The early signing period opened Wednesday, which has taken some of the shine off National Signing Day.
Recruits have a 72-hour period to sign to their school of choice, and several teams got a head start on putting together a five-star class. Here is a look at some of the schools that won on Day 1 of the early signing period:
Remember when the Tide slipped all the way down to No. 5 in 2018? It took a year, but Nick Saban figured out the early signing calendar, and the Tide are back on top again. The Crimson Tide started the day by flipping four-star safety Jordan Battle from Ohio State, then locked down a pair of five-star commits from IMG Academy in running back Trey Sanders (who still needs to send in his letter of intent) and tackle Evan Neal. Five-star defensive end Antonio Alfano also is on board, giving Alabama 12 of the top 100 recruits per 247Sports’ Composite rankings. Alabama still knows how to land the big-time recruits better than anybody else.
Even with Alabama on top, Georgia showed it’s going to be a constant back-and-forth between Kirby Smart and Saban for the top class in the years to come. The Bulldogs are No. 2 after flipping quarterback Dwan Mathis from Ohio State, just two days after Justin Fields left the program. Georgia also hauled in a class-leading five five-star recruits, including the top overall player in defensive end Nolan Smith. He is followed by linebacker Nakobe Dean, defensive tackle Travon Walker, receiver Dominick Blaylock and center Clay Webb.
As of now, the Wolverines have the top class in the Big Ten for the first time under Jim Harbaugh, and that is significant. Five-star safety Daxton Hill flipped back to Michigan from Alabama, and the Wolverines landed four-star receiver Cornelius Johnson. Michigan also secured a commitment from four-star linebacker Anthony Solomon. There is pressure on Harbaugh to flip the script with Ohio State, which won the Big Ten after routing the Wolverines 62-39 this season. That is still a challenge considering Zach Harrison, the No. 4 overall player in the class, spurned Michigan to stay with Ohio State despite a strong lean toward the Wolverines in the recruiting process.
Lincoln Riley continued to improve the talent for the Sooners, who landed five-stars in quarterback Spencer Rattler and receiver Theo Wease. Oklahoma also landed four-star cornerback Jeremiah Criddell in a head-to-head battle with Oregon. The Sooners later added four-star defensive end Marcus Stripling. The recruiting battles with Texas are heating up again. Both schools are poised to have top-10 classes at the same time for the first time since 2010.
Under Chip Kelly, the Ducks had national championship-caliber teams without star-studded recruiting classes. Mario Cristobal, who served as an assistant at Alabama under Saban, is taking the other approach. The Ducks have a top-five class led by five-star defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 2 overall player in 247Sports’ Composite rankings. In fact, Oregon’s top five players are from California. That will put more pressure on USC and Kelly’s new team, UCLA.
Saban has the top class in the SEC, but Fisher isn’t too far behind at No. 3 overall. Fisher built up big talent for the Aggies, flipping four-star defensive end Derick Hunter from Florida State, which had to feel good for the former Seminoles coach. Fisher also has the top recruit in the state of Texas, and four of the top 10. If he continues to mesh the top talent from Texas with some adds from Florida, then watch out.
At one time, Orgeron was on the hot seat. Now, he’s pulling in a top-four class which landed the nation’s top cornerback in Derek Stingley from out of Baton Rouge. That’s huge after missing out on Patrick Surtain Jr. In 2018. The Tigers also added fellow five-star recruits in running back John Emery Jr. and offensive guard Kardell Thomas, both of whom are from Louisiana. The Tigers also added four-star defensive tackle Siaki Ika and four-star athlete Raydarious Jones.
Day is faced with the impossible task of recruiting at the level of Urban Meyer, who reeled in top-five classes every year from 2012-18. Meyer was a huge part in this class, and landing Harrison and five-star receiver Garrett Wilson helped push the class back up after a few late decommits and flips. The Buckeyes also landed Ohio Mr. Football Cade Stover. Balancing the national and local scene for Day will be key in his first full go in 2020, and this is a good start. Also of note: The Buckeyes are rumored among the leading candidates to land Fields after his transfer from Georgia.
Kevin Sumlin and Herm Edwards
Arizona and Arizona State made a few splashes. Herm Edwards has not been left behind in recruiting, grabbing the nation’s No. 30 class so far. He already had four-star quarterback Jayden Daniels in hand, and the Sun Devils pulled four-star defensive end Stephon Wright away from USC. Kevin Sumlin used his Texas connections to improve the talent at Arizona with four-star receiver Jalen Curry and four-star cornerback Bobby Wolfe.