The Latest on college football’s national signing day:
DECISION TRACKER: Henry Ruggs III, a four-star receiver from Montgomery, Alabama, picked the Crimson Tide over Florida State.
Four-star cornerback Chevin Calloway from Dallas signed with Arkansas, choosing the Razorbacks over Texas and Iowa.
Maryland is set up to be one of surprising stories of signing day. Second-year coach D.J. Durkin is on the way to bringing in a top-20 class nationally and top-five class in the Big Ten. The Terrapins big get of signing day was running back Cordarrian Richardson from Memphis, Tennessee. He picked the Terps over Mississippi and Michigan State.
And he did it with a weather balloon in space.
DECISION TRACKER: Markaviest Bryant, a four-star defensive end/outside linebacker from Georgia, picked Auburn over the Bulldogs and LSU.
Who had FCS Illinois State making an attention-grabbing signing? The Redbirds tweeted that they had signed Kobe Buffalomeat and he quickly became an internet favorite.
Buffalomeat is a 6-foot-7, 287-pound offensive tackle from Lawrence, Kansas.
DECISION TRACKER: Jeff Thomas, a wide receiver from East St. Louis, Illinois, has selected Miami. He also was considering Illinois, Oregon and Tennessee. Thomas is the No. 40 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite.
DECISION TRACKER: Aubrey Solomon, a five-star defensive tackle from Georgia, picked Michigan. The decision was not a huge surprise. Solomon had been a Michigan commit last year. But he was miffed at the Wolverines early in January after Michigan mistakenly sent him a thank you note for attending a recruiting event that he actually did not attend. Whoops! Solomon apologized for those less-than-flattering remarks he made about Michigan , but he did de-commit.
Jim Harbaugh and staff redoubled efforts to make amends and got their man.
DECISION TRACKER: Todd Harris, a safety from Plaquemine, Louisiana, picked LSU over Alabama, good news for Tigers coach Ed Orgeron. Harris was a top-100 player in 247Sports composite rankings.
Willie Gay, one of the top linebackers in the country, decided to stay at home for college and picked Mississippi State. Gay, from Starkville High School, also considered LSU and Michigan was on the radar, too.
What every coach wants most on signing day is no surprises. The increase in early enrollees helps that a lot. Alabama had a dozen members of its class already on campus before signing day. Ohio State had 11 players enrolled. Texas A&M had nine. Those numbers were typical of the top programs.
Top quarterbacks were especially likely to early enroll. Eight of the top-10 quarterback recruits in the 247Sports composite rankings, including Tate Martell of Ohio State, were already enrolled.
Levi Jones put a different spin on the pick-a-hat ceremony as he revealed his decision to attend Southern California. The outside linebacker from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, took off his jacket to reveal a long-sleeve Florida T-shirt. He then pulled off the Florida shirt to reveal a Florida State shirt underneath. He then removed the Florida State shirt and was left with a USC shirt. Jones then put on a USC hat and said, “Fight On.”
While former LSU coach Les Miles spent national signing day doing television on ESPNU, his son officially became a college football player.
Ben Miles was one of the best fullback prospects in the country.
Les Miles was fired in late September after 12 years as Tigers coach. Unable to land another head coaching job, the 63-year-old Miles could be heading for a lot of work ESPN this season. On Wednesday, he was paired with former Texas coach Mack Brown to breakdown signing day.
DECISION TRACKER: Two four-star players from Austin, Texas, have made their picks and neither will be playing for the Longhorns.
Stephan Zabie, an offensive tackle, picked UCLA and teammate Levi Jones, one of the top linebacker prospects, picked Southern California over Florida and Florida State.
DECISION TRACKER: Tedarrell Slaton, OL, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Slaton picked the Gators, who were considered the favorites. Coach Jim McElwain’s class came into signing day on the back end of the top 20 in the rankings. The Gators have won to SEC east titles under McElwain, but offense has been an issue for the former offensive coordinator.
The selection ceremonies start soon. Among the first to go will be Levi Jones, a four-star linebacker and top-100 prospect from Austin, Texas, who is picking among Florida, Florida State and USC.
The catch of the day comes in the afternoon. Marvin Wilson, a 325-pound defensive tackle from Bellaire, Texas, is a five-star and the top-rated interior defensive lineman in the class. Florida State, LSU and Oklahoma have been racing to the finish line to sign Wilson. Ohio State is still considered a possibility, too.
New coaches are always interesting to assess on signing day because they typically are doing a rush job, keeping some old commits, trying to find new ones and pulling a few over from their previous schools.
Two who will receive plenty of attention on signing day are in the state of Texas.
New Texas coach Tom Herman is hoping a strong finish can give the Longhorns a top-15 class. In Waco, Texas, Matt Rhule took over at Baylor with the Bears down to just a couple of commits after a scandal over the handling of potential sexual assault cases led to the firing if coach Art Briles. Despite the scramble, Rhule, the former Temple coach, could put together a top-40 class.
On the first Wednesday of February, it becomes obvious why Alabama contends for a national title every season.
The Crimson Tide have had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country each of the last six years, according 247Sports’ composite rankings, and are in position to make it seven in a row on national signing day. Even if none of the few highly touted recruits who are waiting until signing day to commit end up with the Tide, Nick Saban will still have a loaded class, featuring running back Najee Harris, who might be the top high school player in the country.
Can any team surpass the Tide on signing day?
Maybe Ohio State. Buckeyes fans are touting Urban Meyer’s latest class as the best in school history.
That’s probably about it. Still, there will be high spirits and optimism at most football programs as coaches tout their classes with a mountain of clichés.
Jim Harbaugh and Michigan will hold another “Signing of the Stars” welcome party, including a long list of past Wolverines greats.
Georgia is drawing raves from the recruiting analysts in Kirby Smart’s second year as coach. The former Alabama assistant has brought the signing day process to the Bulldogs.
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2/1/2017 11:56:02 AM (GMT -5:00)