- For the second straight year and third time in the last four years, Alabama finished National Signing Day with the top recruiting class in the country.
Denied another national championship on the field less than a month earlier, Alabama could not be stopped from seizing another title on the recruiting trail. For the second straight year and the third time in the last four seasons, the Crimson Tide finish National Signing Day with the top recruiting class in the country, according to Scout.com.
Coach Nick Saban and his staff finished strong on signing day, landing commitments from five-star Devonta Smith and highly touted four-stars LaBryan Ray and Henry Ruggs, among others. Those pledges joined a group of 12 prospects who enrolled early at Alabama, including No. 1 overall recruit Najee Harris.
In a remarkable feat even by the Crimson Tide’s lofty standards, four-star defensive end Jarez Parks, the No. 68 overall recruit in the class of 2017, appears poised to take a grayshirt at Alabama due to a lack of remaining scholarships rather than accept a scholarship at another school.
While the Tide once again top the recruiting rankings, they were not the only victory on National Signing Day as several other programs, particularly USC and Florida, finished strong. Here are the top 25 classes in the country, according to Scout.com's rankings:
Kirby Smart signed a spectacular second class anchored by five-star athlete DeAngelo Gibbs and four-star offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson. If it all goes right, this could one day be the class that returns Georgia to the SEC elite.
Meyer’s recruiting acumen is proven at this point. What was most impressive about this class was his ability to poach Texas’s top players (Jeffrey Okudah, Baron Browning) away from the state’s flagship programs. Of the six five-star players the Buckeyes signed, none hails from the state of Ohio.
The Sooners once again reached into California and grabbed two notable talents (Grant Calcaterra and Addison Gumbs) to help solidify easily the Big 12’s best class.
The Aggies have a bad habit of disappointing on the field, but head coach Kevin Sumlin is still signing strong recruiting classes. Five-star linebacker Anthony Hines and four-star safety Derric Turner are great additions to College Station.
Five-star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley and a signing day commitment from four-star defensive end Markaviest Bryant helped keep the Tigers near the top of the rankings.
DJ Durkin proved his recruiting mettle by selling the Terps, a consistently middling program, to several high-profile recruits. Getting running back Cordarrian Richardson may give Maryland the exposure the program has needed for years. If this class is any indication, Durkin was a home-run hire last season.
The 4–8 record in 2016 didn’t hurt the Irish’s recruiting efforts. Notre Dame signed two promising tight ends (Brock Wright, Cole Kmet), a top inside linebacker (David Adams), and flipped three-star athlete Jordan Genemark-Heath from Cal just this past week.
James Franklin capitalized on Penn State’s strong play at the end of the season to sign a talented recruiting class. Pennsylvania native Lamont Wade, a five-star cornerback, stayed home, a huge win for Franklin in a conference populated by Harbaugh and Meyer.
Willie Taggart’s first effort looks like a success. Cornerback Thomas Graham is considered one of the most promising defensive players in greater Southern California, and cornerback Deommodore Lenoir is another strong addition. For a team with one of the nation’s worst secondaries last year, this was not a bad place to invest.
Mark Richt won plenty of difficult recruiting fights in his home state, but maybe his most impressive pull was landing defensive end D.J. Johnson from Sacramento. Speed demon Jeff Thomas is another strong addition for the Hurricanes.
Mike Riley landed his best class yet since taking over the Huskers, highlighted by wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey (a former Ohio State commit) and a trio of stars from the L.A. area (CB Elijah Blades, QB Tristan Gebbia and WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr.). It’s also notable for the pair of signees with famous football fathers in Johnson and FB Ben Miles, the son of former LSU coach Les Miles.
The Gamecocks bounced back on the field in 2016 and they’re poised to continue trending upward with Will Muschamp’s first full recruiting class. Perhaps their biggest win came when four-star athlete Jamyest Williams announced Wednesday that he’d be sticking with his South Carolina commitment.
The Hokies’ class is headlined by in-state prospect Devon Hunter, the top safety in the country, who you know defensive coordinator Bud Foster is amped to add to the mix. With Jerod Evans’s surprise departure to the NFL, QBs Hendon Hooker and A.J. Bush (a juco product like Evans) could be in the mix to start right away.
The six four-stars in this class should help the Spartans rebound from their disappointing 3–9 season. Michigan State limped to the finish though; on National Signing Day, DT Joe Spivak chose to walk on at Northwestern over a scholarship offer from the Spartans, and news broke that three-star DE commit Donovan Winter was in jail on charges of burglary and larceny of a firearm and thus wouldn’t sign.
Chris Petersen capitalized on the Huskies’ breakthrough season by landing his deepest class since arriving in Seattle. Hunter Bryant is the No. 2 tight end in the country and could become a favorite target of Jake Browning right away, while Henry Bainivalu looks like a future road-grader on the O-line.
What David Shaw lacks in quantity (just 14 commits) he more than makes up for in quality; the Cardinal are tied for fourth in the country in average star rating. Stanford landed the nation’s top two offensive tackles (Foster Sarell and Walker Little), the top QB (Davis Mills) and the top tight end (Colby Parkinson). Sarell, Little and Mills give Shaw three of the top 10 overall prospects in the country.
The Bulldogs’ biggest coup came on National Signing Day when rangy LB Willie Gay elected to stay home rather than head to LSU. Several juco prospects could make an instant impact, including DT Chauncey Rivers and S Brian Cole (who started his career at Michigan), both of whom hail from Last Chance U’s East Mississippi CC.