Bama, Auburn big winners on National Signing DayPublished 1:12pm Saturday, February 8, 2014
Did the rich get richer on National Signing Day Wednesday? That would be as clever as asking, “Is the Pope Catholic?”
The answer to both questions is, without a doubt, absolutely yes.
“Leave no doubt,”should have been the slogan of the day in Tuscaloosa, and Nick Saban put an exclamation point on the entire day when five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans put on the Alabama cap.
Evans, who attends Auburn High School, surprised just about everyone – including me.
Alabama coach Nick Saban left little doubt who rules the college football recruiting world.
Could it be that he was a bit miffed after losing two games in a row to finish the 2013 season? I would compare the finality of the Alabama recruiting class to a power slam in basketball.
Every recruiting site proclaimed Alabama had the top class for 2014. I respect Rivals, Scout and 247Sports, but I do not have a great amount of faith in ESPNU and their evaluation process. It just appears that the ESPN system panders to one conference a bit too much.
So for the remainder of this column, I will use the 247Sports information as my guide and the other two as a composite evaluation and final analysis.
Greg Biggins, who is a national scouting analyst for Scout.com said, “They got a stud at every single position. There’s not one single area they didn’t fill with an impact type of kid. They can recruit nationally unlike anyone right now. They’re on a different level.”
Signing players from 15 different states sounds more like what Notre Dame or Stanford does each year.
It’s (the Tide’s) ability to go any place and get anybody,” said Mike Farrell, national recruiting director for Rivals.com.
Among Alabama’s signees were six players listed as five-star recruits by 247Sports.com. Leading the way is offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, strong side defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, cornerback Tony Brown, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, athlete Bo Scarbrough and Evans.
Here is the number that impresses me the most: 13. That is the number of recruits signed by the Crimson Tide that are in the top 100 listed by 247Sports.com. Alabama signed 26 athletes overall.
The Southeastern conference dominated, with seven SEC programs placing in the top 10 on 247Sports and Rivals.com with six making Scout.com’s list.
Not to be outdone, the Auburn Tigers closed the day with a respectable finish at No. 6 with 23 signees.
The Tigers landed two five-star recruits in running back Roc Thomas and inside linebacker Tre Williams. They also signed four-star offensive guard Braden Smith. All three recruits are listed in the top 100.
Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn filled some key spots by going out and getting D’haquille Williams, a big wide receiver (6’3”) from Mississippi Gulf Coast, and safety Derrick Moncrief (6’3”), also from Gulf Coast. Both are enrolled and will participate in spring practice.
Rounding out the top 10 are LSU, Ohio State, Florida State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Notre Dame.
The winners from National Signing Day that did not make it into 247Sports.com top 10 are USC (No. 11), who moved up 15 spots with only 19 signees and South Carolina (No. 15), which moved up eight spots on the final day.
Stanford (No. 13) and Oklahoma (No. 14) also were big winners.
Then there were the teams who – for whatever reason – did not meet expectations: Texas, UCLA, Louisville and Michigan.
Unlike last year, no mother ran away with a letter of intent to prevent her son from signing.
But a Michigan high school player – defensive end and five-star Malik McDowell – announced he would sign with Michigan State in apparent conflict with what his parents recommended.
As of this date, he has not sent in his signed letter of intent to any school.
There are many stories to be told about National Signing Day; some good, some that should be left alone.
There are most likely some parents, friends, classmates or fans that have been jilted and left at the altar.
There are coaches who, in fact, celebrated and some who went to bed and pulled the covers over their heads.
But remember this, these are 17 and 18-year-old kids trying to make a decision that may affect them the rest of their lives.
I would bet that if you were to examine their decisions in three or four years, you will find out how smart they really were.
Until next time …
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter @brucemeyers11.