So much for the boring National Signing Day.
Compared to the December signing period, the volume in college football's banner offseason holiday cannot compare but Wednesday created movement in the final SI All-American team recruiting rankings, featured some drama surrounding the No. 1 program and how it got there and much more.
Not to mention the flexibility of first-year coaches able to recruit with more than a week's notice, the traditional signing window had room for some surprises, big head-to-head wins and a sample of how the new landscape of recruiting may play given how wild the coaching carousel was at the end of 2021.
Flips went down, as did hat fake-outs at various prospect announcement ceremonies and much more. It's time to look at the opposite ends of the fallout relative to the day's results.
Texas A&M: Not sure where to begin here other than the numbers. A&M signed four SI99 recruits last year, in a strong class that finished No. 6 on SI. Today it signed No. 12 and No. 13 in the form of Shemar Stewart and Jacoby Mathews, running away with the top recruiting class in the country by just about any measure. The group has a bit of everything within it, from balance to star power, and the Wednesday additions fit right in. Stewart, in particular, was the second best out-of-state flex for any program this cycle (after Deion Sanders pulling Travis Hunter) in the 2022 cycle. The Aggies beat everyone head-to-head in their own backyard at times, too.
Oklahoma: How about OU out-recruiting Lincoln Riley head to head and compared to his last Sooner haul? Those feats were clinched Wednesday as the program added defensive firepower in speedy Floridian Jamarrien Burt and flipped south Florida native R Mason Thomas from Iowa State despite a push from the local Miami Hurricanes. It capped the day with the addition of former Michigan commitment Kevonte Henry but the maintenance of SI99 safety recruit Gentry Williams was also a big part of the winning in Norman. The staff's additions on defense since Venables took over should help to balance out that new-look roster.
Clemson: Dabo Swinney dealt with more turnover on the roster and among his assistants than he's used to, but Wednesday should serve as a reminder of the program's staying power from a talent acquisition perspective. It added a pair of key Alabamians in pass rusher Caden Story over Florida and linebacker TJ Dudley over Texas and Oregon. Legacy running back Keith Adams also signed among the newer commitments to the program.
Oregon: Dan Lanning has hit the ground running in recruiting and even pursued a commitment to his former employer, successfully flipping Georgia running back commit Jordan James. The Ducks added in-state linebacker Emar'rion Winston and also won a key head-to-head battle with old friend Mario Cristobal for offensive lineman Dave Iuli late in the day. There were a couple of misses, sure, but being in the game for a wide variety of prospects on about as short notice as any staff out there won't allow us to underestimate the Ducks' potential in 2023 and beyond.
Miami: The Hurricanes were almost on the other side of the coin Wednesday having been in the running for so many recruits. Misses on Shemar Stewart and Christen Miller affected the ceiling of the class but there were more hits for Cristobal's staff before the day was done. Among the pickups that resonated were running back Trevonte Citizen over Florida and LSU to offensive lineman Anez Cooper over Oregon and defensive lineman Ahmad Moten over Oklahoma. Cristobal took over with one local commitment and just two in-state. By Wednesday evening the program signed seven Floridians and three local recruits in total.
Nebraska: The new staff under Scott Frost has been busy of late and Wednesday was no exception, especially in the flip department. Wide receiver Janiran Bonner flipped to Nebraska from Georgia Tech and running back Ajay Allen was flipped from TCU. The 2022 class is outside of the top 25 but it's top-heavy and unbalanced, with much more offensive weaponry entering the program than that on defense. Usually that's a negative, but the scoring struggle in Lincoln has us considering an exception.
Florida: While there was an impressive close in holding off Alabama for offensive lineman Jalen Farmer, misses on offensive prospects Trevonte Citizen and Matthew McCoy to in-state rival Miami sting. Late buzz for the highest-ranked recruit on the board, linebacker Harold Perkins, was for naught as another fresh-on-the-job staff picked him up in Brian Kelly and LSU. The Gators added just one prospect Wednesday, wide receiver Caleb Douglas, despite being in the mix for several—including a few where confidence was tangible late in the game. The overall close under Billy Napier was strong enough to get the program in the top 25 rankings, though.
Michigan: While the class finished in the top 10 and Jim Harbaugh is apparently on the way back for more in Ann Arbor, signing day was filled with whiffs. UM struck out on the few prospects it was in the running for, with a hat on the table for running back Andrew Paul among them. On top of not adding any prospects, it lost out on longtime verbal commitment Kevonte Henry when he flipped and signed with Oklahoma.
Auburn: The Tigers have dealt with considerable attrition on the roster—even more on Wednesday with Ja'Varrius Johnson hitting the portal—and among assistant coaches under Bryan Harsin, and signing day came and went without a pickup. Tigers hats were on the table for former pledge Caden Story (who picked Clemson), Trevonte Citizen (Miami) and Jalen Farmer (Florida) without the Tiger shade of blue and orange scooped up.
Georgia Tech: It wasn't supposed to be an active day in Atlanta but perception plays in recruiting, so losing a pair of pledges isn't the best look. In-state wide receiver Janiran Bonner flipped to Nebraska and cornerback Greg Delaine flipped to Syracuse. Don't worry Tech fans; the portal has been good enough to compete at a higher level in 2022.
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