National Signing Day recapFebruary 3, 2011
#NSD was wild yesterday with several surprise commitments coming in that were not expected as Clemson, Auburn, and Oregon stole some great players during the day. One of the most moving commitments came from Crenshaw High School running back De’Anthony Thomas. The longtime USC Trojan commit switched to Oregon yesterday after a last second visit to Eugene, Oregon. Anthony arrived an hour late to his press conference so there may have been some soul searching with his decision but this video tells a lot about this young man and where his head is at thinking about community and giving back before he even has left L.A. I wish him the best at Oregon.
Jadeveon Clowney (Clemson, South Carolina, Bama) while the most elite prospect will not sign until Valentines Day, his birthday. Clowney is no prima donna, but the schools who held a scholarship in case he comes are going to be left holding it if he signs elsewhere. Clowney had a full year and change to make his decision and should have gone ahead and made it on signing day. Cyrus Kouandjio (Auburn, Bama, New Mexico) and Jacoby Brissett (Miami, Washington, Florida) are two other players that are holding out past signing day. That being said, whomever gets Clowney will get a three year and done type of player for sure. Here are some Clowney highlights
Auburn also had a strong day finishing strong adding Gabe Wright, Quan Bray and Erique Florence. Stealing Christian Westerman from Texas was huge for the Tigers as they need some serious help along the offensive line. The Tigers line could get even better with Cyrus Kouandjio if he keeps with his announcement that he will be a Tiger. His brother plays for Alabama and since his announcement, he has taken a step back and may still sign with Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, or New Mexico. Lastly, Gabe Wright put on an Auburn hat to announce his decision on ESPN that said “Nick Who” on the back. I respect the confidence, but Wright has a long way to go until he can fill those shoes. He has the potential and it will be interesting if he lives up to the pressure he put on himself. Overall, this is a great class for Auburn that could get better.
Clemson started the day stealing Spencer Region, a top offensive lineman from the state of Alabama. Things got much much better as the top inside and outside linebackers, Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony also came aboard for the Tigers. With all of the hype that FSU has recieved this recruiting cycle, I would be surprised if this Clemson class was as good or better four years from now. Clemson is a force to be recon within the state of Florida signing top prospects Mike Bellamy RB, Sammy Watkins WR, Cortez Davis S, and Tony Steward LB, all are 4 star or better prospects from the Sunshine State. Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney, is one hell of a recruiter. If he can transition this class into success on the football field the one time Alabama walk-on is going have a long happy stay at Clemson.
Florida State signed any and everybody they wanted this year. I think it would be safe to say that if they don’t get a national title out of this bunch the only person you can blame is the coach, Jimbo Fisher. Tim Jernigan, Karlos Williams, James Wilder Jr are the headliners, but this class is stacked from top to bottom with elite talent. Kelvin Benjamin is my sleeper in this class and look for him start immediatley along with a few others from this stellar class. Nick O’Leary is a question mark as I dont really see FSU using the tight end position that much. It will be interesting to see how they use him. I say fire Jimbo Fisher if he can’t win it all after his last two years on the recruiting trail. He has simply done an awesome job for the Noles. PS, I saw all this coming last February .
Lastly, Charlie Strong and Clint Hurtt (former Miami Recruiting Coordinator) signed 12 players from the state of Florida including five 4 star quality players according to ESPN. The Ville will continue to be a major factor in Broward and Dade counties as long as Hurtt is there running the recruiting effort. Teddy Bridgewater is my favorite quarterback prospect in this entire class and he signs with the Cards? Eli Rodgers, his school running mate also signed with the Cards and they are both already on campus. Louisville even flexed some muscle yesterday getting Fort Lauderdale 4 star defensive end Bryant DuBose to bring his talents to Louisville. Outside of the in state schools and Clemson nobody recruited the Sunshine state better than Louisville. The big thing here is that Charlie Strong made waves in his first year at the Ville on a team really lacking in talent. The lure of a majority black coaching staff is going to be a problem for a lot teams in the southeast for years to come. Elite talent with this staff’s coaching background is going to be a problem. Imagine Boise State or TCU that can challenge for the top recruits. Look for Strong to build a juggernaut in Louisville in the coming years.