The hats are donned. The faxes are in. The pointless TV marathons are over. The message board creeps have moved on to 2015. Before the moment fades, here is a recap of some major winners and losers. Recruiting is just one part of a successful formula, but it is an important one.
Alabama… No. 1 overall class? Great. Six of the top 16 players in the 247 Composite Rankings? Outstanding. Swiping the No. 15 overall recruit from your biggest rival’s hometown while your rival is so confident of his commitment they jump the gun and post it on the website? Hard to top, especially after the rough few months Bama fans have had. Perhaps the late effort will earn Lane Kiffin a coat and pants that fit.
LSU… The Tigers weren’t No. 1 overall, but brought in a No. 1 caliber class in most years. Wideout Malachi Dupree (No. 17 overall) and DT Travonte Valentine out of Florida (No. 63 overall) were major pickups on Signing Day, giving the Tigers nine of the Top 100 in the 247 Composite. Two five-stars on each side of the ball. The gem may be running back Leonard Fournette, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, who has been garnering not entirely outlandish comparisons to Adrian Petersen.
Ohio State…This just in: Urban Meyer can recruit. It wasn’t an eventful final day, which was a good thing for Ohio State. The Buckeyes have the third-ranked class in the 247 Composite. They took in 10 of the top 100 players, seven of them from outside Ohio. There are questions short-term. But this team looks stocked for the long-term.
USC… The Trojans were in for three top 40 overall recruits on the final day, and took them all. Track star Adoree’ Jackson looks like a potentially elite contributor at corner and on special teams. John “Juju” Smith is a potential top-tier player at wide receiver or safety. Guard Damian Mama played at 6’4″ 370 pounds in high school. That’s a solid close for Sark. We’ll see what he can do next year with a full year to recruit.
Georgia Mark Richt kept control of in-state recruiting, landing weakside DE Lorenzo Carter, the No. 18 overall recruit and the No. 1 recruit from Georgia. Two more five-star running backs, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb also join the Bulldogs. Another five signings give them eight of the 247 Composite Top 150. It is a nice bounce-back class after a disappointing season.
Michigan… Michigan was going to have a small class. This one actually compares with previous ones in terms of quality. Jabrill Peppers looks like the elite playmaker on defense Michigan has lacked. However, the Wolverines did not add a single recruit after early August. They missed two top 40 defensive linemen that once appeared bound for Ann Arbor (Mattison and Hoke were both defensive line coaches). They also had two five-stars verbally on board for 2015 decommit. Hoke’s ability to sell the program has been his biggest strength as Michigan coach. If recruits are no longer buying, that’s a problem.
UCLA… The Bruins had a nice get early, with four-star inside linebacker Kenny Young out of Louisiana. But, they whiffed on a number of elite recruits, including the trio that went to USC. This program is still in excellent shape, especially with Brett Hundley coming back. But the Bruins could (and perhaps should) have made a bigger statement amidst the turmoil at USC.
Virginia Tech Hokies… The Hokies lost two five-star recruits in-state to UVA, a team that went 1-10 vs. FBS in 2013. On Signing Day, they lost out to Florida State on defensive tackle Derrick Nandi and had wide receiver Javon Harrison flip on them, also to the Seminoles. Frank Beamer missed the top eight recruits in Virginia. It’s not a bad class, but not one that looks primed to push the Hokies back to perennial 10-win-dom.
Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State… Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn each had a top six overall recruiting class. The schools combined to nab 15 five-star recruits and 29 of the nation’s Top 100. Not exactly Illinois, Indiana and Purdue there, Bert.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]