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 how everyone did on Wednesday. We already told you about which teams “won” signing day, but what about the teams that fell flat?
Here are the five big losers on Signing Day 2017:
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Considering that the Cornhuskers finished in the Top 25 nationally according to most services, it’s hard to say that Mike Riley’s club “lost” Signing Day. They began to re-establish a pipeline to fertile California (which they recruited vigorously during their heyday of the 1980’s and 90’s) by signing quarterback Tristan Gebbia and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr.
Still Nebraska fans can only be left wondering “what if” after they missed on a slew of California kids on and around Signing Day. Five-star defensive back Darnay Holmes elected to go to UCLA instead of Nebraska in early January. On Wednesday, Hawkins High School teammates Joseph Lewis and Greg Johnson both selected USC over the Cornhuskers.
Signing Day “failure” is relative and considering Arizona has never been a recruiting power, it’s hard to blame Rich Rodriguez and his staff for bringing in a class that ranks somewhere around 45th nationally.
At the same time, this was a school decimated by late decommitments; first with Johnson (who ended up at USC) and later LA-area wide receiver Warren Jackson decided to go to Colorado State over the Wildcats. They also saw top-ranked offensive tackle Austin Jackson – who is from Arizona – commit to USC. With all that last-minute movement, it left the Wildcats with the 10th ranked class out of 12 Pac-12 schools, a terrible sign for a team coming off a 3-9 season.
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Ole Miss Rebels
The NCAA continues to investigate Hugh Freeze’s program and it resulted in a disappointing finish around 35th nationally for the Rebels, a team which has routinely finished in the Top 15 nationally under his watch. Overall, Ole Miss’ class ranked 12th out of 14 SEC programs (ahead of only Missouri and Vanderbilt) and last in the SEC West.
The Big 12 has taken it on the chin on the field the last few years (missing the College Football Playoff in two of the last three seasons) and that impact is starting to be felt in recruiting as well. Oklahoma was the only conference school to finish in the Top 25 of 24/7’s rankings. Even worse, schools from other regions are starting to dip into the Big 12’s footprint to get players. Only one of the Top 10 players in Texas will go to a Big 12 school next season.
No Big 12 school – or any school for that matter – took it worse than Texas did Wednesday.
The day started with two local Austin products choosing to go to UCLA and USC respectively. Later, it was four-star corner Chevin Calloway choosing Arkansas over the Longhorns followed by top-ranked defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson picking LSU over Texas as well. Marvin Wilson – a Houston native, and the highest-ranked player who committed Wednesday – didn’t even have Texas in his final few teams.
To Tom Herman’s credit, it would have been hard for him to put together a top-rated class on short notice. He has already admitted to FOX Sports that he knew Wednesday was going to be an uphill battle. Still, facts matter. And no one had a worse Signing Day than the Longhorns.
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