There are a lot of fanbases who feel really great about the players their team signed yesterday. Many of those are probably in the SEC, whose schools once again signed more of the nation's five star recruits than anyone else in America.
But not everyone can be a winner. Now that the dust has cleared, here's a look at which league schools racked up on National Signing Day and which ones are going home with the metaphorical participation trophy.
Alabama. That’s the thing about the rich. They have a tendency to just get richer. Alabama came into National Signing Day pretty far back in the pack but with a hat on nearly every table at every blue chip recruit’s announcement ceremony. And a fair number of those recruits picked the Tide, delivering Nick Saban his sixth #1 ranked signing class in a row.
Georgia. One of the schools that actually won some head-to-head battles with the Tide. Kirby Smart took over in Athens officially in early December, but wasn’t able to devote his full energies to the job until mid-January. In the process he got Georgia in the discussion for several major targets and locked up most of the Dawgs’ existing commitments. It’s been noted elsewhere that the Bulldog commits who left largely went to non-SEC schools. Not to say anything bad about those young men, but this may be an indication that the prior staff may have been reaching on some player evaluations. Perhaps the best news is that Smart didn’t reach for numbers in this class, leaving additional scholarships for a 2017 class that might have otherwise been tight on numbers. For now, Smart inked the top class in the SEC East, thanks in large part to major whiffs by what should have been his main competition (more on that below).
Ole Miss. I’m not sure exactly how they’re doing it, and neither it Bret Bielema. But the Rebel Black Bears signed potentially the best quarterback in the nation in Shea Patterson along with Greg Little, a bookend left tackle to replace Laremy Tunsil. And because an Ole Miss football event wouldn’t be complete without insulting Mississippi State, Hugh Freeze also grabbed the nation’s #4 wide receiver, A.J. Brown, out of Starkville.
Texas A&M. Texas A&M’s class isn’t that bad. But it’s comparing their yard to the neighbors’ and thinking about what could have been that will drive Aggie fans nuts today. A&M lost out on five star safety Brandon Jones and and four star linebacker Jeffrey McCullough. Both picked the Texas Longhorns instead. Offensive tackle Patrick Hudson (also recruited late in the process by Georgia) elected to stick with a commitment to Baylor. And while the Ags’ class should end up between #15 and #20 according to the recruiting services, that’s squarely 4th place in the SEC West behind Bama, LSU, and Ole Miss.
Florida. FSU surged to a #2 ranked class and did so largely at the expense of the Gators. Jim McElwain signed only four of 247Sports’ top fifty players in the Sunshine State, which sounds like a dud on its face. It gets even worse when you consider that the Seminoles picked up eight of those and Miami’s Mark Richt (woah that still feels a little weird) snagged ten. If sunburned Jim could just keep doing that, I'd be really grateful.