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Signing Day: Winners and Losers

The early signing period kicked off with quite the bang on Wednesday with Clemson earning the recruiting crown and plenty of programs poaching each others' commitments.

While Clemson held off hard-charging Alabama to retain the No. 1 spot in the SI All-American recruiting rankings, plenty of programs in that area of the country had big days on the trail.

There were major surprises throughout the morning and afternoon, such as Maryland flipping and signing Rakim Jarrett, the longtime LSU wide receiver commitment. The flip game was critical up and down the top 10 of the rankings and the programs who weren't poached—Clemson, Alabama and Georgia—each held or gained ground on the competition.

On the flip side, those aiming to change the minds of long-committed prospects who held true were unable to surge up as once expected. Florida headlines this side of the coin most notably despite a rock solid class of 2020 already in place entering the day. Southern Cal may have hit an accustomed low point.

SI All-American digs into winners and losers as the early signing period nears completion.


Florida State - Mike Norvell's 10-day attack as head coach has the program adding two new quarterbacks, including a Wednesday flip and sign of Chubba Purdy from ACC foe Louisville. The Seminoles also hung onto the verbal commitment of Malachi Wideman, the SI All-American wide receiver, though he did not sign. They also held Demorie Tate, a highly ranked defensive back. Flipping Josh Griffis of IMG Academy could prove big in the long run, too.

Auburn - The Tigers flipped former Miami commit Romello Height, a sleeper edge prospect, and added Eric Reed, a coveted defensive back, along with linebacker Desmond Tisdol. They also signed a much-needed offensive line unit. It held onto Tank Bigsby, who will be a Day 1 running back asset, and wide receiver Elijah Cannion despite a push from others in the SEC.

Georgia - A smaller class, for now, will continue to grow as UGA chases the eventual signings of top uncommitted tight end Darnell Washington and cornerback Kelee Ringo. Before that point, though, it flipped wide receiver Jermaine Burton from LSU and added Arian Smith, the fastest prospect who committed on Wednesday. Watch Georgia move up in the weeks to come, too.

Nebraska - While the on-field product is a work in progress, Scott Frost's program made a splash in Florida by signing Jaiden Francois, a turnover-producing machine and two-time Miami commitment, along with speedy wide receiver Marcus Fleming, another former UM pledge. Pair those with recent additions of Keyshawn Greene, a former FSU linebacker commitment, and Jimari Butler, a former Tennessee pass rusher pledge, and the Huskers had a big few days.

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Oregon - Signing all-world linebacker Justin Flowe was must-see TV while adding a commitment and signature of Robby Ashford, a dual-threat quarterback, was an added bonus. The Ducks are the class of the Pac-12 on the field and recruiting trail alike.

South Carolina - You may have heard of the top Gamecock commitment, Jordan Burch. Yes, his unsubmitted letter of intent is something worth watching, but the pledge was instant national news. South Carolina also added jumbo athlete Jaheim Bell, a potentially dominant pass catcher down the line.

Other winners of note include Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio State, LSU, Maryland, Illinois and Arizona State, among others.


Southern Cal - Not a ton to go over here. The Trojans missed out on big in-state fish all day and through the evening hours. Quarterback Bryce Young stuck with Alabama, quarterback CJ Stroud flirted with Georgia before picking Ohio State and prized linebacker Flowe made it two years in a row for the top defender in the state bolting Cali for the Oregon Ducks.

On top of those shortcomings, the Trojans hold just 11 verbal commitments as of Wednesday evening. The only silver lining is that each of the 11 officially signed with USC today.

Florida - While Dan Mullen's program entered the day with a top-six recruiting class, it failed to add to it while others in the SEC shined. Alabama, Georgia and even LSU, which lost four commitments amid an up-and-down day, fared better when the dust settled. Auburn, a clear winner of the ESP, is positioning itself to overtake UF if momentum like this continues.

Other Florida misses included defensive tackle Tim Smith (who chose Alabama), defensive end Donell Harris (Texas A&M), defensive tackle Clyde Pinder (North Carolina), wide receiver Sam Brown (West Virginia), running back EJ Smith (Stanford) and linebacker Phillip Webb (LSU).

LSU - Yes, the Tigers are the only program on both sides of this list. It gained top-flight offensive tackle Marcus Dumervil and Webb, but lost commitments from Jarrett (Maryland), Burton (Georgia), Demon Clowney (undeclared) and Malcolm Greene (Clemson), while fading for Burch, the elite defensive end prospect, ahead of his South Carolina commitment.

Additional losers of note include Oklahoma, Miami, Memphis and Ole Miss, among others.