J.K. Dobbins

CFT Previews: National Signing Day


National Signing Day is upon us once again. Or, as it might as well be known now, the day Nick Saban and Urban Meyer bash everyone’s head together one more time. The next class of All-Americans, of Heisman Trophy winners, of future stars and wacky headlines becomes official on Wednesday, and no one truly knows which players will ultimately belong where. And that’s the magic of it all.

Let’s dive right into some storylines.

– Nick or Urban? Urban or NickHeading into Wednesday’s festivities, Alabama and Ohio State are in a neck-and-neck duel for the best class according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Alabama holds a slight lead with 310.26 total points to Ohio State’s 308.78, but Ohio State (94.62) holds the edge over the Tide (93.01) in per-player average. Alabama owns five 5-stars and 14 4-stars among its 24 commitments, while Ohio State has landed five 5-stars and 13 4-stars among its 20 pledges.

– A Smart blueprint. The harbinger of Saban’s ultimate dominance came on Signing Day in 2008 when, after a 7-6 debut, Alabama inked a No. 1 class in its first full cycle under the new staff. Kirby Smart was there for that rise, and now he’s repeating the script in Athens. After an 8-5 debut campaign, Smart’s first full class has leaped from No. 8 to No. 3 nationally, per 247 composite. With two 5-stars and 18 4-stars among its 23 pledges, Georgia won’t likely catch Alabama or Ohio State but is a safe distance away from Michigan for the No. 3 ranking.

– Texas becomes the No Star State. In a year that should give longtime observers flash backs to the dark days of the 1990’s, only four of the top 20 players in the state of Texas are committed to in-state schools. In fact, Ohio State may sign as many Texas blue-chippers as the in-state schools combined, with No. 1 defensive back Jeffrey Okudah, No. 1 linebacker Baron Browning and No. 1 running back J.K. Dobbins already in the fold and an outside shot at landing No. 1 overall player Marvin Wilson. At present, only linebacker Anthony Hines (Texas A&M) and offensive lineman Jack Anderson (Texas Tech) are committed to in-state schools among the state’s top-10 players.

– Is Signing Day going to be… boring? Only 17 of the national top 100 players of the 247 composite ranking are uncommitted as of this writing. Among the top 25, only Wilson (an LSU lean) and Georgia linebacker Aubrey Solomon (Michigan or Alabama) remain uncommitted. Though the headliners may not offer much in the way of suspense, there are still plenty of second- and third-tier players lining up for our entertainment on Wednesday. If we’re lucky, perhaps one will announce his school choice while riding on the back of a dolphin.

Pitt flips 4-star RB from Ohio who was committed to Ohio State

Associated Press

Pittsburgh’s recruiting class grew while Ohio State’s shrank Wednesday when four-star running back Todd Sibley announced he intends to be a Panther in 2017.

Sibley, a top 20 running back nationally and the 12th-best prospect in Ohio according to 247Sports.com Composite rankings, shared the news on Twitter.

The Akron Hoban High standout was an early Ohio State commit, but in May he told 247Sports he was considering more than half a dozen schools after being asked to delay his enrollment if he wished to remain a future Buckeye.

After an unofficial visit to Pitt, he said the chance to regularly rub shoulders with NFL players was a draw to him.

“It was a one day visit,” Sibley said. “A lot of things stood out. One thing that really got my attention was all the NFL access they have. They share the field with the Steelers and eat with the players and stuff.”

With eight members, Pitt’s class checks in at No. 41 after adding Sibley, who joins Homestead, Pa., safety Paris Ford to give coach Pat Narduzzi a pair of four-star commits so far.

Last year, Narduzzi signed the No. 30 class in the country, a group that included five prospects from Ohio and seven from Pennsylvania.

Despite losing Sibley, Ohio State’s class is No. 1 in the country midway through June.

Its 13 members include four-star running back J.K. Dobbins of La Grange, Texas.

In his announcement Wednesday, Sibley did not express any ill will toward Ohio State coach Urban Meyer or his staff but rather thanked them for “ultimately just giving me a shot.”