Signing Day 2015: College Football Recruiting Scorecard
Signing Day: The fax machine's big day to shine...
Photo illustration by Monica Fuentes
I think we can all agree that Les Miles is a national treasure and that all of his weekly press conferences should be chronicled in either a 30 for 30 or a DVD-style box set on iTunes, right?
Well, in the treasure trove of old Les Miles weekly press conferences, there is one from a couple of years ago, when it was Columbus Day Monday, when Les Miles strolls into the media room and rather than immediately start in with his thoughts on the previous weekend's game, he instead gives one of the most bizarre "holiday well wishes" you'll ever see.
It went like this:
"This is your day."
That sentence, that last throwaway sentence, always stuck with me for some reason. This is our day. Every day is somebody's day, right? Like yesterday, for example. College football National Signing Day. This is definitely somebody's day, seeing as there are so many people that have it circled on their calendar like it's Christmas Day.
So if we can channel some Les Miles for a moment...
"Good afternoon. I just want to remind everybody that it's National Signing Day. All those of you that follow 17-year-old kids on Twitter, that try to sell them on coming to your program, that berate them when they choose a school that's not your school. All of you out-of-shape, middle-aged, jersey-wearing men who hang out on message boards....this is your day.
It's not St. Patty's Day...that's a different day entirely...."
Also, the fax machine....this is your day....
It's National Signing Day. This is your day ... pic.twitter.com/SwTO8t4PZ8
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) February 4, 2015
Now, a quick run-through on some of the highlights for the Texas schools in Power Five conferences. (Apologies to University of Houston, Rice, other SEC schools, the Oklahoma schools, and any fellow Notre Dame alums looking for summaries here of those classes. There are only 24 hours in a day, and that Fallon "Saved By The Bell" reunion video isn't going to watch itself now, is it?)
TEXAS A&M AGGIES Rivals.com Ranking: 10 ESPN.com Ranking: 12 The Aggies' biggest hurdle in this class was cleared last week when Allen QB Kyler Murray reaffirmed his commitment to the school, giving the Aggies a blue chip QB for the second straight recruiting season. Overall, the talent river continues to flow into College Station, with the biggest get (literally) being five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack, who fills a huge need, playing in the SEC West where man-sized defensive linemen are the buy-in. Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com calls Mack the best defensive tackle he's seen since Ty Warren. Murray will be joined on offense by five-star WR Christian Kirk and athlete Kemah Siverand. Defensively, Mack will be joined by James Lockhart, Larry Pryor Jr. and Justin Dunning, all considered top 250 recruits. To give you an idea of what the Aggies are competing with, even with a top 12 class, the Aggies had the fourth best class in the SEC West, and all seven SEC West schools finished with classes in Rivals' Top 25.
TEXAS LONGHORNS Rivals.com Ranking: 12 ESPN.com Ranking: 9 It's a vastly different approach than Longhorns fans have become used to when it comes to recruiting. Mack Brown's m.o. was to load up early on recruits from the state of Texas. Charlie Strong secured more than half this class after December 1, and nearly half the class is from out of state, including several from Strong's "home recruiting ground" in Florida. The most important get was Mesquite LB Malik Jefferson, a top 30 player, and symbolically the recruit that announced to the Aggies and the rest of Texas that the Longhorns were back on the recruiting trail. Just as important, after missing on stealing Murray from the Aggies, the Horns were able to pilfer Baltimore QB Kai Locksley from his Florida State verbal commitment. The calling card of this class will be on the defensive side of the ball, with CB's Holton Hill and Kris Boyd headlining in the secondary.
BAYLOR BEARS Rivals.com Ranking: 43 ESPN.com Ranking: 32 Baylor fans are becoming accustomed to their school being a factor on the recruiting trail after a Heisman Trophy in 2011 and back-to-back New Year's Day bowls. "Baylor QB" has become one of the annual Mad Libs as a token Heisman candidate and Art Briles went back to his roots for the next one, securing Jarett Stidham's services. Other weapons on offense in the class include wide receiver Devontre Stricklin and running back Ja'Mycal Hasty. Two JuCo tackles could help on offense -- Maurice Porter and Dominic Desouza.
TCU HORNED FROGS Rivals.com Ranking: 34 ESPN.com Ranking: 37 Nobody has a better idea of what exactly they're looking for in recruiting than Gary Patterson, who will find athletes and turn them into football players as well as any coach in America. TCU has always been thought of as a defensive school, but with the newfound explosiveness on offense this past season, kids took notice. The Horned Frogs added more speed with Class 5A 100-meter champion Darrion Flowers, as well as Tony James. Athlete Jaelan Austin could play safety or receiver. Offensive tackle David Bolisomi fits the "evaluate and then develop" strategy of Patterson, and on defense, they secured high upside guys in defensive end Breylin Mitchell, cornerback DeShawn Raymond and safety Montrel Wilson.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS Rivals.com Ranking: 40 ESPN.com Ranking: 35 On offense, the most prominent prospects in the class are actually in the trenches with tackles Madison Akamnonu, Conner Dyer and Trace Ellison. The Red Raiders picked up some speed in RV Corey Dauphine. On defense, new coordinator David Gibbs is off to a good start with S Jamile Johnson Jr., ILB D'Vonta Hinton and athlete Jonathan Giles.
For what it's worth, here is how the national rankings came down on Rivals.com, as of this morning. Again, this is all fluid, when you take into account possible qualification issues and things like "Kyler Murray might play baseball"...
1. USC 2. Alabama 3. Florida State 4. Clemson 5. Tennessee 6. Auburn 7. Georgia 8. LSU 9. Ohio State 10. Texas A&M 11. Notre Dame 12. Texas 13. UCLA 14. Oklahoma 15. Penn State 16. Mississippi State 17. Oregon 18. Stanford 19. South Carolina 20. Arizona State 21. Mississippi 22. Michigan State 23. Florida 24. Virginia Tech 25. Arkansas
Of course, if you're looking for a very large (literally) grain of salt to take all of this with, well, here you go....
Reality check on all the hand wringing today as 17 yr old kids dictate your mood for the rest of the week ... pic.twitter.com/LufNYH7mUp
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) February 4, 2015