The Farrell Awards: Handing out hardware from NSD 2018
The Farrell Awards are always popular - or unpopular - depending on which team and prospects you like. But love them or hate them, they are a must following National Signing Day.
So wearing my best tux, here is the hardware from the biggest day of the year: the Oscars of recruiting.
Note: This article includes only players that made their decisions on Signing Day.
Nick Petit-Frere is the best offensive tackle in the 2018 class when it comes to upside and I don’t think it’s very close. So the Buckeyes are getting an elite, potential first-rounder. When Ohio State lost Jackson Carman many in Columbus were disappointed, but this kid is going to be better, likely much better. Mark my words.
LSU losing Patrick Surtain hurt badly, as the Tigers led for quite some time for his services, but they lost another recruiting battle against Alabama. Rumors regarding defensive backs coach Corey Raymond interviewing for other jobs could have been the key to the loss.
Gators fans may not think there was any drama involved, but wide receiver Jacob Copeland was linked to Tennessee, Florida and then Alabama during NSD. Upon his announcement, his mother got up and left the table, seemingly upset with his choice of the Gators. Did Mom want Tennessee, as some have suspected? We may or may not find out in the end, but this was a dramatic decision.
BIGGEST IN-STATE GRAB
USC needed cornerback Olaijah Griffin and needed him badly. So landing him was crucial. Most of the five-stars on the day decided to head out of state, but USC kept Griffin home, and it will pay dividends.
BIGGEST IN-STATE LOSS
This hurts Alabama. Yes, Alabama is loaded with young guys at wide receiver, but the the Tide don’t have anyone with the size or build of Justyn Ross, and they rarely lose the top prospect in state. The last time they lost the No. 1 player in Alabama a kid named Jameis Wisnton went to Florida State and did pretty well.
BIGGEST KEEPER - LITERALLY
While four-star DT Keondre Coburn was already committed to Texas, he failed to sign during the early period, which raised plenty of doubts with Longhorn fans. However, the staff worked overtime to ensure that he actually did put pen to paper, which is exactly what he did Wednesday morning.
BIGGEST KEEPER - LITERALLY, PART 2
Four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera didn’t sign early with Miami, flirted with Florida and was rumored to be 50/50 between the two schools as recently as a week ago. So for the Hurricanes to keep him in the mix at a position of need is massive – literally.
Kentucky missed a few big ones during this recruiting cycle, but adding four-star Chris Oats on Wednesday morning was an important grab for the program. Ohio State was in the picture until a few days ago, when he canceled his official visit there. That paved the way for the Wildcats to get his pledge.
ANNUAL SABAN STEAL
After losing Bobby Brown to Texas A&M, it didn’t take very long for Alabama to regroup and grab five-star Patrick Surtain. The five-star was long thought to be a heavy LSU lean, so adding Surtain - while once again hurting the Tigers - is yet another major recruiting victory for Nick Saban.
ANNUAL URBAN STEAL
I added this category this year because Urban Meyer is right up there with Nick Saban as the elite recruiter in college football, and he didn’t disappoint. Offensive tackle Nick Petit-Frere wasn’t mentioned much with Ohio State until he took that last official visit, and a few days later he inks with the Buckeyes. Impressive.
Tommy Bush, a wide receiver from Texas, used his little niece to announce his decision when he revealed she was wearing a Georgia Bulldogs shirt. She then cried, clearly not digging being used as a prop. But it was funny and inventive.
Michael Thompson’s commitment video, in which he plays a patient getting what appears to be bad news from a doctor only to be told he has “Oklahoma DNA” was quite humorous. Missouri fans probably didn’t like it, but to me it was one of the best commitment videos I’ve seen. Yes it was goofy, but that’s what I liked about it.
FITS LIKE A GLOVE
Michael Thompson is a kid who does so many things well at defensive tackle that he fits perfectly into the system Oklahoma likes to run up front. He’s nimble, he’s athletic, he’s strong and he has good size. The recent defensive tackle tradition hasn’t been that great, but this kid could be a Tommie Harris or Gerald McCoy-type if he develops correctly.
While he supposedly considered both Miami and Alabama, Tyson Campbell seemed set to be a Georgia Bulldog for months. This just further solidifies an already ridiculously deep and talented class for Georgia, and it gives the Bulldogs yet another foothold in the Dade/Broward County area.
Tommy Bush, the Texas wide receiver who spurned some local programs to pick the Georgia Bulldogs, is a guy who will make a quick impact next season. The Dawgs need a fast wide receiver with size and length, and Bush brings all of that to the table.
FLIP FLOP CHAMPION
Previously committed to LSU, Texas and Florida State, four-star wide receiver Justin Watkins finally ended his recruiting process with a commitment to Florida on Wednesday morning. That’s pretty impressive, when it comes to a player who just can’t make up his mind.
Four-star DE Bobby Brown was originally committed to Texas A&M, but with the coaching change there he ended up committing to Alabama. However, his heart always seemed to remain in College Station, so while it wasn’t a huge shock that he changed his pledge back to the Aggies on Wednesday morning, it was still a nice recruiting win for Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M.
FLIP TEAM EFFORT
How about those Bulldogs? Stealing Otis Reese from Michigan and Quay Walker from Alabama just adds to the amazement surrounding how impressive this Georgia class really is. Kirby Smart is marching into elite status with Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney. Flips are much less common now with the Early Signing Period, but don’t tell Georgia that.
COACHING FLIP FLOP
When rumors surfaced that Greg Schiano would be leaving Ohio State for the New England Patriots it looked like the end of the Buckeyes' chances to grab four-star linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste. However, when Schiano announced Wednesday morning that he was in fact staying in Columbus, everything immediately changed. Less than two hours later, Jean-Baptiste signed with the Buckeyes and Ohio State has another athletic outside linebacker to add to its stable.
BOOM OR BUST
Devon Williams has a ton of talent, but does he have the “want to” to be a superstar at the college level? He’s either going to be a superstar for the USC Trojans or he’s going to flop - at least in my opinion.
Four-star TE Tyneil Hopper’s announcement turned some heads when he committed to Boise State this morning. The Broncos weren’t even mentioned as a possibility in recent weeks, so this is a huge recruiting win for the non-Power Five program.
CROSS COUNTRY CATCH
Tre’Shaun Harrison was committed to Oregon out of the state of Washington when Willie Taggart was in charge. However, taking a last weekend visit to Florida State the Rivals250 athlete decided to head as far across the country as possible, it seems, to suit up for the 'Noles.
SOUTHEAST TO MIDWEST
When Scott Frost took the job at Nebraska, many wondered if he would be able to recruit the Florida/Georgia area to Lincoln. Pulling four-star Georgia linebacker Caleb Tannor away from Auburn and Florida proved that he has the potential to be a thorn in the SEC’s side for years to come.
EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES
Usually this goes to a team that loaded up on a certain position, but I’ll give it to the Georgia Bulldogs because they killed the Early Signing Period, and then killed National Signing Day as well. Tyson Campbell, Otis Reese, Quay Walker and Tommy Bush add to the best recruiting class in the nation.
Ohio State and Penn State have already had multiple head-to-head recruiting battles with the Class of 2018, but the last one may have been the closest. Most assumed that Jayson Oweh would go to Penn State and that Tyreke Smith would go to Ohio State, but with Rasheed Walker both sides felt confident leading up to Wednesday. So with Penn State grabbing Walker, it gives the Nittany Lions an important recruiting win. Plus it solidifies a position of need.
You don’t often see Nebraska and Arizona State battling it out for a prospect, but for offensive lineman Jarrett Bell it came down to those two schools, with the Sun Devils pulling out the win. But Nebraska beat the Sun Devils as well pulling running back Maurice Washington away from them in a heated battle.
BEST TRANSITION CLASS
It helps when your father is Warren G, but then when Snoop Dogg and Willie McGinnest are also in attendance, it quickly becomes a USC signing party. Aside from the star power, five-star defensive back Olaijah Griffin brings plenty more to the table, which should give him the opportunity to become an early contributor for the Trojans in 2018.
GET OFF MY GRASS
Very uncool of linebacker Quay Walker to put on a Tennessee hat before throwing it away in what seemed like disgust while donning his Georgia gear. Show some respect for the coaches at Tennessee that spent so much time and effort recruiting you, young man. They spent hours away from their families to spend time with you and your family, and I assume did nothing to disrespect you, so don’t disrespect them. That’s my annual lecture.
Chauncey Manac, who was a 2016 four-star, had a short stay in Georgia before finding his way to Garden City C.C. in 2017. Wednesday morning he signed with Louisiana, hoping to get another opportunity at collegiate success. It’s always interesting to see how these former big-time recruits will survive outside of the spotlight.