Farrell Awards from 2021 National Signing Day
National Signing Day for 2021 has come and gone, so it’s time to put on our tuxedos as we sit back and enjoy the annual Farrell Awards from the first Wednesday in February.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly | Alabama coach Nick Saban | Ohio State coach Ryan Day | Clemson coach Dabo Swinney | Auburn's Bryan Harsin | Oregon's Mario Cristobal | South Carolina's Shane Beamer | Vanderbilt's Clark Lea | Kentucky's Mark Stoops | Iowa's Kirk Ferentz | Boston College's Jeff Hafley | Mizzou's Eli Drinkwitz | UNC coach Mack Brown | Florida State coach Mike Norvell | Penn State coach James Franklin | USC coach Clay Helton | Arkansas coach Sam Pittman | Georgia coach Kirby Smart | Maryland coach Mike Locksley | Miami coach Manny Diaz
However, after surprisingly getting dropped by the Vols on Tuesday, Taylor rebounded nicely and quickly found his future home at Memphis, which jumped at the opportunity. Here’s hoping for a portal-free career with the Tigers and a great future.
In-State Flip Award
Four-star defensive tackle Rayshaun Benny had committed to Michigan State back in November, but chose not to sign during the early period. Despite the delay, he seemed bound for East Lansing until the last couple of weeks, when Michigan began to make serious strides.
That quickly intensified, which eventually led the Wolverines to be the favorite in the days leading up to National Signing Day despite vehement disagreement from Michigan State fans. Wednesday he made it official by flipping.
In-State Blow Award
Nebraska looked ready to pounce on four-star cornerback Avante Dickerson when he decided not to sign with Minnesota during the Early Signing Period. As expected, a de-commitment from the Gophers followed, but when Oregon swooped in on the Omaha native with a late push, the Huskers were left in second place as Dickerson signed with the Ducks.
In-State Keep Award
If USC wants to regain some of its national recruiting prominence, the Trojans must retain more of the top-level in-state talent. Keeping four-star linebacker Raesjon Davis helps do this. The former LSU commit was a priority for the Trojans from the start, and when he re-opened his process the staff turned up its efforts even more.
It was a nice closing job and helped show people that USC should never be disregarded with California talent, despite a strong push from Ohio State.
Boring and We Like it Award
Clemson recruiting is not boring, but the lack of drama can be, and that’s exactly what the coaches and fans like. The Tigers had already secured a top 10 class and had nothing to do on Wednesday except watch the festivities.
Position Deep Dive Award
Michigan only added three commitments Wednesday, but all three were on the defensive line. Rayshaun Benny flipped from Michigan State, Iwunnuah Ikechukwu flipped from Colorado and George Rooks, who the Wolverines had beat out Penn State for a commitment a few days ago, add plenty of strength, athleticism and depth to the position. Nice job by the coaching staff, especially with the changeover on defense.
Holding On Award
It is no surprise that Kansas has had its fair share of struggles on the field in recent years, but that is why holding on to four-star wide receiver Quaydarius Davis was a fantastic job by the coaching staff. The No. 59 recruit in the nation had offers from many of the top programs in the nation.
Robust Redemption Award
Many fingers were pointed at USC after last year’s recruiting disaster. However, the Trojans rebounded amazingly well this year and that should be acknowledged.
USC signed 15 Rivals250 prospects in this class, compared with only one last year. The Trojans also did extremely well in California, getting 10 of the top 25 players in the Golden State, compared with just one last year. The class of 2021 is more the norm for the Trojans, so now it will be very interesting to see how the class of 2022 trends.
Upward Trend Award
Three-star offensive lineman Austin Uke was committed to Holy Cross when something interesting started to happen. The FBS offers began to pile up, starting with SMU during his senior season. That offer was quickly followed by Penn State, USC, Vanderbilt, Houston, Florida State and Georgia Tech. He eventually reopened his process and committed to Stanford on Wednesday.
Behind Closed Doors Award
Louisiana running back Logan Diggs had a wild ride. He committed to the Irish in the summer, landed an LSU offer he coveted right before the Early Signing Period and then saw the Irish flip running back Audric Estime from Michigan State.
And while many thought he didn’t sign, apparently he did in December but wanted out of his letter of intent. Brian Kelly and his staff did a great job allowing cooler heads to prevail, and Diggs is a huge part of this Notre Dame class.
Two Sports Are Better Than One Award
Florida defensive back Terrion Arnold chose Alabama over Georgia on Wednesday, but he will also walk on the basketball team. It won’t last long, in my opinion, once he realizes his future and millions of dollars are at stake in football, but it speaks to his athleticism.
Two Sports Are Better Than One Award II
Defensive tackle Tywone Malone committed to Ole Miss and will play football and baseball in Oxford. The big lineman is an elite baseball prospect as well, and he will play first base for the Ole Miss baseball team. And yes, I think that lasts for a few seasons.
Two Sports Are Better Than One Award III
Louisiana wide receiver Keon Coleman was committed to Kansas for a long time to play football and also try his hand at basketball, but things didn’t work out. He was rumored to be headed to Tulsa on National Signing Day, but he surprised many when Michigan State was the choice. These are not shabby hoops programs, so obviously this kid can play.
Every year someone delays their decision, and JT Tuimoloau was the biggest name to do so this week. But Louisiana wide receiver Brian Thomas has also left us guessing whether he’ll choose LSU, Alabama or Texas A&M by the weekend.
Gotta Stay Fit Award
Oh, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin missed the Malone announcement on national television because he didn’t remember what time it was at and he was finishing up yoga. You can’t make this stuff up.
Just Not Fair Award
Alabama’s class of 2021 finished the day with 17 players in the Rivals100.