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Alabama Pulls in No. 1 Recruiting Class on National Signing Day 2021

Crimson Tide, Texas A&M Aggies battle it out at the top of the rankings

Few will soon forget what the first day of the 2021 college football Early Signing Period included. 

The No. 1 player in America picked an FCS program after being committed to Florida State for well over one year, two dozen flips went down and the proverbial rich got richer along the way. 

As the early evening dust settles, though, a familiar name and face tops the list of class hauls to close out the de facto National Signing Day -- it's Alabama.

But it was very close. 

Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher, who have been the hottest program on the trail since upsetting the Crimson Tide on the field in late October, made every commitment count and could be on their way to the top spot at the period continues through Friday. The Aggies inked three new SI99 recruits on Wednesday, the same number as Alabama (and Florida, by the way), in addition to pass rusher Enai White while maintaining the status for the top defensive recruit in America -- Walter Nolen. 

Alabama countered with key additions at positions of need including in the secondary and in the future of the pass rush, including SI99 members Earl Little, Jr. and Jihaad Campbell in addition to wide receiver Shazz Preston, holding off poachers for most other commitments along the way. The haul has Alabama with more SI99 recruits in 2022, at 13 with room to add more, than the entire top-ranked class of 2021 (12).

Georgia, as predicted, rounds out the end-of-day top three with a rock solid day on its own end, adding top 10 recruit Marvin Jones, Jr. and holding off Florida for a pair of flip candidates on defense along the way. 

Sports Illustrated ranks recruiting classes subjectively with an emphasis on top-end talent, premium position acquisition, the addressing of team needs and development of the quarterback room. With those notes in mind, the signing day top 25 as of the evening of December 15 appears as such.

1. Alabama

24 Verbal Commitments, 13 SI99 Members

The Crimson Tide added a trio of SI99 recruits and held onto a couple with some flip chatter around their name including QB Ty Simpson and WR Aaron Anderson. Losing in-state linebacker Robert Woodyard was expected, though missing on Shemar James was not. 

2. Texas A&M

25 Verbal Commitments, 11 SI99 Members

Aggies pushed for the top and still may eventually get there having added a trio of SI99 recruits on their own end while holding onto others. Top wide receiver Evan Stewart's NLI didn't come in, creating a bit of worry on an otherwise strong day in College Station. 

3. Georgia

27 Verbal Commitments, 9 SI99 Members

UGA did a good job holding onto its own commitments while working a top 10 grab of Jones, Jr. along the way.

4. Texas 

27 Verbal Commitments, 6 SI99 Members

The best offensive line haul in the class belongs to Steve Sarkisian and the Horns, who have added four to the haul in the last week. Flipping No. 1 nickel Terrance Brooks was arguably the most impressive non-Jackson State pickup of the entire day.

5. Ohio State

18 Verbal Commitments, 5 SI99 Members

The reclassification of Sonny Styles into the 2022 class, officially, along with the addition of quarterback Devin Brown helps to hold the Buckeyes in the top five despite the loss of Brooks. 

6. Penn State

24 Verbal Commitments, 4 SI99 Members

The Nittany Lions lost a pledge to Maryland in Andre Roye on an otherwise quiet day, which is good news when a top 10 class is in place. 

7. Notre Dame

21 Verbal Commitments, 4 SI99 Members

The Irish didn't add a prospect to the signing day haul despite being in the mix for a few. Losing out on SI99 cornerback Devin Moore to in-state Florida and suffering a slip to Michigan pushed Marcus Freeman's class out of the top five.

8. Michigan

24 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members

The Wolverines had an active day, adding an astounding five recruits, including multiple flips. It lost out on one flip and didn't close in the trenches ideally but a secondary haul with a pair of SI99 recruits will do. Former Clemson pledge Keon Sabb was among those to join the fold Wednesday.  

9. Kentucky

20 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members

Holding off poachers from Kiyaunta Goodwin while working wins in the state of Michigan (Deone Walker), Alabama (Jakobi Albert) and overcoming the loss of DB Decarlos Nicholson by adding fellow JUCO star Zay Frazier. Mark Stoops has done quite the job in Lexington and recruiting is translating. 

10. Missouri

16 Verbal Commitments, 2 SI99 Members

The Tigers have been steady all cycle, countering a strong offensive haul with a big win in defensive lineman DJ Wesolak Wednesday over several programs.

11. North Carolina

17 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member

12. Tennessee 

20 Verbal Commitments

13. Auburn

18 Verbal Commitments, 3 SI99 Members

14. Stanford

21 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member

15. Clemson

13 Verbal Commitments, 5 SI99 Members

16. Oklahoma

15 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member

17. Mississippi State

22 Verbal Commitments, 

18. Arkansas

21 Verbal Commitments

19. Michigan State

22 Verbal Commitments

20. South Carolina

21 Verbal Commitments

21. Florida State

15 Verbal Commits, 1 SI99 Member

22. Ole Miss

18 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member

23. Indiana

19 Verbal Commitments

24. Boston College

22 Verbal Commitments

25. Cincinnati

20 Verbal Commitments, 1 SI99 Member

Under Consideration: Maryland, LSU, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Baylor, Utah