Wednesday brought us another action-packed National Signing Day. In fact, today’s festivities may have been the most entertaining yet. Here’s a rundown of everything you may have missed today:
– USC signs the nation’s top class. Alright, who had Steve Sarkisian as the coach to dethrone Nick Saban from his well-worn recruiting throne? Thanks to a furious finish, USC ended Alabama’s four-year run atop the Rivals’ recruiting rankings.
– The saga of Byron Cowart. The day began with the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Seffner, Fla., defensive end Byron Cowart, announcing for Auburn. And that was that. Actually, that was just the beginning. Word leaked around lunchtime that Cowart hadn’t signed his Letter of Intent and was still considering Florida. Even Cowart didn’t seem to know what was going on.
Then, after the three longest hours in Auburn since the second half of the Iron Bowl, Cowart’s LOI was in and Cowart was a Tiger – seven hours later than we all thought.
– Tennessee is about to get really good. Butch Jones has been in Knoxville for two recruiting cycles, and his classes have ranked fifth and fifth. That simply doesn’t happen by accident. The Vols signed 29 players, including a late flip of five-star offensive lineman Drew Richmond away from Ole Miss. Tennessee hasn’t played in the SEC Championship since 2007, but the smart money says they’ll be back very soon.
– The day’s most interesting announcement. Recruits have announced their college destinations in a hot tub, with a baby bulldog in hand, and just about every other way imaginable. But no one had ever done it quite like Long Beach, Calif., five-star cornerback Iman Marshall announced his commitment to USC: with his own custom music video.
– Roquan Smith commits to UCLA, then de-commits: Almost as soon as the Montezuma, Ga., linebacker put on his gloves, Smith started backing away from his commitment to UCLA. At the root of his indecision? Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich‘s reported departure for the Atlanta Falcons. With Ulbrich’s status still somewhat up in the air, Smith will wait and see what he does before making a final decision. Sounds like this is one of those dreaded National Signing Day decisions that stretches beyond National Signing Day.
– Florida and Michigan finish fast. One of the biggest questions entering the day was how Jim Harbaugh and Jim McElwain would close their first respective classes at Michigan and Florida. And now we know: pretty darn good. Landing the likes of five-stars CeCe Jefferson and Martez Ivey helped Florida jump close to 80 spots all the way up to No. 23 in the Rivals rankings. Michigan didn’t close with quite the same flash, though they did add four-star Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., and three-star athlete Keith Washington, the Wolverines popped up to a respectable 49th. Considering Michigan signed only a modest 14 players, it’s best to look at the star average, where the Wolverines’ 3.29 stands right up with Florida.
– Sad Steve. The annual joke of National Signing Day is that every coach loves his class, filled the exact needs and didn’t miss on anyone they wanted. Everyone except Steve Spurrier.
– Who Runs This State? The most entertaining recruiting rivalry in college football ended with something of a dud. Four-star quarterback Kyler Murray signed with Texas A&M, but we already knew that, four-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack chose the Aggies over Texas and TCU and Texas held off Texas A&M for four-star defensive back Kris Boyd, but as far as Longhorns-Aggies fireworks, that was really it. Texas held off Washington for four-star running back Chris Warren and flipped four-star wide receiver Ryan Newsome from UCLA, but both schools lost out to Ole Miss for four-star wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge. In the end, UT and A&M signed nearly identical classes. Texas held the edge according to Scout (eighth vs. 10th), 247 (11th vs. 12th) and ESPN (ninth vs. 12th), while Rivals earned a slight victory in the Rivals rankings (10th vs. 12th). With these two heated nemeses recruiting so similarly, it should be fun to watch them bash heads on the…. oh, damn it all.
– Mount Mormon. BYU signed the biggest recruit of this year – or any year – in landing Motekiai Langi, who checks in at a cool 6-foot-8 and 410 pounds.
Sports Illustrated writer Andy Staples had perhaps the tweet of the day:
– Bruin commits everywhere. USC won the class, but their crosstown rivals got a few victories of their own, as well. The nation’s top tight end, Chris Clark, chose UCLA over Michigan, and then five-star running back Soso Jamabo announced his commitment to UCLA over Texas in a very, uh, interesting fashion.
Oh, and in case you’ve ever wanted to know the status of Snoop Dogg‘s underwear drawer, National Signing Day offered the update of a lifetime. Snoop’s son Cordell Broadus, a wide receiver out of Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School, announced for UCLA, at which time the elder Broadus – a longtime USC fan – announced he was all Bruin. Even in his underwear.
– I have no idea what’s going on here. Just wanted to reiterate that I have no idea what’s going on here. Not one.
– The precision you’d expect from an engineering school. Georgia Tech signed the 39th-rated class in the nation with 27 recruits. Certainly nothing remarkable there. Except, every last one of them was rated three stars. Seriously, 27 three-stars and nothing else.
– Central Michigan signs 18… with no head coach. Anyone remember the last time National Singing Day came and went and an FBS program didn’t have a head coach. That was the situation in Mount Pleasant, Mich., today, as the Chippewas are still in search of Dan Enos‘ replacement. CMU still somehow signed 18 players, which has to be considered a major credit to the remaining coaches. In fact, the Chips even managed to best Kent State, Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Massachusetts in the Rivals rankings.