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NCAA Football

Signing Day 2013: The Best/Worst/Weirdest Of College Football’s Best/Worst/Weirdest Day


Call signing day creepy, call it a premature celebration of kids who haven’t done anything yet, call it just another farce in the ongoing fruitless attempt by an embarrassment of an organization to prove that “amateurism” means anything and that they have anything resembling the best interests of college kids in mind… but don’t you dare call it boring. And, per usual, there was plenty of action today, for better and worse. Let’s take a look back at some of the most noteworthy developments.

Who were the big winners?

Two stand out from the pack: first, Ole Miss. The Rebels, as expected, landed the nation’s top prospect, Robert Nkemdiche, and on top of that, landed verbals from Laremy Tunsil, Rivals’ top-rated offensive tackle in America, and Antonio Conner, one of the nation’s top safeties. And that was on top of a class that already had a ton of talent. A team that went 2-10 in 2011 suddenly has a very formidable-looking future.

And the other school to clean up today: Ohio State. Urban Meyer has a well-earned reputation as the bloodthirsty Great White of the recruiting trail, but the way the Buckeyes closed was absurd even for him. First, they got Dontre Wilson, an electrifying playmaker from Texas OSU is expected to use in a Percy-Harvin-type role, to flip his commitment from Oregon. Then, today, Meyer landed both four-star Floridian receiver James Clark (he picked OSU over Florida) and five-star safety Vonn Bell, who chose Ohio State over Alabama and Tennessee. OSU did lose receiver Taivon Jacobs to Maryland and may lose punter Johnny Townsend, who hasn’t made up his mind yet, but: Big Ten, look out.

Any big losers of note?

It didn’t really happen today, but USC lost several players who were once committed. What the Trojans still wound up with quality-wise is impressive (every commitment is ranked at either four or five stars by Rivals), but it’s lacking in number. Texas lost out on highly-regarded defensive tackle Andrew Billings to Baylor, but gained offensive lineman Rami Hammad, so it wasn’t a total washout. Tennessee losing out on Bell to the Buckeyes was a disappointment, but they picked up a few commits today too. It wasn’t cut-and-dried in most cases – generally, schools had things to be both encouraged by and disappointed about. Except Ole Miss. They cleaned the hell up.

What was the weirdest thing to happen today?

Without question, the case of the runaway mom. Though this could give it a run for its money:

Who wore the best hat?

Either Miami commit Stacey Coley

… or Alabama signee Reuben Foster:

These kids are characters, I tell ya.

What’s the main takeaway of the day?

The rich getting richer. (Well, the programs, not the kids.) Two-time defending national champion Alabama? They finished with the No. 1 class nationally according to Rivals, 247 Sports, and ESPN. Nick Saban hasn’t hoisted that crystal football for the last time. Notre Dame, the team they beat to win it all? Brian Kelly landed a consensus top-five class. So did Urban Meyer, coming off an undefeated season with Ohio State. And Florida, which despite that Sugar Bowl loss looks firmly back on the path to consistent national power status and plays in a state filthy with talent every year, landed either the second-or-third-best class, depending on who you ask.

The same rich-get-richer principle applies on the conference level too – 10 of Rivals’ top 20 classes belong to SEC schools, so get ready to hear those “S-E-C!” chants and commentators going on about SEC superiority for years to come. Yeah, maybe there’s a feedback loop at play, where part of the reason the recruits are so great is because they’re committed to SEC schools, but make no mistake: overall, these classes are highly ranked for a reason. And coaches all around the country – recruit the South for a reason: it’s loaded with talent, and the schools located there continue to take full advantage.

You’re clearly conflicted on some level about your recruiting obsession. Any chance it stops now?

Nope.

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