Thursday, February 6, 2014
Early Offer: It’s a wrap
By Jeremy Crabtree
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Alabama’s 2014 class is special, but is it the best class ever? Who were my biggest winners Wednesday, and what can we look forward to with the class of 2015?
Special class for Bama
This was my 16th signing day to cover, and I don’t recall ever a more loaded recruiting class than the one the Crimson Tide signed Wednesday. Alabama signed 19 ESPN 300 prospects, five five-stars and 17 four-star recruits, and pulled the recruiting upset of the day when it was able to land No. 52 ranked Rashaan Evans, a four-star outside linebacker from Auburn (Ala.) High School. No other school in the country can walk into the backyard of the Auburn Tigers and steal away one of their most coveted recruits. But Nick Saban and Alabama can, giving further legitimacy to them being the best class in the modern era of recruiting.
Bob Stoops, Steve Sarkisian and Steve Spurrier led their programs to huge signing day pushes, helping their programs climb up the recruiting charts.
Oklahoma bolted up the list to No. 13 after picking up ESPN 300 athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central), ESPN safety Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and three-star tackles Kenyon Frison (West Valley, Utah/Granger) and Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge). Stoops said the success of the Sugar Bowl helped the Sooners close as strong as they have in the past five years.
The two USCs were also big winners. The Gamecocks climbed all the way to No. 19 after picking up No. 12 athlete Chris Lammons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation), No. 12 cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton), No. 13 cornerback Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./MLK) and No. 46 defensive tackle Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood). For all the attention that Spurrier has gotten for his offense in the past, it's very clear his foundation at South Carolina is on defense, and this class is a great example of that.
The Trojans were the other big national headline Wednesday when they flew up the charts to finish with the No. 14 class. USC landed the top three prospects in its class Wednesday when five-star corner Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), No. 3 athlete Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and No. 4 offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) signed. Sarkisian threw the gauntlet down and claimed the Southland his turf with Wednesday's run, which should make the battles for 2015 with Pac-12 foes UCLA, Oregon and Stanford even more interesting.
Recruiting in today’s college football doesn’t allow for breaks, and coaches are already working hard on the 2015 class. But here are some names you should get to know before next year’s signing day arrives. Defensive end Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) is the No. 1 player in the ESPN Junior 300 and has already racked up more than 40 scholarship offers. Athlete George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) is the No. 2 player player. He previously committed to Michigan before re-opening his recruitment in December. Kevin Toliver II (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) is the No. 3 player, and he’s already pledged to LSU. There’s also a very good group of defensive tackles in the 2015 class, headlined by Trenton Thompson (Albany, Ga./Westover), Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) and Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson).