College Football Extra: Biggest Winners of National Signing Day
The first official BabesDigBalls.com collegiate football post of 2013 is here, and what better way to commemorate than breaking down the first major college football event of the year – National Signing Day! National Signing Day is always a little bit crazy, and yesterday was no different, with a couple of unexpected programs making big splashes in the college football pool. Here’s who I think came out as the biggest winners yesterday, along with a National Signing Day anecdote for the ages!
Unquestionably the biggest story of the day was the University of Mississippi, which started NSD off with a bang when the country’s #1 overall recruit, DE Robert Nkemdiche, announced he’d be joining his brother, Denzel, in Oxford. The Rebels continued steamrolling from there, stealing away from Florida and signing a second overall top-five prospect in OT Laremy Tunsil – making them one of only four schools to EVER sign two top-five prospects in the same season. They also signed two other 5-star players, including the top WR prospect in the nation in Laquon Treadwell, and hometown hero S Antonio Conner. This may sound like a pretty great recruiting class for an SEC powerhouse like Alabama or Florida, but let me be clear – this is OLE MISS we’re talking about. Pretty insane for a team who finished a horrendous 2-10 in 2011, and didn’t win ONE single SEC game for nearly two years before prior to last October. Roll who?!
Ok. I had to get my ‘Bama joke in before I went on to talk about yesterday’s next big winner… ‘Bama, obvi. As expected, the three-time National Champion in the last four years had yet another fantastic recruiting year, signing an FBS-high six 5-star players, including the likes of LBs Reuben Foster and Jonathan Allen, RB Derrick Henry, TE OJ Howard, and WR Robert Foster. Basically, they signed massive talent on both sides of the ball, and there is no question that the potential is there to go for an unprecedented third straight National Championship, especially if QB AJ McCarron sticks to his word and comes back to Tuscaloosa for his senior season. Alabama also signed 12 4-star rated players, and sit atop pretty much all site recruiting class rankings.
While the Aggies only made one 5-star sized splash on Wednesday in stealing longtime Washington commit DE Daeshon Hall away from the Huskies, they made a TON of 4- and 3-star splashes. Leveraging their new SEC status, A&M had the FBS’s highest number of signings, receiving letters from 32 players rated 3-stars or above, including several major weapons on offense to bolster Johnny Football’s arsenal. Most notable here is the way that A&M was able to lock-up top recruits out of its home state of Texas, like WR Ricky Seals-Jones and DT Isaiah Golden, keeping them out of the hands of traditional powerhouses University of Texas and University of Oklahoma. Clearly Johnny Football and his new teammates will be having all the fun in the Lone Star this year.
After a tumultuous end to the Jim Tressel era, the Ohio State Buckeyes bounced back by going 12-0 in their first season under Urban Meyer – even knowing they weren’t eligible for a bowl game. Yesterday, the dominance continued as the Buckeyes signed up what is almost unanimously being called a Top 3 recruiting class this year. The Buckeyes signed 5-star S Vonn Bell out of Tennessee, who chose them over his hometown Volunteers, along with 19 4-star rated players, including Ohio-native WR Jalin Marshall and several top-notch defensive players. Look for the Buckeyes to come out and beat up opponents again this season, especially in the Big 10.
While the University of Florida may have lost a few in-state recruits to other schools, it stole it’s share away from others as well. Florida locked down two 5-star players on defense, including top-ranked hometown recruits in CB Vernon Hargreaves III and RB Kelvin Taylor. They also signed up 4-star LB Alex Anzalone out of Pennsylvania, who many thought might stay close to home at Penn State, along with 12 other 4-star recruits. Will Muschamp and the Gators look to be pretty set – especially on defense – and should have several members of their 2013 class contributing immediately, making it one of the top classes this season.
- Auburn – Signed two 5-star recruits, including DT Montravius Adams and DE Carl Lawson, as well as DE Elijah Daniel, a major flip from Ole Miss. Looks like Malzahn is in line to bring Auburn back to grace after a terrible fall last year.
- Michigan – Although a proverbial conference runner-up to rival Ohio State, Michigan’s recruiting class turned out pretty well itself, locking up 5-star RB Derrick Green out of Virginia along with 17 4-star recruits spread out well among various positions on both sides of the ball.
Best NSD Story of the Day: In yesterday’s craziest moment, top RB recruit Alex Collins out of Miami, had his dream of becoming a Razorback ripped right out from under him – literally. (At least for the day.) Collins’ mother, Andrea McDonald, who refused to sign her son’s Letter of Intent addressed to Arkansas, took off with the letter , insisting that Collins sign closer to home at Miami instead, and as of late last night, Collins remained unsigned. Way to steal your son’s NSD Spotlight, mama!
Photo Credit: Instagram – Robert Nkemdiche (@aceboogie_01)