Feb. 1 is National Signing Day, the day when college football teams finally announce their signed recruits, after players slide around hats and fans scream at each other online. And all of it matters!
The big storyline, again: is this finally the year somebody can top Alabama in the overall rankings? The answer was no. The Tide win the overall score again, but Ohio State’s class is arguably better. USC was Signing Day’s strongest closer, here’s something to know about each of the top 15 classes, and the day’s biggest oddity was a Bama blue-chip agreeing to delay his scholarship until 2018.
The No. 1 overall recruit, DE Jaelan Phillips, was already set to UCLA, though the individual rating services disagree so much that three others also rank No. 1 at one outlet or another (Alabama RB Najee Harris, Tennessee OT Trey Smith, and Stanford OT Walker Little). The top QB: Stanford’s Davis Mills. The top player who committed on Signing Day: five-star DT Marvin Wilson, who picked FSU over LSU and others.
Below you’ll find:
- The general schedule of commits, with TV info, and
- Updates on big commits, flips, and drama as they happen
- Notes on the top 10 overall recruits
For team rankings updates, we recommend the 247Sports Composite. Also, for constant updates throughout the day, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, with this Twitter list including individual team coverage by all our blogs.
1. The general schedule of commits
More business is trickling in, but as far as big, planned stuff goes, it’s a wrap.
2. Updates on big commits, flips, and drama as it happens
We’ll order this section by the conferences gaining new commitments.
Not every signee will be listed here, since some have long been anticipated. Only the ones who are actually making news. Also, something bizarre will happen, since something bizarre always happens.
3-star RB Deonte Sheffield to Florida State over UConn, Georgia Southern
4-star LB Leonard Watner to Florida State over Georgia, Stanford
5-star DT Marvin Wilson to Florida State over LSU and others
4-star TE Josh Falo to USC over Oregon, Colorado
4-star OT Austin Jackson to USC over Arizona State, Washington
4-star ATH Greg Johnson to USC over Nebraska, Oregon
4-star OLB Levi Jones to USC, teasing FSU and Florida via T-shirt fakeout
5-star WR Joseph Lewis to USC over Nebraska, Oregon
4-star DE Jay Tufele to USC over Utah, Ohio State, and others
4-star DE Jarez Parks to Alabama, reportedly as a delayed scholarship for 2018
5-star DE LaBryan Ray to Alabama over everybody
4-star WR Henry Ruggs to Alabama over Florida State
4-star WR Devonta Smith to Alabama, because of course
4-star DE Markaviest Bryant to Auburn over Georgia, Alabama, LSU
3-star DT Tyrone Truesdell to Auburn
3-star ATH JaTarvious Whitlow to Auburn
3-star S Jovon Burriss Jr. to Florida
3-star DB Brian Edwards to Florida over Miami
4-star CB Christopher Henderson to Florida over Miami, Alabama
3-star RB Adarius Lemons to Florida
4-star G Tedarrell Slaton to Florida over Kentucky
4-star WR James Robinson canceled his announcement after getting into some weed trouble at Ohio State, but Florida seems to have changed its mind on him. The Gators signed him.
3-star LB Zikerrion Baker to Ole Miss
4-star WR D.D. Bowie sticking with Ole Miss over Mississippi State
3-star DT Sincere David flips to Ole Miss from Colorado State
3-star OT Tony Gray to Ole Miss over Florida, South Carolina
3-star WR JaVonta Payton to Ole Miss over Tennessee
3-star WR Braylon Sanders to Ole Miss
3-star ILB Mohamed Sanogo to Ole Miss over Mississippi State, UCLA
3-star ATH Kam White to Ole Miss over Iowa State, Minnesota
4-star DE Brad Johnson sticks with South Carolina over Virginia Tech
4-star DE Javon Kinlaw to South Carolina
3-star DE Aaron Sterling to South Carolina over Tennessee, Georgia
4-star CB Jamyest Williams to South Carolina over Georgia via subtle hat fake
3-star ATH Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to Notre Dame over Michigan State, Virginia
3-star DE Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa to Notre Dame over Vanderbilt, USC
3-star DE Kofi Wardlow flips to Notre Dame from Maryland
3-star OLB Lionel Cummings to UCF
3-star ILB Sterling Jones to UCF
3-star RB Bentavious Thompson to UCF
3. Notes on the top 10 overall recruits
No. 1 Jaelan Phillips, DE, UCLA
He’s not the consensus top recruit, but he has the highest average rating across the services, according to the Composite. Usually at this point in the cycle, we have a clear No. 1 (like Robert Nkemdiche or Jadeveon Clowney), but this is a unique year, with three other recruits being able to claim the top ranking per at least one service.
Another fun fact about Phillips: he was ranked No. 375 in the Composite less than a year and a half before Signing Day. Washington discovered him in 2015, when the Composite rated him the country's No. 375 recruit. The rest of the Pac-12 quickly caught up, so did the rest of the country, and he was eventually named U.S. Army All-American Bowl Defensive Player of the Year.
How'd his name get so hot? SB Nation's Bud Elliott, who's covered Phillips at camps:
Phillips was good as a junior, yet took a huge leap as a senior. With a 6'5, 250-pound frame, he has the ideal size teams are looking for in a defensive end. Further, he has rare burst and bend to go along with that size. 2017 is a great year for offensive tackles, but Phillips consistently beat them during every all-star event he attended. Phillips also has a great motor, and is a top student. He is one of the surest bets in the class of 2017.
No. 2 Cam Akers, RB, Florida State ...
... and No. 3 Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris is the No. 1 recruit according to both Rivals and Scout and the former No. 1 overall, Akers is the top-rated back, according to the industry as a whole, and both are early enrollees. Two backs in the top three are just the start of this class’ claim to being an all-time great group of RBs:
This is the best running back class since 2014 or 2005.
2014 featured Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Royce Freeman, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Elijah Hood, Rock Thomas, Samaje Perine, and Joe Yearby.
2005 featured Jonathan Stewart, Darren McFadden, Jamaal Charles, Felix Jones, James Davis, Rashard Mendenhall, Antone Smith, Mike Davis, Ray Rice, and Donald Brown.
Harris, of Antioch (Calif.), and Akers, of Clinton (Miss.), are deserving Nos. 1-2, in whichever order you prefer. Harris has rare agility for a 6’3, 226-pound running back. He is more fluid than Derrick Henry was at the same age. And he also catches the football well. Akers’ size/speed combination at 210 pounds is freakish. Most of the players who can accelerate like Akers can weigh 170 pounds, not 210. That makes a big difference when trying to arm tackle someone.
Neither would look out-of-place on an NFL roster right now.
No. 4 Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
and No. 5 Foster Sarell, OT, Stanford
and No. 10 Walker Little, OT, Stanford
This is the third time since 2011 that Bama’s landed the top-ranked offensive lineman (Cyrus Kouandjio in 2011 and Cam Robinson in 2014), with various other four- and five-stars throughout.
For Stanford, this class is an echo of the Cardinal’s monstrous 2012 haul, which included three of the top six offensive linemen.
Counting Bama’s Jedrick Willis, the Tide and Cardinal combine to bring in half of 2017’s eight best OL.
“Sarell and Leatherwood have that ‘just stay healthy and you’re a first-round pick’ look to them,” Bud Elliott wrote over the summer.
No. 6 Marvin Wilson, DT, announcing on Signing Day
The sole top-10 commit who’s announcing on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET on ESPN2), Wilson appears to be down to Florida State or LSU, with Ohio State and Oklahoma also in the picture. He and uncommitted Aubrey Solomon are the class’ only uncommitted five-stars, a rarity that makes both of them more popular this week.
No. 7 Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
No. 8 Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The Buckeyes’ class is somehow being overlooked, despite being loaded with blue-chips and entering Signing Day at No. 2 in the country. OSU’s already enrolled Okudah, No. 2 CB Shaun Wade, No. 1 OLB Baron Browning, and six four-stars, with plenty more set to sign.
No. 9 Joshua Kaindoh, DE, Florida State
“I want to be a doctor,” the early enrollee told reporters in Orlando this summer while discussing his post-football plans. He's interested in kinesiology, pathology, and neurology and wants “the mixture of academics and athletics.”
So! We put him to the test with an anatomy pop quiz: