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Georgia comes out on top on signing day

Georgia loaded up in the new early signing period and came into Wednesday's start of the traditional signing period with the top-rated class, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings. Coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on the recruiting championship by flipping a pair of four-star linebackers, one who had been committed to Michigan (Otis Reese) and another who had been committed to Alabama (Quay Walker), and grabbing a highly touted wide receiver from Texas (Tommy Bush).

Georgia also beat Miami and Alabama for 5 star cornerback Tyson Campbell from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida.

"It's ridiculous," said Mike Farrell, the national recruiting coordinator for Rivals. "The average star ranking is near historic levels."

National champion Alabama had finished on top of the recruiting rankings each of the last seven years, but the Tide finished outside the top three this year. No, coach Nick Saban is not slipping. The Tide had a relatively small class (18 signees), which kept down its ranking. Alabama also landed the top-rated uncommitted recruit left in the country entering the second signing period when cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. picked the Tide over LSU early in the day.

It's the first time that major college football has had two signing periods, thanks to changes to the recruiting calendar. The vast majority of top prospects signed back in December and most FBS schools had signed the bulk of their classes. That made for a quiet signing day for most schools.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald tweeted "6:34 a.m. ... that's a wrap on (hash)NSD18 and (hash)NUView18." The Wildcats signed two more players and called it a day.

The recruiting calendar was new, but it was a typical signing day in this respect: The rich got richer.

Ohio State finished with the second-ranked class, topped with five-star offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere from Tampa, Florida. Texas came in third, with its best class in years. Coach Tom Herman cleaned up in state, signing 10 of the top-20 ranked recruits in the Lone Star state. Penn State and Clemson, which signed the top-rated player (receiver Justyn Ross) in the state of Alabama on signing day, rounded out the top five in 247's composite rankings.

Alabama was ninth with a few more players left to sign, but not enough to make a huge leap.

It was Smart, Saban's former assistant, who won this round.

"I don't think that's what's important," Smart said. "What's more important is the quality of kids we were able to get, both academically and athletically."

BETTER THAN EXPECTED
Coming off a 1-11 season and just a couple years removed from an ugly scandal involving the handling of sexual assault cases under former coach Art Briles, Baylor and coach Matt Rhule signed a top-30 class.

Mississippi also was right around top-30, solid work by new coach Matt Luke, coming on the heels of the NCAA sanctions that will keep the Rebels out of the postseason for another season.

DISAPPOINTING
Michigan is looking at a top-20 class. Not bad, but considering coach Jim Harbaugh's first two full classes in Ann Arbor were top-five level this has to qualify as a disappointing recruiting year for the Wolverines. Especially with Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Penn State cleaning up.

Coming off an 8-5 season on the field, 2018 will be huge for Michigan to change the trajectory.

NEW COACHES
For new coaches, the first recruiting class is generally a bit underwhelming after getting a late start.

Not for Willie Taggart of Florida State. The Seminoles closed strong enough to have a borderline top-10 class. Signing day started for Florida State by flipping Tennessee commit Anthony Grant, a three-star running back.
- Former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, now at Texas A&M, got the Aggies into the top-20, flipping defensive lineman Bobby Brown away from an Alabama verbal commitment.
- Oregon, which promoted offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal after Taggart left, did a solid job of holding together a class that had top-10 potential when Taggart was there.
- Scott Frost showed off the recruiting reach Nebraska hoped he would bring to Lincoln, signing a top-25 class that included linebacker Caleb Tannor from Georgia and running back Maurice Washington from Texas.

5 STAR / 4 STAR COMMIT LIST

5-star CB Tyson Campbell commits to Georgia

5-star CB Olaijah Griffin commits to USC

5-star OT Nicholas Petitfrere commits to Ohio State

5-star CB Patrick Surtain Jr commits to Alabama

4-star Vernon Jackson commits to Alabama

4-star CB Jairus Brents commits to Louisville

4-star OLB Merlin Robertson commits to Arizona State

4-star CB Isaac Taylorstuart commits to USC

4-star OLB Merlin Robertson commits to Arizona State

4-star OL Penei Sewell commits to Oregon

4-star S Aashari Crosswell commits to Arizona State

4-star Michael Ezeike commits to UCLA

4-star WR Jaylen Waddle commits to Alabama

4-star RB Jashaun Corbin commits to Texas A&M

4-star DE Malik Langham commits to Florida

4-star WR Antoine Green commits to North Carolina

4-star OT Richard Gouraige commits to Florida

4-star CB Taiyon Palmer commits to North Carolina State

4-star RB Maurice Washington commits to Nebraska

4-star WR Jacob Copeland commits to Florida

4-star DT Rick Sandidge commits to South Carolina

4-star Leonard Taylor commits to Cincinnati

4-star WR Devon Williams commits to The USC

4-star WR Solmon Enis commits to Utah

4-star OLB Jj Peterson commits to Tennessee

4-star WR Jamarr Chase commits to LSU

4-star DE Jeremiah Martin commits to Texas A&M

4-star WR Justyn Ross commits to Clemson

4-star DT Michael Thompson commits to Oklahoma

4-star Elijah Wade commits to UCLA

4-star ILB Solomon Tuliaupupu commits to USC

4-star OT Rasheed Walker commits to Penn State

4-star WR Tommy Bush commits to Uga

4-star RB Mychale Salahuddin commits to Pitt

4-star DB Noah Boykin commits to Notre Dame

4-star OT William Barnes commits to North Carolina

4-star OLB Javontae Jeanbaptiste commits to Ohio State

4-star QB James Foster commits to Texas A&M

4-star DT Nesta Silvera commits to Miami

4-star S Leon Oneal Jr commits to Texas A&M

4-star DE Joseph Ossai commits to Texas

4-star QB Tanner Mckee commits to Stanford

4-star WR Lawrence Keys Iii commits to Notre Dame

4-star WR Treshaun Harrison commits to Florida State

4-star LB Dax Hollifield commits to Virginia Tech

4-star WR Issah Crocker commits to Oregon

4-star WR Jalen Preston commits to Texas A&M

4-star TE Spencer Webb commits to Oregon

4-star OL Tank Jenkins commits to Texas A&M

4-star CB Ken Montgomery Jr commits to Maryland

4-star OLB Andrew Chatfield commits to Florida

4-star OT Jarrett Patterson commits to Notre Dame

4-star DE Caleb Tannor commits to Nebraska

4-star RB Keaontay Ingram commits to Texas

4-star WR Marquez Ezzard commits to Miami

4-star DT Keondre Coburn commits to Texas

4-star OLB Chris Oats commits to Kentucky

4-star Mario Goodrich commits to Clemson

4-star DT Bobby Brown commits to Texas

4-star DE Malcolm Lamar commits to Florida State

4-star LB Xavier Peters commits to Florida State

2019 4-star TE Ryland Goede commits to Georgia

D1SportsNet



February 7, 2018

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