Revisiting NCAA Recruit Rankings: Men’s High School Class of 2017

Each summer, college swimming fans look forward to recruiting – the lifeblood of any NCAA swim program. Since 2012, we’ve been ranking down the top NCAA prospects in the nation from each recruiting class. But sports are inherently unpredictable, and even the most sure-fire prospect can go awry or completely change their role over four years.

As we do each year, we’ll look back at the high school class of 2017, which just finished four years of college eligibility this spring.

First, a few notes:

  • Most of the data we’re tracking here deals with NCAA scoring. Obviously, some swimmers are great assets for their teams in dual meets and conference competition without ever being national factors. While we don’t discount the impact of those types of swimmers, the difference in competition between various teams’ dual meet schedules and conference meets makes NCAA scoring the best “apples to apples” comparisons between swimmers.
  • Relays are another point of contention, as a swimmer in a strong program has more opportunity for NCAA relays, though they also have more competition for those relay spots. We’ve left relay results out of the data below, except where specifically indicated. That, too, gives us a more fair comparison between athletes.
  • We don’t rank diving recruits, but we have started to track individual diving scoring, which is helpful in determining how much of an impact a diver is likely to have on NCAA finish.
  • We did our best to scour NCAA results over the past four-plus years, but it’s certainly possible we made a mistake in compiling our data. If you spot an error, please respectfully let us know in the comment section so we can update our work!

2021 Note: Between last year’s canceled NCAA meet, the resulting added eligibility for athletes, and the number of entire programs and conferences taking redshirt seasons for 2021, some of these athletes may have years of scoring still to come, and there are some continuing discussions on which classes each athlete belongs in, particularly with international athletes.

We only include domestic recruits in our recruit rankings, as it’s often harder to predict if and when an international recruit will join the NCAA, and which class they should be ranked with. However, we’ve gone back through and tallied up all individual scorers that roughly fit into this class – international and domestic.

REVISITING OUR TOP 20

Check out this post for our analysis of the top 20 recruits in the high school class of 2017. Bear in mind that this was posted in July of 2016, when these swimmers were high school juniors, and looks much different with the benefit of hindsight.

Here’s a look at our top 10 recruits, plus how many individual points they scored at NCAAs in each of their four years:

Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
1 Ryan Hoffer Cal 131.5 26.5 45 60 53
2 Sean Grieshop Cal 90 10 49 31 3
3 Matthew Hirschberger Stanford 0 0 0 no invite
4 Camden Murphy Georgia 55 0 25 30 17
5 Michael Taylor Florida 0 0 redshirt
6 Austin Katz Texas 68 35 17 16 29
7 Grant House Arizona State 9.5 3 6.5 redshirt redshirt
8 Jake Sannem USC/Texas 20 no invite 5 15
9 Paul DeLakis Ohio State 56 6 27 23 42
10 Christopher Yeager Texas 0 0 0 no invite roster cap cut
11 Bryce Mefford Cal 78 26 16 36
12 Sam Pomajevich Texas 44 24 0 20 21
13 Brennan Pastorek Stanford 4 4 0 no invite 2
14 Alex Liang Stanford 9 0 5 4
15 Trenton Julian Cal 96 12 36 48 33
16 Daniel Carr Cal 70 13 32 25 41
17 Michael Zarian Harvard 0 no invite 0 redshirt
18 Nicolas Albiero Louisville 110 22 37 51 52.5
19 Spencer Rowe Auburn 0 no invite 0 no invite
20 Corban Rawls Harvard 0 no invite no invite redshirt

The hits:

  • “Hoffer is a tailor-made NCAA blue chip recruit,” we wrote back in 2016. Even if his 100 free didn’t improve much in college, Ryan Hoffer clearly lived up to that label. He was the highest-scoring swimmer in the class – by a longshot – and won 4 individual and 3 relay titles over his career.
  • Cal got five of our top 20 recruits, and every single one produced. In fact, all five wound up in the top 8 in the entire class (divers included) in individual scoring. Trenton Julian was a standout, scoring 96 points as the #15 recruit. Sean Grieshop scored nearly 100 individually. Both Bryce Mefford and Daniel Carr outperformed their ranks.
  • All-in-all, this was a pretty great class across the board. Three men in the class won individual NCAA titles, and all three were top-20 recruits (#1 Hoffer, #6 Katz, #18 Albiero).
  • Nicolas Albiero had perhaps the best rise of any of our ranked recruits, moving from the #18 prospect to the #2 overall swimming scorer in the class.

The misses:

  • Only 6 of our top 20 didn’t score points individually – and that’s in a class that had only three NCAA opportunities with the 2020 cancellation. Two of our low-end ranked recruits swam for Harvard and missed the 2021 season when the Ivy League canceled winter sports as well.
  • There were two big misses at the top. Michael Taylor was an elite backstroke prospect – in fact, we recently included him as one of the top 50 recruits of the past decade. Health issues kept him from competing at the college level – he had at least six surgeries for ulcerative collitis.
  • Hirschberger was a NAG-record-breaking distance swimmer out of high school. He earned an NCAA invite as a sophomore, but didn’t score.
  • Yeager was a roster cap casualty for Texas in 2020, but earned three NCAA invites in his four years.

OTHER IMPACTFUL RECRUITS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITING CLASS OF 2016

Of course, not every contributor comes from our top 20 list. Some swimmers develop extremely well in college. Some swimmers slip under our radar, or don’t really show their ability until their senior year of high school, after our rankings come out.

We dug through NCAA results to find the best American swimmers from this class to not appear on our top 10 list. Again, it’s not always easy to account for redshirt years, gap years or mistakes in an athlete’s listed class each season. So if we forgot anyone, respectfully let us know in the comments.

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
Brooks Fail Arizona 58 16 42 25.5
Zach Yeadon Notre Dame/Cal 56 27 7 22 33
Alvin Jiang UNC/Texas 31 31 25
Keefer Barnum Virginia 26 26 2
Clark Beach Florida 25 13 12 12
Blaise Vera Pitt 17 17 9
Mark Theall UNLV/Texas A&M 16 13 3 27
Chris Staka Alabama/Texas 10 10 6
Johannes Calloni Stanford 9 9
Cameron Auchinachie Denver 7 7 6
Eric Knowles NC State 6 6 4
David Dixon West Virginia 5 5 5
JohnThomas Larson Texas 5 5
Matt Otto Virginia 4 4
Greg Reed Georgia 4 2 2 11
Trent Pellini Purdue 4 2 2 6
Sam Iida Arizona 4 4
Jacob Steele Indiana 3 3
Jack Dalmolin Arizona State/Georgia 2 2
Robby Giller Virginia 2 2
Will Roberts Michigan 1 1
Gabe Castano Penn State 0 14
Sam Schilling Virginia 0 1

Standouts:

  • Interestingly enough, a few of the ranked distance swimmers (Hirschberger, Yeager) dropped out of scoring, the top unranked recruits were distance swimmers who rose to fill their spots. Arizona’s Brooks Fail was a standout, scoring 58 total points including 42 as a senior. Zach Yeadon scored 34 in two years for Notre Dame, then 22 more in his senior year with Cal.
    • Here’s a quick look at some lifetime-bests among those four from when we ranked them in 2016 to their freshmen college seasons:
      • Hirschberger: 4:16.4/14:51—–> 4:16.4/14:51
      • Yeager: 4:24.3/14:55———–> 4:19.4/14:48
      • Fail: 4:26.2/15:15————–>4:14.8/14:46.7
      • Yeadon: 4:23.01/15:09———>4:12.7/14:34
  • A bunch of these unranked recruits transferred at some point in their careers. Yeadon scored for both of his collegiate programs, but all of the others only scored for their second programs. That includes Alvin Jiang, Mark Theall, and Chris Staka.

International

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
Caio Pumputis Georgia Tech 66 41 25 2
Hugo Gonzalez Auburn/Cal 49 7 redshirt 42 35
Ricardo Vargas Michigan 45 23 22 21
Evgenii Somov Louisville 42 12 15 15 9
Gus Borges Michigan 16 2 14 11
Brandonn Almeida South Carolina 15 15
Robert Glinta USC 14 14
Gabriel Fantoni Indiana 11 7 4 17
Christian Ferraro Georgia Tech 7 1 6 4
Sam Tornqvist Virginia Tech 5 5 7
Nikola Miljenic Indiana/USC 3 3
Daniel Sos Louisville 3 3
Valdas Abaliksta UNC 1 1 0.33
Kayky Mota Miami/Tennessee 1 1
Bruno Blaskovic Indiana 1 1 38.5
Carter Swift Arizona State 0 12

Standouts:

  • Hugo Gonzalez scored 49 in just two NCAA meets – he could still have another year of eligibility.
  • This was a great international class of breaststrokers and IMers. Caio Pumputis was the top-scoring international recruit, and Evgenii Somov was a big-time breaststroke prospect. That filled in some for the U.S.-based recruiting group, which didn’t have many breaststrokers in the top 20.

Diving

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points
Jordan Windle Texas 144 45 47 52
Andrew Capobianco Indiana 94 33 20 41
Zach Cooper Miami (FL) 43 12 15 16
Gregory Duncan UNC/Purdue 36 6 16 14
Jacob Siler Ohio State 26 26
Joseph Canova Ohio State 18 12 6
Jonathan Suckow Columbia 14 14 redshirt
Chase Lane Kentucky 9 9
Kurtis Matthews Texas A&M 8 5 3
Joshua Davidson Florida State 3 3

Standouts:

  • Here’s one to rekindle all of last week’s impassioned debates: the top scorer in this class wasn’t Hoffer… it was diver Jordan Windlewho scored 144 points in three NCAA appearances.
  • This was an incredible diving class. Windle, Andrew Capobiancoand Brandon Loschiavo all won individual NCAA titles. Zach Cooper was also a top-20 individual NCAA scorer in this class.

All Individual Scorers In the Class

(Ranked recruits are listed with their 2014 rank. International recruits are listed with “INTL” and unranked recruits with “UNR.” Diving recruits are listed with “DIVE”)

Final Rank 2017 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
1 DIVE Jordan Windle Texas 144 45 47 52
2 1 Ryan Hoffer Cal 131.5 26.5 45 60 53
3 18 Nicolas Albiero Louisville 110 22 37 51 52.5
4 15 Trenton Julian Cal 96 12 36 48 33
5 DIVE Andrew Capobianco Indiana 94 33 20 41
6 2 Sean Grieshop Cal 90 10 49 31 3
7 11 Bryce Mefford Cal 78 26 16 36
8 16 Daniel Carr Cal 70 13 32 25 41
9 6 Austin Katz Texas 68 35 17 16 29
10 INTL Caio Pumputis Georgia Tech 66 41 25 2
11 UNR Brooks Fail Arizona 58 16 42 25.5
12 9 Paul DeLakis Ohio State 56 6 27 23 42
12 UNR Zach Yeadon Notre Dame/Cal 56 27 7 22 33
14 4 Camden Murphy Georgia 55 0 25 30 17
15 INTL Hugo Gonzalez Auburn/Cal 49 7 redshirt 42 35
16 INTL Ricardo Vargas Michigan 45 23 22 21
17 12 Sam Pomajevich Texas 44 24 0 20 21
18 DIVE Zach Cooper Miami (FL) 43 12 15 16
19 INTL Evgenii Somov Louisville 42 12 15 15 9
20 DIVE Gregory Duncan UNC/Purdue 36 6 16 14
21 UNR Alvin Jiang UNC/Texas 31 31 25
22 DIVE Jacob Siler Ohio State 26 26
22 UNR Keefer Barnum Virginia 26 26 2
24 UNR Clark Beach Florida 25 13 12 12
25 8 Jake Sannem USC/Texas 20 no invite 5 15
26 DIVE Joseph Canova Ohio State 18 12 6
27 UNR Blaise Vera Pitt 17 17 9
28 INTL Gus Borges Michigan 16 2 14 11
28 UNR Mark Theall UNLV/Texas A&M 16 13 3 27
30 INTL Brandonn Almeida South Carolina 15 15
31 DIVE Jonathan Suckow Columbia 14 14 redshirt
31 INTL Robert Glinta USC 14 14
33 INTL Gabriel Fantoni Indiana 11 7 4 17
34 UNR Chris Staka Alabama/Texas 10 10 6
35 7 Grant House Arizona State 9.5 3 6.5 redshirt redshirt
36 DIVE Chase Lane Kentucky 9 9
36 14 Alex Liang Stanford 9 0 5 4
36 UNR Johannes Calloni Stanford 9 9
39 DIVE Kurtis Matthews Texas A&M 8 5 3
40 INTL Christian Ferraro Georgia Tech 7 1 6 4
40 UNR Cameron Auchinachie Denver 7 7 6
42 UNR Eric Knowles NC State 6 6 4
43 INTL Sam Tornqvist Virginia Tech 5 5 7
43 UNR David Dixon West Virginia 5 5 5
45 13 Brennan Pastorek Stanford 4 4 0 no invite 2
45 UNR Matt Otto Virginia 4 4
45 UNR Greg Reed Georgia 4 2 2 11
45 UNR Trent Pellini Purdue 4 2 2 6
45 UNR Sam Iida Arizona 4 4
50 UNR Jacob Steele Indiana 3 3
50 INTL Nikola Miljenic Indiana/USC 3 3
50 DIVE Joshua Davidson Florida State 3 3
50 INTL Daniel Sos Louisville 3 3
54 UNR Jack Dalmolin Arizona State/Georgia 2 2
54 UNR Robby Giller Virginia 2 2
56 INTL Kayky Mota Miami/Tennessee 1 1
56 UNR Will Roberts Michigan 1 1
56 INTL Valdas Abaliksta UNC 1 1 0.33
56 INTL Bruno Blaskovic Indiana 1 1 38.5
60 UNR Gabe Castano Penn State 0 14
60 INTL Carter Swift Arizona State 0 12
60 UNR Sam Schilling Virginia 0 1

BONUS: THE SUPER-SENIORS

Usually, we have a handful of holdovers from previous classes who sat out with redshirts. This year, we have two:

Stanford’s Grant Shoults scored as a freshman (26 in 2017) and sophomore (18 in 2018), then missed 2019 on a medical redshirt. After the 2020 cancellation, he returned to score 11 points this season, bringing him to 55 for his career. That makes him the top scorer among our ranked recruits in the class of 2016, where he was the #3 prospect.

Georgia’s Javier Acevedo was the #4 international scorer in that class through his junior year. He sat out 2020 on an Olympic redshirt, but returned this year to score a career-high 34 for the Bulldogs. That makes him the #2 international scorer in the class, albeit with one more NCAA meet than anyone else in that class.

Class of 2016 recruits revisited (as of last year)

ARCHIVES: REVISITING RECRUIT RANKS

Analysis as of: Spring 2021 Spring 2020 Spring 2019 Spring 2018 Spring 2017
Class of 2020 After Freshman Year
Class of 2019 After Sophomore Year After Freshman Year
Class of 2018 After Junior Year After Sophomore Year After Freshman Year
Class of 2017 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year After Freshman Year
Class of 2016 After Senior Year After Junior Year
Class of 2015 After Senior Year
Class of 2014 After Senior Year
Class of 2013 After Senior Year

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Swammer
3 months ago

This is really helpful for looking forward to next season. Assuming they don’t take the extra year Cal and Louisville are losing a lot of top end scores. Georgia is losing two major relay legs, Texas is losing some big points but they leave so many points at home. The big winners seem to be Florida and NC State, Florida has a great group right now and NC State have their major recruiting class coming in.

Horninco
Reply to  Swammer
3 months ago

Will be interesting to see what seniors take the extra year, especially for Cal

Good class coming in but if the seniors all stay away will possibly be a transition year

Great to see so many seniors come up big their last year for their teams, titles or no titles

PsychoDad
Reply to  Swammer
3 months ago

Jordan Windle coming back is huge for Texas. 50-60 points guaranteed, plus this year’s freshmen that scored. 100 diving points for Texas next year? This will make Wyatt Collins’ job of starting his own swimming dynasty much easier. Hook’em.

PVSFree
Reply to  PsychoDad
3 months ago

Are there any examples of a first-time head coach winning NCAA’s in their first year? If Wyatt gets the Texas job (like it seems like he will), he’s got a good chance. Even if Hansen is the coach, that’ll still apply

WHKIRCH
Reply to  PVSFree
3 months ago

Pretty sure Brett Hawke did in 2009 at Auburn. How the times have changed over the last 12 years.

Last edited 3 months ago by WHKIRCH
samulih
Reply to  WHKIRCH
3 months ago

coaches seem to be leaving burning houses these days, depleted rosters and other problems

Reid
3 months ago

Does Hugo possibly get 2 more years? He swam as a freshman, then I think was technically a redshirt, then swam the past two years. He should have 1 more in his five year clock, plus a Covid bonus, no? Though who knows if he’d actually take it, even with the difficulties of transferring he’ll likely be graduated by then.

HJones
Reply to  Reid
3 months ago

I think you are correct. Without the COVID bonus, he would have exhausted eligibility next year. But, everyone’s clock is pushed back a year, so technically, for anyone in the class of 2020 and prior (2019, 2018, 2017, and any 2016 redshirts) you’ll be getting 5 years of eligibility in a 6-year window.

wow
3 months ago

wow cal is clearly the place to go

samulih
Reply to  wow
3 months ago

and next it is Virginia etc… so it goes as the wheel turns

SwimFani
Reply to  wow
3 months ago

Too many foreigers, immigrants and strange people

sscommentor
3 months ago

I’m a huge fan of these pieces. great job!

HJones
3 months ago

Dressel is what everyone thought Hoffer would be in SCY.

PVSFree
Reply to  HJones
3 months ago

If you’re EXPECTING someone to be a once in a generation swimmer, you’re gonna be disappointed. Hoffer is an absolute beast, not sure how anyone could disappointed by him

SCCOACH
Reply to  PVSFree
3 months ago

People did kind of expect it though since their high school times were close. Not sure why everyone is downvoting hjones’ post, people were freaking out over Hoffer coming out of HS just like they did Dressel

J H
3 months ago

This Cal class has to be one of the greatest of all time. 487.5 points without an NCAA meet. I wonder if any recent classes can compare? Caeleb’s class with Jan and Mark or Licon/Conger/Smith?

JP input is too short
Reply to  J H
3 months ago

And remember, Jan didn’t even start at Florida – he spent a year as a mid-D/400 IMer at VT.

This NC State team with Curtiss, Hayes, Ponti, Hoover, et al are going to be close if everybody pans out.

JeahBrah
Reply to  J H
3 months ago

Were Crocker, Hansen and Piersol in the same class at Texas?

2Fat4Speed
Reply to  JeahBrah
3 months ago

Piersol is younger and went pro before he did four years.

Former Big10
Reply to  J H
3 months ago

That Northwestern crew with Grevers, Alexandrov, Bubz..

Reid
Reply to  Former Big10
3 months ago

I think Bubolz and Barbić were the year below

JP input is too short
Reply to  Reid
3 months ago

Barbic started at Washington and transferred to N’Western.

Swimmer2
Reply to  J H
3 months ago

Conger dropped a couple indiv events too

Meduja
3 months ago

Wow this is a loaded class compared to last year’s class in terms of ranked recruits

Calswimfan
3 months ago

The Bears absolutely crushed it with this group of men.

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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