It has ended. National Signing Day 2010 has passed and the fax machines at college athletic departments can take the day off. Now it's time for the analysis. What actually happened that will have an impact next year? Here are some observations from College Sports Matchups to consider.
Who signed a player that can push their team into the national title game next year?
First, you have to have an opinion about which teams will be in the hunt next year. Right now our short list would include Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oregon. To keep the small school crowd content, TCU and Boise State also have to be mentioned. We will kick these last two out right away since they did not really sign that one “it” player who can change everything for their team.
Alabama’s Rolando McClain and the rest of his defensive mates were the key to Bama’s national title. Most of those guys will be gone, and the Tide will need help on that side of the ball. They signed the nation’s best crop of defensive backs, but that is not enough to say they are going back to the BCS game.
Oregon delivered a great class on offense, but two of their best signings were running backs. There are only so many carries in a game, and the Ducks were already set in this category.
As for Ohio State’s class, well, we will talk about it later.
Florida had a great class. Now it will remain to be seen if any of the four receivers they signed will become special.
That leaves us with Texas. The Longhorns were listed behind the Gators in the team rankings, but they landed two guys on defense that have the potential to push them back to the title game. Jordan Hicks has incredible potential as a linebacker and Jackson Jeffcoat has greatness written all over him. If the Texas offense comes together, these two guys can help lead a defense that is special.
Which team was the biggest surprise on signing day?
Most people are talking about the job Lane Kiffin did in a short period at USC and what Derek Dooley accomplished with no time at Tennessee. Thanks Lane. Both finished the player chase in the top 10, but these are two schools that should expect great classes every year.
Our nod in this category almost went to Auburn. The Tigers hired Gene Chizik last year and, going against master recruiter Nick Saban, he pulled in a top five class with offensive lineman Shon Coleman leading an incredibly talented group of players on the offensive front. Chizik also hauled in a number of highly regarded defensive players.
The most surprising team this year, though, has to be Florida State. Yes, they are historically an elite team, but what offensive minded Jimbo Fisher did was nothing short of amazing. Despite a disappointing season and the awkwardness of Bobby Bowden’s transition, Fisher pulled off a class that will provide immediate help on defense for the Seminoles. Leading the way with this class is the nation’s highest rated linebacker, Christian Jones, and top defensive back, Lemarcus Joyner.
What was the greatest disappointment?
This one is close. Believe it or not, Alabama fans were disappointed, despite landing a top five class. We can’t give them the nod. Even though Auburn delivered a more highly rated class, they were still among the best in the nation. You know expectations and Bama are always a problem.
We have two candidates that fit our criteria. Georgia has been a regular in the top 10 for a decade, but this group ended the Georgia streak. Since at least 2002, the Bulldogs have been among the best, but their current class was only ranked 16th by Rivals. For the second year in a row only four of the top 10 players in Georgia signed with the Dawgs, and there are no five star players on their list.
As bad as it was for Georgia, it was even worse for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are being touted by many as a potential national title contender next season, and they have enjoyed considerable success over the past decade. Their small class is lacking real star power, and of the four big names they were hoping to add on signing day, the Buckeyes whiffed on all of them. When coaches are talking about how they added depth, it really means they did not manage to gain any real impact players. A team as close to the top as Ohio State should be able to find some guys who can put them in a national title game. This class is not what should be expected of the Big Ten’s best overall program currently.
Want more recruiting information? Visit College Sports Matchups recruiting section for the latest updates. Don’t forget to check your favorite team’s page for all of the news.