Ranking the Power 5 Conferences National Signing Day performances
With National Signing Day finally over, here’s a look at how the Power 5 Conferences fared. The SEC dominated as usual, but what about the others?
The 2017 season and beyond will be interesting to say the least. With so many recruits choosing a variety of schools, the SEC may not be the dominant conference for much longer.
The Power 5 Conferences battled it out for Conference Supremacy on the recruiting trail and it all culminated on National Signing Day. There was trolling, there was a lot of creative announcement videos, and also one surprise that boosted one conferences overall output.
A lot of teams strengthened their conference foothold with good days overall, but the USC Trojans put everyone on notice as well on February 1. Teams like Michigan and Ohio State used National Signing Day as a stepping stone towards a National Championship, but so did the Trojans.
The Southeastern Conference took the most five-star recruits with nine total, according to 247 Sports. Closely behind them was the Big Ten Conference, who signed eight five-star recruits in total. And right behind them was the Pac-12 Conference with seven five-star recruits. Despite a strong 2016 season as a conference, some teams in the ACC had an underwhelming National Signing Day on paper.
That’s just a preview, but it shows the college football recruiting landscape is shifting. Here are the Power 5 Conference National Signing Day performance rankings.
5. Big 12 Conference
The Big 12 Conference didn’t have a great National Signing Day overall but the Oklahoma Sooners dominated the day. Oklahoma was the only team in the conference to finish ranked in the 247 Sports Top 25, at eighth. The Sooners finished in the Top 10 rankings with their recruiting class, but after them, there was a huge dropoff in the rankings conference-wise.
Not one team in the conference acquired a five-star recruit. In fact, five teams in the Big 12 (Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State) didn’t acquire a four-star recruit, only three-stars, according to 247Sports. Those teams will look for a diamond in the rough among the lower-tier players.
Texas finished just outside the Top 25, coming in at 26th, according to 247 Sports. But that’s okay with Longhorns new head coach Tom Herman. Herman stressed the Longhorns weren’t interested in role players.
In order win right away, you need a Top 10 recruiting class. However, Herman stressed the importance of doing what’s necessary to win right away. After all, he did lead the Houston Cougars to a 13-1 record in his first season. The Longhorns still missed out on some big names like K’Lavon Chaisson and Marvin Wilson, both Texas natives.
4. Atlantic Coast Conference
The ACC had a bit of an underwhelming day but teams with new head coaches were able to re-establish themselves on the recruiting trail. The Florida State Seminoles led the way for the conference, racking up four five-star recruits, according to 247Sports.
The Seminoles got the commitment of five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, keeping him in the ACC and away from SEC schools like Alabama and LSU. Clemson was the only other team to acquire five-star recruits, racking up two. Despite having just 14 commitments, the Tigers finished third-best in the conference and 16th overall.
The Virginia Tech Hokies got four-star safety Devon Hunter to commit and linebacker Dylan Rivers to flip from Penn State to finish with a Top 25 Recruiting Class, according to 247Sports. Head coach Justin Fuente is making huge strides on the recruiting trail already in just two seasons.
As is Miami head coach Mark Richt. Richt and the Hurricanes finished with the 13th ranked recruiting class, a few spots ahead of Clemson, according to 247 Sports. With quarterback Brad Kaaya leaving early for the NFL Draft, Richt signed a dual-threat and pro-style quarterback to make things interesting in 2017. The Hurricanes also signed five offensive lineman.
3. Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference was another conference with five teams in the Top 25 Recruiting Classes. However, two of them were in the top 10. Ohio State and Michigan finished second and fifth respectively in the recruiting rankings, according to 247 Sports.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines took home a combined seven five-stars and 33 four-stars on National Signing Day. Penn State and Maryland also finished in the Top 25 Recruiting Rankings. Neither team earned a five-star commitment but both earned a combined 19 four-star recruits to compete with the top dogs.
Ohio State was the best performer on National Signing Day by far. Four of their five five-star commitments came on the defensive side of the ball. Three of those players enrolled in January as well, showing Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are looking to upgrade the defense for 2017.
Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines finished just behind the Buckeyes but they got a lot better on both sides of the ball. Five-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones will look to contribute right away after enrolling in January.
The Terrapins recruiting class gives them a chance to forget about their 6-7 record in head coach D.J. Durkin’s first season. Then , there’s head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lions who quietly won the Big Ten title last season. They’ll look for continued success in 2017.
2. Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 Conference was another conference that had a big National Signing Day. Thanks to the USC Trojans, the Pac-12 gets a bump in the Power 5 Recruiting Rankings, coming in with the second-best performance.
The Trojans closed on some key defensive targets in four-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele and linebacker Levi Jones. Jones even had his own fun trolling Florida and Florida State before making his announcement.
USC got one less five-star recruit than the Stanford Cardinal (3) but the two weren’t the only teams to nab a five-star prospect. The UCLA Bruins also grabbed two five-star commitments of their own. In total, the Pac-12 earned seven five-star commitments on National Signing Day.
Despite a rough 2016 season, the Oregon Ducks finished third in the Pac-12 Recruiting Rankings, according to 247Sports. Head coach Willie Taggart didn’t have do too much on the recruiting trail in his first year. But he did enough to strengthen a defense in desperate need.
The California Golden Bears were the only team not to acquire at least one four-star prospect. Losing head coach Sonny Dykes late in the offseason doesn’t help Cal’s cause either. They’ll look to return to Pac-12 dominance under new head coach Justin Wilcox.
1. Southeastern Conference
The SEC took home the crown for best recruiting conference once again, and it wasn’t even close. The conference had five teams finish in the top 10. Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn and Florida all finished in the top 10 recruiting rankings, according to 247Sports.
The Alabama Crimson Tide took home six five-star recruits, according to 247Sports. The Crimson Tide got strongside defensive end LaBryan Ryan and even got four-star defensive end Jarez Parks to gray shirt. Five of their five-stars enrolled in January. The Georgia Bulldogs also took home two five-star prospects, one on each side of the ball.
In total, the SEC earned 11 five-star commitments to remain as the best football conference from a talent standpoint. Georgia, LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee all got at least one five-star on National Signing Day. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron had a good finish to Signing Day to replace what head coach Les Miles has done.
However, not everybody found success on February 1. The Missouri Tigers and Vanderbilt Commodores were the lone teams in the SEC to not acquire any five-star or four-star recruits. Despite qualifying for a bowl game in 2016, Vanderbilt still has some work to do on the recruiting trail to change the overall outcome of things.
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