Winners and losers of National Signing Day

Published 3:05 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

It was a fairly quiet National Signing Day on Wednesday, mostly because the biggest names in the 2019 recruiting class had put pen to paper back during the Early Signing Period in December.

Still, there were a few twists and turns that made it a little bit more interesting, even if most of the hoopla was over with a month and a half ago.

WINNERS

I’d like to say a few words about Tennessee. Everybody has loved throwing them under the bus and laughing at the misfortune this program has gone through the last decade, but my goodness did Jeremy Pruitt show what he was made of on Wednesday. The Vols were able to snag 5-star outside linebacker Henry To’oto’o, beating out Alabama and Washington, then later in the day got offensive lineman Darnell Wright, the No. 10 player in the 2019 class. Tennessee’s 2019 class is good for No. 12 in the nation. Pruitt is making moves, and I could see the 2020 class breaking into the Top 10 and disrupting its rivals recruiting efforts sooner rather than later.

Also, the Volunteers have the greatest recruit in 2019 with Bainbridge defensive end Roman Harrison. I mean, c’mon, we all know what Tennessee is getting there: an absolute beast!

Another SEC East school, the Florida Gators, did break into the Top 10 Wednesday with a couple of big gets, namely 4-star Kaiir Elam and 4-star defensive end Khris Bogle. Mullen is used to doing a lot with a little from his time at Mississippi State. He is quickly seeing the bigger brand can get you top tier talent.

Georgia got a big flip in 5-star wide receiver George Pickens, who had been committed to Auburn for almost two years. When I saw the announcement on Twitter, my jaw dropped. Coach Smart once again proves he’s an absolute wizard on the recruiting trail, and Dawg fans can rest easy knowing one of Georgia’s most lacking positions is getting some elite depth.

Texas also put together an outstanding class, good for No. 3 in the nation. The Longhorns got a heck of a stud in athlete Bru McCoy, and also collected a string of strong defensive players that will help rush all of the gunslingers they’ll play in the Big 12.

LOSERS

It’s getting ugly in L.A. After the Kilff Kingsbury fiasco at USC, the No. 20 ranked class in the country is looking a little bit down this year. Coach Clay Helton is going to have to make some major waves during his 2019 season, or the Trojans may be looking for another coach sooner rather than later. Also, Chip Kelly over at UCLA doesn’t appear to be gaining much popularity with recruits, either, as he picked up just one 4-star and the rest 3-stars or lowers. Then again, Kelly always hated recruiting, and did a lot with the same types of players at Oregon. The game has changed a lot since then, though.

Florida State whiffed on a quarterback for the second straight year. Now that former starter Deandre Francois has been dismissed from the team, I’m not sure if the Seminoles will go back to starting James Blackman or try to put together another plan. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a lot of Cam Akers in the wildcat formation in 2019. FSU did sign some great defensive backs this cycle, so maybe the defense will be better this year.

Honestly, there is nowhere to go but up for coach Willie Taggart and his team.