National Signing Day: Breaking down the team rankings
The majority of the action in the Early Signing Period took place on Wednesday and there were plenty of important commitments and signings. With day one in the rearview mirror, here's a look at where things stand with the Rivals.com team rankings.
Alabama tightens grip on the top spot
The Crimson Tide extended their lead on the field in the team rankings during the first day of the Early Signing Period. Going into the Early Signing Period, Alabama already had the No. 1 recruiting class with commitments from five-stars JC Latham, Tommy Brockermeyer and Dallas Turner. Ohio State, the No. 2 team in the rankings, is the only other team with three five-star commitments but the Buckeyes aren’t expected to bring in any other prospects in the Early Signing Period.
Alabama got two new additions on Wednesday, and both were former LSU commitments. The headliner was top 60 prospect JoJo Earle. The No. 8 receiver in the Rivals250 had been committed to LSU since late April. Earle had been wavering within the last couple weeks, and Texas A&M was rumored to have momentum. Alabama also flipped three-star defensive end Keanu Koht away from LSU. The Crimson Tide now hold a commanding, almost insurmountable lead in the team rankings.
LSU’s up-and-down day
Tiger fans had to deal with a lot of excitement, both good and bad, on Wednesday. The biggest news for LSU was their addition of No. 1 overall prospect Maason Smith. Ed Orgeron and his staff could not miss on Smith, and they made sure he didn’t leave the state despite a major push from Georgia. The Tigers also added Rivals100 running back and former Auburn commit Armoni Goodwin. Former Tennessee defensive back commit Damarius McGhee, a four-star prospect, also jumped onboard with the Tigers. LSU flipped four-star Mississippi State receiver commit Malik Nabers on Wednesday, adding more depth to this talented receiving corps. Orgeron and his staff also added another talented linebacker in JUCO three-star Navonteque Strong, a former Mississippi State commit.
LSU got off to a little bit of a rough start by losing three-star defensive end commit Keanu Koht to Alabama. Top 60 wide receiver JoJo Earle also jumped ship and landed with Alabama. The Tigers losing their top receiver commit to the Crimson Tide certainly stings, but they still have the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation after starting the day at No. 6.
Georgia joins two other SEC teams in top four
Georgia is no stranger to the top of the team rankings and the Bulldogs pushed up the rankings on Wednesday by adding a coveted prospect. After signing Rivals100 linebacker Xavian Sorey the Dawgs jumped Oregon and were briefly in the No. 3 spot of the team rankings. Oregon didn’t lose any recruits at the beginning of the Early Signing Period, but the margin between the Georgia and Oregon recruiting classes was so small that it only took one big commitment for the two teams to switch spots.
Sorey is now Georgia’s third-highest ranked commitment, just ahead of offensive lineman Micah Morris. There is still a pretty big gap between Georgia at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 2 in the team rankings. It looks pretty unlikely that the Dawgs challenge the Buckeyes for a spot in the top two of the team rankings.
Clay Helton and his Trojans jumped into the top 10 on Wednesday by landing two really important commitments. The biggest of the two came in the form of Rivals250 quarterback Jaxson Dart. The Utah prospect had an incredible season and quickly became one of the most coveted signal callers in this class. The Trojans were looking to add another quarterback to this class and they identified Dart as a priority target and worked hard to sign him. The Trojans also reeled in Texas receiver prospect Joseph Manjack.
USC is hoping these aren’t the last two players it signs in this class. Five-star defensive end Korey Foreman is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent this week, but he won’t make his decision public until Jan. 2. The Trojans would be solidly inside the top 10 and be very close to the top five of the team rankings if they were to add Foreman to this class.
More big movers
There were plenty of teams that made moves up and down the rankings Wednesday, but here are a few notable moves up the rankings.
The biggest moves up in the top 30 were made by Michigan State and Maryland. The Spartans saw a move up four spots due to the commitment of Rivals250 linebacker and former USC commit Ma’a Gaoteote. Maryland also moved up four spots because it flipped Rivals100 linebacker Branden Jennings from Michigan.
Oklahoma State and Florida State both added a pair of recruits to move their classes inside the top 40. Washington State picked up four more commitments, including four-star JUCO receiver C.J. Moore, to get inside the top 50. UCLA salvaged a disastrous recruiting class by flipping four-star Quintin Somerville from Michigan, picking up a commitment from three-star Joshua Moore and pulling off the rare recommitment of Rivals250 defensive back Devin Kirkwood. TCU added four recruits, including four-stars Ahmonte Watkins and JUCO receiver Quincy Brown, along with former Minnesota and Purdue commit Sam Jackson, to keep its class ranked inside the top 60.