football

NSD: Winners and losers

With most letters of intent faxed or emails sent and every major ceremony over and done with, Rivals.com takes a look who closed strong and who stumbled to the finish. Below are five teams that won and five teams that lost on National Signing Day 2015.
Winners
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USCClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
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John Houston
When you use Signing Day to gobble up three five-stars to secure the top class in America, it puts you smack at the top of any list of winners. So here sits USC, this year's recruiting champion. Steve Sarkisian and Co. entered the day with the No. 2 class after landing five-star Porter Gustin on Signing Day Eve. It was the additions of defensive back Iman Marshall, linebacker John Houston and defensive end Rasheem Green that put the Trojans over the top in the team rankings. Keeping a lot of California's top talent home despite not having overwhelming on-field success in recent years is a victory, the significance of which can't be overstated.
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AuburnClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
When the nation's top player decides to announce his choice on Signing Day, the drama builds itself. So while plenty suspected Auburn would be Byron Cowart's pick, there was plenty of reason for Auburn fans to rejoice when things became official. Wednesday marked the first time in the Rivals.com era that Auburn signed the top recruit in America. Cowart's commitment, which took place relatively early in the morning, helped catapult the Tigers to No. 6 in the recruiting rankings. He wasn't the only driving force behind Auburn's big day, though. As expected, the Tigers grabbed four-star safety Carlton Davis, a one-time Ohio State commit. Davis will add impressive length and physicality to an Auburn defense that seems to be stacked for the future. Four-star athlete Darius Slayton, along with four-star prospects Ryan Davis, Javarius Davis and Jeffery Holland, were also important Signing Day additions.
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UCLAClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
UCLA scored commitments from five-star running back Soso Jamabo and four-star tight end Chris Clark before 6:30 a.m. on the West Coast. Around breakfast, the Bruins added Rivals250 offensive lineman Josh Wariboko, who was also considering in-state Oklahoma, to emerge as one of the morning's big winners. UCLA's afternoon was a little slower, but the damage it did in the early hours was enough to solidify its Signing Day legacy. After a somewhat disappointing stretch run a year ago, Jim Mora and staff bounced back by closing with gusto in 2015. The Bruins finished the day with the Pac 12's second-ranked class and the No. 13 haul in America.
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FloridaClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
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Ohio StateClick Florida needed to finish furiously if it hoped to salvage a recruiting class that developed slowly because of a coaching change and poor on-field performance. It may have missed on the nation's No. 1 prospect, but Florida landed a pair of five-star prospects on Signing Day, which is more than most other programs. Five-star offensive lineman Martez Ivey and five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson both picked Florida despite a host of other opportunities and helped the Gators to a top-25 finish that, while unremarkable for such a storied program, was certainly much better than where they were a few weeks ago. Florida also picked up four-star wide receiver Antonio Callaway and a few other important complementary pieces on Wednesday. Here to view this Link.Click Florida needed to finish furiously if it hoped to salvage a recruiting class that developed slowly because of a coaching change and poor on-field performance. It may have missed on the nation's No. 1 prospect, but Florida landed a pair of five-star prospects on Signing Day, which is more than most other programs. Five-star offensive lineman Martez Ivey and five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson both picked Florida despite a host of other opportunities and helped the Gators to a top-25 finish that, while unremarkable for such a storied program, was certainly much better than where they were a few weeks ago. Florida also picked up four-star wide receiver Antonio Callaway and a few other important complementary pieces on Wednesday. Here to view this Link.
Ohio State wrapped up its class early in the afternoon, but not before landing one-time South Carolina commit Damon Arnette, snatching four-star offensive lineman Isaiah Prince out of Maryland and locking up Rivals250 receiver K.J. Hill. The Buckeyes were also able to retain four-star prospects Torrance Gibson and Mike Weber, each of whom flirted with other schools late in the process. The Buckeyes' played a nice blend of recruiting offense and recruiting defense down the stretch to finish with a top-10 class.
Losers
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Ole MissClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
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CeCe Jefferson
Ole Miss had a bad stretch run. The Rebels lost a number of commits they were thought to have a handle on. One-time commit Leo Lewis signed with Mississippi State. CeCe Jefferson, for whom Ole Miss led late in the process, stayed home to play for Florida. Five-Star offensive tackle Drew Richmond signed with Tennessee, not Ole Miss, despite being committed to the Rebs late in the process. And, really, that's just the start of Ole Miss' final-week whiffs. Hugh Freeze and his staff managed to land a top-20 class regardless of a clumsy stretch run. At the same time, though, it's easy to imagine how good the class could have been had the final few days of the cycle played out differently.
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KentuckyClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
Kentucky was smacked around by various broken commitments down the stretch, and the beating left a Signing Day bruise. The Wildcats lost defensive back Jeremiah Dinson and a pair of four-star brothers in Andrew Dowell and David Dowell in the week leading into National Signing Day. By the time Saturday was finished, Kentucky had the second-lowest-ranked recruiting class in the SEC. To make things worse, top target Marcus Lewis, a Rivals100 wide receiver, chose Florida State over the Wildcats, leaving Kentucky with not-so-pleasant memories of the recruiting cycle's final days.
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MichiganClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
Michigan took an early-morning hit when it missed out on No. 1 tight end Chris Clark, who elected to sign with UCLA instead of the Wolverines. That, compounded with the fact that it failed to land Florida-bound defensive back Chris Williamson on Monday helped cast a dark cloud over the Signing Day in Ann Arbor. Michigan came up empty in its pursuit of wide receiver Van Jefferson, who chose Ole Miss, and also never really came close to landing USC signee Iman Marshall, a five-star defensive back that the Wolverines strongly pursued. That said, new head coach Jim Harbaugh took over late in the recruiting cycle and couldn't be expected to make that much of late splash in limited time. Harbaugh did land four Signing Day commits, including four-star Tyrone Wheatley.
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TCUClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
TCU didn't have a ton at stake on Signing Day. but it did lose out on coveted defensive tackle Daylon Mack, who signed with Texas A&M. The Horned Frogs also saw wide receiver J.F. Thomas switch his commitment to in-state rival Texas Tech. Another Texas-based defensive tackle, Bryce English, considered TCU before signing with Kansas State on Wednesday. The events of Signing Day won't shake the program, but the afternoon clearly didn't go as well as head coach Gary Patterson had hoped.
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South CarolinaClick Here to view this Link.Click Here to view this Link.
The Gamecocks lost Damon Arnette to Ohio State and also saw two-time South Carolina commit Arden Key, who packed plenty of drama for months, spurn them for a final time by signing with LSU. South Carolina didn't have a dramatically poor signing day by any stretch, but the way it haphazardly walked to the finish was enough to land it on this list, be it barely.
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