Three interesting takeaways from the class rankings as they stood at the end of National Signing Day 2018.
It's been nearly one month since Alabama's thrilling 26–23 overtime win over Georgia in the national championship game, but it'd be a mistake to say we're in the college football offseason. That's because there is no offseason in college football—as the saying goes, 'crootin never sleeps.
Wednesday was National Signing Day, which historically has been the first day high school seniors can sign National Letters of Intent with college programs. But this was the first recruiting cycle with an early signing period—seniors were allowed to sign with teams over the 72 hours from Dec 20 to 22, and the vast majority of the country's best players did exactly that. Of the 29 five-star recruits in the 247Sports Composite rankings, 23 had already signed with their program of choice before the new year. The vast majority of players in the top 150 had already signed, too.
That's not to say Wednesday is no longer an important day, because it still was. Six five-stars still had to sign—as did a number of quality four-stars—and some key players who had given verbal commits flipped when it came time to sign the papers.
Here were the top 50 class of 2018 hauls, according to the 247Sports Composite, which collects rankings from several recruiting services to develop a consensus. Below the list, a few notes on what we can learn from who landed where.
2. Ohio State
5. Penn State
10. Notre Dame
11. Florida State
17. Texas A&M
19. South Carolina
23. North Carolina
24. Virginia Tech
26. NC State
27. Mississippi State
31. Ole Miss
32. Michigan State
33. Oklahoma State
35. West Virginia
37. Arizona State
45. Washington State
• Here’s where the first-year head coaches who made the top 50 landed: Willie Taggart (Florida State, No. 11); Dan Mullen (Florida, No. 14); Mario Cristobal (Oregon, No. 16); Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M, No. 17); Chip Kelly (UCLA, No. 18); Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee, No. 20); Scott Frost (Nebraska, No. 22); Joe Moorhead (Mississippi State, No. 27); Matt Luke (Ole Miss, No. 31); Herm Edwards (Arizona State, No. 37). Taggart and Fisher in particular made encouraging late pushes to lift classes that were temporarily ravaged by Jimbo Fisher’s move from Tallahassee to College Station.
• Alabama finished outside the top three for the first time since 2007, Nick Saban’s first year in Tuscaloosa. At one point this summer, the Crimson Tide sat an eye-popping 47th in Scout.com’s rankings, but that depressed rating was due in part to the relatively small size of the class—most rating systems tend to value quantity over quality. After uncertain starts to both signing periods, Nick Saban’s staff closed strong, landing five-star defensive end Eyabi Anoma during the early period and top Texas wide receiver Jaylen Waddle late on Wednesday. Merely ending up in the top 10 is far from a cause for alarm.
• Cincinnati is the lone Group of Five team in the top 50, pacing the American with an overall class rating of .8506, according to the 247Sports Composite. That augurs well after a 4–8 finish in Luke Fickell’s first season in charge.