College Football Chapter 13: National Signing Day

A day that some people detest and others love, National Signing Day, is finally over. The final chapter of the college football 2015-2016 season has arrived. Enjoy!

The Cream of the Crop: Alabama Crimson Tide & Florida State Seminoles

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Alabama’s Nick Saban and FSU’s Jimbo Fisher

Alabama signed the top class on 247Sports Composite, Scout, and Rivals (a site that said Alabama signed five 5-star prospects) team rankings. Florida State claimed the top spot in the ESPN recruiting class rankings. I don’t think that there is a big difference in either class and you are free to trust whichever site you believe is the most accurate. I tend to look at the 247Sports Composite and ESPN. I do this for a few reasons, but I think most simply it’s because 247Sports using a composite ranking from the other major outlets so you get a blend of opinions on a prospect. ESPN now has unprecedented access to camps and all-star games and I think their insiders are more well connected due to the amount of time they can be around the prospects.

Best of the Rest: Top 10 (according to me)

  1. Florida State / Alabama
  2. LSU Tigers
  3. Ohio State Buckeyes
  4. Ole Miss Rebels
  5. Michigan Wolverines
  6. Georgia Bulldogs
  7. USC Trojans
  8. Clemson Tigers
  9. Auburn Tigers
  10. UCLA Bruins

Biggest Winners

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Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines won big on National Signing Day.

 

  • Alabama had some fans nervous about finishing lower than normal (normal being the best) and they responded by closing strong. They made a huge push at the end and have plenty to be happy about.
  • Michigan signed the nation’s best prospect, Rashan Gary, and Jim Harbaugh made a big impression with his recruiting antics.
  • Ole Miss signed their best class in school history and Hugh Freeze is turning consecutive New Year’s Six Bowl berths into recruiting success.
  • Texas finished strong (11th on 247) and that’s good news for a program that has struggled in recent years. The Longhorns topped all the other in-state programs and are looking to bounce back after a rough stretch in their program’s history.
  • The schools with the most notable coaching hires did well today. Georgia, USC, and Miami all finished in the top 20 (247).
  • Houston finished 40th on 247Sports and that was the highest of any non-Power Five conference program. UAB finished 63rd despite not taking the field until the 2017-2018 season.

Biggest Losers:

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  • Michigan State finished behind Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. They also lost 148 – 0 to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. No momentum.
  • Texas A&M finished behind Texas and had the 18th overall class. The Aggies had finished no lower than 11th in the previous four years.
  • Maryland looked poised to have a big class but lost out on a few guys down the stretch. The Under Armour gear is great and the program has the ability to improve, but the 42nd overall class is not what they wanted.
  • Kansas Jayhawks football coaches, fans, boosters, etc.

Best Recruiting Units: Offense

* All player ratings are from 247Sports Composite.

Quarterback: Ole Miss (5-star, Shea Patterson) and Georgia (5-star, Jacob Eason) take this position by securing the consensus best dual-threat and pro-style QB’s. These two players received the highest grades of any QB prospect since 2009.

Running Back: Penn State (5-star, Miles Sanders) has the only 5-star RB and I’ll give them the nod at a very crowded position.

Wide Receiver: Lots of good classes and I don’t want to type out every name. The best are USC (4-stars, Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman) and Auburn (4-stars, Nate Crag-Myers and Kyle Davis). These schools each secured two of the top 10 wide receiver prospects. Auburn also added Eli Stove, the #20 overall wide receiver. I also really liked Ole Miss (#5 and #18 overall), Baylor (#4 and #14), and Ohio State (#10 and #12). The top wide receiver, Demetris Robertson did not commit on NSD.

Tight End: Georgia signed the #1 tight end (5-star, Isaac  Nauta). Ole Miss signed three of the top tight ends (#6, #12, and #13 overall). Ohio State signed three of their own  (#4, #7, and #11 overall).

Offensive Tackle: Ole Miss signed the best left tackle prospect, Greg Little, and the #23 and #33 overall tackles. Alabama (#2 and #18 overall), Notre Dame (#3 and #7), and Florida State (#4, #15, and #18 overall) enjoyed lots of success in their recruitment of offensive tackles.

Offensive Guard: Penn State signed the #1 overall guard, Michal Menet. However, Alabama (#9 and #10 overall) and Maryland (#3 and #14 overall) lead the way at this position. Ohio State (#8 and #20 overall) followed suit with two talented prospects.

Center: This might be the thinnest position I’ve reviewed so far. Only 37 players are even ranked on 247Sports. The best centers, or in this case the top five, are slated to attend FSU, Kentucky, Penn State, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt.

Best Recruiting Units: Defense

Defensive Tackle: Michigan signed Rashan Gary so I’ve got to put them atop these rankings. He’s the consensus #1 player in the country. Alabama (#11, #12, and #16 overall) might have the most, but Auburn (#4 and #7 overall) edge them out. LSU (#5 and #8 overall) chipped in as well.

Defensive End: A very deep position and I am not going to try and crack the code. Ohio State has the #1 strong-side defensive end and the #3 weak-side defensive end. They get the nod. The differences in the position groups makes things a little confusing. I also think defensive end is incredibly difficult to predict and scout.

Linebacker (Inside):  Clemson signed the #2 and #3 overall ILB’s and I think that’s enough to warrant a consensus pick. I also like UCLA’s group (#6 and #8 overall). Alabama took Ben Davis (#1 overall) and he could be an impactful player next season.

Linebacker (Outside): UCLA signed the #1 overall OLB, Mique Juarez. Alabama signed the #2 overall OLB (who, like me, is from Montgomery, AL ) Lyndell Wilson. The top unit belongs to Texas, however, because the ‘Horns signed the #4 and #7 overall players.

Cornerback: LSU signed the best CB unit by taking the #2 and #5 overall prospects. FSU got a commitment from the top CB, Levonta Taylor. Alabama signed the #7, #8, and #13 prospects at the position.

Safety: Texas grabbed the #1 overall safety, Brandon Jones. The ‘Horns kept Jones in the state of Texas and added the #26 overall safety. Ole Miss signed the nation’s #2 safety, Deontay Anderson. Anderson announced his commitment by jumping out of a plane. Wow. LSU grabbed the #3 and #13 overall safeties and arguably have the best unit.

Athlete: A confusing position and there are sites that list these guys at various spots. Georgia signed the only 5-star “athlete” and I’d look for Mecole Hardman to find himself on the offensive side of the ball.

Kicker: Michigan Punter: Ohio State JUCO: Tennessee (Jonathan KongboPrep: FSU (Mike Arnold)

Note: Number of #1 overall players at their position signed by each school.

Georgia, Ole Miss, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State: 2

Alabama, USC, UCLA, Texas: 1

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