National Signing Day: The Gorney Awards
The late signing period is all but wrapped up with only a few top prospects left on the board and they might not make their decisions for months. With that being said, grab the envelope please as it’s now time for the Gorney Awards.
MORE: Texas A&M wins 2022 recruiting title
ONE-ON-ONE COACH INTERVIEWS: Oklahoma's Brent Venables | Rutgers' Greg Schiano | Clemson's Dabo Swinney | Vanderbilt's Clark Lea | Illinois' Bret Bielema | West Virginia's Neal Brown | Virginia's Tony Elliott | Indiana's Tom Allen | Utah's Kyle Whittingham | South Carolina's Shane Beamer | Arizona's Jedd Fisch | Stanford's David Shaw | Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman | Florida State's Mike Norvell | Michigan State's Mel Tucker | Missouri's Eli Drinkwitz
CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State | JUCO
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
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RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info for 2022 series
SHOCK VALUE AWARD
TreVonte’ Citizen was supposed to go to LSU. Or Florida. Or Auburn. Those were the three programs most discussed when it came to the four-star running back from Lake Charles (La.) Lake Charles College Prep. He visited Miami recently and by all accounts had a good time but in the final days this looked like an LSU-Florida battle. Instead, Citizen picked the Hurricanes and not only gave first-year coach Mario Cristobal a huge statement win but gave the Hurricanes a tough, physical running back to add to their arsenal.
OUT OF NOWHERE AWARD
Jaelyn Davis-Robinson did not have an LSU offer until late January. He only had a handful of other Power Five offers but now the four-star cornerback from Waxahachie, Texas is in the Tigers’ class and gives coach Brian Kelly’s squad a bunch of speed on the outside. Once the new LSU staff came into town and the month of January visits kicked into high gear, Davis-Robinson had an opportunity to get on campus, get his offer and now he’s locked in with LSU.
AS EXPECTED AWARD
The term ‘as expected’ is often overused in recruiting circles and means that someone has to say they knew a commitment was coming. For Christen Miller, this one fits because the four-star defensive tackle from Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove spoke highly of Ohio State for a long time and then things got intriguing with Miami and Oregon in the final weeks but Georgia was always there and always seemed like it would be tough to beat. When five-star defensive end and close friend Mykel Williams picked the Dawgs it looked almost impossible to get Miller away from them as well. On Wednesday, he picked Georgia. As expected.
Miami coach Mario Cristobal almost pulled it off but not quite. Cristobal and his staff did everything humanly possible to keep five-star defensive end Shemar Stewart home. They visited him as much as they could. They got him on campus numerous times. Everything that could be done by the first-year coach was tried. But Stewart’s long-standing relationships with the Texas A&M coaching staff - from Jimbo Fisher to Elijah Robinson and beyond - won the day and landed Stewart’s signature.
FLIP THAT HURTS AWARD
R Mason Thomas was committed to Iowa State since the summer. It was a massive recruiting win for the Cyclones to go into South Florida and get the high three-star defensive end who might be underrated. And Iowa State looked like it was weathering the recruiting storm of January until signing day when Thomas flipped to Oklahoma. The Cyclones tried to get Thomas to sign early to lock him in but he wanted to take trips, he did, and coach Brent Venables and his staff had luck in flipping him.
DANCING NOT ENOUGH AWARD
I give lots of credit to new LSU coach Brian Kelly for letting loose a little bit now that he’s in Baton Rouge and a video of him dancing with Danny Lewis went viral over the weekend. If the New Iberia (La.) Westgate three-star tight end picked the Tigers, the dancing would be overlooked. But the former Cincinnati pledge opted for Alabama over LSU on signing day as the Crimson Tide add another weapon on offense.
RELATIONSHIPS MATTER AWARD
Caleb Douglas was committed to USC early in the recruiting process but backed off that pledge in late November after more than three months of being committed. It came down to Florida and LSU for the Missouri City (Texas) Highower three-star receiver and on signing day the Gators won out. One big reason: Keary Colbert recruited Douglas to USC and now with Colbert on the Florida staff, that meant a to Douglas because that relationship was the most important. LSU battled late but Douglas knowing Colbert for so long won out in his recruitment.
DREAMS TO REALITY AWARD
Harold Perkins committed to Texas A&M at the Under Armour Game and it seemed like his recruitment might be done. Instead, it was just starting. Florida got seriously involved as did LSU but the four-star linebacker seemed lukewarm to the Tigers until he visited on the final weekend before signing day. Originally from Louisiana, Perkins told me once every time he drove through Baton Rouge he dreamed of playing in Tiger Stadium and that he grew up an LSU fan. That became reality Wednesday when he picked the Tigers over Florida, Texas A&M and others.
MAKE IT REIGN AWARD
Until five-star safety Jacoby Mathews announced for Texas A&M, Alabama still head the slimmest of leads in the team recruiting rankings. But his decision to pick the Aggies over LSU and Florida propelled Texas A&M to its first recruiting national championship in Rivals history dating back to 2002. The Aggies definitely deserved it closing on Mathews and holding off Miami for five-star DE Shemar Stewart plus loading up with five-stars Walter Nolen, Denver Harris and Evan Stewart.
WELL, WE’RE WAITING AWARD
Every single player in the Rivals250 is now signed - except five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly, Jr. The Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach standout did not have the opportunity to travel for his official visits and he wanted to see the coaching changes and transfer portal play out before locking in his spot with any of the teams recruiting him. Michigan, Washington, USC, Oregon, Oklahoma and Miami are the ones in the running now but he could wait until March to finally lock in with a program.