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Early Signing Period: Late additions that flew under the radar

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Quavaris Crouch
Quavaris Crouch (Nick Lucero/

MORE: The 10 biggest stings of the Early Signing Period | Top uncommitted prospects

The college football world is still adjusting to the new Early Signing Period, with the first Wednesday essentially becoming the new National Signing Day. More than 80 percent of the country’s four-star prospects signed on that day, leaving most schools with nearly complete classes. But while most of the focus was on which prospects made it official on Wednesday, several more key pieces sent in their letters on Thursday and Friday, prior to the close of the period. Today, we take a look at the late additions that might have flown under the radar and rank them in terms of their impact.

The one-time No. 1 overall player in the 2019 class, Crouch waited until the window to sign almost closed before announcing his commitment to Tennessee on Friday night. Crouch actually submitted financial aid paperwork to Michigan, Clemson and Tennessee, keeping fans and coaches guessing as to where he was going and when he would announce. But Tennessee’s longtime courtship of Crouch paid off in a major way and now he’s officially in the fold. A two-way player who could fit at running back or outside linebacker with the Vols, Crouch should have the opportunity to make an instant impact.

Farrell’s take: Clemson was supposed to be the favorite for Crouch, so for Tennessee to pull this one out is impressive. Crouch is a terrific athlete and could impact in many ways, but I think his future is on the defensive side of the ball as a big, physical linebacker that could transform the Vols' defense. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a leader on defense and a guy who sets the tone with his physical nature.

Putnam became a very coveted name in recruiting circles during the fall, with several of college football’s heavy hitters vying to land him. His recruitment boiled down to Auburn, Florida State and Clemson, with each team looking like it led at various times during his recruitment. After Clemson was edged out for a few late targets on Wednesday, beating out the Seminoles for Putnam was a major victory.

Farrell’s take: I like Putnam a lot and think he can play early for Clemson. This is another very good pickup for Dabo Swinney and company from Florida and they continue to beat impressive programs head-to-head for top prospects. I project Putnam as an inside lineman on offense who can pull and get out in space and will be very good at the second level. He needs to fill out and add strength but once he does watch out.

Hookfin was set to announce on Wednesday but then his expected time came and went, leaving fans and coaches to guess about what happened. The speculation didn’t last for long, though, as Hookfin gave Longhorns fans good news with his official commitment and signature on Friday morning. The athletic offensive lineman became a late priority for Texas, and the late push helped the Horns land him over Baylor and Minnesota.

Farrell’s take: Hookfin, like Putnam, needs to fill out and add strength but he has a very high ceiling and fills a big positional need for the Longhorns. He’s part of a small but important offensive line class for Texas and he could be the best of the group. He’s a bit raw right now but I could see him starting as an elite left tackle in a couple of years.

Some speculated that Gray set his announcement for Thursday just to see how things would shake out with the schools on his list, but as it turned out, everything went as planned and he committed to Tennessee, as most expected. The Vols were the favorite to land Gray, even when he was committed to Michigan, and his commitment started a great couple of days of buzz for the school.

Farrell’s take: Gray might be overshadowed by Crouch a bit in the Tennessee, class but he’s equally important. He’s the kind of running back who can make a big play from anywhere and can be effective in the passing game as well. A slasher, he can make people miss and has very good vision and I think he can be an early impact guy for the Vols.

An under-the-radar prospect that emerged with several SEC offers after posting some excellent senior film, Legette was a late grab by the Gamecocks after a spot opened up in their class. Most had expected Legette to wait to sign until February and he might have been a popular name among programs looking to add late talent had he waited. South Carolina smartly added him with very little fanfare on Friday, a move that could pay on-field dividends down the road.

Farrell’s take: Legette is a terrific athlete who played quarterback and showed off his ability with the football in high school. He projects as a wide receiver at the next level and has good size and strength. He’ll be more of a possession guy for South Carolina until he adds a bit more speed but I see him as an excellent red zone threat and an important late pickup for the Gamecocks.

Miami finished Wednesday with just 14 commits and ranked in the 40s of the Team Rankings, a position that Hurricanes fans aren’t used to seeing. While adding two-star ElGammal late didn’t really make an impact on that, it did at a player at a position of need. With so few big-name players still on the market, Miami will have to hope that ElGammal is one of several diamonds in the rough the school can unearth over the next month.

Farrell’s take: ElGammal is very thin for his frame right now and has to be considered a bit of a project. However, athletic kids like ElGammal could turn into home run recruits, as they have just started to scratch the surface of their potential. He isn’t a big-name recruit for Miami and could be a reach, but time will tell.

Moore was a pleasant surprise for Washington State fans when he sent in his letter-of-intent on Friday. A long defensive back who played at the JUCO level last season, Moore will be counted on to step in and have an impact early in Pullman. His late add is big, especially considering Washington State defensive back commit Don Chapman elected not to sign early.

Farrell’s take: Moore is very raw as a defensive back but has a lot of potential because of his size. He’s a big kid with length and size and should be ready to impact right away for Washington State. He could end up at safety or be a big corner and I think he’ll be an impact guy before too long.

Howard is about as under the radar as it gets, as he netted a late offer and quickly jumped on a chance to sign with the Bears. Despite playing on a team loaded with prospects, it took all the way until the signing period for him to get a Power Five offer. Baylor is hoping that they found a contributor in the heart of SEC country.

Farrell’s take: Howard plays on a good high school football team and got noticed because of his heavily recruited teammates. Sometimes that can work out well for prospects as they exceed expectations. He has good size and athleticism and it will be interesting to see how he impacts at Baylor in the long run.