Signed on the Dotted Line
Best and Worst of National Signing Day
Last week a new crop of talented freshmen sent in their letters of intent to the schools of their choice and started the circle of life all over again in college football.
Recruiting is the blood line of any top college football program and National Signing Day has become not only a holiday for many fans, but a day where programs hold up their newest players for the world to see like Rafiki did with Simba in The Lion King.
You may think I’m taking this a bit too far, but I’m not lying, Alabama (a state short on large rocks in the Tuscaloosa Area) used a billboard to announce when a recruit had sent in his letter and officially joined the Crimson Tide.
Seriously some programs go Disney level big in the productions they put on for National Signing Day and when many fans live and die with each passing moment hoping the best high school players pick their team, why wouldn’t you. Plus, it makes sense with all the pops and flash that has become college football recruiting. However, that’s a different argument for a different day.
The real questions are who won on Signing day, who lost, what surprised us and what didn’t.
Alabama – Starting off with the obvious choice of Alabama, not only did they actually use a billboard to announce when they had received a commitment from a player, they also once again wound up with the nation’s best recruiting class according to many outlets. You have to admit there may not be a more Bama thing to do than this billboard idea. Sure other schools have done this too, but this just seems like a Bama thing to do. That and the fact that Nick Saban once again brings in the most talented class in the country. Led by five star prospects Najee Harris, Alex Leatherwood, and Dylan Moses all of which are inside the top 15 overall prospects in the nation. This last part really belongs in the shocking category and the not surprised category, so we will just put it here. The fact that Saban got a four-star prospect to grey shirt is the most Bama thing of all to anyone else in the SEC.
Georgia – Last year Kirby Smart brought in the eighth best class in the country to start his first year at Georgia. How do you top that heading into year two? By bringing in the nation’s third best class and a class that several outlets have rated as the second best class in the nation this year. Smart has all the talent he needs to win the SEC East in his second year, but getting talent to Athens was never the problem. Smart will still have to prove he can turn talent into wins to avoid the same fate as Mark Richt. However, as of now all things are looking pretty good for Smart and the Bulldogs. The class was highlighted by five stars Richard LeCounte III, Isaiah Wilson and four stars Deangelo Gibbs, D’Marcus Hayes and Andrew Thomas. Smart may have only brought in two five stars according to 24/7’s composite rankings, but several of the 18 four start recruits he signed had at least one five-star ranking.
Southern California – USC was one of the biggest moves over the recruiting process and while the Trojans only landed two five star prospects, they filled a lot of needs with four stars. It will be a young USC team you see take the field in 2017, but they will still be right in the middle of a title race again with the class they brought in.
Miami – The Hurricanes make this list for a few reasons, but the main one is the fact that a program based in Florida failed to land even one five star. For a team based in a state where you can’t get up and walk to the kitchen without tripping over two three stars, that is simply inexcusable. Richt won’t have forever in Miami before he has to legitimately compete for a ACC title. Now, while they have a decent class this year and did land some talented recruits. To not land at least one composite five star is bad for Miami. Especially, when Florida State brings in four five stars that are inside the top 30 players in the country according to 24/7 sports.
South Carolina – Will Muschamp is known for his recruiting skills, that was one of the main reasons he got the Florida job and the South Carolina job. Muschamp did bring in a top 25 recruiting class this year, as the Gamecocks finished 21st in the country according to 24/7 sports. However, Muschamp had a chance at top 20 class and fell short. While he moved to 21st from 25th a year ago and from 10th in the SEC to 8th those aren’t the numbers you would expect him to bring in. Now, it is only his second season at USC so he gets a bit of a pass. However, for this being his first full year of recruiting at South Carolina the nations 21st rated class and 19 three stars is not what you would consider an ideal outcome.
Barry Odom – Its no secret that things haven’t been going great at Mizzou for the last couple years. The matter is made worse with the spot head coach Barry Odom finds himself in. Following a ledged is never easy and that is what Odom has to do at Missouri. Odom is also very early into his tenure as the programs head coach, but after an 4-8 season and going just 2-6 in the SEC people are already talking. Some say it is to early outers say he should have never gotten the job in the first place, but when your class is made up of 25 players and 24 of them are three stars you are not helping yourself any. Now, the class as some talent and that’s why its Odom in this spot and not the team. For a coach in the hard spot he is in not having early success can end you time at that school early. Not bringing in any five stars is one thing, but not bringing in any five or four stars in a 25-person class is a loss Odom did not need this season.