Anyone with SEC fatigue after two College Football Playoff blowouts should look away now.
Those who shun recruiting rankings may as well, too, because the future of Texas A&M, Alabama and Georgia feels secure in multiple ways. While the national title game makes one argument, the future is where the Aggies hold buzz. The program overtook conference foes for the top class in the country to wrap up the Early Signing Period in December, and the Aggies added to the haul Sunday with the headlining commitment at the Under Armour All-America Game.
SI99 linebacker Harold Perkins jumped on board to bolster that top group and in true gaudy fashion -- A&M may still add to it. Ohio State and Oklahoma also added verbal commitments to their respective classes of 2022 in between what became a competitive game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, won by Team Icons over Team Legends, 23-17.
The pledges and performances are often remembered more than the final score of the high school showcase, so Sports Illustrated recaps what college football fans need to know of its next wave.
LB Harold Perkins to Texas A&M
Why not? The No. 1 class gets stronger with the top undecided linebacker in the country jumping on board. The in-stater also became the 13th SI99 recruit to pick A&M, tying Alabama to date in the class of 2022. A&M's haul is especially gaudy at the top of the rankings in terms of quality. The No. 2, 6, 10, 12, 19 and 32-ranked recruits were already signed to the program and now Perkins -- No. 37 -- is officially committed. Just as impressively is what Jimbo Fisher and company have done in the greater Houston metro, as Perkins becomes the 11th prospect from the area to join the class. Seven from the group are SI99 members.
DE Omari Abor to Ohio State
Ohio State flexes nationally like few programs can, especially when it comes to pass rushers, so adding a Texan to the fold fits both a need and furthers the national narrative. However, Abor announced shortly after picking the Buckeyes, that he will indeed take a trip to see Mario Cristobal's operation at Miami as well as a return to one-time favorite College Station before pen meets paper on February 2 for the traditional National Signing Day. It's never over until it's over, but the Buckeyes had been trending for the Duncanville (Texas) star for some time.
RB Jovantae Barnes to Oklahoma
Oklahoma had one scholarship running back suit up for its bowl game last week so to day it needs depth at the position would be an understatement for new coach Brent Venables. Barnes silently signed with the Sooners in December (yes, this is a thing) in order to have his moment on the national stage for Sunday's announcement. He joins Colorado's Gavin Sawchuk in the class at the position, as each has the potential to contribute sooner than later. Also. OU is still showing some potential to recruit offensive talent on the west coast with Barnes pledging from powerhouse Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman.
1. Missouri wide receiver signee and SI99 recruit Luther Burden had a great week and emphasized it right out of the gate Sunday. The alpha pass catcher took an easy short catch, broke A&M signee Bobby Taylor's tackle and took his first touch to the house in smooth fashion. Missouri keeping him local was a big story and it would be smart to expect a relatively early impact for the East Saint Louis star in the SEC East. Burden finished with a game-high 86 yards receiving.
2. Walter Nolen, just wow. The top-ranked defensive recruit, also an A&M signee, flashed during Sunday's effort. The play that provided a glimpse to his potential came early on, as he split a double team en route to a powerful tackle for loss. When Nolen wants to power up, few can hold ground in front of him. Nolen finished with three tackles and forced a fumble.
3. Zach Rice is a long and relatively lean offensive tackle prospect at 6'6", 295 pounds, but don't mistake it for a lack of aggressive nature. Rice was more than willing to play at the point of contact, even pushing too far for a personal foul early on. Rice showed interior offensive line grit and even some hustle while making a big hit to stop a fumble return that may have gone the distance. Rice signed with North Carolina last month.
4. Tyler Booker could play four offensive line spots at Alabama and he looked quite comfortable all afternoon long while working on the left side. As Icons built the lead, Booker's lead block sprung IMG Academy teammate and Penn State signee Kaytron Allen into end zone. Winning against a stout Missouri signee in Marquis Gracial, who had success against others, was impressive. Booker can maul with the best of 'em but also has tackle upside.
5. Derrick Moore may have been the story of the game on and off the field. On it, he had his own sack party in registering three sacks to take home MVP honors from the ESPN broadcast crew. The Michigan signee, though, made it known all week who he was competing for. It was for Aaron Wilson, his Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy teammate, who passed away from cancer in April. Hat tip to the UA/ESPN group for hosting the Wilson family and telling his story via Moore throughout the broadcast.
6. Clemson signee Jeadyn Lukus' length and ball skills were hard to miss during the day. He flashed it on a pass breakup but especially on a leaping interception in the third quarter. On the latter, the in-state defensive back signee for the Tigers showed an awareness of his responsibility to sink in zone coverage, but understanding the concept behind it and trusting his athleticism to bait the passer.
7. Chris Marshall is an SI99 wide receiver we're stock up on. His extreme length and a smooth approach to the football makes his catch radius wide and the margin for error even wider for those targeting the Texan, something seen often in his game-high six catches. If you haven't yet realized, A&M's class is special from top to bottom.
8. Of course the future Aggie quarterback, Connor Weigman, also impressed Sunday. He is a two-sport star who is just now prioritizing football over baseball, so the best is still well in front of the Texan. His athleticism often shines through in evaluating his game but no passer pushed the ball down the field in prettier fashion than Weigman did during the game. He dropped three different dimes over his targets' shoulders with relative ease, including one where he was flushed to his weak side (left) in the process.
9. Kaytron Allen is the recruit who may be the most overlooked despite gaudy production against big-time competition for the bulk of his high school career. The Penn State pledge just makes plays out of the backfield, and he found the end zone with power on Sunday. Allen is just tough to tackle at any level, even for All-Americans, finishing with a game high 71 yards to wrap up his high school career.
10. AJ Swann made a big commitment flip from Maryland to Vanderbilt in early December and the more he puts on tape, the more there is to like of the addition. Swann was the only effective passer on the Legends roster Sunday, showing a big arm and mobility along the way. He threw a strike to Texas A&M tight end signee Donovan Green for a score and was accurate to all three levels. Even his one on-paper mistake, the Lukus interception, was more of an anomaly thanks to the head-turning leap from the defender.