National Signing Day 2014: Breaking Down Winners from Crucial Event

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National Signing Day 2014: Breaking Down Winners from Crucial Event
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

For some, national signing day was far more crucial—and eventfulthan it was for others.

Plenty of top programs entered Wednesday (Feb. 5) already boasting a slew of headlining recruits, and as such, the necessity to have a big day was quelled.

Take Texas A&M for example. Kevin Sumlin's Aggies missed out on some of their last remaining targets, but with a class that already featured Myles Garrett, Speedy Noil and Kyle Allen, they still rank fifth nationally in 247Sports' composite team rankings despite a quiet day.

Their work was already done.

For others though, whether it was due to a late coaching change or key prospects that simply couldn't make up their minds, national signing day was integral in salvaging a top class.

Although there's still plenty of daylight left, especially on the West Coast, let's take a look at some schools that made out like bandits on Wednesday.

 

USC

Steve Sarkisian is not messing around. The California-born former Washington head coach was given his dream job barely two months ago, and he had some considerable work to do.

As ESPN's Arash Markazi pointed out, Lane Kiffin left USC's 2014 class in shambles:

Now, according to 247Sports, the Trojans' class is up to 11th in America and first in the Pac-12.

Keeping Junipero Serra High School's Adoree' Jackson, a 5-star cornerback, in-state and out of the hands of rival UCLA was a massive reason for the jump in the rankings. Jackson, who comes in as the No. 7 prospect nationally, is an electrifying playmaker on both sides of the ball and has speed that makes him a candidate for the 2016 Olympics.

But Sark wasn't done there, as he went to secure the commitment of 4-star Damien Mama, the top-ranked offensive guard in the country.

Rivals' Ryan Abraham summed up the successful day for the Trojans:

 

Michigan State

Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

The times they are a-changin'.

Once upon time, the idea of the top-ranked player in the state of Michigan choosing Michigan State—not too long ago thought of as simply a basketball school—over Michigan (nine Rose Bowl appearances in the last three decades) seemed preposterous.

Not anymore. 

Malik McDowell, a five-star defensive end, spurned the Wolverines in favor of Mark Dantonio and the Spartans, marking one of the biggest gets of the day.

After making the decision, the 6'7", 290-pound athletic specimen talked about the reason for choosing Michigan State, via The Detroit News' Tom Markowski:

It was the coaches. It just feels right there. [The decision] was tough. I watched the Rose Bowl. It was great. I have some friends up there. Jamal Lyles [Southfield-Lathrup graduate] plays there. He and I had a good talk about MSU about a month ago. He talked about family. That’s what I want. Coach [Mark] Dantonio is all about family.

The Spartans lost 3-star defensive end Darius Slade, a previous commit, to Ohio State, per The Star-Ledger, but McDowell's commitment more than makes up for it.

 

LSU

With No. 1 prospect Leonard Fournette already headlining Les Miles' 2014 class, LSU didn't really need to have a big day. 

Of these schools, who had the best day?

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But the Tigers did so anyways. 

Although they missed out on targets like Jackson and Lorenzo Carter, the Tigers cleaned up with commitments from 5-star WR Malachi Dupre, 4-star DT Travonte Valentine and 3-star DT Trey Lealaimatafao

Thanks to their national signing day efforts, Miles and Co. have vaulted up to No. 2 in the class rankings.

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