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National Signing Day: Grading the new Power Five coaches

National Signing Day on Wednesday put an exclamation point on the 2020 recruiting class. New head coaches always scramble to put together quality recruiting classes once they’re hired, but some are able to hit the ground running faster than others. Here are the grades the new Power Five head coaches earned for their first recruiting classes.

MORE FROM NATIONAL SIGNING DAY: THE FARRELL AWARDS | MIND OF MIKE | WINNERS AND LOSERS | GEORGIA WINS THIRD STRAIGHT NATIONAL RECRUITING TITLE | TEAM RANKINGS

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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ARKANSAS

Sam Pittman
Sam Pittman (AP Images)

New head coach: Sam Pittman

Previous coach: Chad Morris

Final team ranking: 41

Pittman is an ace recruiter and that was very clear after looking at what he was able to do to close out the 2020 recruiting class. Since being named the next head coach at Arkansas on Dec. 8, Pittman signed 17 prospects, two of which were four-stars. Of those 17 players, 10 came after the Early Signing Period in December. That doesn’t include the multiple transfers Arkansas has picked up in that time, including quarterback Feleipe Franks.

Grade: A

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BAYLOR 

New head coach: Dave Aranda

Previous coach: Matt Rhule

Final team ranking: 60

Rhule did an incredible job at Baylor, so Aranda has some big shoes to fill. He was officially hired on Jan. 16, so he didn’t have much time to put a staff together and recruit many highly rated prospects. Baylor had signed 12 prospects in the Early Signing Period and it added five more this week. Aranda’s big recruiting win in the less than three weeks on the job was flipping offensive lineman Micah Mazzccua away from Michigan.

Grade: C

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BOSTON COLLEGE 

New head coach: Jeff Hafley

Previous coach: Steve Addazio

Final team ranking: 63

Even though Hafley was announced as Boston College’s new head coach on Dec. 13, he didn’t fully assume his duties until Ohio State’s season was finished on Dec. 28. Boston College was still able to get nine signatures in the Early Signing Period before adding six more to close out the class this week. Three of those six were January commitments, the most important of whom was defensive back Kameron Arnold out of Michigan. Hafley’s first recruiting class at Boston College is small, but he did a good job of keeping their two most important recruits, Rivals100 offensive lineman Kevin Pyne and four-star offensive lineman Ozzy Trapilo.

Grade: B

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FLORIDA STATE 

Mike Norvell
Mike Norvell (AP Images)

New head coach: Mike Norvell

Previous coach: Willie Taggart

Final team ranking: 19

After getting named Florida State’s next head coach on Dec. 8, Norvell didn’t waste time pulling in new commitments. He added six new players to this recruiting class in the Early Signing Period, including two quarterbacks and Rivals250 receiver Bryan Robinson, a former Miami commit. Norvell and his staff also held on to commitments from highly rated players Demorie Tate, Stephen Dix, Jadarius Green-McKnight, Ja’khi Douglas, Manny Rogers and Lawrence Toafili. Florida State added eight more this week to bring the class to a full 25 players. The 'Noles did lose elite receiver Malachi Wideman to Tennessee, but the writing was on the wall for a while with his commitment.

Norvell and his coaching staff did a very good job keeping the majority of this class together while adding important pieces down the stretch, and they still ended up signing a top 20 class.

Grade: A

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MISSISSIPPI STATE 

New head coach: Mike Leach

Previous coach: Joe Moorhead

Final team ranking: 26


Moorhead and his staff signed 20 prospects in the Early Signing Period, but he was fired in early January. Leach was hired as his replacement on Jan. 9 and only added three more prospects to this class. Leach isn’t known as a prolific recruiter, but he did bring in Stanford quarterback transfer K.J. Costello.

Grade: C


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MISSOURI 

New head coach: Eli Drinkwitz

Previous coach: Barry Odom

Final team ranking: 57

After agreeing to be the next coach at Missouri in early December, Drinkwitz and his staff signed 10 players in the Early Signing Period. Since then, Mizzou added just six more players to this recruiting class. Defensive tackle Montra Edwards II and wide receiver Kris Draine joined the Missouri recruiting class in January and they are two of the highest-ranked players in the entire class. Drinkwitz’s big recruiting win came in the form of three-star defensive back Ennis Rakestraw. The Texas native chose Missouri over Texas and Alabama. Those players join standouts such as receiver Javian Hester and quarterback Brady Cook as some of the top-rated players in this class.

Grade: B

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OLE MISS 

New head coach: Lane Kiffin

Previous coach: Matt Luke

Final team ranking: 46

Kiffin coached FAU in its bowl game on Dec. 7 and was introduced as the new coach at Ole Miss a couple days later. He guided the Rebels to 12 signings in the Early Signing Period and added four more this week. Kiffin’s recruiting prowess was in full view in January as he reeled in Rivals250 prospects Henry Parrish and Demon Clowney. Parrish had been committed to Pittsburgh for a long time and the same was true of Clowney and LSU. Kiffin also has the Rebels in position to possibly sign No. 1 running back Zachary Evans.

Grade: B

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RUTGERS 

Greg Schiano
Greg Schiano (AP Images)

New head coach: Greg Schiano

Previous coach: Chris Ash

Final team ranking: 68

Beginning his second stint as the head coach at Rutgers, Schiano has done a lot in the two months he’s been at the helm. On the recruiting trail, Schiano signed 15 players in the Early Signing Period, adding 10 of them since he was officially hired at the beginning of December. The Scarlet Knights didn’t sign any additional high school prospects this week, but over the past month and a half they have added more than five transfers that should pay immediate dividends. Rutgers has also landed commitments from several highly sought-after walk-on prospects.

Grade: B

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WASHINGTON 

New head coach: Jimmy Lake

Previous coach: Chris Petersen

Final team ranking: 18

It was a pretty seamless transition at Washington. Lake was a very prominent figure within the program and him taking over for Petersen was a natural fit. The announcement that Petersen was stepping down came on Dec. 2, and Lake was immediately elevated to the top job. The Huskies didn’t experience any turnover in their recruiting class after the announcement. Washington’s 2020 recruiting class was finished up in the Early Signing Period, so the Huskies didn’t add any new players this week. They signed all 22 members of their recruiting class in the December signing period and haven't taken any additional commitments since then.

Grade: B

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WASHINGTON STATE 

New head coach: Nick Rolovich

Previous coach: Mike Leach

Final team ranking: 56

After Mike Leach took the job at Mississippi State, Washington State hired Rolovich away from Hawaii. The move was announced on Jan. 13. Before Leach left, he signed 18 players, including quarterback Jayden De Laura, the highest-rated player in the class. Rolovich had about three-and-a-half weeks to put together a staff and put the finishing touches on this recruiting class. He added six more players this week, highlighted by three-star defensive backs Chau Smith and Alphonse Oywak, along with three-star receiver Mike Pettway.

Grade: B

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