National Signing Day: Winners and losers
The second day of signing is in the books and nearly all of the top prospects are now signed, sealed, and ready to ship – if they’re not already on campus. Here’s a look at the winners and losers from February’s signing day.
Alabama did nothing on day two of the signing and the Crimson Tide retained the nation’s top class and all but a full lockdown – even if five-star Duce Robinson ends up in Georgia – that they would remain No. 1 in Rivals. com Team Recruiting Rankings.
What an incredible run for Nick Saban as Georgia come off the back-to-back national titles, so much talk about transfer portal and NIL. Yet here’s Saban charging up again, not to be pushed aside by Kirby Smart, Deion Sanders, or anyone else just yet.
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*****State of Arizona
The transfer gate was such a crucial and instrumental goal for freshman coach Kenny Dillingham as the Sun Devils tied Colorado for the most gate additions and yet when four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada became available, Arizona State ran to him and landed. him on Wednesday.
The Pittsburg, Calif., quarterback was embroiled in a NIL mess with Florida and walked out of its national letter of intent as ASU and TCU made it a priority. After a visit to Tempe and a lot of consideration — more with the connection to his father at school — the Sun Devils won by joining portal QBs Drew Pyne (Notre Dame) and Jacob Conover (BYU) in the class.
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After a busy signing period in December, it was quiet for Georgia’s 2023 class looking to finish second even if the Bulldogs end up with five-star Duce Robinson. But coach Kirby Smart and his team landed a big one in 2024, four-star defensive back Ellis Robinson.
He fits the Athens mold perfectly as an aggressive, physical and tough player who won’t back down. Alabama and many others were after former New Rochelle (NY) star Iona Prep, who now plays at the Bradenton (Florida) IMG Academy, but Georgia won. And with four-star tight end Walker Lyons picking USC, it could be even more good news for Georgia and Robinson once he’s ready to decide.
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***** State of Mississippi
Let it not be lost amid plenty of big five-star news on Wednesday, Mississippi State’s solid finish in this class — because the Bulldogs might have added one of the biggest sleepers in the entire group.
Three-star defensive tackle Jonathan Davis of Monticello County (Miss.) Lawrence was heavily chased by Texas, Florida, Ole Miss and others on the stretch, but the Bulldogs prevailed. They also added Theodore, Ala., cornerback William James.
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One of the biggest recruiting blows of this recruiting cycle was that Oregon coach Dan Lanning and his team went to Gardena, Calif. Serra and kicked Rodrick Pleasant out of USC. Serra has sent so many top players to play for the Trojans and many have had great success.
Plus, Pleasant was already so close to many of USC’s promises that it seemed like a foregone conclusion — until it wasn’t. Pleasant was a big win, but losing five-star tight end Nyckoles Harbor to South Carolina hurts.
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***** Caroline from the south
It was a battle until the end, but South Carolina won for five-star tight end Nyckoles Harbor, mostly holding off Oregon and Maryland as Archbishop Carroll of Washington (DC) described the last days as “chaos”.
The Gamecocks held their ground, however, and now coach Shane Beamer has a huge weapon on offense – and one with Olympic-level speed to work with. Harbor’s commitment was arguably the biggest storyline of the day and another massive building block for Beamer and his team as the Gamecocks trend higher.
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***** South Florida
Freshman coach Alex Golesh added some finishing touches to his opening class in South Florida by adding three-star quarterback Israel Carter of Corona, Calif. Centennial, who was committed to State of Arizona, as well as receivers JeyQuan Smith and Tyree Kelly. .
Not only were these players added, but Carter and Smith talked about Golesh as a scout and his vision for the program as he convinced them to cross the country to help the Bulls.
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It was a bit of a mixed bag for USC on signing day as longtime favorite Rodrick Pleasant ended up picking Oregon over the Trojans, but the addition of four-star tight end Walker Lyons is huge for the Trojans attack.
The Folsom, Calif., four-star, who was at one time committed to Stanford, was being heavily pursued by Georgia, Utah and others, but USC was always on his mind. He decided to pull the trigger on Wednesday after giving no indication in recent weeks that he was ready to leave. Lyons will serve a mission, but down the road, the four-star could be a huge bonus in the USC offense.
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***** LOSERS The late signing period
Don’t you feel like February signing day went the way of the dodo?
Some college coaches would rather have only February signing day like the good old days, but now December has taken away all the shine and shine with only a few stragglers hanging on to make their decisions so late.
It seems unnecessary. Almost everyone makes their picks in December, then two other handfuls do so at all-star events and only a select few take tours in January and make their final calls in February.
February could be revitalized if it becomes the only game in town again (or if the NCAA moves the early signing period to the summer), but right now that seems unnecessary and nowhere near as important as the signing period. of December.
It’s not the biggest loss in the world, but four-star Kendrick Gilbert, who had been with the Boilermakers since the summer, is a state prospect and survived the coaching change. But at the time of signing, the prospect of the cathedral in Indianapolis (Ind.) turned to Kentucky.
He had been flirting with this program for months but had never made the ultimate choice to return to bide his time until Wednesday. Purdue now has the second-to-last class in the Big Ten and it’s one of only two programs in the conference, joining Rutgers, without four-star commitments.
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It was a tough — but somewhat expected — day for Stanford as the Cardinal lost talented three-star defensive lineman Cameron Brandt to Michigan and powerhouse runner LJ Martin to BYU. Late January was very productive for the Cardinal as first-year coach Troy Taylor takes over, but more importantly losing Brandt, a prospect in Chatsworth State (California) Sierra Canyon, to the Wolverines wasn’t ideal.
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