National Signing Day 2013: Players Who Provided Biggest Boost in Rankings

Justin Onslow@@JustinOnslowNFLContributor IIFebruary 7, 2013

Feb 6, 2013; Loganville, GA, USA; Robert Nkemdiche shown on stage after he announced his decision to attend Mississippi on National Signing Day at Grayson High School. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

For thousands of high school football players, the chance to continue their education and playing careers at the college level is a dream. For the programs that courted those players, national signing day is ultimately a sigh of relief.

Several programs saw their recruiting efforts culminate in a positive step forward on national signing day. And while ranks and statistics aren’t all that matter, it’s hard not to notice them. Many major programs moved up the recruiting ranks on Wednesday, signifying a bright future in the college football landscape.

We’ll take a look at some of the players that have the biggest effect on the recruiting landscape, and break down their future potential with the programs they bolstered on national signing day.

*All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Robert NkemdicheLaremy Tunsil and Anotnio Conner

As a group, Ole Miss’ new 5-star recruits catapulted the program into the top-six in the nation on national signing day, capping off a historic day for Ole Miss football.

Nkemdiche is the consensus No. 1 recruit in the country with a 101 overall rating from 247Sports. The 6’4”, 285-pound defensive end narrowed his decision down to a handful of schools, but Ole Miss was the favorite and ultimately cashed in on the No. 1 prospect.

With a rare mix of physical traits, Nkemdiche stands to have an immediate impact in his first season with Ole Miss. And he’ll have the opportunity to line up across from the country’s top offensive tackle prospect in practice.

The No. 1 overall offensive tackle, Tunsil, was the next future Ole Miss star to announce his decision on national signing day. At 6’6” and 295 pounds, he has the frame to see immediate action in Saturdays. He has quick feet and natural pass-blocking abilities, and he’ll likely garner consideration to start on the offensive line in 2013.

Conner is the nation's No. 2 safety prospect according to 247Sports. The 6'2", 203-pound defensive back chose Ole Miss over Alabama and Auburn, strengthening an already talented crop of incoming freshman that could find immediate playing time for the Rebels.

No program had a better day than Ole Miss, and its ascent in the recruiting rankings is an indication of how much talent the program got on national signing day. With a total of 27 recruits (seven 4-star players), the Rebels stand to make a run at the SEC in the coming years.

Vonn Bell and James Clark

Many believed Bell was leaning toward Tennessee, but the 5-star safety ultimately chose Ohio State as his future home. The Buckeyes already had 247Sports’ No. 2 recruiting class, but that ranking wasn’t a consensus among other scouting services. With the addition of Bell and Clark, there’s little doubt Ohio State’s new class is one of the best in the nation.

Bell is a 5’11”, 180-pound safety with the size and athleticism to line up at multiple positions in the secondary. He’s quick enough to cover receivers on the outside and in the slot, and physical and aggressive enough to make big plays in run support.

With a 98 overall rating from 247Sports, Bell raised the Buckeyes’ average prospect rating to 92.28 and helped them lock down one of the best overall classes in the country.

OSU also added Clark on Wednesday, who is perhaps one of the fastest wide receivers in the nation coming out of high school. He isn’t a towering presence (5’10”, 170 pounds), but the 4-star speedster fits the mold of Urban Meyer’s fast and explosive offensive weapons.

With a strong recruiting effort for the second year in a row, Ohio State stands to be a national championship contender in the coming years.

Montravius Adams, Elijah Daniel and Johnathan Ford

Auburn was overshadowed by Ole Miss on national signing day, but the Tigers made quite a splash as well.

The program added two 5-star recruits and one 4-star recruit on Wednesday, moving Auburn up to No. 11 in 247Sports’ team recruiting rankings. It was a huge boost for a program that now has 24 total commits and an average rating of 88.52.

Adams is rated a 99 overall and No. 2 at the defensive tackle position. At 6’4” and 310 pounds, he is a monster tackle with a huge frame and strength to match. With a little polish and some time in Auburn’s weight room, he could be a huge contributor to the front end of the Tigers defense.

Daniel joins Auburn as the No. 3 strong-side defensive end in this class. He’s a 98 overall prospect (via 247Sports) and has the size and athleticism to play in multiple positions on Auburn’s defensive front. He and Adams could wreak havoc on opposing offensive linemen early in their career with the Tigers.

Ford assumes the role of highest-rated running back to commit to Auburn this year. With a 91 overall grade, the 4-star back could be inserted in the backfield mix early in his career. Ford has ideal size (5’11”, 194 pounds) to be a versatile three-down option in Auburn’s offense.