What went right and wrong for the nation's best recruiting classes
What went wrong and what went right for the nation's best recruiting class on National Signing Day? Rob Cassidy breaks down the day for each of the country's top 25 classes.
1. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
What went right: Well, nearly everything. The Tide’s top-rated class was powered by the Signing Day additions of five-star linebackers Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson and five-star defensive end Terrell Hall. In all, Alabama’s class featured five five-star prospects.
What went wrong: That bad is not so bad in this instance. Alabama lost California-based target Mique Juarez to UCLA and failed to land wide receiver Demetris Robertson on Signing Day. In the case of Robertson, the door remains open as the five-star athlete remains uncommitted.
2. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
What went right: A good day for the Seminoles, Signing Day featured the additions of four-star offensive linemen Jauan Williams and Landon Dickerson. FSU also landed four-star defensive end Brian Burns and defensive back Carlos Becker, both of whom it was expected to sign. The class projects as the Seminoles’ best haul in years. Flipping four-star defensive tackle Shavar Manuel from in-state rival Florida was an added bonus.
What went wrong: The most notable mishap for Florida State was that safety Jamel Cook flipped his commitment to USC. Florida State thought it was an option for Rivals250 cornerback Trayvon Mullen, who left the state for Clemson.
3. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
What went right: Ohio State did the bulk of its work before Signing Day, but a lot of things broke its way in the months leading up to the event. The fact that Buckeyes star Joey Bosa had a talented younger brother was a plus. Nick Bosa was one of the headliners of the Buckeyes’ class and is joined by fellow five-star prospect Keandre Jones. Ohio State did impressive work in Florida, pulling Bosa, four-star wide receiver Binjimen Victor and defensive tackle Malik Barrow out of the state.
What went wrong: The Buckeyes lost some battles to Michigan, which Ohio State fans hate to see. The Buckeyes also thought they were a player for Mecole Hardman Jr., who teased Ohio State fans before picking Georgia.
4. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
What went right: Well, there’s the obvious. Michigan landed the class’ No. 1 player in defensive lineman Rashan Gary. Then, there’s the less publicized. The Wolverines reached into California to grab landed tight end Devin Asiasi. The pre-Signing Day work Michigan did to establish a foothold in Florida was also notable.
What went wrong: After pulling out all the stops to land four-star defensive end Connor Murphy, The Wolverines looked on as the Phoenix product committed USC.
5. CLEMSON TIGERS
What went right: The Tigers shocked some when they landed Rivals250 defensive back Trayvon Mullen, who seemed destined for LSU. The Tigers also landed in-state offensive lineman John Simpson and added Kansas-based defensive back Isaiah Simmons.
What went wrong: Clemson was considered to be option No. 2 for top prospect Rashan Gary, who chose Michigan.
6. LSU TIGERS
What went right: Most of LSU’s work was done prior to National Signing Day, but four-star Kristian Fulton selected LSU on Wednesday, which was certainly significant. The Tigers class was built early and built extremely well.
What went wrong: The Tigers lost Trayvon Mullen to Clemson despite being widely considered to lead the four-star prospect’s recruitment. The real blow was the fact that five-star Erick Fowler broke his commitment to the Tigers and signed with Texas.
7. OLE MISS REBELS
What went right: Stealing Rivals100 A.J. Brown from in-state rival Mississippi State’s back yard was a victory. The rebels also grabbed four-star defensive back Deontay Anderson out of Texas and scored a surprise commitment from tight end Jacob Mathis out of Florida.
What went wrong: Ole Miss was seen as the favorite to land defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, who spurned the Rebs for Mississippi State. Ole Miss, along with a handful of other programs, was also in pursuit of five-star junior college defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, who signed with Tennessee.
8. USC TROJANS
What went right: A ton went right for USC, which scored six Signing Day commitments, none bigger than five-star Jack Jones. The Trojans flipped defensive back Jamel Cook from Florida and landed four-star lineman E.J. Price, who seemed bound for Georgia.
What went wrong: Watching five-star linebacker Mique Juarez, who was once committed to USC, sign with UCLA had to be a tough pill for Trojan fans to swallow.
9. AUBURN TIGERS
10. GEORGIA BULLDOGS
What went right: Georgia got off to a hot start on National Signing Day. It landed Mecole Hardman Jr. and Michail Carter prior to 10 a.m. The Bulldogs also added Georgia-based receiver Tyler Simmons to put a bow on head coach Kirby Smart’s first class as a head coach.
11. UCLA BRUINS
What went wrong: UCLA would have loved to land in-state tight end Devin Asiasi, who landed at Michigan.
12. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
What went right: The Irish reached into to Florida to add linebacker Jonathan Jones on Signing Day, but were otherwise quiet. Notre Dame did most of its work on the way to a top-15 class before Signing Day.
What went wrong: Notre Dame pushed hard to get five-star athlete Demetris Robertson to sign on Wednesday, but failed to do so. Robertson remains uncommitted and the door has been opened for Alabama and Georgia.
13. TEXAS LONGHORNS
What went right: Everything. Ev-er-y-thing. Charlie Strong instructed silently committed to players to wait until Signing Day to announce in an effort to steal headlines, and it worked. The Longhorns welcomed in a handful of high-profile commitments, none bigger than Erick Fowler, who flipped to Texas from LSU.
What went wrong: Not much. Texas coaches won’t lose much sleep over it considering their Signing Day haul, but four-star safety Deontay Anderson left the state to sign with Ole Miss, which no coaching staff ever likes to see.
14. FLORIDA GATORS
What went right: Florida’s day was defined by landing four-star wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, who changed his commitment from Houston to Florida. The Gators beat out Arkansas and others to secure his letter of intent.
What went wrong: The biggest loss for Florida was four-star defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, who changed broke his commitment and elected to sign with rival Florida State.
15. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
What went right: The Vols landed Nigel Warrior as expected but also landed a commitment from five-star junior college defensive end Jonathan Kongbo. Tennessee flipped Rivals100 athlete Tyler Byrd from Miami the night before Signing Day.
What went wrong: The Vols would have loved to have Derrick Brown, who signed with Auburn.
16. TEXAS A&M AGGIES
What went right: Aaron Hansford was A&M’s biggest Signing Day victory. The Aggies beat Notre Dame, Oregon and others in the race to land the Rivals100 linebacker.
What went wrong: A&M looked on as Texas won several in-state prospects in which the Aggies were interested.
17. BAYLOR BEARS
What went right: Baylor didn’t land a single prospect on Signing Day, but welcomed in nine four-star prospects in this year’s class.
What went wrong: Baylor was also a victim of Texas’ Signing Day success.
18. STANFORD CARDINAL
What went right: Safety Andrew Pryts was Stanford’s only Signing Day addition.
What went wrong: Not much. Stanford’s work is usually done by Signing Day and most of the prospects they were seriously chasing were off the board.
19. OKLAHOMA SOONERS
What went right: Five-star Caleb Kelly signed with Sooners over a number of schools closer to his California-based home. OU also added four-star Mykel Jones, giving OU a Signing Day boost that didn’t go overlooked.
What went wrong: The Velus Jones saga didn’t break in Oklahoma’s favor, as Jones, who was briefly committed to the Sooners, ended up Signing with USC.
20. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
What went right: Michigan State had a quiet Signing Day and didn’t add much of note. That said, they arrived to Signing Day with a strong, fortified class.
What went wrong: The Spartan’s hoped to land E.J. Price, but failed to do so. Price chose USC over the Spartans, Georgia and others.
21. TCU HORNED FROGS
What went right: Four-star wide receiver Ryan Parker chose TCU on Signing Day. Parker was the Horned Frogs’ sixth four-star prospect in the program’s class.
What went wrong: TCU had a small chance of landing Trayvon Mullen, but were never really a viable option.
22. MIAMI HURRICANES
What went right: Getting four-star wide receiver Ahmmon Richards to commit (for a second time) was Miami’s big Signing Day win. The Hurricanes did the bulk of work on its classbefore Wednesday, but Richard provided a nice exclamation point.
What went wrong: Miami’s biggest mishap came the night before Signing Day, when Tyler Byrd broke his commitment to the Hurricanes in favor of Tennessee.
23. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
What went right: Penn State landed defensive end Brenon Thrift, a junior college prospect on Signing day.
What went wrong: A lot of Michigan’s recruiting success came at the expense of Penn State.
24. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
What went right: North Carolina’s class was pretty much finished prior to Wednesday, but retaining the commitment of Dominique Ross, who considered flipping to Virginia Tech, was a victory.
What went wrong: North Carolina fell short of landing four-star wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers. Auburn was a heavy favorite going into his Signing Day announcement, but the Tar Heels coaches liked their chances before Craig-Myers signed with the Tigers.
25. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
What went right: Nebraska’s Signing day was defined the day before the event when Lamar Jackson selected the Cornhuskers in a hat ceremony. Signing Day itself was pretty quiet for Mike Riley’s program.
What went wrong: Despite being born in Nebraska, Kansas-based defensive back Isaiah Simmons chose to sign with Clemson instead of Nebraska on Signing Day.