National Signing Day seems to become a bigger and bigger event every year. Most of it is due to media-generated hype and attention, but if college football continues to see its popularity rise, why is it so weird that one of the biggest days of the college football calendar does as well.
Once again we have our Class Rank Index, a less-than-scientific effort to try and quantify which schools got how much talent. The objective of the exercise is to get rid of biases, which is why you won’t see any names on the chart, just numbers.
Alabama, the defending national champions, had another big year and were easily the best recruiting class on the season. Behind them, there is some room for debate, but we have Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame, and Florida rounding out the Top 5.
The chart in this article are just the school’s to bring in the highest scores. To see the complete index ratings, you can click here.
Not everyone signs on Signing Day and those that do aren’t even the most important. Really, it’s just the ones that have mastered procrastinating, a skill they’ll undoubtedly continue to use once their college careers begin.
So the day isn’t the end-all-be-all — those who are winners or losers on the day aren’t necessarily winners or losers of the recruiting season — but simply the climactic final chapter.
And, boy, what a final chapter it was.
A number of premier recruits, including the top-ranked Robert Nkemdiche, signed to Ole Miss, propelling this year’s class in Oxford from obscurity into the Top 10. While they were the big movers, schools like Alabama and Florida, who were ALREADY up there, stayed in the Top 10, too.
All in all, there weren’t a lot of surprises. The SEC dominated once again and any surprises that DID come paled in comparison to some of the coups and defections we’ve seen over the last few months. As Gene Chizik, the former Auburn head coach turned ESPN commentator, said, you’re always waiting for some big move on Signing Day. But in 2013, that big move didn’t really come.
There were highlights, sure, like reports of disapproving mothers running off with letters of intent and shot after shot of recruiting war rooms jumping for joy as if they just watched their team win the BCS National Championship just because some teenager called their school’s name.
That was fun, but those are just the broad strokes. Here is an in-depth, school-by-school look at some of the real headline grabbers on Signing Day.
Alabama: Apparently winning three national titles in four years helps you bring in some premium players. Who knew, right? The Crimson Tide was already having a solid season (we had them #1 to start Signing Day) but a flurry of late-afternoon commitments officially put an end to the debate as to which class was the best.
Ohio State: You can really see the Urban Meyer effect starting to make a difference for the Buckeyes. Despite having their season end before the bowls due to NCAA sanctions, Meyer’s undefeated squad convinced 12 guys in our Top 150 to come aboard, including Mike Mitchell and Vonn Bell.
USC: A lot of outlets wanted to hate on USC for producing such a small class. What they conveniently skip over is that the players they WERE able to sign are top-of-the line. I don’t get where all the tough love is coming from (the class was ranked 13th and 14th by ESPN and Rivals.com, respectively) but we’re more than happy to provide the Trojans a shoulder to cry on. Forget about all the verbal commitments you lost, USC, there’s plenty of new, young, talented Trojans coming in.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish got a welcomed surprise for dessert when Eddie Vanderdoes, the defensive tackle from Auburn, CA, announced he’d be taking his talents to South Bend. Already inside the Top 5, the move vaulted Notre Dame past Florida in our rankings.
Ole Miss: As we’ve already mentioned, the Rebels clearly had the best Signing Day of any school. They brought in to Top 5 talents in Nkemdiche and Laquon Treadwell. The selective crop of high-octane talent might be new to Oxford, but it’s just another day of business for SEC football.
Texas A&M: Another “no duh” observation: young playmakers like playing with young playmakers. Johnny Football, the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, clearly played a role in the Aggies landing 12 players in the Top 250 and ensuring the program will have the pedigree to keep competing in the super-stacked SEC.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for college football updates and other shenanigans!