National Signing Day: Biggest surprises
National Signing Day usually provides its fair share of twists and turns. We know to expect the unexpected.
In 2020, however, there was another level to the surprises that went down during the Early Signing Day. Here were the five biggest:
Alabama flips Earle from rival
For weeks leading into the early signing window, all eyes were on California’s Xavier Worthy to flip his commitment from Michigan to the Crimson Tide. Instead, Alabama was manufacturing an even bigger flip behind the scenes.
After telling Rivals he was signing in February, Rivals100 wide receiver JoJo Earle wound up inking his letter of intent on Wednesday after all. Instead of signing with LSU, however, he signed with Alabama. Earle pledged to the Tigers back in April, but now will follow former Aledo (Texas) High alum Jase McClellan to T-Town.
Last December, McClellan -- a Rivals100 product -- flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to Alabama on National Signing Day. McClellan has been productive in mop-up duty for the Tide, averaging over 10 yards per carry in four games.
Earle's flip was the second of two LSU-to-Bama moves on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the Tide snatched three-star Florida defensive end Keanu Koht away from their SEC West rivals as well.
FULL STORY: Earle flips to Bama
MJ Daniels embraces Flipmas
Multiple SEC teams were after three-star Lucedale (Miss.) George County cornerback MJ Daniels, who committed to the in-state Bulldogs back in September. Many felt Texas A&M was the biggest threat to flip the nation’s No. 38 cornerback. Instead, it was the other team in-state.
Lane Kiffin has been sporting his “Flipmas” shirt on social media and it was fitting for Wednesday’s reveal that Daniels -- previously committed to Mississippi State -- was signing with Ole Miss. The Rebels enjoyed a productive Early Signing Period, signing not only Daniels, but Hudson Wolfe (former Tennessee commitment) and Brandon Buckhaulter (former Mississippi State commitment) as well.
CB Warren goes Primetime
The world is anxiously awaiting to see what Deion Sanders does as the head man in charge of Jackson State. He’s already brought in both of his sons -- former South Carolina defensive back Shilo Sanders and Shedeur Sanders, a three-star senior recruit who just inked his letter of intent with the Tigers.
It didn’t take long for Prime Time to live up to his reputation either.
Georgia was preparing to sign four-star JUCO cornerback De’Jahn Warren before Jackson State got in the way. Sanders’ Tigers and Penn State were both after the Maryland native and Warren -- who was looking to find his way to the field early -- made history in becoming the university’s highest-rated recruit.
FULL STORY: Deion flips an UGA commit
Somerville turns down Blue, heads West
All signs pointed to four-star Arizona defensive end Quintin Somerville to ink with the Wolverines on Wednesday. After all, Somerville had been locked in with Michigan since June and has taken self-guided tours through the campus as he prepared to enroll next month.
Instead, UCLA landed Somerville’s signature. The Bruins made a feverish push down the stretch and usurped the Wolverines in the hours leading up to the reveal.
FULL STORY: Somerville flips to UCLA
Locksley gives Terps another signing day spark
Mike Locksley is developing a reputation for National Signing Day surprises. He lived up to that billing again on Wednesday when four-star Florida linebacker Branden Jennings flipped from Michigan to Maryland and signed with the Terrapins.
Jennings follows in the same footsteps as five-star Rakim Jarrett, who flipped from LSU to Maryland this time a year ago. Jarrett is averaging just over 50 receiving yards per game and scored two touchdowns as a true freshman. Jennings is a Rivals100 prospect and the No. 5 inside linebacker in the country and, of course, the highest-rated signee so far in Maryland’s 2021 class.
FULL STORY: Jennings flips to Maryland