National Signing Day has come and gone, and coaches from around the country have received (for the most part) all of their faxed Letters of Intent from high school prospects across the country.
Let's take a look at what transpired in the world of recruiting yesterday — the Winners and Losers of NSD.
Excluded from the Winners section are the usual suspects: Alabama, Texas and Florida State, which put together fantastic classes. But then again, what else is new?
Miami: Al Golden did a superb job of putting together a large class despite looming NCAA sanctions. The Hurricanes were able to land Tracy Howard, perhaps the best cornerback in the nation, over Florida and Florida State. Howard joins safety Deon Bush and defensive end Tyriq McCord as standout defenders in this haul. It's a deep class, and it became even stronger with the flip of running back Jawand Blue, who had been a Virginia Tech commit until Wednesday.
ICONDavid Shaw put together one of Stanford's best classes in school history.
Stanford: We all wondered how David Shaw would fare in his first full recruiting cycle, and the second-year head coach delivered what could be, in his words, “one of the best offensive line classes in modern football history.” It sounds hyperbolic, but tackles Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy as well as guard Joshua Garnett are three of the best players at their positions, and running back Barry J. Sanders gives the Cardinal a different type of running back than they've had in Palo Alto. Add in stud defensive end Aziz Shittu, who selected Stanford over Cal and USC, and this is a special class coming to The Farm.
UCLA: Jim L. Mora has done a fantastic job of putting together and organizing a strong staff, led by recruiting ace Adrian Klemm. The Bruins brought in defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, who Mora teased could have Ndamukong Suh-type impact, as well as blue-chip receiver Jordan Payton, both of whom decommitted from Cal. Javon Williams was another top receiver brought in to fill an area of need with Nelson Rosario departing. Dual-threat quarterback Devin Fuller and defensive back Ishmael Adams also help headline a very impressive haul for the Bruins.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights dodged a huge bullet despite losing Greg Schiano less than a week before National Signing Day. Interim head coach Kyle Flood held onto most of the sterling class that Schiano put together and added the top recruit in the state of New Jersey, defensive end Darius Hamilton. Needs addressed included offensive line and the skill positions. If only dual-threat QB Devin Fuller had stayed in state…
Houston: When was the last time the Cougars were able to land a prospect who flipped from Notre Dame? That's exactly what happened when receiver Deontay Greenberry stunningly switched from the Irish to the Cougars after a visit to the Texas school last weekend. Greenberry became UH's highest-rated recruit ever after recording 2,165 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns last year at Washington Union in Fresno, Calif. A real coup for a program which just lost its star head coach.
Cal: The Golden Bears had a solid class despite only having 17 signees, filling needs at offensive line and wide receiver. But Tosh Lupoi's departure to Washington really hurt the Bears, as they lost Shaq Thompson, Ellis McCarthy and Jordan Payton — the three star players who committed at the U.S. Army All-American game. It could have been a program-turning haul for head coach Jeff Tedford, whose seat is a little warm in Berkeley.
ICONGene Chizik didn't quite get the bump in recruiting from the team's BCS title two years ago.
Auburn: Usually when a school wins a national championship it receives a big bump in recruiting not that season but the following year. So Auburn was expected to put together a very strong class this February. However, losing both coordinators at the heart of recruiting season hurt the Tigers. While it’s a solid haul, head coach Gene Chizik watched defensive tackle Eddie Goldman go to Florida State and outside linebacker Kwon Alexander choose to go to LSU — two uncommitted prospects they hoped to land. However, the Tigers did snag a pair of coveted players from south Florida, offensive tackle Avery Young and wideout Ricardo Louis. If Chizik could land still-uncommitted receiver Stefon Diggs or offensive tackle Jordan Diamond, it would give this class the late boost that I expected.
Syracuse: Orange head coach Doug Marrone lost four players before National Signing Day who had verbally committed to the school, including defensive lineman Harold Brantley, a 6-3, 280-pounder who changed his mind after visiting Missouri this past weekend. The Orange also lost linebacker Tashon Whitehurst, who signed with South Florida.
Georgia Tech: Head coach Paul Johnson lost out on defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who chose to go out of state and play at Alabama. GT coaches spent a lot of time recruiting Tomlinson, who attended nearly every Tech home game this past season. Offensive lineman Will Adams was a Tech commit but made a late jump to Auburn, while cornerback Antonio Crawford was committed to Tech before accepting a late offer from Miami. In addition, offensive line coach Todd Spencer resigned amid potential NCAA violations from impermissible text messaging.
Kansas: Other than inside linebacker Schyler Miles, who was plucked from the state of Florida, new head coach Charlie Weis assembled a small class that is heavy on junior college prospects and transfers. Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps are nice pickups, but there isn't a young quarterback to develop. Guard Brian Beckmann and defensive tackle Tyler Holmes are solid, but after the instant impact he gets from JUCO's, what's next for Weis and this program? He failed as a recruiter at Notre Dame, but he'll get the benefit of the doubt as a new hire. However, 2013 is crucial year for Weis on the recruiting trail.
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