All-Decade: Ten biggest flips
There have been so many flips during the last decade in recruiting but some mean more than others. Here is a look at the 10 biggest flips of the last 10 recruiting cycles:
Cam Akers - Alabama to Florida State
After a seven-month commitment to Alabama through his junior season, Akers backed off his pledge to the Crimson Tide in March before his senior year and said during that time that Alabama would still be considered. A dual-threat quarterback in high school, many believed Ole Miss and Mississippi State emerged as frontrunners. Tennessee and Ohio State emerged as favorites through his senior year, but Akers had also taken a couple trips to Florida State and in late December the five-star picked the Seminoles.
Saquon Barkley - Rutgers to Penn State
One wonders what would have become of Barkley if he stuck with his Rutgers commitment and how dominant he might have been - or not have been - in the Scarlet Knights’ offense. At that time, new Penn State coach James Franklin was not going to find out. After Barkley committed to Rutgers, he had limited contact with then-coach Bill O’Brien, but when Franklin got the job, according to reports, he was not going to take ‘no’ for an answer. He pushed the idea of playing in Barkley’s home state, about the Penn State education, about doing something special with the Nittany Lions. After a junior day visit, Barkley was sold and flipped to Penn State.
Dalvin Cook - Clemson to Florida to Florida State
Early in his recruitment, Cook committed to Clemson. That could have been the end of the story, but it was far from over as the five-star running back visited Florida for its spring game and decided to flip to the Gators. That wasn’t the end of the story, either. As the Gators plodded through the 2013 season, Florida State and Miami became real contenders in Cook’s recruitment and during the Under Armour game week, the Miami Central standout made his final decision that he would flip again - this time from Florida to Florida State.
Justin Fields - Penn State to Georgia
When Fields committed to Penn State, he had an excellent relationship with then-offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. But there were numerous reports that Moorhead’s name was being floated for head coaching jobs, which means he would be out of Happy Valley and so Fields backed off his pledge.
That also happened because elite programs in the Southeast and around the country got more involved in his recruitment. As things carried on, Georgia emerged as the top contender with Florida State, Auburn, Alabama and LSU under consideration. He has since transferred to Ohio State -- where the Buckeyes host Penn State this weekend.
Reuben Foster - Alabama to Auburn to Alabama
Foster was involved in one of the zaniest recruiting flips of all-time and it included an Auburn tattoo that really looked unfortunate after his final decision.
The five-star linebacker originally committed to Alabama in the summer before his junior season. But then Foster transferred to Auburn High and later flipped to the Tigers. He got a forearm tattoo of the Auburn logo which looked like things had finally be settled.
However, in December of his senior year he backed off the Auburn pledge and the word is when he was taking his visit back to Auburn he decided to head over to Tuscaloosa as well. At that point, Alabama seemed to become the favorite again. Foster told reporters he made the decision to pick the Crimson Tide on the way to his announcement because he was so confused between the two SEC powers.
Derrick Henry - Georgia to Alabama
The five-star running back committed to Georgia while on campus with a bunch of friends for a workout and he has since said that he almost immediately regretted his decision and felt peer pressure in making the pledge. After backing off his commitment to the Bulldogs, Henry picked Alabama following a visit to Tuscaloosa. He picked the Crimson Tide in the fall of his senior year.
Cyrus Kouandijo - Auburn to Alabama
The Auburn-Alabama rivalry is on the field but also in recruiting and this was a brutal loss for the Tigers.Rated as the top offensive tackle and No. 4 overall recruit in the 2011 class, Kouandjio announced for Auburn on national television. But he never sent in his letter of intent to the school and days later decided that he was going to flip to Alabama, where his brother Arie played. The five-star later told Bleacher Report that as soon as he announced for Auburn, he thought might have made the wrong choice.
Jalen Ramsey - USC to Florida State
Rated as the third-best cornerback in the 2013 class, Ramsey had been committed to USC for months, stayed with commit Chris Hawkins for some time in the Los Angeles area and could have played from Day 1 with the Trojans, but late in the recruiting process he flipped to Florida State after a visit to Tallahassee. As his recruitment continued, the Seminoles definitely emerged as a frontrunner along with Florida and it was not a shock at all that the five-star cornerback backed off his USC commitment.
Jonathan Taylor - Rutgers to Wisconsin
In May of his junior year, Taylor committed to Rutgers but things really ramped up early in his senior year when he took an official visit to Wisconsin. Shortly after that trip to Madison, Taylor backed off his pledge to the Scarlet Knights and a few weeks later picked the Badgers. The four-star running back was considering a trip to Washington State, but Wisconsin won out.
Shaq Thompson - Cal to Washington
The top-rated safety and No. 4 overall prospect in the 2012 recruiting class, Thompson had been committed to Cal but flipped to Washington when assistant coach Tosh Lupoi left Berkeley. Another factor was Justin Wilcox was coing to WAshington as defensive coordinator. Thompson’s brother played in Berkeley and Shaq could have been the local hero since he starred at safety and running back at Sacramento (Calif.) Grant, but in the end Washington won out. At one time, Thompson, Arik Armstead (Oregon) and Ellis McCarthy (UCLA) were all committed to Cal.