College Football Recruiting: National Signing Day

Nick Saban Signing Day_fs

It does not matter how well teams in the SEC do in the season, because they win on signing day.  Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and Tennessee take four of the top five spots in the final recruiting rankings, showing their dominance.

National championship or not, Alabama still dominates recruiting landscape.  The Crimson Tide signed 27 players, 19 are on the ESPN 300 list.  They pulled Rashaan Evans, the second ranked outside linebacker, away from his hometown Auburn team.  They actually have more five-star recruits, five, than three-star recruits, four, but we already know Alabama can recruit.

Other schools came up big today, especially around the SEC to no surprise.  LSU reeled in the top receiver in the country, Malachi Dupre, and Leonard Fournette, the top overall player and running back in the country.  They also got the number two safety in the class, Jamal Adams, and the third ranked receiver in the nation, Trey Quinn.

The SEC isn’t the only conference that made noise.  PAC-12 teams recruited well, and not just on the West Coast. The University of Southern California made the biggest impact on signing day in the PAC-12, securing the top uncommitted prospect, Adoree Jackson and highly coveted players like John “JuJu” Smith and Damien Mama.  USC made the largest jump in the final ESPN recruiting rankings, leaping from 24 to 14.  Stanford had the second-best day in the PAC-12 with 20 signees and the 15 ranked recruiting class.  Top-25 defensive end Solomon Thomas and ESPN 300 quarterback Keller Chryst are the biggest names in the Cardinal’s class, but they always recruit great offensive lineman like Casey Tucker and Reilly Gibbons.

The Big Ten conference wasn’t represented in the rankings as well as the SEC and PAC-12, but the familiar faces were there.  Michigan had a top-20 recruiting class with the top cornerback in the land, Jabrill Peppers, and Drake Harris, the number 10 receiver in the nation.  Ohio State didn’t have the surprises that other schools had throughout the day, but the Buckeyes still gathered a top-10 recruiting class.  Their two top recruits, Raekwon McMillan and Johnnie Dixon, are already enrolled in school and working out.

The national champions, Florida State, did well on signing day as expected, compiling the third ranked class.  Offensive recruits like Dalvin Cook, Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph give Jameis Winston targets to throw to after losing top receivers to the NFL Draft.  The Seminoles also added size and length on both the offensive and defensive line with the smallest prospect being Derrick Nnadi at 6-foot-1 and 299 pounds.

There were a number of winners and losers on National Signing Day, but the day is about the players.  The player’s decision can bring hope and optimism to the school they choose, or the choice to go elsewhere can depress and upset the teams not picked.  As these recruits begin their college career, we as fans wait patiently for the day they touch the field.