National Signing Day 2015 live blog: College football recruiting analysis
SI.com’s team of writers will provide running analysis of all the latest recruiting developments throughout National Signing Day. Our partners at Rivals.com will have updates of every commitment. All times listed are ET. For additional coverage, check out our top 100 prospects, 50 facts about the class and more.
5:30 p.m. -- Recapping afternoon signings
Martin Rickman: A lot of the noise had subsided around lunchtime on the East Coast, but there were still a few fireworks left on Signing Day afternoon. Here’s a recap of the biggest news after the noon hour, from Daylon Mack’s commitment to Iman Marshall’s music video in which he announced he was heading to USC.
• Speaking of Mack, he finally came to a conclusion. And it was where he was committed at the very beginning: Texas A&M. The Aggies brought in defensive coordinator John Chavis from LSU, which Mack mentioned to ESPN played a significant role his decision. LSU consistently pumped out big-time defensive linemen, and that -- coupled with Mack’s familiarity with the Aggies -- was enough to hold off TCU (and a late push from Texas).
• The Byron Cowart drama wasn’t over until around 4 p.m. The No. 1 player in the 2015 class committed to Auburn early Wednesday morning, but his situation was fluid through the afternoon. Cowart did not immediately send a Letter of Intent to Auburn, and as of 1 p.m. he was reportedly undecided. About a half hour later, it seemed as though Cowart was headed to Auburn but had yet to fax the program his signed NLI. Late in the afternoon it was done, and the Tigers had their man.
• Roquan Smith announced that he was headed to an already-stacked UCLA class, but either had a change of heart or couldn’t quite finalize his choice. Defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, a Georgia commit, was at the ceremony and reportedly stuck around to talk to Smith. With reports swirling that defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich could be headed for a job with the Atlanta Falcons, Smith may be waiting to see what happens. Remember, guys don’t have to sign on Signing Day.
• Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson announced his decision from his home in Glen St. Mary, Fla., and had some fun with it, wearing an LSU jacket as he walked out of his house. Jefferson could have basically picked any school he wanted, but had a final list of Florida, Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss. With his family and friends yelling school names before he made his decision, Jefferson chuckled and then pulled himself together. He then pledged to Florida, marking a huge pickup for Jim McElwain and staff.
• Rasheem Green and John Houston Jr. made it official, committing to USC, which already had a great class in tow. Green said USC was “on the rise” and was excited to build something there. Houston said the Trojans’ location “right in my backyard” was perfect. Those are big chips in the USC-UCLA battle that had been going on throughout Signing Day. After UCLA won the morning in the battle for Los Angeles, USC grabbed headlines in the afternoon.
• Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell Broadus made his pick overlooking the Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High football field in Las Vegas. The receiver went with UCLA, perhaps against his father's wishes. Broadus told SI.com’s Zac Ellis on Tuesday: “I’m still trying my hardest to break out of that shadow and earn a name for myself.”
• Equanimeous St. Brown spoke some German and French before announcing he was headed to Notre Dame. The four-star wide receiver is a huge target, a really intelligent kid and, as SI’s Chris Johnson wrote back in July, one of the more interesting 2015 recruits.
• Iman Marshall committed to USC with a music video released on Bleacher Report. The incredibly talented cornerback could have gone anywhere he wanted, but his decisions to stay home with the Trojans is the five-star cherry on top of an already unbelievable 2015 class.
4:35 p.m. -- Four-star Smith reopening search
Colin Becht: While Byron Cowart's recruitment situation may have resolved itself, he was not the only prospect to get cold feet. Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith revealed his commitment to UCLA on Wednesday morning but is now reopening his search, according to Ron Seibel of the Macon Telegraph.
Roquan Smith reopening search. Said he wasn't going to send in today, but reports of changes at UCLA makes him want to pause.— Ron Seibel (@RonSeibel) February 4, 2015
UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich is headed to Atlanta to become the Falcons linebackers coach, according to FOX Sports, and the possibility of the Bruins losing their defensive coordinator appears to be giving Smith pause. Smith, a Montezuma, Ga., native, was heavily considering Georgia before committing to UCLA on Wednesday. If he backs out on the Bruins, the Bulldogs would have to be considered the favorites to land the No. 6 outside linebacker.
4:25 p.m. -- Five-star Marshall adds to USC's haul
Chris Johnson: Top-rated cornerback Iman Marshall revealed on Wednesday that he is signing with USC. His decision was made public in a video published by Bleacher Report and confirmed at a televised ceremony later in the afternoon.
USC had long been viewed as the favorite to land Marshall, but he took visits to several other programs in the months before Signing Day. Michigan and Florida State were among the programs pushing for the blue-chip prospect, but Marshall ultimately couldn’t be swayed from the nearby Trojans.
As a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High, Marshall recorded 79 tackles and 16 passes defended while also contributing on offense en route to earning Parade first-team All-American honors. Poly is a football power located in Long Beach, Calif., and coached by former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce. Among the prospects from Poly: receiver DeSean Jackson and linebacker Willie McGinest.
For more on Marshall's signing, check out Chris Johnson's full analysis.
4:10 p.m. -- Cowart's NLI in to Auburn
Colin Becht: The confusion regarding top-ranked recruit Byron Cowart's National Letter of Intent is over. Auburn has received a fax of the signed letter, pledging the services of the elite defensive end to the Tigers.
Cowart committed to Auburn early Wednesday morning but did not send his Letter of Intent right away, creating speculation that he might rethink his decision. Florida was Cowart's other finalist. However, after taking the afternoon to think over his recent commitment, Cowart opted to make it official and is bound for the Plains.
Auburn has received Byron Cowart's NLI.— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) February 4, 2015
For more on Cowart's signing, read Martin Rickman's full analysis.
3:19 p.m. -- Four-star St. Brown picks Notre Dame
Zac Ellis: One of the best names of any recruit on National Signing Day finally made his college choice. Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown committed to Notre Dame over other finalists USC, Stanford and Utah.
St. Brown said the Fighting Irish’s coaching staff was a big reason behind his decision. “I really like coach [Brian] Kelly,” St. Brown told ESPNU. “He’s been on me hard. I feel that Notre Dame will help me pursue my dreams.”
The four-star prospect is the No. 15 receiver in the country, per Rivals.com. St. Brown is also perhaps the class of 2015’s most interesting prospect. As SI.com’s Chris Johnson wrote over the summer, St. Brown previously lived in Paris with his mother, Miriam, who made St. Brown and his two brothers read German aloud on the way to school every morning. Now St. Brown is fluent in German and French, and still visits Germany every year.
Meanwhile, St. Brown’s father, John Brown, was a two-time Mr. Universe and three-time Mr. World bodybuilder. Before St. Brown announced his commitment on Wednesday, he thanked his father for helping to train him at a young age.
2:35 p.m. -- Snoop Dogg's son headed to UCLA
Zac Ellis: UCLA’s National Signing Day just keeps getting better. The Bruins landed four-star receiver Cordell Broadus, the son of rapper Snoop Dogg.
A product of Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High, Broadus is the No. 27 receiver in the country. He picked the Bruins over USC, Arizona State and LSU.
Broadus’ father, Snoop Dogg, is a longtime USC fan. But Broadus told SI.com this week that his father’s fandom wouldn’t be a factor in his college decision. “That plays zero into my mind,” Cordell said. “He can be a fan of any school. That’s nice, but at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to go through the workouts. I have to do the homework. All that is on me, so it’s my decision and it’s my life."
He added: “But I’m going to listen to his input on certain situations because he’s my father. I’m still 17, so I’m going to need that help from someone who has more experience than I do.”
Broadus joins a roster that already includes the son of another hip-hop legend. Redshirt sophomore defensive back Justin Combs is the son of P. Diddy.
2:30 p.m. -- USC adds five-stars Green, Houston
Colin Becht: USC’s first recruiting class since the end of its NCAA sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush era is wrapping up exactly as the Trojans hoped. Five-star high school teammates Rasheem Green and John Houston both committed to USC on Wednesday afternoon, adding to Tuesday’s pledge from linebacker Porter Gustin to give the Trojans three five-star recruits.
The Trojans entered Wednesday with the No. 2 recruiting class, according to Rivals.com, and the pair from Junipero Serra (Calif.) High -- the same school that produced USC’s two-way threat Adoree’ Jackson -- should cement that status. Green, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive end, fills the void left by Leonard Williams perfectly. The elite Williams will be very tough to replace, but the No. 4 defensive end in this class will certainly cushion the blow. Houston, meanwhile, joins a loaded group of linebackers in the Trojans’ recruiting class. In addition to Gustin, USC will add four-stars Osa Masina and Cameron Smith. The Trojans lost leading tackler Hayes Pollard and exceptional pass rusher J.R. Tavai to graduation and could use the fresh talent at linebacker after not signing a single player in the position group last year.
For more on Green and Houston's decisions, check out Colin Becht's analysis.
2:15 p.m. -- Florida lands five-star Jefferson
Chris Johnson: CeCe Jefferson announced that he is signing with Florida. The five-star defensive end had narrowed his list to the Gators, Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama. He revealed his choice during a televised ceremony on ESPNU.
Jefferson was long considered a Florida lean, but his destination became less predictable once Will Muschamp was dismissed as Florida’s coach and hired as Auburn’s defensive coordinator. This fall Jefferson took several trips to Florida and also visits to multiple other schools. After spending time at Ole Miss in October, Jefferson tweeted, “Oxford was so fun I about committed!”
Jefferson claimed in November that his teammates were responsible for a tweet announcing his verbal pledge to Florida State. Another confusing development transpired on Signing Day, when Jefferson was seen wearing an LSU jacket even though he did not include the Tigers in his final list of schools. In the end, he chose the team many expected from early in his recruitment.
In announcing his decision, Jefferson discussed the benefits of playing at a program where he “felt at home.” He also mentioned the possibility of squaring off with Martez Ivey -- who also picked the Gators Wednesday -- in practice.
Jefferson is such a highly regarded prospect because of his blend of power and explosiveness. At 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, he is versatile enough to play several positions along the line. Though a broken collarbone sidelined Jefferson for most of his senior season and forced him to miss the U.S. Army game, he should be able to make an instant impact.
For more on Jefferson's decision, check out Chris Johnson's analysis.
1:28 p.m. -- Uncertainty regarding Cowart's NLI
Colin Becht: Byron Cowart seemed to settle his recruiting process when he committed to Auburn on Wednesday morning. However, confusion has emerged regarding Cowart's commitment and whether he has signed or sent his National Letter of Intent to the Tigers.
Auburn still has not announced Cowart's signing. Asked his mom, Lacoria Wilson, at announcement if they faxed the letter and she said yes.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) February 4, 2015
Armwood HS coach tells ESPN Byron Cowart is “undecided” after announcing, and supposedly signing with Auburn.— AuburnUndercover (@AUUndercover) February 4, 2015
Though it is not yet official, Auburn still seems like the clear favorite to secure Cowart's Letter of Intent, per the latest reports.
We'll have more on Cowart's situation as it develops.
12:36 p.m. -- Texas A&M lands star DT Mack
Martin Rickman: The battle for four-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack went down to the very end, as the heralded prospect out of Gladewater, Texas, had a tough decision to make. Ultimately he gave his pledge to Texas A&M, as the Aggies continue to revamp their defense.
This constitutes a big win for A&M, which held off Texas and TCU despite late momentum from the Longhorns. Mack posted a Photoshopped picture in a Texas jersey after a recent visit, but reportedly informed coaches a few days ago he wouldn’t be joining the program.
Mack was a longtime Aggies commit earlier in the recruiting cycle, but opened up his recruitment and really took time to make his choice.
The defensive tackle is incredibly explosive for his 330-pound frame, and gets off the ball extremely well. He has the ability to truck opposing linemen and was impressive throughout the week of the Under Armour All-America Game.
It’s been a busy last few days for the Aggies, who secured the commitment of quarterback Kyler Murray and flipped tailback Kendall Bussey from Tennessee. Landing Mack is another big piece of the puzzle.
12:25 p.m. -- Ex-7th-grade USC commit picks WVU
Martin Rickman: Remember the kid who committed to then-USC head coach Lane Kiffin as a seventh grader? Well, the time has finally come for him to go to college. Kiffin is now the offensive coordinator at Alabama, and quarterback Davis Sills is headed to West Virginia.
The four-star pro-style quarterback out of Elkton, Md., famously celebrated his USC commitment at an ice cream shop.
From a story by Tim Casey of Sports On Earth in 2013:
As a seventh grader in February 2010, Sills verbally committed to USC, less than a month after Lane Kiffin took over as the Trojans' head coach. Steve Clarkson, a noted private quarterbacks coach from Southern California who started working with Sills when he was 10, had asked Kiffin to watch a highlights video of Sills that Clarkson uploaded to YouTube a day earlier. After viewing the film, Kiffin told Clarkson that Sills was talented but skinny. He then inquired about Sills' age.
"He's 13," Clarkson replied.
Thirty minutes later, Kiffin called back Clarkson.
"He said, 'What would you think if I offered him a scholarship?'," Clarkson said. "I said, 'Well, I know you're going to offer him at some point.' He goes, 'No, like right now. Today.' I was like, 'Are you crazy?’"
Sills officially decommited from USC in the summer of 2014 after the Trojans recruited Ricky Town and Steve Sarkisian was the new coach.
12:08 p.m. -- Four-star WR Lodge chooses Ole Miss
Gabriel Baumgaertner: One of the nation’s most electric receivers, four-star DaMarkus Lodge committed to Ole Miss over Texas and Texas A&M on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cedar Hill, Texas, product decommitted from the Aggies in September, but many thought he might join revered quarterback Kyler Murray, whose divisive recruitment has been a major story preceding National Signing Day. Lodge and Murray took an unofficial visit to Texas in late January and tweeted photos of Longhorns jerseys with their high school numbers on them.
Now, it looks like neither will end up in Austin after Murray decided to stick with Texas A&M.
Lodge offers the Rebels and coach Hugh Freeze a potential All-America target to join the esteemed Laquon Treadwell in Oxford. A lanky 6-foot-2, Lodge finished his senior season with 63 receptions for 1,218 yards and 25 touchdowns. He should have the opportunity to play immediately.
Noon -- Recapping the day so far
Zac Ellis: College coaches arrive at their offices well before the sun rises on Signing Day, and for good reason. Plenty happens on recruiting’s biggest day.
Here's a rundown of the key commitments from the first half of Signing Day 2015:
• The country’s top prep player, according to Rivals.com, selected his college early in the day. Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart pledged his services to Auburn over in-state Florida. Cowart’s commitment is a huge get for coach Gus Malzahn and new defensive coordinator (and former Florida coach) Will Muschamp, whose departure likely played a role in Cowart’s decision. The Tigers also added four-star linebacker Jeffery Holland to their defense.
• The first few hours of Signing Day were good to UCLA. First the top-rated tight end prospect in the country, Chris Clark, chose the Bruins over Michigan. Not long afterward, five-star tailback Soso Jamabo committed to UCLA as well. The Bruins also added four-star guard Josh Wariboko and four-star outside linebacker Roquan Smith, both out-of-state products. Coach Jim Mora has to be happy with the group of talented signees to add to an offense that brings back 10 starters in 2015.
*Note: Roquan Smith's recruitment may not be a done deal yet. He has reportedly not reached a final decision and hasn't signed his Letter of Intent.
• Ohio State made a few early splashes by securing the signatures of four-star offensive tackle Isaiah Prince, four-star dual-threat quarterback Torrance Gibson and four-star wide receiver K.J. Hill. Gibson took official visits to LSU, Auburn and Miami last month, while Hill had been flirting with Alabama and Arkansas. However, Urban Meyer managed to seal a couple of big gets for his program. He also hung on to four-star back Mike Weber despite a late push from rival Michigan.
• Tennessee added a nice piece to its foundation with a fourth five-star signee. Memphis native Drew Richmond, the state’s top offensive lineman and overall prospect, officially flipped from Ole Miss to the Volunteers. He joins five-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie and four-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle.
• Florida missed out on Cowart, but still managed to land another blue-chip prospect. The Gators and new coach Jim McElwain landed five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey, Rivals.com’s No. 4 overall player in the country. The Apopka, Fla., product is an in-state prospect Florida hoped would stay home. McElwain needed that boost after missing on a couple of recruits earlier in the day. The Gators lost a total of seven offensive linemen from last year’s roster.
11:50 a.m. -- Top OT recruit Ivey chooses Florida
The 6-foot-5, 271-pound offensive tackle is a big addition for a Gators' line that returns just one starter from 2014 after tackle D.J. Humphries and guard Tyler Moore opted to leave early for the NFL draft. Although offensive line recruits rarely contribute right away, he will be a key figure in Florida's rebuilding offense, which ranked 90th last season in yards per play. Ivey is renowned for his ability to pass block and run block with equal efficacy, and was named the U.S. Army National Player of the Year in January.
His commitment is a huge boon for head coach Jim McElwain’s first recruiting class, as Ivey is the only five-star 2015 prospect pick Florida. That Ivey chose the Gators over Auburn, where former Florida coach Will Muschamp was hired as offensive coordinator, makes him even more of a recruiting victory.
Muschamp landed two early blows Wednesday as he helped steer four-star linebacker Jeffery Holland andfive-star defensive end Byron Cowart to the Tigers instead of the Gators. If McElwain is to return Florida to a competitive SEC standing, he will need to land more heralded prospects like Ivey.
For more on Ivey's decision, check out Colin Becht's full analysis.
11:46 a.m. -- Touted LB Lewis to Mississippi State
Chris Johnson: Leo Lewis is signing with Mississippi State. The four-star inside linebacker revealed his decision at a ceremony at Brookhaven (Miss.) High on Wednesday. Lewis’ recruitment took several twists before he ultimately opted to sign with the Bulldogs.
He committed to Alabama on the day of the Crimson Tide’s spring game in April, but reopened his recruitment while visiting Mississippi State in July. Lewis then committed to Ole Miss in September but backed off of his pledge during a trip to LSU late last month.
Lewis is the top prospect in Mississippi and the No. 43 prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com. He joins Traver Jung, Jamal Peters and Timothy Washington as the fourth linebacker in Mississippi State’s 2015 class.
Lewis should instantly upgrade a linebacking corps that loses leading tackler and second-team All-SEC member Bernardrick McKinney to the NFL draft.
11:40 p.m. -- UCLA’s big day continues with Smith
Martin Rickman: Roquan Smith is headed to the West Coast. Rather than signing with in-state Georgia, the Macon County High star is signing with UCLA. “Just to go out and grow up on my own and experience something different,” Smith told ESPN when explaining his commitment on Wednesday.
At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Smith has the athleticism and size to excel as a linebacker. He has good speed and can make up for mistakes with his ability to pursue. A heady player who takes good angles, Smith is usually in the right spots.
The linebacker adds to an already impressive class. UCLA has landed a host of Signing Day standouts, including tailback Soso Jamabo, tight end Chris Clark and guard Josh Wariboko. That doesn’t even include five-star quarterback Josh Rosen, who enrolled early and is already on campus.
Smith should fit right in with what is quickly becoming a very impressive roster under Jim Mora. The Bruins won 10 games in 2014, and even though they lose quarterback Brett Hundley, they return defensive stars like Myles Jack and Eddie Vanderdoes. In short, next year could bring big things.
*Note: Roquan Smith may not definitively be headed to UCLA yet. He has reportedly not reached a final decision or signed his National Letter of Intent.
11:36 a.m. -- Four-star Weber stays with Ohio State
Chris Johnson: Mike Weber is sticking with Ohio State. The four-star running back initially pledged to the Buckeyes in December, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan amid uncertainty over former coach Brady Hoke’s future. After replacing Hoke in December, Jim Harbaugh tried to flip the Cass (Mich.) Tech standout, but Weber ultimately chose to honor his pledge to the defending national champions.
11:14 a.m. -- Dante Fowler Jr. weighs in on Cowart
Martin Rickman: Top-ranked overall recruit Byron Cowart signed with Auburn over Florida on Wednesday, but former Gators linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. isn’t mad, and doesn’t want Florida fans to be angry either.
Fowler and Cowart are close, with the latter adopting Fowler’s (and Dominique Easley’s) tradition of carrying around a Chucky doll to get in the “killer” mindset and approach the game with tenacity. After Cowart announced he would join the Tigers, who have former Florida coach Will Muschamp as their new defensive coordinator, there was obviously some disappointment among Gators fans.
Fowler wanted everyone to know how he felt, taking to Twitter with his thoughts.
Lol its funny to see our real gator fans on here. Yall funny. What you want me to grab Byron by his throat and force him to come to UF— Dante fowler (@dantefowler) February 4, 2015
He is his own man and he has his own dreams weather it's playing for AU or UF . It's not my decision or YOURS, it's BYRON decision— Dante fowler (@dantefowler) February 4, 2015
Cause at the End of the day it's his life Not Mines or yours so no matter how mad you get you can't fault the Kid— Dante fowler (@dantefowler) February 4, 2015
No hard feelings UF. You should've known, this is how signing day goes. You win some you lose some.— Dante fowler (@dantefowler) February 4, 2015
11:00 a.m. -- Four-star DT Beckner picks Mizzou
Chris Johnson: Terry Beckner Jr. is headed to Missouri. As tears streamed down his face, the No. 5 defensive tackle in the country, per Rivals.com, revealed his college choice on ESPNU on Wednesday morning when he held up a black-and-gold Mizzou banner.
The Tigers had been recruiting Beckner for a long time, but their late push to land him paid off. During his recent visit to Columbia, Beckner attended a basketball game, where students chanted his name while wearing yellow “#DLineZou” shirts with his No. 79. After the visit, Beckner and his parents reportedly told Missouri's staff that it was the “best feeling” they had on any visit.
Beckner is renowned for his combination of strength and power, which should allow him to play several positions along the line. Though the Tigers have fielded a number of talented defensive linemen in recent years -- including Shane Ray, Markus Golden, Kony Ealy and Michael Sam -- none was as highly touted as Beckner coming out of high school.
The Tigers are losing second-team All-SEC member Golden and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Ray, which makes Beckner's addition even more critical.
10:45 a.m. -- Tennessee flips coveted tackle
Zac Ellis: Tennessee added another big brick to coach Butch Jones’ foundation in Knoxville in five-star offensive tackle Drew Richmond. He is the fourth five-star signee in the Volunteers' 2015 class.
Hailing from Memphis (Tenn.) University School, Richmond is the No. 12 overall player in the country and the top-rated prospect in Tennessee, per Rivals.com. He is No. 2 offensive tackle prospect in the country.
The 6-5, 323-pound Richmond was as a longtime Ole Miss pledge, but appeared to recently open up his recruitment. He visited Tennessee over the weekend before completing his flip to the Vols on Wednesday.
Kahlil McKenzie, a fellow five-star Vols’ signee and the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the country, might have aided Richmond’s change of heart. Last weekend McKenzie taunted Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze on Twitter, alleging that he helped convince Richmond to head to Knoxville.
This is another important addition to Jones’ youthful squad. Tennessee had to replace every starter on the offensive and defensive lines heading into 2014. Next year the school is set to return 18 starters, and adding players like Richmond and McKenzie will bring necessary depth in the trenches.
10:37 a.m. -- Ohio State flips four-star from Bama
Chris Johnson: Isaiah Prince announced that he has decided to sign with Ohio State. His decision comes hours after four-star receiver K.J. Hill and quarterback Torrance Gibson declared their intentions to sign with the Buckeyes.
Prince, a standout at Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.) High, committed to Alabama late last month, but subsequent visits to Ohio State and Maryland boosted their programs’ chances of landing the four-star offensive tackle on National Signing Day.
In the end, Prince spurned the Crimson Tide and the nearby Terrapins in favor of joining a Buckeyes' class that counts six other offensive linemen: four-star Grant Schmidt, three-star Mirko Jurkovic Jr., three-star Brandon Bowen, four-star Matthew Burrell Jr., four-star Kevin Feder and two-star Liam McCullough.
While the Buckeyes’ 2015 offensive line haul is impressive, the program also landed five players in that position group a year ago. That’s a scary thought for opponents who saw Ohio State dominate Oregon up front and repeatedly open up big holes for Ezekiel Elliott in the national title game.
10:07 a.m. -- Auburn gets dynamic threat Davis
Gabriel Baumgaertner: Widely considered to be part of a “package deal” with top-ranked recruit Byron Cowart, wide receiver Ryan Davis committed to Auburn on Wednesday morning. The 5-10 speedster chose the Tigers over Florida and Maryland, extending an impressive Signing Day for Gus Malzahn’s program.
The Lakewood, Fla., product was one of the Gators’ primary targets under former coach Muschamp. While the interest didn’t wane once Jim McElwain accepted the Florida job, both Muschamp and Davis’ primary recruiter, Travaris Robinson, accepted jobs with the Tigers. After Cowart, Davis’ friend, committed to Auburn early Wednesday morning, Davis was widely considered a Tigers lock.
One of the more versatile players in the 2015 class, Davis has the dynamism to line up all over the field. He could be a formidable weapon in a quick-strike attack.
9:33 a.m. -- Five-star back Jamabo chooses UCLA
Zac Ellis: UCLA added a third five-star recruit to its 2015 class on Wednesday when highly touted Plano, Texas, back Soso Jamabo committed to the Bruins.
Jamabo, the No. 1 player in Texas and No. 22 prospect overall, according to Rivals.com, is a huge get for coach Mora. The tailback joins Josh Rosen, Rivals.com’s No. 1 quarterback in the country, and defensive end Keisean Lucier-South as the Bruins’ trio of five-star signees.
Jamabo told ESPNU his relationship with UCLA’s other blue-chip prospects -- specifically Rosen -- helped solidify his commitment.
“I text him on a weekly basis,” Jamabo said of Rosen. “He’s obviously the best quarterback in the country, and I’ve developed a great relationship with him.”
For more on Jamabo's decision, check out Zac Ellis' full analysis.
9:18 a.m. -- No. 1 overall recruit goes to Auburn
Martin Rickman: The decision has been made. Byron Cowart, the No. 1 overall prospect in the recruiting class of 2015, according to Rivals.com, has finally made his choice. The explosive defensive end is headed to Auburn.
Simply put, Cowart looks like he was engineered in a lab to rush the quarterback. He is strong, fast and has shown that rare ability to use both of those things to his advantage pretty much whenever he wants. In the week leading up to the Under Armour All-America Game, Cowart showcased that early and often. He was an absolute terror in drills, and ultimately earned MVP honors for his team.
The 6-4 defensive lineman out of Armwood (Fla.) High seems to elevate his game when he’s around other elite players, which should bode well in the SEC, where one can’t punt a football without hitting a former five-star recruit. Cowart and the rest of Auburn’s 2015 class are tasked with rebuilding a Tigers’ defense that was a letdown in ’14. Auburn coach Malzahn brought in Muschamp as his coordinator to fix things, and that was the school's in with Cowart, who had already established a very good relationship with the former Florida coach.
That relationship mattered to Cowart, allowing the Tigers to make a late push.
For more on Cowart's signing, read Martin Rickman's full analysis.
9:04 a.m. -- Top-rated tight end Clark picks UCLA
Chris Johnson: Chris Clark, the nation’s top-ranked tight end prospect, is signing with UCLA. Clark revealed his decision on ESPNU on Wednesday morning by slipping on a blue Bruins cap.
Clark was formerly committed to Michigan, but renounced his pledge after former coach Hoke was dismissed in December. Harbaugh’s arrival in Ann Arbor renewed Clark’s interest in the school (at one point, he compared Harbaugh to LeBron James), but it wasn’t enough to sway him. He took visits to Michigan and UCLA last month and recently hosted Harbaugh for an in-home visit, but the Wolverines’ late push was not enough to hold off UCLA.
It’s welcome news for the Bruins, who were actively recruiting a tight end after losing Alize Jones, the nation’s No. 4 tight end, to Notre Dame in January.
Clark is the No. 2 prospect in Connecticut and No. 79 prospect in the country. He should instantly form a strong partnership with fellow Bruins commitment Rosen, the top quarterback prospect in the 2015 class.
8:53 a.m. -- Ohio State nabs two four-stars
Zac Ellis: Ohio State kicked off National Signing Day with a couple of splashes, as the national champions secured the signatures of four-star dual-threat quarterback Torrance Gibson and four-star wide receiver K.J. Hill.
Gibson was previously committed to the Buckeyes, but took official visits to LSU, Auburn and Miami last month. A supremely athletic quarterback, he wanted to remain under center in college rather than change positions. Ohio State had told him it would allow him to do so, but speculation rose that that the Buckeyes’ crowded quarterback depth chart -- Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will all compete for the starting job this fall -- might lead Gibson to sign elsewhere.
However, Gibson reaffirmed his commitment to Ohio State with his announcement at a ceremony at American Heritage (Fla.) School. He’s the No. 15 dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 class, according to Rivals.com, and should give the Buckeyes even more depth at that position for the future.
Ohio State also secured the commitment of Hill after the 6-foot, 190-pound wideout flirted with Alabama and Arkansas. The No. 2 player in Arkansas and No. 18 receiver in the country, Hill has the talent to push for playing time immediately.
8:29 a.m. -- Texas flips a pair early
Ben Glicksman: Ryan Newsome, a three-star wide receiver from Aledo, Texas, has flipped from UCLA to the hometown Longhorns. He initially pledged to the Bruins in January, but has since changed his mind. Newsome is the No. 47 receiver in the 2015 recruiting class, according to Rivals.com.
Texas also flipped James Locke, a three-star safety from Beaumont, Texas, from Oregon on Wednesday morning. The 'Horns are looking to finish strong.
Welcome to SI.com’s National Signing Day blog!
Today is the day. After plenty of anticipation, of endless speculation and hype, National Signing Day has finally arrived. The futures of some high-profile prospects will gain clarity: Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart, cornerback Iman Marshall and offensive lineman Martez Ivey -- three of the top four recruits in the 2015 class, according to Rivals.com -- are set to make their college choices.
So, who will land where? And which schools will close with a flourish? We’ll find out as Wednesday’s fax machine-related drama transpires.
Here is a list of early announcements to keep an eye on:
8:30 a.m. -- Chris Clark, TE, Avon, Conn.
9 a.m. -- Byron Cowart, DE, Seffner, Fla.
9 a.m. -- Soso Jamabo, RB, Plano, Texas
9 a.m. -- Drew Richmond, OL, Memphis, Tenn.
10 a.m. -- Terry Beckner, DL, East St. Louis, Ill.
10 a.m. -- Ryan Davis, WR, St. Petersburg, Fla.