National Signing Day is just about over, and it was relatively drama-free for the first time in a long time. Just about everyone ended up where we expected and outside of a few early hijinks, the commitments didn’t even seem as absurd as usual.
With the classes complete and the fax machines shut off, it’s time to evaluate who came out on top.
Then came the news that four-star wide receiver Nico Collins chose Michigan over his home-state Alabama Crimson Tide.
The entire Big Ten
In addition to Michigan, it was a banner day across the conference. Ohio State has essentially had the No. 2-ranked class in the country wrapped up for months, with nearly half of its signees already enrolled on campus. Penn State will finish in the Top 20 nationally and already has a jump start on what should be a top-ranked class next year
Even non-traditional powers like Maryland (a likely Top 25 class) and Rutgers (its best class since joining the Big Ten) did better than expected. This isn’t the Big Ten of just a few years ago.
All things considered, Stanford might have had the most impressive day of any team in college football. The Cardinal signed a Top 15 class that included two of the top offensive tackles in the country and a top quarterback.
Making this more impressive is that Stanford achieved such a high ranking with just 14 scholarships to award. That is by far the fewest of any team that finished in the Top 15.
Rated just 38th nationally, the Bears' recruiting class won’t blow anyone away from a pure rankings standpoint. What makes this class so incredible is where it came from. When head coach Matt Rhule arrived at the school less than two months ago, Baylor had just one commitment total. Now the Bears have close to 30.
From a simple “where it started” to “where it ended” perspective, Baylor might have had the best day of any school in the country on Wednesday.
The Tigers missed on five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson late, but they cleaned up early in the day, signing top safety Todd Harris and defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson -- one of the top-rated players in the entire state of Texas.
That’s a heck of a haul for first-year head coach Ed Orgeron.
No program closed harder on harder on Signing Day than the Trojans, who seemed to pick up a new four- or five-star commitment every hour on the hour.
USC already had a Top 15 class coming into the day, then added linebacker Levi Jones from Texas, top tackle prospect Austin Jackson and a pair of players (Joseph Lewis and Greg Johnson) from Los Angeles powerhouse Hawkins High School. And those are just some of the players USC got commitments from Wednesday.
The Trojans have finally found stability, and it showed with a big Signing Day.
Alabama Crimson Tide
It’s not just that Alabama once again closed with the No. 1 class in the country (for roughly the 57th straight year); it's how the Tide did it that was so impressive.
Nick Saban received an in-state commitment from LaBryan Ray, arguably the top defensive end in the 2017 class. Ray’s commitment also meant that the Crimson Tide ran out of scholarships before four-star defensive lineman Jarez Parks could commit. Incredibly, Parks elected to take a grayshirt at Alabama -- which means he can’t enroll until next January -- rather than go to another school.
You know you’re good when four-star recruits are willing to sit out a year to play for you instead of attending just about any other school in the country. And that’s why Nick Saban and Alabama are the biggest winners on Signing Day 2017.