football Edit

The biggest Midwest storylines from #RivalsESP

The inaugural early signing period brought big surprises across the country, but particularly in the Midwest where the highest-ranked prospect in the region announced he was heading to the ACC and a four-star prospect signed with a MAC school. Here is a run-down of the biggest storylines so far out of the Midwest in this early signing period.

MORE: Live updates from the Early Signing Period



The biggest announcement in the Midwest also brought the day’s biggest surprise. Five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman was expected to stay in-state and pick Ohio State, but word started to leak out about an hour before his commitment that the Buckeyes were out. That became official when Carman announced his commitment to Clemson during a signing ceremony at his high school.

Carman narrowed his choices down to Clemson, Ohio State and USC in the summer. He took his official visit to Ohio State during the season, then went on back-to-back official visits to Clemson and USC the two weekends prior to the early signing period. It was obvious the decision was close when early in the week he tried to push his announcement back to Thursday. The Wednesday announcement plans stayed on track, however, and Clemson ends up with a big five-star steal on Signing Day.

ARTICLE: Five-star Jackson Carman headed to Clemson


Four-star Muskegon, Mich., offensive tackle Antwan Reed and Penn State parted ways at the beginning of December after an eight-month commitment, but Reed decided he was still going to sign in the early period. He took one official visit after the decommitment to Penn State and that was to Western Michigan the weekend of Dec. 8.

The suggestion Reed would sign with Western Michigan starting to circulate last week, and he made it official immediately on Dec. 20, sending in his letter of intent in right at 7 am. Reed becomes the fifth four-star prospect to sign with a Mid-American Conference school since 2010 and the first to sign with Western Michigan in that time frame.


Even after committing to Syracuse last spring, four-star Detroit (Mich.) East English Village offensive center Tyrone Sampson continued to camp and visit with other schools, including Michigan and Ohio State. In recent weeks, though, Sampson appeared to be firming up his commitment with Syracuse. That ended on Wednesday, however, when the Detroit native announced he was re-opening his recruitment and would not sign until February.

Sampson confirmed with that he was de-committing from Syracuse and would no longer be enrolling early. He has four official visits available after taking his official visit to Syracuse the weekend of Dec. 1. Power Five schools that had offered Sampson early in his recruitment included Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota and Virginia.


If Carman had not gone to Clemson, the biggest surprise of the day in the Midwest would have been the decision from four-star St. Louis safety Dallas Craddieth to scrap his earlier plans of signing in February and instead signed with the Iowa Hawkeyes. He started the week intent on bypassing the early signing period, but warmed to the idea as the week went along and ultimately made the decision to announce Wednesday morning.

Craddieth reported earlier this week that he was focused on Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, with schools like Nebraska and Wisconsin losing contact after having been considered strong contenders coming out of the season. He took official visits to Iowa and Illinois this month, and had one planned to Indiana for the weekend of Jan. 19.

Article: Hawkeyes land four-star safety Dallas Craddieth


Carterville, Ill., four-star tight end Luke Ford kicked off the week of the inaugural early signing period by announcing a top five on Sunday that consisted of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Illinois and Texas A&M. But, that was not the biggest news Ford had in store this week. The Rivals100 prospect who had only taken two official visits and planned to sign in the late period announced on the morning of Dec. 21 that he would, in fact, sign in the early period.

Although Ford named that top five on Sunday, one school had already started to emerge as the favorite. And, even though he had not taken an official visit to the school, Ford realized there was no need to wait as he was ready to sign with Georgia. The Bulldogs, who had landed seven prospects on the opening day of the early signing period, including a pair of five-stars, kept their momentum going when Ford made it official on the afternoon of Dec. 21.

ARTICLE: Luke Ford explains his decision for Georgia


Although many of these storylines would qualify as surprises, St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers College wide receiver Cameron Brown flipping his commitment from Nebraska and signing with Ohio State on Wednesday was expected. Brown took an official visit to Columbus during the season and seemed likely to make the switch to the Buckeyes ever since.

Brown’s switch means he will continue to play alongside his high school teammate, four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb, who also signed with the Buckeyes on Wednesday. Nebraska, meanwhile, was able to replace Brown at wide receiver with three-star Katerian LeGrone out of Atlanta, who had previously committed to Scott Frost at UCF and will now be following him to Lincoln.

More from Buckeyes flip Cameron Brown


Besides Dallas Craddieth and Luke Ford, there were other prospects from the Midwest who were on the fence coming into the week about signing, but who ultimately did send in their letters of intent on Wednesday. Ohio State wide receiver commits Blue Smith and Kamryn Babb both relayed to me at the beginning of the week that they planned to wait until February to sign, but both ended up putting pen to paper Wednesday morning and officially joining the class.

Smith and Babb’s commitments were not in doubt, but Rivals100 Oklahoma offensive tackle commit Brey Walker had taken other official visits to Florida State and Texas A&M, the latter coming just this past weekend. Speaking with Walker’s father shortly after the Texas A&M visit concluded, he reiterated their plans to wait until February, which he had expressed to me earlier in the fall as well. When Signing Day came, however, Walker also put pen to paper and eased the minds of Sooner fans.