National Signing Day: Ranking the flips
The number of players who signed their letters-of-intent on Wednesday was down because of the implementation of the December Early Signing Period. But that didn't mean there wasn't still plenty of drama. We break down some of the notable prospects who flipped their commitments and ultimately signed with new schools.
1. George Pickens: Auburn to Georgia
The day’s biggest shocker came in the morning when Pickens flipped from the Tigers to the Bulldogs, a move that wasn’t expected by pretty much anyone in the recruiting world. The five-star wide receiver had been committed to the Tigers since the summer of 2017 and even after he took other official visits this month, most thought he would stay in-state and sign with Auburn. Instead, he’s yet another elite wide receiver leaving the state, following in the footsteps of 2018 five-star Justyn Ross, who spurned Auburn and Alabama to sign with Clemson. Georgia fans hope that Pickens can have a similar impact when he arrives in Athens.
2. Khris Bogle: Alabama to Florida
Bogle committed to the Tide at the All-American Game in San Antonio but from the very moment he put on the Alabama hat, rumors persisted that he might end up elsewhere. Of course, most assumed that it would be Miami, as the Hurricanes held the lead for long stretches of his recruitment. But on Wednesday morning it was Florida that ended up pulling the steal from the Tide, a major recruiting victory for Dan Mullen and company. The Gators haven’t been much of a force in South Florida over Mullen’s short tenure, but Wednesday could be the start of a renewed push into the area.
3. Doug Nester: Ohio State to Virginia Tech
Nester had been committed to Ohio State for months and there was some hope among Buckeyes fans this week that he would quietly send in his letter-of-intent to the school on Wednesday morning. As it turned out, he did quietly send in his letter, but it went to Virginia Tech instead. The addition by the Hokies was a big one, especially considering the recent rash of transfers from the program. Adding a Rivals250 player such as Nester is big enough, but stealing him from an elite program makes it that much sweeter.
4. Adonis Otey: Arkansas to USC
Arkansas surprised many when it landed Otey’s commitment in August, especially considering his long offer list. After representing for the Hawgs for most of the fall, including helping recruit his teammate, four-star wide receiver Trey Knox, Otey seemed bound for Fayetteville. However, after deciding against signing early, Otey received a flood of interest, including from USC. In the end, the lure of Los Angeles and playing for the Trojans was too much for Otey to pass up and he made his flip official on Wednesday.
5. Christian Williams: Alabama to Miami
When Williams didn’t sign early the writing was on the wall for a parting of ways between Williams and Alabama, and when the Tide landed Marcus Banks at the All-American Game in January it pretty much made things official. Nevertheless, Miami gets the perception nationally of flipping Williams away from the Tide and in the process lands a four-star prospect at a position of need. Williams was also wanted by Texas A&M and LSU, so Hurricanes fans can celebrate a recruiting win over SEC schools no matter which way it shook out.
6. Ledarrius Cox: Tennessee to Ole Miss
This one didn’t come as much of a surprise to Vols fans as Cox had been openly looking at other programs for quite a while. The bigger surprise is that he signed with Ole Miss and not Auburn. The Tigers seemed like the frontrunner, but a late official visit to Oxford helped swing the Rebels' fortunes. Cox landing in the SEC could come back to haunt both the Vols and the Tigers, who could have used a run-stuffer for depth along their respective defensive lines.
7. Velton Gardner: Texas Tech to Kansas
Gardner’s recruitment was full of twists and turns as he initially committed to Kansas State before flipping to Texas Tech. Once in the fold with the Red Raiders, Gardner seemed set to stick with the school regardless of the loss of Kliff Kingsbury. However, once wide receivers coach Emmett Jones left Tech for Kansas, Gardner was set to go with him. It’s not a surprise that he didn’t end up in Tech’s class, but still reason for Kansas to celebrate as he’s above the typical talent the school is used to landing.