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National Signing Day: The Farrell Awards

Just A Thang Award winner Rocco Spindler
Just A Thang Award winner Rocco Spindler (Rivals.com)

The Early Signing Period is coming to an end and with it comes the Farrell Awards and a little fun from a crazy day on Wednesday.

RELATED: Mind of Mike - reflections on a busy signing day | Winners and losers from National Signing Day | Analyzing the team rankings

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

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

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In-state Keep 

DT Maason Smith was rumored to be tempted to leave the state of Louisiana and play his college ball at Georgia. With the season that LSU has had, the Tigers needed to keep the No. 1 player in the country at home, and did so. This was as important as any commitment on Wednesday.


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In-state Keep, Part 2

Jim Harbaugh needed a win. A big recruiting win, and he got one as he held off Georgia for Michigan running back Donovan Edwards. More on Edwards commitment below.


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Keep Keep 

Xavier Worthy
Xavier Worthy

What the heck is a Keep Keep? It’s a commitment in your class rumored to be headed elsewhere that you keep in the class. It doesn’t have to be in state or anything, you just have to hold on to this guy. Wide receiver Xavier Worthy, a dynamic talent from California, is that guy for Michigan, and Jim Harbaugh and company did a great job keeping him from Alabama.

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Keep Keep, Part 2 

Cornerback Omarion Cooper stressed out Florida State fans for months, and while he seemed very close to flipping to Michigan a few times he signed with the Seminoles. It was an important in-state keep at an important position, and he’s a key to a Florida State class not ranked as high as we are used to seeing.


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Saban Steal 

Initially this was going to be Keanu Koht, but then coach Nick Saban doubled down and also flipped Rivals100 wide receiver JoJo Earle from LSU. This one definitely hurts more, as it came out of the blue. However, while it was surprising, was it really shocking since Saban seems to pull this off every year? It’s not always LSU he steals one or two from, but it sure seems like it.

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Graphically Pleasing   

The battle for top graphics of the day has heated up in recent years, and while several programs improved their product, Florida State took the prize. The use of the classic video game graphics “Backyard Football” definitely made a lasting impression. Oklahoma State also needs to be mentioned for similarly impressive "Tecmo Bowl” style graphics, but FSU stole the day.


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Just a Thang 

After faxing his signed letter of intent to Notre Dame, four-star offensive lineman Rocco Spindler went hunting. Approximately 10 minutes later he shot a 10-point buck, which he discussed on Facebook. Definitely a day that Spindler won’t forget. Just gotta get that pesky signature out of the way and do his thing.

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2020 in a Nutshell 

Donovan Edwards making his decision outside during a blizzard in Michigan because of social distancing is the most 2020 commitment of the day. I’ve never seen someone have to shake snow off a hat to make his choice. Kudos to Edwards and his family and friends for being so Michigan tough in that snow.


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  Biggest Flip  

Rivals 100 linebacker Branden Jennings seemed set to sign with Michigan but pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the day when he flipped to Maryland. Coach Mike Locksley is known as an elite recruiter and this was rumored, but the reality of it is impressive. Michigan also lost four-star DE Quintin Somerville to UCLA.

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Biggest Flip 2

Since I already talked about Keanu Koht and JoJo Earle, let’s go in a different direction here. This one isn’t a four-star, but it’s a big one as three-star CB MJ Daniels flipped from Mississippi State to Ole Miss, and he has a high ceiling. Lane Kiffin versus Mike Leach is interesting.

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  Change of Heart  

First four-star running back Audric Estime was going to sign with Michigan State, where he had been committed for months. Then Notre Dame offered and he decided to delay his decision and signing until February. Then he decided to sign on Friday after all, and by the time you read this he could be in the Fighting Irish class.

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Neon Time   

Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders (AP Images)

Deion Sanders landed not one but two four-stars at Jackson State in this Early Signing Period. Not only did he steal away cornerback De’Jahn Warren from Georgia but he also ended up with OL Javonte Gardner, who originally wanted to sign with Florida. While academics played a part in Gardner’s deal, it’s clear that the new head coach at Jackson State and his Hall of Fame resume will lure quality talent.

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Secret Spilled?  

Did we see Korey Foreman’s decision on NBC well before the Jan. 2 announcement date? Multiple pictures leaked on social media of the nation’s No. 3 player surrounded by folks wearing USC gear and holding USC hats in what appeared to be an event at his school. Time will tell if we got a hint as to his destination.

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Drama Ensuing   

Offensive tackle Tristan Leigh was expected to sign this week and announce on the NBC telecast on Jan. 2, but he said he’s now planning to sign in February. What does that mean? It means the one-time Sooners lean has more time to think about LSU, and especially Florida, before he makes up his mind. The Gators visit especially confused things, it appears.

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No Fear  

Jaxson Dart
Jaxson Dart (Ryan Young/TrojanSports.com)

Four-star quarterback Jaxson Dart doesn’t care about other quarterbacks in the class he picks. He committed to USC despite fellow four-star Miller Moss already in the class. And rumor has it he would have still chosen USC even if another four-star, Jake Garcia, was in the class. With a name like Dart as a quarterback, he has to be a star, right?


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Surefire Flip?  

Four-star cornerback Avantae Dickerson hails from Omaha, Neb., but he has been committed to Minnesota since April. He’s still committed but he decided to wait until February to make his final decision. Somehow this screams of a flip to Nebraska, right?

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As Expected  

You could put so many players in this category, but five-star DE Tunmise Adeleye picking Texas A&M so late in the day on Wednesday seemed to be the result we were all waiting for. Florida and Alabama made a push, but he was thought to be an Aggies lean forever.


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Still Waiting  

Five-star offensive lineman Bryce Foster is still deciding, but it’s not because he’s waiting for the Jan. 2 show or going to wait until February. Foster will announce on Friday, which is smart for a kid who doesn’t like being caught up in all the hubbub of recruiting. (It's also his birthday.) The Texas A&M Aggies have made a strong push here and are now the favorite over Oklahoma.

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Blast from the Past   

Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant (AP Images)

Wide receiver Quay Davis reminds of a guy back in the day named Dez Bryant. Bryant had academic question marks surrounding him and many felt he wouldn’t make it to Oklahoma State. The rest is history. Davis, who has been committed to SMU and seemingly dropped by Texas and USC, has similar talent and is still looking for a home. A school often mentioned? Oklahoma State. Hmmmm.

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Botched Announcement   

You have to feel for future Miami quarterback Jake Garcia. After moving across the country to play his senior season in Georgia after California football shut down, Garcia decommitted from USC but was excited to make his new home at Coral Gables. But his coach let the cat out of the bag before his announcement, and the whole thing turned into a circus as Garcia tried to do another video announcement for Miami, even though people already knew. Sigh.


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Big Time   

It was kind of funny watching LB Xavian Sorey commit to Georgia over Alabama and Florida on ESPN. Why? His announcement for Georgia was expected, but Sorey is such a cool character that he was more focused on signing his papers than answering any questions on live TV. This kid has ice in his veins and looked like a 20-year TV veteran. I’ve seen kids get so nervous before announcements they get sick. For Sorey, he was almost too relaxed. Great get for Georgia as well.

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Best Nickname   

I don’t know why I love it so much, but USC signee Prophet Brown is nicknamed Peanut Butter. Find me a better nickname than that in the 2021 class.