to  Ghost
6 months ago

What timeframe are we considering? 2000s? Auburn has a number of NCAA titles within the past 20 years.

An argument could be made that the SEC historically has the most swimmers that qualify for NCAAs, but to be fair, they have the most teams.

Having that much depth of talent definitely provides for an exciting SEC championship meet!

GA Boy
Reply to  RTR
6 months ago

They have less teams than the ACC and B1G

MLAFORMAT
Reply to  Ghost
6 months ago

I added up every male NCAA point for each power 5 conference for the last 5 years.
1. SEC: 5619
2. PAC 12: 4265
3. BIG 10: 3536
4. ACC: 3060
5. BIG 12: 2538.5
I think this gives at least a good picture of how each conference’s recruiting classes over the last 5-10 years have faired on the big stage.
I could have scored it out and divided by the number of teams in this conference but I decided not to because that would benefit conferences for having schools without men’s swim teams.

B1Guy!
Reply to  MLAFORMAT
6 months ago

BIG 12 might as well say Texas: 2538.5

GA Boy
Reply to  B1Guy!
6 months ago

WVU scored a couple points in breaststroke a few years back

Ladyvoldisser
6 months ago

TN looks like they been workin hard to fill the many gaps. Hope this class of 18 will live up to the hype. It is time for the real VOLS to step up and be the dominant team on campus and the SEC! Tired of watching them flounder in mediocrity – Get tough VOLS many of us expect you to be great!

Swim Baron
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
6 months ago

It looks like the Tennessee men’s coaches have been working hard to build a great team. This is a deep and solid class. But it also looks like one selfish alumni is trying to make the coach’s job more difficult. If this is really your team, why try to publicly sabotage their efforts?

Alum14
Reply to  Swim Baron
6 months ago

Agreed. Anyone who knows Matt kredich could describe his demeanor as about the opposite of this troll account. Nothing but good things are said about him. Josh hunger making moves as well to boost recruiting there!

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Swim Baron
6 months ago

It is “one selfish alumnus” not “one selfish alumni”. I agree the coaches have been working hard and look forward to the VOLS becoming superb and elite competitors who challenge for SEC team titles and consistent NCAA top ten finishes.

Swim Baron
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
6 months ago

As an “alumnus” you should be ashamed of your “LadyVolDisser” name and attitude toward the program. Please stop hurting your team and school. Never has the program been classier than with this group of coaches and athletes. There is a reason recruits are flocking back to Tennessee.

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Swim Baron
6 months ago

Well OK since you have been so “classy” as to take pot shots at my screen name and opinions – Here goes:
Classy programs are fine, but a classy program which also elevates the men’s program to the level of the female counterpart team is better. A program which recruits, attracts and signs the top male American swimmers is best. I wish the best for the Tennessee Men’s Swimming program. I repeat – “Look forward to the VOLS becoming superb and elite competitors who challenge for SEC team titles and consistent NCAA top ten finishes.” Please stop you whining…or not it matters not to me, hence forth.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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