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Thursday, 5 February 2015

National Signing Day: Top Teams Sign Top Players

It would appear that the rich get richer in college football as well as the rest of the world.

After a National Signing Day that saw powerhouse programs continue to restock their rosters with many four-star and five-star recruits, the future of the game and the monotony of the usual suspects continuing to grab the spotlight will remain unchanged.

Per Mike Huguenin of, for the fifth year in a row, Alabama is the national champion when it comes to recruiting. The Tide signed the nation's top class, as computed by's composite rankings, which essentially is a consensus list of the nation's top recruits.

USC had the nation's No. 2 class, followed by Florida State, Tennessee and LSU. The SEC had five of the nation's top-10 classes; the ACC and Pac-12 had two each, and the Big Ten had one.

There were some schools that made an impact late in the process to finish strong.

Offensive tackle Martez Ivey of Apooka, Fla., the No. 2 national recruit on the composite rankings, which is a consensus ranking of all the recruiting services, signed with the Gators over Auburn. Defensive end CeCe Jefferson, the No. 7 national recruit, from Macclenny, Fla., also chose the Gators, over Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi. Thus, it was a great NSD for new Gators coach Jim McElwain, who has been on the job for a little less than two months.

Defensive end Byron Cowart, from the Tampa suburb of Seffner, signed with Auburn over Florida. Cowart is the No. 3 national recruit on the composite rankings and the No. 1 recruit in the nation by

The Signing Day process has become as big of a deal as the NFL Draft of late. The use of social media, the television and print media and the Internet have given more attention to high school sports, thus making sure athletes who will be prominently featured in national programs get their moment in the sun.

Here is a look at the Top 10 classes from Wednesday, according to

1. Alabama

Rank over past five years: 1st.

Top recruits: QB Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.); WR Calvin Ridley (Coconut Creek, Fla.); CB Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas).

The skinny: It's the same old, same old for the Tide -- another NSD, another mother lode of talent. The Tide didn't sign anybody in the top 10, but they still signed six five-star prospects. (Only one of the six is an Alabama native.)

2. USC

Rank over past five years: 5th.

Top recruits: G Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs, Ga); DT Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif.); CB Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif.).

The skinny: Steve Sarkisian has the USC talent machine humming, much like predecessors Pete Carroll (who turned all those great recruits into great teams) and Lane Kiffin (who turned all those great recruits into middling teams). The Trojans did a great job signing guys from their backyard, and also went to Georgia (Edoga is the nation's top guard), Texas, Utah and Nevada for talent.

3. Florida State

Rank over past five years: 2nd.

Top recruits: S Derwin James (Haines City, Fla.); CB Tarvarus McFadden (Plantation, Fla.); DE Josh Sweat (Chesapeake, Va.).

The skinny: The Seminoles took advantage of a mediocre Miami program by signing four solid players from south Florida, including McFadden. At one time, Sweat was the nation's top prospect, but he suffered a severe knee injury during the season. The only ACC school that brought in remotely the same type of talent as FSU is Clemson.

4. Tennessee

Rank over past five years: 12th.

Top recruits: RB Alvin Kamara (Hutchinson, Kan., CC); DT Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, Calif.); DE Kyle Phillips (Nashville).

The skinny: Kamara is a JC transfer who already is on campus; he signed with Alabama out of high school. McKenzie will play immediately -- and maybe even start; his dad, Reggie, is the Oakland Raiders' general manager. The Vols did well in state, but also found talent in Georgia and North Carolina, which they used to do in the glory days under Phil Fulmer.

5. LSU

Rank over past five years: 6th.

Top recruits: WR Tyron Johnson (New Orleans); G Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas); CB Kevin Toliver (Jacksonville).

The skinny: As usual, LSU signed the bulk of its class from Louisiana. But the Tigers spread their wings a bit, too. Toilver is considered the nation's No. 2 cornerback, Teuhema the No. 2 guard and Johnson the No. 5 wide receiver.

6. Ohio State

Rank over past five years: 4th.

Top recruits: LB Jerome Baker (Cleveland); ATH Torrance Gibson (Plantation, Fla.); LB Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati).

The skinny: The Buckeyes didn't sign a top-30 player, but Urban Meyer and his staff again reeled in a deep and talented class. As expected, the Buckeyes did well in Ohio, but the coaches also signed key guys from Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland and even South Dakota.


Rank over past five years: 19th.

Top recruits: RB Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas); DE Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, Calif.); QB Josh Rosen (Los Angeles).

The skinny: Jim Mora and his staff went far and wide -- and also right around the corner -- for the Bruins' second top-10 class in three years. Rosen is considered the best pro-style quarterback in the nation. Jamabo is one of six key out-of-state signees.

8. Clemson

Rank over past five years: 17th.

Top recruits: WR Deon Cain (Tampa); OT Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga.); DT Christian Wilkins (Suffield, Conn.).

The skinny: The Tigers got most of their top players from out of state. Cain is one of two players from Tampa (Ray Ray McCloud is the other) who is expected to provide instant firepower in the fall. Wilkins is a manchild (6-5, 305).

9. Auburn

Rank over past five years: 7th.

Top recruits: DE Byron Cowart (Tampa); ATH Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Ala.); RB Jovon Robinson (Georgia Military College).

The skinny: Robinson is one of the top JC talents in the nation and already is enrolled. Cowart is considered the best defensive end in the nation. Still, as good as this class is, the Tigers didn't make up any ground in their home state -- or, really, in their division (SEC West).

10. Georgia

Rank over past five years: 9th.

Top recruits: ATH Terry Godwin (Hogansville, Ga.); DE Jonathan Ledbetter (Tucker, Ga.); DT Trent Thompson (Albany, Ga.).

The skinny: The Bulldogs did a great job cleaning up in their backyard. Thompson is the nation's consensus No. 1 prospect and will see time right away for a defense that was uneven against the run in 2014.


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