The dust is beginning to settle on College Football's annual
over-hyped recruiting bukkake-fest National Signing Day, giving us a clearer picture on who's going where in the freshman class of 2011. Right now the nation's No. 1 college prospect, Jadeveon Clowney, is waiting until February 14 to sign. He tells ESPN he's deciding between South Carolina, Clemson, and Alabama. While you were slaving away in the office, we did our kept our ear to the ground and fingers on the pulse of the day's college football drama. We've aggregated a guide to the 10 most compelling storylines and surprises from Signing Day 2011. Check out our re-cap after the jump.
Florida State Claims the No. 1 Signing Class
via Heather Dinch, ESPN.com
On the heels of an Atlantic Division title and Chick-fil-A Bowl win over South Carolina, Florida State has lured what is expected to be the top recruiting class in the country -- all this just one season into Fisher's tenure as a head coach. The staff inked more players from the ESPNU 150 list (12) than defending national champion Auburn (seven). It's a sign of change and rapid progress under the new staff, and increases the possibility of a speedy return among college football's elite. Click here to keep reading...
Isaiah Crowell Brings a Bulldog Puppy on Stage After Signing with Georgia
Because of his status as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's No. 1-ranked player in the state and as someone considered by some to be the No. 1 running-back prospect in the country, Crowell's announcement merited a live broadcast on ESPNU, which is how both Richt and Saban learned of his decision. About 350 people, including about 50 family members, several members from the Crowells' church and the mayor of Columbus, attended. The event peaked when Crowell ended the suspense by pulling a Georgia cap from his backpack and slipping it on his head. Shortly after, Crowell's friend and backup running back Cequanti Ford brought out his bulldog puppy for him to hold. The two had hatched the plan Tuesday to add flair to the ever-growing pomp of signing-day announcements. Ford had to smuggle in the puppy -- named Uga, naturally -- to keep the decision a secret. Click here to keep reading...
Gabe Wright Snubs Alabama and Tennessee for Auburn
Gabe Wright is making the short drive from Columbus, Ga., to Auburn to play college football. The four-star 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle signed with the Tigers on National Signing Day on Wednesday, choosing the Tigers over Tennessee. "In all actuality, I could have flipped a coin," Wright said. "That's how tied this whole decision was. It had to come down to who was there first and who had been there the longest, and that was Auburn." Wright put on an Auburn cap at his announcement, first backwards so the ESPNU audience could see "Nick Who?" etched in the back. Wright said it was a salute to departing Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Click here to keep reading...
Cyrus Kouandjio Comits to Auburn Over to Alabama, But Hasn't Signed a Letter of Intent Yet
DeMatha All-Met offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was on ESPNU just after noon Wednesday to say he was going to Auburn. But Kouandjio has yet to sign a binding National Letter-of-Intent to make the commitment official and clearly is having second thoughts about the decision, according to a source familiar with the situation. "I don't know what to say," DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor said. "I don't know if it's a lot of drama about nothing or if he wants to change his mind." Even this morning, Kouandjio had yet to decide between Auburn and Alabama, where his older brother, Arie, redshirted this past season. McGregor said he advised Kouandjio of the need to reach a decision that he was happy with. "Whatever you want to do, follow your gut and you'll be okay," McGregor said. Click here to keep reading...
RELATED via the AP:
Asked about his status, (Auburn) coach Gene Chizik said: "I'm only going to talk about the ones that we've got paperwork in." Click here to keep reading..
Floyd Raven Commits to Texas A&M, Admits Mother Forged His Ole Miss Letter Of Intent
via the USA Today's Campus Rivalry:
Raven, a defensive back from Reserve (East St. John, La.), was deciding between Mississippi and Texas A&M. Raven picked the Aggies. But it seems his mom wanted him to play for the Rebels and sent a letter there after signing for her son. According to Kyle Veazey of the Clarion Ledger, Ole Miss received a letter that wasn't readable and asked Raven, considered the No. 151 overall prospect by rivals.com, to resend. He never did. Rebels coach Houston Nutt clarified what happened.
"His mom. Mom really wanted him here, David," Nutt said to Associated Press reporter David Brandt. "Mom wanted him here in the worst way. And so, (Mississippi compliance director) David (Wells is) our expert on that, so the bottom line is when they told us that we said 'Hey, look, I want you to be here because you really want to be here.' And he was so torn. It's really hard, it's a hard hard decision, but when mom told me that, "Hey, look, I want you to do what's in your heart. And I think at the time he wanted to go elsewhere and look, I want them to want to be here."
Raven confirmed the story in a series of text messages with Veazey.
"Yeah she did I had no clue because I wasn't home, but I figured she thought she was doing the right thing she didn't kno she couldn't sign dat stuff and how serious it was, n she say she signed one day and another day, but she didn't know I wanted to go to Texas a&m but it's cleared and I'm good and I will not go further about the whole situation unless I have to." Click here to keep reading...
USC Signs Three Top Prospects, Steals One From Ohio State
Offensive lineman Aundrey Walker (Cleveland, Ohio./Glenville), linebacker Lamar Dawson (Danville, Ky./Boyle County) and defensive tackle Christian Heyward (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma) all signed with the Trojans solidifying a likely top 10 recruiting class. Walker said at the Nike Camp at Ohio State last summer that USC was his top school, but when you're talking about a player from Glenville, it's usually assumed said player will end up at Ohio State. The Trojans have never been shy about recruiting Glenville athletes and just missed out on a few including former receiver/return specialist Ted Ginn. Walker visited the Trojans in mid-January and said all the right things. The lineman called USC his dream school and then followed through by signing with the Trojans after narrowing his choices to USC and Ohio State. It's a huge pickup as Walker is one of the elite guards in the nation and capable of stepping in and competing for playing time right away. Click here to keep reading...
Meanwhile, DeAnthony Thomas -- Who Already Kinda Commited To USC -- Weighs Options at Oregon
Big announcement at 7 P.M. PST. In the meantime, turn the volume up on this report from ESPN U. As The Big Lead notes, if USC alum are calling DeAnthony Thomas "desperately trying to convince him to stay," that's an NCAA violation. Probably don't want one of those in your first legitimate year, Lane Kiffin.
Alabama Shows-Off 'Talent' via Fax Cam
Fired Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez Forced to Interview New Coach Brady Hoke
via Dr. Saturday. Awkward. Nice plug for the facilities you helped build, Rich Rod.
Four Five-Star Recruits Sign to Clemson
A pair of five-star Floridians in wide receiver Sammy Watkins and running back Mike Bellamy were committed to Clemson when they day started. The Tigers were in a tight race with Virginia Tech for five-star North Carolina linebacker Stephone Anthony and Clemson ended up winning out. They were not done with their haul of elite linebackers, though. Another five-star Floridian, Tony Steward, was seemingly a lock to sign with Florida State. That was not the case, though, as the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker prospect signed with Clemson during a ceremony at his school on Wednesday morning. The Tigers' total of four five-star prospects is tops in the country. Click here to keep reading...