10 best players who signed with SEC teams on first Early Signing Day
The process of deciding an offseason “recruiting champion” kicked into high gear this year with the advent of the first Early Signing Day. For the first time, high school football stars could end their recruitment process early and sign in December if they chose, rather than waiting for the traditional Signing Day in February.
No SEC school took more advantage of this early window than Georgia, which dominated on Wednesday with one of the strongest Early Signing Day classes in the nation. In fact, as of late Wednesday afternoon, 247Sports.com rated UGA’s signees the second-best group in the nation, behind only Ohio State. The Bulldogs won’t have to sweat out the February signing period much because most of their top targets have signed on the dotted line already.
Here is a glance at the top 10 recruits to sign with SEC schools on the first Early Signing Day.
Justin Fields, QB, Georgia
Texas A&M made a push for the dual-threat quarterback from Kennesaw, Ga. But Fields, the No. 2 overall prospect in the country according to 247Sports.com, kept his commitment to the Bulldogs, who play about 90 miles from his hometown. Fields passed for 4,448 yards and 44 touchdowns over the past two seasons at Harrison High; he also had 2,131 yards and 30 touchdowns rushing.
Zamir White, RB, Georgia
The Bulldogs will lose perhaps the best 1-2 running back punch in school history when Nick Chubb and Sony Michel graduate. So, though Georgia has talented runners waiting behind them, White could well be in the mix for a prominent role as early as next fall. White, the No. 7 overall prospect, rushed for 2,086 yards and 34 touchdowns this season at Scotland County High in Laurinburg, N.C., and had eye-popping four-year totals of 7,169 rushing yards and 119 TDs.
Eyabi Anoma, DE, Alabama
In recent weeks the standout out of Baltimore made official visits to Michigan and nearby Maryland, but the Crimson Tide snagged him out of Big Ten country. Anoma, the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect, is 6 feet 5 and 230 pounds out of Saint Frances Academy. Alabama is losing a fair bit of talent in its defensive front seven to graduation, so this could be a key pickup.
Jamaree Sayler, G, Georgia
Sayler drew a ton of interest but only made official visits to Florida and Georgia, and the Atlanta product out of Pace Academy chose to stay closer to home. The 6-3, 285-pound offensive lineman is rated as the nation’s No. 12 overall prospect and the top guard.
Cade Mays, OT, Georgia
The Bulldogs continued their early signing haul by snagging Mays out from under the noses of SEC East Division rival Tennessee. The Knoxville, Tenn., native played at Knoxville Catholic and is regarded as the No. 16 overall prospect. At 6-6, 318, Mays already has the size to play offensive tackle at a Power 5 program. He decommitted from Tennessee last month and reopened his recruiting process, paying official visits to Clemson and Ohio State in recent weeks before choosing the Bulldogs.
Adam Anderson, OLB, Georgia
The No. 18 overall recruit and top outside linebacker stayed close to home. The 6-4, 214-pounder starred at Rome (Ga.) High, about three hours northwest of Athens. What’s interesting about his recruitment is that, according to 247Sports, Anderson made no official visits. He made several unofficial ones — and had a bit of a whirlwind as he initially committed to Georgia, then changed his mind, then committed to and decommitted from LSU, then chose the Bulldogs a second time.
Brenton Cox, DE, Georgia
The defensive end is another Georgia product who stayed in state. He is rated as the No. 22 overall prospect and had 23 sacks over the past two seasons at Stockbridge High. At 6-4, 247, he likely projects as an edge rusher at the next level. He decommitted from Ohio State on Dec. 6 and made his official visit to Georgia just last week.
James Cook, RB, Georgia
Cook, the younger brother of former Florida State and current Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, is rated the No. 31 overall prospect and the third-best running back. The 4-star prospect was a standout at Miami Central High but recently transferred to rival Miami Northwestern High, where he plans to run track in the spring, according to the Miami Herald.
Trey Hill, G, Georgia
For those keeping track, coach Kirby Smart and his staff snagged eight of the country’s top 38 prospects on the first day on which they could sign. Hill is another big lineman who the Bulldogs snagged; at 6-3, 345 he was a standout at Warner Robbins Houston County High in central Georgia. The No. 38 overall prospect gives Georgia three of the top offensive line prospects in the country on Day 1 of the early signing period.
Emory Jones, QB, Florida
The Gators flipped the dual-threat quarterback from Franklin, Ga., getting him to officially decommit from Ohio State and sign with Florida on the same day. Jones, 6-2, 195, starred at Heard County High and committed to the Buckeyes last July. He is rated the No. 40 prospect overall.