For college football fans and coaches around the country, national signing day marks an annual event full of heartbreak and surprise.
Following the flurry of announcements on Wednesday, Feb. 5, the dust settled on the 2014 recruiting classes for the top programs around the country. Once again, we see the heavy hitters of college football atop the recruiting rankings this year.
According to 247 Sports' composite rankings, the SEC reigned supreme in the 'crootin world again this cycle, claiming seven of the top 10 recruiting classes in the nation.
Here's a list of the top 10 schools for 2014 followed by a look at this year's biggest winners.
All rankings via 247 Sports' composite rankings.
|2014 CFB Recruiting Team Rankings|
Nick Saban did it again.
For the fourth straight year, per 247 Sports, Saban has assembled the nation's top recruiting class for the Crimson Tide, who are in position to be national title contenders for years to come. This time around, Saban signed six of the top 16 players in the nation, which is almost unheard of in today's competitive landscape of college recruiting.
Highlighting the selections are top-rated offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (6'7", 335 pounds) and No. 2 cornerback Tony Brown (6'0", 188), a pair of 5-star recruits who have already enrolled at 'Bama.
Other 5-star signings include defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (6'4", 265), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (6'1", 175), linebacker Rashaan Evans (6'3", 220) and athlete Bo Scarbrough (6'2", 225), who is expected to line up at tailback, per Michael Casagrande of AL.com.
Perhaps the most important recruit is Evans. He is a native of Auburn, Ala., and the son of a former Tiger football player. The next few years will certainly be interesting for Evans when the Iron Bowl comes around.
As the nation's top overall recruit for the class of 2014, New Orleans native Leonard Fournette was a man among boys during his high school career. Now the running back is headed to Baton Rouge, La., to play for coach Les Miles.
Listed at 6'1" and 226 pounds, Fournette already has an NFL body, and he hasn't played a down of college football yet. And rapper Lil Wayne gave him a shout-out on Twitter during his senior season.
Fournette is joined by three other 5-star recruits in LSU's 2014 class, along with receiver Malachi Dupre and outside linebacker Clifton Garrett.
Miles and his staff also pulled off a smart move in signing 3-star defensive end Sione Teuhema, as it all but assured them a 5-star offensive tackle in 2015: Sione's younger brother Maea, per Andrew Lopez of NOLA.com.
Expectations will be high for the Tigers once again after adding impact players like Fournette and Dupre, who can make big contributions and change the offense in their freshman seasons.
3. Ohio State
What the Ohio State Buckeyes lack in top-heavy recruits, they make up in depth of quality 4-star signings.
Top-rated inside linebacker and No. 22 player overall Raekwon McMillan stands as the lone 5-star signee of this year's class for coach Urban Meyer, who showed he still has that recruiting touch. After enrolling early at OSU in January, the 6'2", 242-pound McMillan has the chance to step in an contribute now that Ryan Shazier is NFL-bound.
In the short time he's been in Columbus, McMillan has made quite the impression on Meyer, per Austin Ward of ESPN.
McMillan is one of seven early enrollees who will get a head start with conditioning and spring practice in the coming weeks.
Other top OSU recruits include cornerback Damon Webb (5'11", 180), athlete Marshon Lattimore (6'0", 175) and linebacker Dante Booker (6'3", 212).