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After one-year hiatus, Alabama regains recruiting crown as rankings remain largely unchanged from Early Signing Period

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Welcome to the continuation of the new recruiting norm.

In years past, the first Wednesday in February served as bizarro, ofttimes frightening Christmas for fanatical recruitniks and college football fans all across the country. With the implementation of the December Early Signing in 2017, however, National Signing Day has very quickly morphed into, relatively speaking, an afterthought compared to what it once was.

Case in point: school rankings.

Following the second Early Signing Period this past December, the Top Four schools in the 247Sports.com composite rankings were, in order, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Texas A&M; after signing day, the top four remained unchanged.

With just six four-star prospects (out of more than 340) left unsigned, the end of National Signing Day 2019 means the beginning, potentially, of another recruiting championship streak for ‘Bama. From 2011-17, the Crimson Tide pulled in the top-ranked class each year; in 2018, they tumbled all the way down to No. 5, Nick Saban‘s worst class ratings-wise since a fourth-ranked group in 2010.

Elsewhere in the Top Ten, No. 5 LSU and No. 6 Oklahoma flipped spots from a month and a half ago, while Oregon and Michigan held steady at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Florida made one of the most noteworthy jumps of the day, climbing from No. 11 to No. 9, pushing Clemson down one spot to No. 10.

Penn State, conversely, took one of the biggest drops of the day, tumbling from the Top 10 at No. 10 to No. 13, replaced by a pair of SEC schools — No. 11 Auburn (up from No. 12) and No. 12 Tennessee (up from No. 15). Ohio State (from No. 13 to No. 14) and Notre Dame (From No. 14 to No. 15) each fell one spot apiece. The status quo was in effect for Nos. 16-18 (Florida State, Washington, USC), with South Carolina at No. 19 and Nebraska at No. 20 rounding out the Top 20.

Stanford began Wednesday at No. 20 before ending it at No. 21; the Gamecocks had started the day in the same place the Cardinal finished it.

As for the best classes in each conference?

AAC — UCF (No. 56)
ACC — Clemson (No. 10)
Big 12 — Texas (No. 3)
Big Ten — Michigan (No. 8)
Conference USA — FAU (No. 66)
Independent — Notre Dame (No. 15)
MAC — Toledo (No. 71)
Mountain West — Boise State (No. 49)
Pac-12 — Oregon (No. 7)
SEC — Alabama (No. 1)
Sun Belt — Louisiana (No. 72)

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Louisville, at No. 73, was the lowest-ranked Power Five school.  No. 68 Oregon State (Pac-12), No. 67 Texas Tech (Big 12), No. 62 Illinois (Big Ten) and No. 57 Vanderbilt (SEC) had the lowest-ranked classes in their respective conferences.

Louisville lands Florida grad transfer T.J McCoy

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In June of 2015, T.J. McCoy transferred from North Carolina State to Florida to be closer to his ailing father.  Nearly four years later, he’s heading back to the ACC once again.

On his personal Twitter account Monday, McCoy announced that he has decided to transfer from Florida to finish out his playing career elsewhere.  As it turns out, that elsewhere is Louisville, with the offensive lineman confirming that, “after meeting with [first-year head coach Scott] Satterfield and [offensive coordinator Dwayne] Ledford and witnessing their passion and commitment to building players and the program,” he has decided to move on to the Cardinals.

Coming to the ACC school as a graduate transfer, McCoy will be eligible to play immediately in 2019.  The upcoming season will be the redshirt junior’s final year of eligibility.

McCoy was a three-star member of NC State’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 21 center in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, McCoy played in nine games in 2016, starting the final four games of that season at center; he then started nine games at the same position in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury.

With new head coach Dan Mullen in charge, McCoy lost his starting job and played in just four games this past season.

Veteran WRs coach Gunter Brewer joins Louisville staff

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After a brief foray in the NFL, Gunter Brewer is back in college football and, more specifically, back in the ACC.

Brewer was announced as Louisville’s wide receivers coach on Tuesday, completing Scott Satterfield‘s initial staff.

This will be Brewer’s fourth different tour of duty in the ACC. He joined the conference as a Wake Forest wide receiver in 1985-86, then joined the Deacons’ coaching staff as a strength and conditioning assistant in 1986-87. He returned to the conference as North Carolina’s wide receivers coach from 2000-04, then coached the Tar Heels’ wideouts again from 2012-17.

In between those stints, Brewer has coached wide receivers at East Tennessee State, Marshall, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. He has tutored two Biletnikoff Award winners and a third finalist — Randy Moss at Marshall (1997 winner) and Dez Bryant (2008 finalist) and Justin Blackmon (2010 winner) at Oklahoma State. (Blackmon also won the honor in 2011, but Brewer was at Ole Miss by then.)

Brewer spent the 2018 campaign as the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. His NFL stint ended with Alshon Jeffrey‘s drop against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round.

Two hires complete Manny Diaz’s first Miami staff

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Nearly three weeks after returning to Miami, Manny Diaz has put the finishing touches on his first Hurricanes coaching staff.

The U confirmed Friday the hirings of Taylor Stubblefield and Stephen Field as the final two additions to Diaz’s 10-man on-field staff.  Stubblefield will coach wide receivers, while Field will handle tight ends.

Stubblefield, who played his college football at Purdue, spent the past two seasons as the receivers coach at Air Force.  Field, who was a graduate assistant with the Hurricanes in 2007-08, was recently hired as the recruiting director at Louisville before returning to The U.  He served in the same role at Oregon last season.

“We’re excited to welcome these coaches to the Miami family,” the new head coach said in a statement. “Taylor was a Biletnikoff Award finalist as a college receiver and he boasts a terrific track record coaching that position. He also has strong ties to our offensive coordinator, Dan Enos, which is significant as we begin to build and shape our offense.

“Stephen is an outstanding coach who has had great success at both the college and high school levels. He is a proven recruiter on a national scale, and also has strong ties to The U and to South Florida. They will both be excellent additions to our staff.”

After replacing the retired Mark Richt, Diaz swept out the entire offensive coaching staff and brought in all new assistants on that side of the ball, including Enos as offensive coordinator.

SMU transfer QB Ben Hicks visited Arkansas this weekend

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As they are losing, or in the process of losing, a pair of quarterbacks to transfer, Arkansas is looking at the same avenue to bolster its personnel under center.

Citing multiple sources, 247Sports.com has reported that Ben Hicks arrived on the Arkansas campus Saturday for a visit that extended on into Sunday.  In mid-December, the redshirt junior confirmed that he had decided to leave SMU as a graduate transfer and finish his collegiate playing career elsewhere.

The Razorbacks’ current head coach, Chad Morris, was the Mustangs’ head coach from 2015-17, coinciding with Hicks’ first three seasons at SMU.

In addition to SMU, 247Sports.com reported, Hicks has already visited Louisville.  A trip to Georgia Tech is also a possibility.

Hicks served as the Mustangs’ starting quarterback the last three seasons.  He left SMU as its leader in a significant number of major statistical categories, including passing yards (9,081) and passing touchdowns (71).  Conversely, he also threw 34 interceptions and completed just over 56 percent of his passes.

Ty Storey, who placed his name in the NCAA transfer database earlier this month, started nine games of the 10 games in which he played for the Razorbacks this past season, throwing for 1,584 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in completing 143-of-250 passes. Storey, who is leaving as a graduate transfer, is the second Arkansas quarterback to either transfer or begin the process of transferring in a little over a month, joining Cole Kelley. Kelley announced his transfer in early December, then announced he would be moving on to an FCS program this past weekend.