College Football: 2017 National Signing Day Winners & Losers
- Updated: February 1, 2017
Another year, another recruiting cycle is now in the books. We’ve seen a day of commitments, commitment flips, the wearing of team caps, prospect rankings, etc. Now that all of the dust has “settled”, which teams and conferences won the day? Who walked away with a recruiting loss? Here are your winners and losers of college football’s National Signing Day 2017 (all ranks/star ratings are courtesy of Rivals recruiting).
USC Trojans – Head coach Clay Helton did a masterful job on National Signing Day. In a class of 24 prospects, Helton brought in 17 4-star athletes including TE Josh Falo, WR Joseph Lewis, LB Levi Jones, and RB Stephen Carr. The Trojans are losing key starters at WR, CB, and OT to graduation/NFL Draft. However, with this cycle of talented high school prospects, Helton and the Trojans have added outstanding talent to walk away with the best class in the Pac-12 and one of the best in the nation.
Alabama Crimson Tide – We all should have expected this type of haul. Alabama has been the standard barrier for recruiting the past 10 seasons and it only continues this time around. The Tide reloaded with WRs Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Devonta Smith. Add in another large offensive tackle prospect in Alex Leatherwood along with RB Najee Harris and Alabama has an SEC-caliber offense with just freshmen. Defensive prospects in LB Dylan Moses and DE LeBryan Ray add even more talent to a ferocious defense. Have a day, Nick Saban.
4-star WR James Robinson – What a lucky day for the talented 6’3 receiver. Recently, Robinson was cited for marijuana possession while on a recruiting trip to Ohio State. Speculation and rumors swirled whether or not many schools would pull their scholarship offer because of it. The Buckeyes quickly did and it seemed the Gators would follow suit. Magically, Robinson maintained his verbal commitment to Florida, which is where he ultimately landed on NSD. A far cry from a possible scenario of Robinson heading to the JUCO ranks for the 2017 season.
Maryland Terrapins – Maryland head coach DJ Durkin should be a very happy man on today after the large haul by the Terrapins. A 29-man class that ranked 16th overall and headlined by 4-star QB Kasim Hill, DBs Deon Jones and Markquese Bell, RBs Anthony McFarland and Cordarrian Richardson and DT Breyon Gaddy. Easily the Terrapins best class since 2004. Just to think, Maryland ranked 55th in recruiting two years ago. A possible sign of a drastic change in College Park, Maryland.
SEC – The “kings” of college football reigned supreme once again. The conference as a whole took home five of the top 10 recruiting classes and seven of the top 15. Also, the conference reeled in the #1 player in the country (RB Najee Harris), the #1 offensive lineman (OL Alex Leatherwood), 17th overall player (OL Isaiah Wilson), the 19th overall player (WR Jerry Jeudy), as well as the 20th and 21st overall player (QBs Jake Fromm and Kellen Mond). The shelves are stocked in the southeastern part of the country.
Ole Miss Rebels – The Rebels may be heading down a turbulent road starting with this class. Ole Miss comes in with the 38th ranked recruiting class. Not bad of a class in some cycles. However, with their last four recruiting classes ranking in the top 25 or better including two of them within the top 10, it seems that Ole Miss has lost some momentum on the recruiting trail.
4-star DE Jarez Parks – I truly dislike putting a high school prospect in this category. However, I’m pretty sure Parks did not expect to get grey-shirted because of the large Crimson Tide class being brought in. Based on the large number of elite prospects and the scholarship limitation, Parks has to accept a greyshirt this upcoming school term in order for him to be a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Lane Kiffin’s recruitment video – First-year head coach Lane Kiffin is focused on putting Florida Atlantic on the football map. At least he is supposed to. His recruitment video that has recently surfaced portrayed more of a bored and disinterested Kiffin. His response to questions about his video stated it was “all a joke”. Sure, Lane. Sure.
Big 12 – While the Oklahoma Sooners enjoyed the fruits of a recruiting class ranked 7th, the rest of the Big 12 Conference did not reap the rewards, sort of speak. The next best recruiting class after the Sooners were the Texas Longhorns, who came in at 30th. Following Texas was Baylor (33rd) and Oklahoma State (36th). For a conference that is known for their offense, the conference as a whole was not able to score enough points on the recruiting trail this cycle.