National Signing Day 2014: Winners and Losers from College Recruiting's Big Day

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National Signing Day 2014: Winners and Losers from College Recruiting's Big Day
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

In the wake of national signing day, some colleges improved in drastic fashion and some were left with more questions than answers.

Many of the nation's top teams remained dominant with fantastic draft classes and some up-and-coming teams continued to improve. On the flip side, other teams took a step backward due to a lackluster recruiting class.

The ability to acquire multiple 5-star prospects allows a team to make serious strides heading into the 2014 season. There were a handful of teams that were able to accomplish this feat in a big way. Other programs, however, were unable to do so and could be in for a rough stretch going forward.

Let's take a closer look at which teams were able to produce a stellar recruiting class and are primed to improve next season, as well as teams that may be in trouble now that national signing day has come and gone.

 

Winners

Alabama Crimson Tide

Credit: 247Sports

The rich just got richer, as Alabama came away with the nation's top recruiting class. The Crimson Tide collected six 5-star recruits and 15 4-star recruits with an average recruit rating of 93.68.

With a formidable cornerback duo in Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey, along with dominant linebacker Rashaan Evans and defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, this already-stout defense is poised to get even better in 2014.

On the offensive side of the ball, Alabama finished the day strong, signing offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, running back Bo Scarbrough and quarterback David Cornwell, among others.

After a tragic ending to the Crimson Tide's 2013-14 season, this recruiting class gives the team a big opportunity to bounce back next year.

Scarbrough explained his choice to attend Alabama during an interview with Andrew Gribble of AL.com:

I thought about it, but once you try to leave a place and your heart tells you it's where you need to be, that's where you need to be. It was very important to me because you're not far away from home and you can always get to your family and you can always see your mom and they can always see you play. 

By me staying in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, it was a very great choice.

 

LSU Tigers

Credit: 247Sports

The Tigers hung in there with SEC rival Alabama with the second-best recruiting class on national signing day. LSU nabbed the second-most 5-star athletes with four. It also came away with 12 4-star recruits. On the whole, the Tigers' recruits were given an average grade of 92.33.

LSU was able to bolster both sides of the ball on national signing day. On the offensive side, it landed two 5-star recruits in running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Malachi Dupre. These players bring a large amount of athleticism and versatility to the Tigers offense.

According to a report from Chip Patterson of CBSSports.com, head coach Les Miles stated that Fournette could start the first game of the 2014 season:

Miles also discusses the importance of 5-star running back Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 overall prospect according to 247Sports, and says it is "conceivable" that Fournette could play in the Tigers' first game of 2014.

Defensively, the team flourished as well. Linebacker Clifton Garrett was the Tigers' biggest addition. This 5-star recruit was given a 98 overall rating by 247Sports. They also added a good amount of physicality and speed to the secondary with safeties Edward Paris and Jamal Adams.

This draft class will allow LSU to remain competitive for years to come in the highly contested SEC.

 

Other Notable Winners

USC Trojans

Credit: 247Sports

Two 5-star recruits highlight the Trojans' national signing day class. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson and safety/wide receiver John Smith will bolster the Trojans' roster in 2014.

 

Tennessee Volunteers

Although Tennessee did not land any 5-star recruits, it was able to acquire 16 4-star recruits—the most of any team in the nation. The Vols finished with an average recruit rating of 89.34.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes

Urban Meyer did it again. Ohio State claimed one 5-star recruit—linebacker Raekwon McMillan—and also nabbed 15 4-star recruits for an average recruit rating of 92.38.

 

Losers

Louisville Cardinals

Credit: 247Sports

The Cardinals will be looking to revamp their offense after losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the 2014 NFL draft. Unfortunately, the best that head coach Bobby Petrino was able to muster was 3-star dual-threat quarterback Reggie Bonnafon.

Bonnafon highlighted the Cardinals' recruiting class, as the team did not manage to acquire any 4- or 5-star recruits. The Cardinals were able to muster 18 3-star recruits.

However, they will have to do better than that if they intend to recreate the success they enjoyed in 2013-14.

Louisville lost plenty of commits over the course of the day. Defensive tackle Daniel Cage chose Notre Dame, offensive guard Quincy McKinney chose East Carolina and Isaiah Riddle chose Kansas State, among others.

 

Virginia Tech Hokies

Credit: 247Sports

The Hokies entered national signing day attempting to play catch-up with Florida State, Miami and Clemson in the ACC. They were able to acquire a couple of nice prospects in 3-star wide receiver Isaiah Ford and 4-star linebacker Raymon Minor.

Unfortunately, everything else went wrong.

Virginia Tech was left with zero 5-star recruits, just four 4-star recruits and 23 3-star recruits after missing out on a good amount of players. The Hokies lost 4-star recruits Javon Harrison and Derrick Nnadi to Florida State. Another 4-star recruit, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie chose Georgia instead.

This leaves the Hokies with an average recruit rating of 85.97—not good enough to catch up to the dominant teams of the ACC.

Head coach Frank Beamer told Mark Giannotto of The Washington Post that the day didn't quite go as planned:

We missed. There were a couple really good players in that top group there. There's no question about it. A lot of different things get into it. We try like heck and we always want to go after the best players.

 

Other Notable Losers

UCLA Bruins

Credit: 247Sports

Although they collected eight 4-star prospects and 10 3-star prospects on national signing day, the Bruins missed out on almost every one of their biggest targets. They were left with an average recruit rating of 89.16.

 

Syracuse Orange

After finishing the 2013-14 season with a 7-6 record and winning the Texas Bowl, the Orange looked to be a team on the rise. However, after a recruiting class that netted just one 4-star recruit, it seems as though they took a step backward.

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech looked to be another team on the rise after finishing the 2013-14 season with an 8-5 record and upsetting Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. Unfortunately, the team was unable to land any 4- or 5-star recruits on national signing day.

 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.com unless otherwise stated.

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