The National Signing Day dust is settling in the class of 2021 and SI All-American is ready to sort through the signatures.
While the day wasn't as active as December's NSD, a.k.a. the Early Signing Period, moves were made and college football perception was created or countered over the last 24 hours.
Somehow, Alabama’s untouchable No. 1 recruiting class got even better on Wednesday. It held onto No. 2 running back prospect and recent commitment Camar Wheaton despite a depleted offensive coaching staff. Then, for good measure, it went and secured the top uncommitted DB in America, Terrion Arnold. The Floridian, who wrote an exclusive blog with SIAA to end his recruitment, pushes UA to a dozen SI99 members—most in the cycle.
Across the Yellowhammer State, the new coaching staff hitting the ground running most is at Auburn. It had been hot on the trail entering National Signing Day, adding prospects like Colby Smith and Holden Geriner in the last week, and it hit another level Wednesday on multiple fronts. Priority No. 1 was probably retaining the pledge of Tarvarish Dawson and it held off Texas A&M to do just that. It then added defensive back Cayden Bridges, a flip from South Alabama, as well as in-state defensive back Juwon Gaston over SEC programs in similar coaching situations in South Carolina and Tennessee.
Need help in the trenches? Not only did Michigan pick up George Rooks of late, but on National Signing Day it flipped a pair of trenchmen in Rayshaun Benny (Michigan State) and Ike Iwunnah (Colorado) to completely change the complexion of what could wind up as a top-10 class. Jim Harbaugh is selling the bounce-back after a lackluster 2020 season on the field and the next wave of Wolverines have tangibly bought in.
Relatively quietly, the Syracuse Orange made some key additions to the roster on Wednesday, from a junior college prospect who may be able to impact the roster immediately to a flip from the G5 ranks. Pass rusher Chase Simmons flipped his commitment from Coastal Carolina and offensive lineman Jakob Bradford joins from the JUCO ranks despite SU not having named an offensive line coach. Also, they won the National Signing Day graphics award in pairing classic album covers with new signees.
The new staff at South Carolina added nice talent to its future roster Wednesday, particularly with late-rising prospects. LaDareyen Craig was coveted by multiple SEC programs down in south Alabama late in the game, including interest from in-state Auburn. It went via the junior college ranks later in the day as Dodge City linebacker Tavareon Scott opted for USC over Mississippi State and West Virginia.
Other winners include Oregon, USC, Penn State, Kentucky, South Alabama, Florida State, Nevada and Stanford
The day was an afterthought for many college programs, so the list on the other side of the coin isn't very long, especially when Wednesday itself is the primary focus be considered.
If we're talking hats on the table, LSU and Texas did not have the best of days. Each remain top-25 programs in the final rankings, with LSU all the way in the top five, but it could have enhanced standing based on signatures that went down Wednesday. LSU missed on in-state running back Logan Diggs (Notre Dame) and defensive back Dontae Balfour (North Carolina). Texas added an in-stater but missed two including running back LJ Johnson (Texas A&M) and offensive lineman Austin Uke (Stanford).
Colorado, on the other hand, had a truly rough 24 hours. The Buffs entered the day with needing to maintain front seven prospects and it lost a pair in Ike Iwunnah, who flipped to Michigan, and linebacker TJ Patu also departed in a 24-hour span. It also lost one-time Texas A&M commitment Victory Vaka in late January. Colorado didn’t add any new prospects on the day, either.
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