National Signing Day rewind: SEC dominates as Bama, Georgia, LSU, Florida come up big
The three main takeaways and other observations from National Signing Day, a day the SEC dominated …
1. Alabama flexes its muscle: There was little doubt that Alabama was going to end the day with the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation — a 7-year streak that shows no sign of stopping.
But even the early disappointment of losing 5-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon to Michigan couldn’t dampen the day for the Tide.
Alabama landed its three primary in-state targers with 5-star defensive end LaBryan Ray and 4-star wide receivers Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith.
But that wasn’t enough, Alabama truly showed its power over the rest of the college football recruiting nation when they got 4-star defensive end Jarez Parks, ranked 93rd nationally, to accept a grayshirt, over signing with Auburn, Miami, Florida, FSU and others that had offered full rides. Roll Tide indeed.
Jarez Parks would have been the highest-rated signee at about 2/3 of Power 5 schools, but instead he's grayshirting at Alabama. Crazy.
— Matt Smith (@MattSmithCFB) February 1, 2017
The Tide’s class finished with a total score of 322.53, the second-highest on record, according to 247Sports.com’s database. Florida’s 2010 class scored 323.66.
2. LSU’s class sends shock waves: Ed Orgeron doesn’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to recruiting and he proved it Wednesday.
LSU got an expected commitment from 4-star defensive back Todd Harris — a coveted in-state target — and 4-star linebacker Tyler Taylor.
The Tigers also held on to 3-star defensive tackle commit Neil Farrell, who was being courted heavily by Florida State. But the big shocker was pulling 4-star defensive end K’Lavon Chiasson out of Houston and away from the Texas Longhorns.
The only downside to the day was 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson choosing Florida State, but otherwise signing day was a success for the Orgeron era.
— Sports Night (@Sports_NightTX) February 1, 2017
— Booger (@SECbooger) February 1, 2017
3. McElwain goes all in to salvage Gators’ class: Jim McElwain, the target of jokes by many opposing fans and some in Gator Nation, might get the last laugh after he pulled some rabbits out of his hat to land the Gators in the Top 10.
Florida did well in Broward and Miami-Dade counties with commitments from 4-star offensive lineman Tedarrell Slaton and 4-star defensive back Christopher Henderson.
The Gators also added depth on the defensive line with 4-star defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe out of Hampton, Va.
But the biggest news came late in the day when the Gators accepted letters of intent from 4-star wide receiver James Robinson and 3-star running back Adarius Lemons.
Both players have had disciplinary run-ins and Robinson’s became public in the past few days. Florida originally said they weren’t going to take him today, but McElwain went to bat and won out.
If both players pan out it will be a risk worth taking but if they don’t it may affect his future as head coach at Florida.
Jim McElwain when you tell him his class could finish as a disaster… pic.twitter.com/tHctB4Vdw6
— Thomas Goldkamp (@ThomasGoldkamp) February 1, 2017
— Five SEC teams finished in the Top 10, and 12 made the top 30. Only two Big Ten teams made the Top 10, and just five were in the top 30.
— Georgia’s No. 3 ranking matched the 2006 class led by Matthew Stafford.
— Ole Miss fell 25 spots to No. 30 this year, the SEC’s biggest drop from last season. Texas A&M jumped six spots to No. 18, the biggest increase.
— The SEC signed 11 of the nation’s 32 5-stars, most of any conference. The Big Ten had 8.
All 5-star prospects (as rated by the 247Sports Composite) have chosen their schools. The SEC led the way with 11. The Big 12? Well … pic.twitter.com/EadzAqwkB4
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) February 1, 2017
— Texas A&M slipped a little from 9th to 12th as expected with nearly all of their class done before today.
— South Carolina moved to No. 21 as it held on to 4-star cornerback Jamyest Williams and added 4-star defensive end Brad Johnson among others.
— Kentucky had a Top 30 class (No. 29) for just the third time this century.
— Auburn stayed at No. 9 and got a nice surprise with the commitment of 4-star Markaviest Bryant, who was trending toward LSU going into his announcement.
— Ole Miss had somewhat of an underwhelming class, finishing No. 30, but it could have been much, much worse. Head coach Hugh Freeze believes much of it came from the uncertainty surrounding the program in terms of potential NCAA sanctions.
— On the other side of the Magnolia State, Mississippi State held off LSU for local prospect Willie Gay and finished 24th nationally — a nice turn around from last year for Dan Mullen.