In some ways things were easier back in the old days. You know, three years ago when there was one Signing Day, and it was in February.
Now, successful coaches looking to control the narrative surrounding their programs have to win National Signing Day twice. Some SEC football coaches did precisely that today. Others will head toward February needing to score some big wins to forestall various strains of grumbling about their program.
Georgia. As we already discussed, the Bulldogs nailed down their biggest need, wide receiver, in a big way. The ‘Dawgs also avoided any late flips which would have set the class back. Kirby Smart lost out on South Carolina standout Jordan Burch, who elected to play for the the hometown Gamecocks. And it might have been nice to pick up one of a series of talented Peach State inside linebackers headed elsewhere (more on that shortly). But for the most part Georgia set itself up for a solid finish over the next few weeks.
Auburn. The Gus Bus got some needed fuel on Early Signing Day. Four star tight end JJ Pegues of Oxford, Mississippi shunned the hometown Rebels and Alabama to sign with the Plainsmen. The Tigers added a trio of talented four star linebackers from middle Georgia: Wes Steiner (Houston County), Desmond Tisdol (Wilcox County), and Romello Height (Dublin). I expect Tisdol in particular to make Bulldog fans wish the UGA staff had pursued him. The Tigers also held off Florida for four star receiver Elijah Canion and held onto five star tailback Tank Bigsby. All in all, the kind of day that will help Gus hang on until his buyout becomes manageable.
Tennessee. If I’d told you after the Vols lost to Georgia State that they’d spend Christmas celebrating a bowl berth and a top 15 recruiting ranking you would have been surprised. Jeremy Pruitt might have been as well. Yet here they are, with national top 200 recruits Tyler Baron (OLB) and Len’Neth Whitehead (ILB) onboard. Whitehead, out of Athens’ Prince Avenue Christian, is a guy I believe could have helped the Bulldogs. Offensively the Vols landed Mississippi dual threat QB Jimmy Holiday, who ran a laser-timed 4.38 forty this spring and flipped to Rocky Top from TCU.
LSU. LSU’s class remains very strong (5th in the country according to 247Sports) with as many as seven spots available for February. But the Bayou Bengals at best treaded water today. While they picked up a commit from four star offensive lineman Marcus Dumervil and (sensing a pattern here?) four star linebacker Phillip Webb out of Gwinnett County, they lost previously committed top 100 receivers Rakim Jarrett (Maryland) and Jermaine Burton (Georgia), as well as four star cornerback Malcolm Greene (Clemson). Again, Ed O’s going to be fine, but only because he’s going to have better days than this one.
Florida. The Gators managed to pick up zero new commitments, other than an Australian kicker who signed yesterday (Australian time).
This tweet from yesterday is the last one from this account if you need to know how ESD is going for Dan Mullen. https://t.co/ROqOSH8iNZ— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) December 18, 2019
Somehow Dan Mullen’s series of middling recruiting classes at Mississippi State made Gator fans believe he’ll recruit top five classes in Gainesville. But then if they were smart, they wouldn’t have gone to Florida I guess. Dan Mullen is a rich man’s Paul Johnson, and this fact brings me great joy.