Another National Signing Day (NSD) is in the books with the SEC dominating the Team Rankings. Below are rundowns of the newst SEC classes.
*ESPN only ranks the top 40.
For the first time in a few years, Alabama had no drama or surprises on NSD. No flips in either direction. The one question mark was Daylon Charlot but insiders have said he was a silent commitment. Get the whole Bama recap here.
27 Signed; 2 "Blueshirts"
Butch Jones has helped bring a new recruiting term to the forefront. A "blueshirt" originated as a player who arrived on campus as a "preferred" walk-on and goes on to earn a football scholarship. Now some coaches are using the loophole to get additional players onto the team. These players count toward next season's scholarship totals like greyshirts but the difference is that they can enroll and are eligible to play this season. They are not allowed official visits and must pay their own tuition. The NCAA doesn't allow for schools to produce written promises of scholarships to walk-ons, but that doesn't stop schools like Tennessee from telling a prospect who walks on that an offer is coming after a certain point. It is certainly a gamble for Vols blueshirt Vincent Perry as he turned down a full-ride offer from Kentucky.
Auburn has already gotten subsidies from hiring former Florida head coach Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator. He helped to corral Florida natives Byron Cowart, Jeffery Holland, Texas Longhorns, Carlton Davis (Miami) from Ohio State, and Mike Horton (Atlanta) from Florida., and Javarius Davis - all of whom were considered long-time leans to Florida. Auburn also flipped Miami native Tim Irvin away from the
UGA got a good haul highlighted by the top overall player in the nation in defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (Albany, GA) and Terry Godwin () but missed out on several highly-rated Peach Staters. Eight of the top 12 from Georgia are heading out of state:
Mitch Hyatt North Gwinnett (Suwanee, GA) Clemson
Chuma Edoga McEachern (Powder Springs, GA) Southern Cal
Lovejoy (Hampton, GA) Tennessee
Taj Griffin McEachern (Powder Springs, GA) Oregon
Arden Key Hapeville Charter (Atlanta, GA) LSU
Chidi Valentine-Okeke Faith Baptist Christian Academy (Ludowici, GA) LSU
Mekhi Brown Carver (Columbus, GA) Alabama
Roquan Smith Macon County (Montezuma, GA) UCLA commit, yet to sign.
Les Miles came away with another top 10 class but inexplicably did not pick up a quality quarterback. He did add one signal caller in 2/3-star Justin McMillan, whose only other offers were from Arkansas State and UNLV. Miles does have a verbal pledge from 4-star Feleipe Franks out of Crawfordville, FL but the kid still has another year of high school to finish.
Texas A&M Aggies
In case you missed it, there was quite a bit of drama over quarterback Kyler Murray's unofficial visit to Austin, TX two weeks before NSD. However, he landed safe and sound in Kevin Sumlin's loving arms. The real coup was lassoing top 5 DT Daylon Mackwho had decommitted from the Aggies in December. 18 of their signees hail from Texas, four from Louisiana, one from Arizona, one juco originally from Mississippi, and a kicker from Florida.
The Bullies quietly put together one of their more solid classes in awhile, claiming 8 of the top 12 out of the Magnolia State. With MSU losing so many seniors and starters, it was a pretty good sell on early playing time. The defense appears to be the main beneficiary of NSD with the signatures of 4-stars S Jamal Peters , ILB Leo Lewis, and SDE Fletcher Adams.
In contrast to their downstate rival, Hugh Freeze chose to look outside the state and to jucos to fill his roster. His incoming freshmen come from 8 different states (MS, FL, GA, LA, NY, SC, TN, TX). They are joined by four juco players. I could be way off on this but it feels like Freeze is looking for a make-or-break season in 2015. The Rebs have eight rising seniors as projected starters to go with three rising juniors who likely declare for the draft: Laremy Tunsil, Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell.
29 Signed; 1 DNQ
By national standards, the Gamecocks got a top 20 class. By SEC standards, it's the lower half. Part of this was due to nine prospects reneging on their commitment to the Mr. Spurrier. To add insult to injury, rival Clemson absolutely dusted SC on the recruiting trail.
Except for WR K.J. Hill (Ohio State), coach Bret Bielema put up a fence around the state signing nine of the top eleven from in-state. As a consolation, Arky singed 4-star DT Hjalte Froholdt who hails from Buckeye country - Warren, OH.
Well, it wasn't disastrous, but it wasn't fantastic either (see the Auburn section above). With only two months to recruit, coach Jim McElwain was able to convince 5-star OT Martez Ivey (Apopka, FL) and 5-star DE Cece Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, FL) to shop locally. More importantly, they have found a foothold in the Miami area out-recruiting the Hurricanes with guys like 4-stars RB Jordan Scarlett (Fort Lauderdale) and ATH Jordan Cronkrite ().
Mizzou is turning into DL University. 5-star Terry Beckner Jr. hopes to be the next Markus Golden, Shane Ray, Sheldon Richardson, Aldon Smith, Kony Ealy... The Tigers may have also found a future at QB in 4-star Drew Lock who passed for 63 TDs to 12 INTs in his final two high school seasons.
Coach Mark Stoops could not duplicate the magic of last year's NSD that produced a top 20 class for the first time in... well, likely ever! It was tough going with six players flipping to other teams since January 25th and striking out on former UK and Bama commit Montrell Custis (Ole Miss).
Vandy does not battle the Alabamas and the Florida States of the world for recruits. But still, they were able to put together a decent class. All but one signee was deemed three stars or higher. However, only three players were awarded four stars. The 'Dores wrested LBaway from Oregon, Oklahoma, and LSU. Additionally, CB Donovan Sheffield was a solid pick-up. Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, and Stanford wanted him as well.
- The Class of 2015's top three players, all signed with SEC schools: Trent Thompson (UGA), Martez Ivey (Florida), Byron Cowart (Auburn).
- Just over half of the 35 five-star players (18), signed with SEC schools.
- Alabama led the 5-star parade with six signees. TAMU (3), FLA (2), LSU (2), UGA (2), AU (1), MIZZ (1), TENN (1).