* Shamar Heard, Jelani Watkins, Christian Miller and Anthony Fast Horse are four of the top recruits for Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and Oregon this signing period
Photo Credit: MileSplit
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National Signing Day came and went, but the National Letter of Intent period is still very much open for track and field recruits.
So far, we've gained some real insight into how the best programs in the NCAA Division I planned and executed on their visions in the Class of 2024. As we do every year, we tracked where the top recruits are going and now we're going to offer some of our analysis on the best men's classes thus far.
Right now, it's no runaway. But when it comes to quality-wins, we have a pretty good guess as to who's dominating the Recruiting Wars as it stands right now.
The Cougars routinely land some of the nation's best distance corps every year. Their latest class reaffirms that notion, especially with Simmons.
The American Fork star is undoubtedly the top dog in cross country this year, and he's coming off a ridiculous outdoor season. There's a good reason why many view him as an all-time great: Simmons is a high-stakes racer. He broke 14 minutes in the 5K indoors, clocked an 8:41 for two miles outdoors and ran the fifth-fastest 3,200m of all-time in 8:34.14.
Mathews, meanwhile, is Arizona's best in the 800m and has clocked a top time of 1:48.72, while Heemeyer will enter Provo with a stellar distance resume out of Idaho.
Expected Recruits: No. 4 Jelani Watkins (Will sign during football's NLI period)
If LSU only signs one blue-chip athlete over this period, and his name is Jelani Watkins, we'd still have them in the top five.
Watkins is that good.
The Klein Forest junior won a state 200m title (in 20.54), anchored his team's 4x100 and then led his squad to an epic 4x400 finale, giving his squad a Texas state title in the process.
The only question is whether LSU will have him in their track lineup down the road. We're hoping Watkins takes the route of Devon Achane, the former two-way Fort Bend Marshall standout who was a star football player and track athlete for Texas A&M before he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2023.
Oregon is a program that values quality over quantity. Scholarships are in high demand in track and field, and chances are any athlete who comes to Eugene buys into the culture -- and the spirit of Oregon -- rather than the money.
With these four recruits, the Ducks gained a ton of versatility. Smith is one of the country's top throwers heading into the 2024 high school season, while Platt (who will sign either in December or February during the football signing period) is an all-time good high school javelin thrower.
Burlison didn't run cross country this fall, but he finished his junior season with a 4:03 mile and was Texas' best in the 1,600m and 3,200m.
And then there's the case of Fast Horse, who is already fast on his way toward blowing off the doors to an epic season -- in fact, in a couple of days he'll be on the Class of 2024's top 50 recruits, giving Oregon four top 50 signees.
Three nationally-ranked athletes, two more honorable mention picks and three more high-level athletes give Tennessee arguably the deepest men's class so far.
Heard was once MileSplit's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2024 -- and with one more season ahead of him, he very well could jump right back into the conversation.
Greene, meanwhile, trains out of the powerhouse Montverde Academy and has the potential to jump even more in 2024.
Then there's Genisio, Conway, Ramer, Liebert and Edgeworth, all high-value distance recruits who give the Volunteers depth in cross country and in the distance events down the line. Lowe is the last athlete worth mentioning here -- he ran 1:52 in the 800m this past outdoor season.
Some programs aspire to recruit numbers. Others aim to hit on a few gems. Georgia, on the other hand, goes out and gets the very best.
Over the last two years under Caryl Smith Gilbert, the Bulldogs have routinely landed some of the top boys athletes in the country. Her recruiting classes thus far have been exceptional, and this one is no exception.
Just when Georgia started recruiting Christian Miller may be a good question, but chances are they were in on the Florida sprinter early.
Then in July, he registered some of the best times in high school history. So call this one a win.
Ricks and Keys, meanwhile, are two more top 10 recruits with middle-distance and hurdle potential, while Costen offers some very good sprinting chops out of Georgia.