National Signing Day: That’s a wrap

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As the headline says, that’s a wrap folks.  National Signing Day 2012 — or “Singing Day”, which might be my favorite typo ever — is almost officially in the books, with but a few stragglers left who haven’t yet put pen to Letter of Intent paper.

Below you’ll find all of our updates throughout the day, and don’t forget Ben’s muy bueno recap of all the highs and lows from today’s signing action.

If you’d like to see where your school stands in the final team rankings, or where a signee ranked nationally coming into signing day, we’ve provided some links below.

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11:41 p.m. ET — Here are the complete recruiting classes from Florida State, Washington State, USF, Illinois, Missouri, Wake Forest, Iowa, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Arizona State, Utah and Cal.

8:16 p.m. ET — Penn State, Stanford, LSU, Washington State, USF, Illinois and Cincinnati have announced their complete 2012 recruiting classes.

7:47 p.m. ET — 247Sports.com is projecting that Alabama will claim the No. 1 recruiting class in its team rankings.

6:59 p.m. ET — Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Clemson and Ohio State have announced their complete 2012 recruiting classes.

6:07 p.m. ET — Georgia, Florida, Arkansas and Alabama have announced their complete 2012 recruiting classes.

5:06 p.m. ET — Notre Dame, Nebraska, Maryland, Rutgers, WisconsinBYU and North Carolina have announced their complete 2012 recruiting classes.

4:49 p.m. ET — Stanford keeps on rolling with another huge pickup at the offensive line position with the signature of Kyle Murphy out of San Clemente HS (CA). Murphy is the No. 19 overall prospect according to Rivals.com and the No. 11 prospect according to 247Sports.com.

3:14 p.m. ET — Pittsburgh, Boise State, Purdue, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Kentucky have all announced their full 2012 recruiting classes.

3:00 p.m. ET — Cornerback Ronald Darby will go to Florida State. Darby is the 16th overall athlete in the country according to 247Sports. Another huge pickup for Jimbo Fisher‘s class.

2:52 p.m. ET — Hang on just a minute with the Josh Harvey-Clemons commitment to Georgia. While it could be nothing more than a minor hiccup or detail of which we’re unaware, coach Mark Richt said he still has not received Harvey-Clemons’ signature. Harvey-Clemons  was one of the first major commitments of the day when he picked the Bulldogs.

1:40 p.m. ET — Don’t overlook Stanford during today’s signing day frenzy. The Cardinal just picked up offensive lineman Andrus Peat from Tempe, AZ. Peat is the No. 32 overall recruit according to Rivals.com. Read more about Stanford’s signing day HERE.

1:32 p.m. ET — Well, so much for that update regarding the team rankings a short time ago.  Scout.com has updated its team rankings and, as a result, have Texas leapfrogging Alabama into the top spot.  Thus, the Longhorns are now the No. 1 team according to Scout and 247Sports, while the Tide maintains its hold on Rivals’ top spot.

1:22 p.m. ET — Five-star wide receiver Nelson Agholor announced for USC over Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

12:59 p.m. ET — Committed to Wisconsin since June of last year, Cleveland Heights (Oh.) High School offensive tackle Kyle Dodson announced that he is signing with Urban Meyer and Ohio State.  Dodson was a consensus four-star recruit.

12:49 p.m. ET — With signing day inching past the halfway point, Alabama (Rivals, Scout) and Texas (247Sports) are still ranked where they were at the start of the day: No. 1.  Barring some type of unexpected development, it appears that’s the direction the final rankings are headed.

12:46 p.m. ET — Northwestern announces its 2012 recruiting class.

12:18 p.m. ET — Indiana announced a 25-player-strong recruiting class.

12:14 p.m. ET — In perhaps the most shocking flip of the day, four-star wide receiver Deontay Greenberry switched his verbal commitment to Notre Dame to a Letter of Intent signing with Houston.

11:57 a.m. ET — USC signed defensive end Leonard Williams from Daytona Beach, FL. Williams is the No. 47 overall prospect according to 247Sports and No. 53 overall prospect according to Rivals.com

11:40 a.m. ET — Texas A&M picked up a nice WR commit in Thomas Johnson,  listed as the No. 34 overall recruit by Rivals and No. 44 overall recruit by 247Sports. Johnson is part of a Texas A&M class that is quickly assembling some top in-state talent.

11:12 a.m. ET — Florida State commit Dante Fowler Jr has done the signing day flip, going with the Gators instead247Sports had the St. Petersburg, Fla. DE/LB rated as the No. 15 player in the country, and was No. 28 according to Rivals.

11:07 a.m. ET — Kwon Alexander, the No. 9 outside linebacker according to 247Sports, is “taking his talents” to LSU over Alabama and Auburn. Alexander said he knew he would commit to the Tigers for the past two weeks.

10:25 a.m. ET — the No. 1 overall recruit in the country according to Rivals.com, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, has decided to stay in-state and attend Missouri. Green-Beckham is rated the No. 2 overall prospect according to 247Sports.

10:07 a.m. ET — Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman chose Florida State over schools like Alabama and Auburn. The five-star defensive tackle is rated the No. 14 overall recruit by 247Sports and No. 7 by Rivals. Jimbo Fisher continues to put together an amazing defensive line group.

10:00 a.m. ET — Tracy Howard from Miramar (FL), the top cornerback in the country according to Rivals.com and the No. 13 overall prospect, committed to Miami over Florida and Florida State.

9:25 a.m. ET — Linebacker from Valdosta (GA) Josh Harvey-Clemons chose to stay in-state and attend Georgia. He is the  No. 32 overall recruit according to 247Sports and No. 31 recruit according to Rivals.

9:11 a.m. ET — Aledo (TX) RB Johnathan Gray has committed to Texas. Gray has been verbally committed to the Longhorns for a while now, but this is still a huge get for UT. Gray is the No. 9 overall prospect according to 247Sports and No. 5 prospect according to Rivals.

9:09 a.m. ET — Defensive end Mario Edwards has, as expected, signed with Florida State. Edwards had downgraded his commitment to a soft verbal in the months leading up to signing day, but reaffirmed his commitment to the Seminoles. Edwards is the No. 1 recruit in the nation according to 247Sports and No. 3 overall according to Rivals.

8:26 a.m. ET — Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson — the No. 1 JUCO prospect according to 247Sports, No. 4 according to Rivals.comselected Tennessee over Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.

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(Rankings reflect overall position) 

1/31 — Darius Hamilton, DE Don Bosco Prep (NJ); No. 11, Rivals; No. 20, Scout; No. 23, 247Sports; committed to Rutgers.

1/31 — Shaq Thompson, DB Grant Union (CA); No. 4, Rivals; No. 3, Scout; No. 6, 247Sports; committed to Washington.

1/30 — Zach Banner, OL Lakewood HS (WA); No. 16, Rivals; No. 72, Scout; No. 110, 247Sports; committed to USC.

1/29 — Arik Armstead, DT Pleasant Grove (CA); No. 61, Rivals; No. 2, Scout; No. 4, 247Sports;  committed to Oregon.

Auburn wide receiver Kyle Davis potentially out for spring

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Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was optimistic about wide receiver Kyle Davis returning to the team at some point this spring, but the tune has changed regarding his future. Malzahn is now saying Davis may be out for the remainder of Auburn’s spring practices due to personal reasons.

“Kyle Davis is still taking care of some personal business,” Malzahn said, according to SEC Country. “I’m not for sure if he’s going to be back before the end of the spring. He will be back for the fall, just taking a little bit longer than we initially thought.”

It was just a few weeks ago Malzahn said Davis was going to be out for the start of spring practices, which are now close to half over. For now, the plan is simply to have him return over the summer in preparation for the fall.

In the meantime, Malzahn confirmed John Franklin III is working primarily as a wide receiver, which had previously been suspected to be the case.

Penn State announces three captains for 2017 season

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With Penn State just about to get started with spring football practices, head coach James Franklin wasted no time in naming his captains for the 2017 season. Quarterback Trace McSorley, linebacker Jason Cabinda, and safety Nick Scott have been voted captains by their peers on the team.

“These three young men have been leaders in our program, on and off the field,” Franklin said in a released statement. “They live our four core values and act with the program’s best interest in mind. Our team is in good hands with these guys!”

McSorley took over the offense as Penn State’s starting quarterback in 2016. A bit of a mystery to most entering the season after being the backup to Christian Hackenberg, McSorley ended his 2016 season with a Big Ten-leading 3,614 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes with eight interceptions and played a key role in guiding Penn State to a late run to a Big Ten championship and an appearance in the Rose Bowl. He enters the 2017 season as one of the top quarterbacks returning to the Big Ten, along with Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett.

Cabinda, an All-Big Ten third team player in 2016, was Penn State’s third-leading tackler last season with 81 tackles. He accumulated that many tackles despite missing five games due to injury. He is slated to be the leader in the middle of the Penn State defense with a starting role already locked down and will look to help guide some younger linebackers stepping into key roles in the defense this upcoming season, such as Manny Bowen and Koa Farmer.

Scott has been a special teams leader for Penn State and is expected to continue to lead the special teams effort once again this season.

New Arkansas house bill will allow some concealed guns at football games

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill regarding a person’s ability to carry a concealed handgun into various buildings at a public university or college into state law. However, House Bill 1249 will not allow all legal gun owners to carry a gun to a football game in the state of Arkansas.

Football games will be considered a “sensitive area,” which require enhanced training in order to be allowed to carry a gun into a football stadium. The law supposedly trumps any provisions already in place to prevent guns from being allowed on the premises.

“The enhanced level of training is very important, and I am convinced the public will be more safe,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This bill, in my view, reflects the view of the general assembly.”

The bill has received praise from Arkansas Republican state representative Charlie Collins and the NRA.

While the bill has now become an act in the state, it will not go into effect until January 2018, so guns will still not be allowed in football games where Arkansas, Arkansas State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, or Central Arkansas during the 2017 season.

The news of the new Arkansas state law comes on the same day the SEC has just unveiled a new clear bag policy for football games in the 2017 season. How the SEC handles this latest state law within its footprint remains to be seen (as well as the Sun Belt Conference). The bigger question will be where the SEC stands on this law considered the law is designed to overrule any stadium policies. The way the law is written, the SEC may not be able to do much to stand in the way, but the conference has those clear bag policies hammered down, rest assured.

Kentucky hands Mark Stoops a two-year contract extension

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After guiding Kentucky through its best season in nearly a decade, Mark Stoops has been rewarded.

Kentucky announced Wednesday afternoon that Stoops’ contract has been extended by two years.  The head coach’s previous deal had been set to run through June 30, 2020; the extension pushes that date out to June 30, 2020.

Stoops will earn $3.5 million in 2017, with the new contract calling for annual $250,000 raises.  In the last year of the contract extension, and barring any additional tweaking, Stoops could earn $4.75 million.

Additionally, if the Wildcats win at least seven games but no more than nine in a season, the contract automatically extends by one year.  If the team wins 10-plus games, it extends by two years. “Stoops will continue to receive $250,000 for each win beginning with the seventh win of each season and $50,000 per semester in which the team grade-point average is 2.75 or higher,” the release stated.

Participation in an SEC-affiliated bowl will net Stoops a $100,000 bonus, provided the Wildcats win at least six games that season.  There’s also a $50,000 bonus for earning a spot in a non-SEC bowl game, with the same six-win threshold.  Last season, UK qualified for a bowl game for the first time under Stoops and the first time under anyone since 2010.

“The last four years have been a grind for Mark and his staff, but he has never wavered in his commitment to building Kentucky football into a consistent winner,” a statement from athletic director Mitch Barnhart began. “While the work isn’t close to finished, we believe Mark is the coach to take us there. We are thankful to Mark and Chantel for all they have done to this point and we look forward to our program’s bright future under his leadership.”

The Wildcats’ 7-6 record last season was the program’s best since hitting the same mark in the last season under Rich Brooks in 2009.  The first three seasons with Stoops in control, UK posted a 12-24 mark.

In SEC play, they are just 8-24 since 2013, although they were 4-4 in conference play this past season.  The Wildcats have finished seventh (2013), sixth (2014), tied-fourth (2015) and tied-second (2016) in league play with Stoops as head coach.

“I want to thank Dr. (Eli) Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart and the Board of Trustees for their continued support,” Stoops said. “When we came here, doing a rebuild in a challenging situation, I said that full support from everyone involved was imperative and we have always received that. We needed great commitment, we’ve had great commitment and we’re continuing to get great commitment.”

If Stoops is fired by UK, he’s entitled to receive 75 percent of the remaining guaranteed compensation on the contract.  If Stoops leaves of his own accord, he’d owe the university $1 million regardless of how many years are left on the deal.