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Takeaways From National Signing Day 17’

As an avid college football fan National Signing Day (NSD) is the best day of the offseason. It is the college football equivalent of the NFL Draft, except much much better. It is the culmination of years of recruiting and committing, and yet there is still plenty of excitement to engage millions of football fanatics for nearly 24 hours. And much like the NFL Draft, NSD is the time when college football rosters are put together. And it’s not just 7 or 8 selections like in the Pros. Recruiting classes of nearly 30 new players litter programs every single year, meaning even more hope and optimism than what the Draft amounts to. And with this Signing Day in the books GameDaySportsBlog.com takes a look at exactly what went down, and what we can expect to see in college football from the recruiting class of 2017.

Storylines

  1. There is a reason that Alabama is constantly at the forefront of college football. Not only do they have the best coach in college football history, but they also recruit better than any program ever has. For the seventh straight season the Alabama Crimson Tide finished with the top recruiting class in the nation.
  2. According to 247 Sports there were only 32 five-star prospects, and most of them decided to play together with Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and Stanford combining to sign 17 five-star prospects. The rest of college football inked just 15.
  3. Ohio State was far behind this impressive Alabama class. If the rankings were based on average ranking per player, the Buckeyes actually had a stronger class than the Crimson Tide according to 247 Sports. The overall ranking downfall for the Buckeyes is that they ended with just 21 signees, although that included 11 Top 100 prospects and just two players ranked outside the Top 300, so don’t feel bad for Urban Meyer.
  4. Kirby Smart can recruit. Apparently that is something he picked up from his long-tie boss Nick Saban. Smart’s Bulldogs finished third in the overall rankings, and dominated their in-state recruiting despite Georgia historically being a state that is recruited by national powers. The Bulldogs signed 18 players from its home state and 11 of the Peach State’s top 16 prospects.
  5. Meyer isn’t the only Big 10 coach who can recruit. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan signed a Top 5 class. James Franklin helped get more talent to Happy Valley, and Maryland coach DJ Durkin proved that he can recruit as a head coach, helping the Terps pull in a top 20 class.
  6. Florida State finished again with a great class. They loaded up at running back signing 3 top-prospects in hopes that one of them can replace stud Dalvin Cook who was the nation’s best ball carrier this past year.
  7. Stanford finished with the 14th overall recruiting class according to 247 Sports, quite an accomplishment considering they only signed 14 recruits. So why such a high ranking? Because the Cardinal netted the nation’s No. 1 tight end, No. 1 quarterback and two Top 10 offensive tackles to go along with five other four-star prospects.
  8. I have already written a piece showing/proving that the University of Florida is the real “DBU”, but the Tigers aren’t giving up just yet. Despite the Gators’ very nice DB haul, the safeties that LSU was able to grab, 3 of the nation’s top 11, is just ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as Georgia signing 2 of the top 4.

 

GDSB’s Rankings

Here GameDaySportsBlog.com creates their own rankings for just how good these players will be at the college level. We rank our top 5 prospects at each level, taking into account not only their skill level but also the situation they enter and whether or not they will be set up for success at the college level. We also give a sleeper prospect at each position who doesn’t rank highly but will make a big impact for their college team.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Davis Mills (STAN)
  2. Kellen Mond (aTm)
  3. Hunter Johnson (CLEM)
  4. Jake Fromm (UGA)
  5. Chris Robison (OU)

Sleeper: Darriel Mack (UCF)

Running backs:

  1. Cam Akers (FSU)
  2. Stephen Carr (USC)
  3. Najee Harris (BAMA)
  4. Trey Sermon (OU)
  5. Kylin Hill (Miss St.)

Sleeper: AJ Davis (Pitt)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Donovan Peoples-Jones (MICH)
  2. Jerry Jeudy (BAMA)
  3. Tee Higgins (CLEM)
  4. DJ Matthews (FSU)
  5. Joseph Lewis (USC)

Sleeper: Charleston Rambo (OU)

Tight Ends:

  1. Colby Parkinson (STAN)
  2. Josh Falo (USC)
  3. Charles Reeves (Pitt)
  4. Kemore Gamble (UF)
  5. Jimmy Jaggers (UCLA)

Sleeper: Jake Ferguson (NEB)

Offensive Linemen:

  1. Alex Leatherwood (BAMA)
  2. Trey Smith (TENN)
  3. Foster Sarell (STAN)
  4. Isaiah Wilson (UGA)
  5. Walker Little (STAN)

Sleeper: Marquis Hayes (OU)

Defensive Tackles:

  1. Marvin Wilson (FSU)
  2. Jay Tufele (USC)
  3. Aubrey Soloman (MICH)
  4. Haskell Garrett (OSU)
  5. Tyler Shelvin (LSU)

Sleeper: Fred Hansard (PSU)

Defensive Ends:

  1. LaBryan Ray (BAMA)
  2. Jaelan Phillips (UCLA)
  3. Chase Young (OSU)
  4. Joshua Kaindoh (FSU)
  5. Malik Herring (UGA)

Sleeper: Brad Johnson (S. Carolina)

Linebackers:

  1. Dylan Moses (BAMA)
  2. Baron Browning (OSU)
  3. Christopher Allen (BAMA)
  4. Leonard Warner (FSU)
  5. Willie Gay (Miss St.)

Sleeper: De’Andre Wilder (Miami)

Cornerbacks:

  1. Jeffrey Okudah (OSU)
  2. Stanford Samuels (FSU)
  3. Shaun Wade (OSU)
  4. J. Terrell (CLEM)
  5. Elijah Blades (NEB)

Sleeper: Christopher Henderson (UF)

Safeties:

  1. Jacoby Stevens (LSU)
  2. Devon Hunter (Va Tech)
  3. Richard LeCounte III (UGA)
  4. Grant Delpit (LSU)
  5. Isaiah Pryor (OSU)

Sleeper: Hamsah Nasirildeen (FSU)

 

Freshmen You Will Hear About

  1. Trey Sermon (RB) Oklahoma

The 6’ 215-pound running back will pair up with Abdul Adams, and while Sermon isn’t quite Samaje Perine or Joe Mixon he will be helped out by a good offensive line and a great quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Look for the freshman to get over 100 carries and be a stud runner for the Sooners in Lincoln Riley’s high-scoring offense.

 

  1. Jay Tufele (DT) Southern Cal

The Trojans need help along the front-seven and Tufele fits the bill perfectly for USC as a player who will help change this defense from porous to powerful and help USC win the PAC-12 South this year.

 

  1. Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR) Michigan

Peoples-Jones is arguably the most physically talented and gifted player in this class and he steps into a situation in Ann Arbor where the Wolverines are missing a lot on offense. Michigan replaces nearly every starter on offense and that means serious playing time for a player who will wreck Big 10 defenses for years to come.

 

  1. Kellen Mond (QB) Texas A&M

Mond should be A&M’s starting quarterback this season. Trevor Knight played his graduate season in College Station and ended his career on a high-note by playing well, but now it’s Mond’s turn. And the freshman is talented enough to pick up Kevin Sumlin’s offense and score plenty of points for the Aggies in 2017.

 

  1. Cam Akers (RB) Floida State

Akers is the nation’s top prep running back and he will be counted on to take over for college football’s top running back. Dalvin Cook and his 2200+ yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns are gone to the NFL and the Seminoles will look to Akers to jump right in beside stud quarterback Deondre Francois and lead FSU to an ACC championship.

Recruit Who Will Win the Heisman

Stephen Carr (RB) Southern Cal

Ronald Jones is still the main running back at USC, and will be until he leaves early for the NFL after the 2017 season, but Justin Davis is gone and his 110 carries need to go somewhere, which means Carr will not only have a chance to get on the field early for USC, but he will have a chance once Jones leaves to be the star of an offense that Helton has turned into a force.

USC has recruited studs on the outside to keep defenses from stacking the box in the future, and the Trojan offensive line seems to always be formidable. If Carr can simply build upon what Jones has done under Helton’s tutelage, look for the star prospect to be hoisting up the Heisman Trophy at the end of a great collegiate career.

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