National Signing Day 2023: South Carolina, Arizona State among winners as Pac-12 powers miss on key targets

National Signing Day 2023: South Carolina, Arizona State among winners as Pac-12 powers miss on key targets

The traditional National Signing Day headlined the college football calendar on Wednesday as some of the top uncommitted prospects from the 2023 recruiting cycle confirmed their destinations. While the heavy lifting took place largely in December when the early signing period opened, there were still a few programs that had every reason to celebrate on Wednesday and a couple that wanted more.

Two upstart teams with feisty young head coaches in the SEC and Pac-12 were among those making the most noise on the traditional National Signing Day, while two powerhouse programs in the West had patchy results as they targeted some of the best prospects available to help push them over the hump in the 2023 college football season.

Let’s take a look now and the biggest winners and losers from the traditional National Signing Day for the 2023 college football recruiting cycle.


Alabama and Georgia: The two teams that won the last three national titles remained at the top of the standings, with most of their prospects already checking in on campus in early January. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs were able to just sit back and celebrate the end of the cycle — especially Alabama, which signed the third-highest-rated class in 247Sports history.

South Carolina: Shane Beamer had some big wins in Year 2, but none were bigger than the one on National Signing Day when Nyckoles Harbour, perhaps the Gamecocks’ biggest signing since Jadeveon Clowney in 2011, announced his engagement. The five-star athlete inked with Beamer amid a late surge from Oregon as well as strong interest from Michigan and Maryland.

Arizona State: The long, winding roller coaster ride that was recruiting Jaden Rashada came full circle when the former Florida signee announced he would be playing for Arizona State. Rashada immediately becomes first-year head coach Kenny Dillingham’s star recruit as he heads to his father Harlen’s alma mater.

Colorado: Sure, the Buffaloes were convinced five-star cornerback Cormani McClain was headed for Boulder, but remember, Miami believed they had him locked in before he abruptly chose not to sign with the Colorados. Hurricanes on the opening day of the first signing period. So when Deion Sanders and Colorado secured McClain’s NLI, fears of history repeating itself were allayed.

Mississippi State: There was a dark cloud over Mississippi State’s first signing period following the unexpected death of head coach Mike Leach. Zach Arnett was promoted to interim head coach before eventually being elevated to head coach of the Bulldogs. His first real signing day couldn’t have gone better, adding cornerback Will James and defensive lineman Jonathan Davis to bolster his inaugural class.

won and lost

Oregon: While the Ducks thought there was a good chance of landing in Harbor, South Carolina has always been a dark horse and it wasn’t until recently that Oregon took a leap forward. The same could have been said for four-star cornerback Rodrick Pleasant, with USC long considered the frontrunner. Oregon, however, managed to snatch him from Southern California – just like they did Matayo Uiagalelei in December – and nabbed a player from a school (Gardena Serra) that has long been good for the Trojan horses. The California 100m and 200m champion may be the fastest player in high school football, and now the Ducks are allowing him to both play cornerback and run sprints.

USC: USC losing to Pleasant hurts a bit, but they also came back all the way to land Top247 tight end Walker Lyons, Stanford’s former commitment. The Trojans beat out Georgia, Utah and Cardinal for Lyon, who will enlist in the fall of 2024 after serving an LDS mission.


Maryland: At one point, the Terrapins were supposed to land in Harbor. They did not do it. It also looked like they would get the packaged contract of twin brothers Andrew Harris and Michael Harris, who are both four-star linebacking prospects. But even that didn’t work; they secured Michael’s commitment, but Andrew, the Polynesian Bowl defensive MVP, opted to sign with UCF. What looked like a potential banner day turned out to be a little underwhelming.

NIL Collectives: Those promises you made – you better keep them, but also make sure your bank account has the right numbers to back them up. Stop promising big numbers to walk away from them and look for solutions. Plus the old boosters in the collectives complaining about the next generation – you’re much worse on social media and your Twitter beefs eclipse any teenager’s. Collect your acts or you will become a national punchline.

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