College football’s 2019 recruiting cycle came to an end with the arrival of the sport’s traditional National Signing Day. Even though most of the action happened just before Christmas (87 of the top 100 prospects in the 247Sports Composite rankings sent in their national letters of intent during the three-day early signing period, now in its second year of existence), the first Wednesday in February still holds symbolic significance as a springboard into spring practice and a tone-setter for the long offseason ahead.
Here's a look back at all the action as the few remaining big names revealed their decisions and the final class rankings took shape. (Unless otherwise specified, all prospect and class rankings below are pulled from the 247Sports Composite.)
4:30 p.m. ET: Vols get their big prize in Darnell Wright
• The highest-ranked player to wait until February's National Signing Day to send in a National Letter of Intent was five-star OT Darnell Wright, and at last, Wright has confirmed the suspicions of most experts and announced he will join the Vols' 2019 recruiting class. Wright described fellow Tennessee five-star OT signee Wanya Morris as "the homie", and those two blue-chippers are a big reason why Jeremy Pruitt's 2019 class could end up scratching at the top 10 in the rankings by the end of the day.
• Washington is neck-and-neck with USC for the Pac-12's second-best class behind Oregon, and the Huskies held serve by securing the signature of four-star LB and Polynesian Bowl MVP Daniel Heimuli.
3 p.m. ET: A big stretch for Tennessee begins
• As The Athletic's David Ubben points out, the Vols' biggest targets all waited until the late afternoon (Knoxville time) to announce their decisions. As of now, Tennessee has the No. 16 class in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Jeremy Pruitt will be sticking by his TV set.
The good news started early when four-star OLB Henry To'oto'o chose the Vols over Alabama from De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif.
• To'oto'o's De La Salle (Calif.) High teammate DE Isaiah Foskey picked Notre Dame on ESPNU. Foskey is a four-star end and one of the top 30 players in the state of California.
• New Kansas linebacker Gavin Potter has shut down the race for the best/most awkward public commitment of the day.
• Manny Diaz's work in the transfer portal continues: Miami picks up former Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill, who was dismissed the day after the Hokies' upset loss to Old Dominion in September.
2 p.m. ET: Amite High School Announcements Cut Both Ways for LSU
• Amite (La.) High School had back-to-back announcements on ESPN2 that sent LSU fans on a roller-coaster. First, four-star WR Devonta Lee committed to LSU, but then four-star DT Ishmael Sopsher picked Alabama over the Tigers. This fall, SI’s Ross Dellenger went long on Sopsher's recruitment as one of many battles between Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron.
• South Carolina checks in with a nice get in four-star defensive tackle Jaquaze Sorrells, who picked the Gamecocks over Penn State and Alabama.
• Colquitt County (Ga.) High School's signing day ceremony brought some good news for Auburn, which held onto offensive lineman Kamaar Bell despite heavy interest from Florida State, and LSU, which pulled in three-star cornerback Jay Ward, whom Kentucky was also in the mix on.
• Georgia brought home one of the players it expected to send in his NLI today, locking in three-star tight end Brett Seither, ranked No. 34 in the nation at his position.
1 p.m. ET: Kaiir Elam picks Florida
• The Benjamin School (Fla.) four-star athlete Kaiir Elam is heading to Gainesville. Elam is the No. 7 overall recruit from the state of Florida and the second-highest uncommitted defensive player heading into National Signing Day. Georgia, Miami and Colorado were the other members of his final four.
• Another top uncommitted defender will wait beyond Wednesday, as FSU commit Nick Cross won't make anything official yet.
• The Buckeyes headed west—way west—to bolster their offensive line. Kahuku (Hawaii) four-star offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi is signing with Ohio State over USC and Oklahoma after making Columbus his final visit.
• If Nick Saban's appearance on ESPN2 is to be believed, five-star DE Eyabi Anoma is out of the transfer portal after the highest-rated player in Alabama's 2018 class reportedly pursued a transfer earlier this week.
Noon ET: Jerrion Ealy Picks Ole Miss as Big-Name Signings Roll In
• Wellington (Fla.) High School four-star RB Mark-Antony Richards has announced he is signing with Auburn over Florida, Miami, Tennessee and Penn State.
• Five-star RB Jerrion Ealy, who may be a first-round pick in the MLB draft, has committed to Ole Miss over Alabama and Clemson. Ealy told ESPN2 that "baseball has my heart" and that he was planning to play both sports in Oxford unless pro baseball makes him an offer he can't refuse.
• Class rankings update: Alabama has lost a bit of ground to Georgia with this morning’s movement, but the Tide look to still be holding strong atop the 247Sports Composite leaderboard.
• Morale is high in Tallahassee after the Seminoles lost out to Maryland in the Lance Legendre sweepstakes—just check in on SBNation’s excellent FSU blog Tomahawk Nation.
• Vanderbilt makes it official with Ball State grad transfer Riley Neal, who has a good chance to replace Kyle Shurmur as the Commodores' starting QB.
11 a.m. ET: Some good news for USC
• Mike Locksley’s recruiting impact has already been felt at Maryland: The Terps just beat out Florida State for four-star Warren Easton (La.) QB Lance LeGendre, who had been considered likely to go to Florida State. We should have known from the fresh suit.
• Auburn may have just lost a five-star an hour ago, but it got a nice boost along the defensive line with the commitment of Charles Moore, a four-star end out of Louisville, Miss., who was the No. 4 player in the state.
• After losing five-star WR Bru McCoy to Texas in the wake of Kliff Kingsbury’s departure to be the Cardinals’ head coach, USC hung onto the other five-star wideout in its class. Orange Lutheran (Calif.) High School’s Kyle Ford stuck with his commitment. Ford tore his ACL during his senior season but should have a path to playing time once he’s back to 100%. The Trojans also flipped three-star CB Adonis Otey from his previous commitment to Arkansas.
• Some interesting numbers behind the drama drain of the early signing period:
10:15 a.m. ET: George Pickens Flips to Georgia
• One of the three five-stars still unsigned entering Wednesday is off the board, and it's a stunner: Receiver George Pickens, the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama who had been committed to Auburn, has elected to sign with Georgia. The Bulldogs now have five five-stars in the fold.
• Four-star defensive tackle Byron Young is sticking with Alabama—he’s the No. 8 DT in the class. The West Jones (Miss.) High School product initially committed to the Crimson Tide late at night on the Fourth of July but had drawn plenty of SEC suitors.
• Christian Williams, he of the reportedly green-and-orange cake, is not sticking with Alabama: He has flipped to Miami, continuing Manny Diaz's remarkable work turning around that class.
• Three-star center Logan Sagapolu had some work to do at his home in Utah before signing with Oregon’s top-10 class today.
9:30 a.m. ET: Another Alabama flip coming?
• We are officially on Cake Watch for four-star cornerback Christian Williams.
• Geoff Collins and Georgia Tech started National Signing Day right: With a workout and some Waffle House.
• Oklahoma’s magical video-playing record collection is back, this time to announce the signing of four-star DE David Ugwoegbu, out of Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas.
8:30 a.m. ET: Florida flips an Alabama commit
• The Gators are off and running as Dan Mullen puts the finishing touches on his first full recruiting class in Gainesville, flipping Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) High School defensive end Khris Bogle, a four-star who committed to Alabama during the All-America Bowl on Jan. 5. Bogle was one of four Crimson Tide commits who still needed to make things official today, and he's heading to the SEC East instead.
The Gators also made it official with four-star linebacker Diwun Black, who committed in August.
• Virginia made a little history to start the day, making Germany's Luke Wentz the first European quarterback to sign with a Power 5 school. Bryce Perkins will be back behind center in Charlottesville after a breakout year, but no matter when he sees the field, Wentz will be breaking some new ground. Also, the lack of hashmarks in this highlight package is jarring.
• Four-star WR and longtime USC commit Puka Nacua will not become four-star WR and USC signee Puka Nacua, at least not today. According to the Deseret News, the top-ranked player in Utah (and co-Polynesian Bowl MVP, along with Alabama-bound Taulia Tagovailoa) will hold off on announcing his college decision. He visited UCLA and Oregon just before signing day. The Trojans, which have five other commits who still need to sign on the dotted line today, could be in for a nerve-wracking few hours this afternoon.
7 a.m. ET: The Day Ahead
• Can’t wait for the faxes to start firing? Here’s some reading material from SI’s team of college football writers to get you ready for the day ahead.
Scooby Axson ran down the five big-picture storylines that have helped the February signing day retain some intrigue this year. Ross Dellenger dove deep on the murky world of “uncommittable” scholarship offers and found some staggering numbers behind a recruiting trend that has coaches and players concerned. Joan Niesen set the table for a handful of quarterback situations that top-ranked incoming true freshmen could have a say in by year’s end. And Andy Staples caught up with new Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins as he engineers (get it?) a full-scale rebrand at a program that spent the last 11 years running the triple option.
• Miami got the festivities started with a splash from the other side of the world: 6'4", 215-pound junior college punter Louis Hedley checked in from Australia to officially join Manny Diaz's first signing class a few hours ahead of the crowd on Tuesday evening. Hedley, who committed to the Hurricanes last fall, is a fascinating character. Just look at this guy and tell me the Ray Guy Award race hasn’t already been settled:
The Miami Herald has the full story on how Hedley went from working as a scaffolder and playing third-tier Aussie rules football to becoming the most colorful member of Miami’s signing class.
• The Crimson Tide appear to be safe atop the class rankings, but there’s still some palace intrigue in Tuscaloosa to monitor. Tuesday’s news that defensive end Eyabi Anoma, the highest-rated recruit in Alabama’s 2018 class, was entering the transfer portal, coupled with the announcement that four-star QB Carson Beck had decommitted from the 2020 class, count as cracks in the flawless armor for a program that has finished with the No. 1 ranking in every recruiting cycle but one this decade.
Alabama is still in on several high-profile names, including Ealy, Sopsher and To'oto'o, and it must ward off outside advances on four committed players, led by four-star defensive linemen Khris Bogle and Byron Young.