National Signing Day 2010: Texas Edges Florida for No. 1 Class
The 24 hours leading up to, and the roughly 18 hours of National Football Signing Day, are normally two of the most exciting days in all of college sport.
And the past two days have been no different.
In fact, given the recent coaching changes, and the level of talent coming out of high schools around the country this year at every position, I can think of no other year in recent memory packed with more anticipation or excitement than surrounded the 2010 National Signing Day.
It was, if you will, tantamount to Opening Day in the major leagues, or the start of Summer Camp for the NFL. It was the one day for every school, regardless of conference or national implication, on which hope sprung eternal–for the coming season, and also for the next four years.
Like election nights in November, February 3, 2010 may well go down as one of the closest races in recruiting history. And similar also to January 7, 2010, there can only be one winner, one champion, one school that reigns supreme.
This year, there were several schools boasting outstanding signing classes. And all deserve mention.
However, for the sake of argument, and meaning no disrespect towards the USC Trojan class, I have poured over yesterday's events and have determined one thing: the two candidates for the overall National Recruiting Championship were the Florida Gators and the Longhorns of Texas.
That being said, I have broken down yesterday's classes and can say without reservation that the "Best in Class" of the 2010 National Signing Day belongs to the boys from The Forty Acres in Austin.
Based solely on tangibles, as well as information reviewed from the ESPNU Top 150, Scouts, Inc., and the 5-star rating system of Rivals.com, here's a look at how I came to my decision.
Pictured above is Connor Wood (Houston, TX/Second Baptist), Rivals.com's No. 3 ranked QB prospect in the country. He chose the University of Texas and is already enrolled in classes in Austin.
Although each school signed two QBs, let's take a brief look at these two classes of quarterbacks.
Texas signed the aforementioned 4-star Wood, as well as Colt's younger brother and 3-star QB Chase McCoy, who is also enrolled in classes and will participate in Spring Ball. This gives UT an average stars per player (ASP) of 3.5, and is deserving of a No. 4 ranking nationally in this category.
Florida, on the other hand, signed a 3-star and a 2-star QB, allowing for an ASP of 2.5, and a national ranking of 34th. Given the departure of one of history's greats, this cannot be welcoming news to the Gator Nation.
Easily, Texas gets the check mark for this, the game's most important position.
We all know that both Florida and Texas lacked dynamic running attacks this past season, but let's see how their respective recruits stack up against one another, though neither appeared too pressed at this position.
Disappointingly so, research reveals both schools tied for 29th nationally in this category, and this should not sit well with Orangebloods from Texas, or folks from Gainesville.
Both schools recruited and signed only one 4-star RB, making this position a "push," begging the question, "What the...?"
Led by No. 4 ranked, 4-star WR Mike Davis (Dallas, TX/Dallas Skyline), Texas brings in its best ever class of WR in 2010.
With a total of five big, powerful and fast 4-star signees at WR, Texas has an ASP of 4.0, and the No. 1 WR class in the country, with a total point value of 419.
Florida fans will say they have the best class of WRs in America because they brought in four 4-star recruits and also have an ASP of 4.0.
However, Florida's points total is only 259, and with a disparity of 160, Texas easily wins this position category.
This one is not even close, folks. I mean, really, it's almost laughable.
Let' start with Florida signing the nation's No. 2 ranked TE out of Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, FL, above pictured Gerald Christian. He is a 6'3", 220-pounds gift from the football gods. 'Nuff said.
Gators fans will love this kid because he is strong, athletic, has great hands and can cause some serious match-up problems on mid-range routes.
Florida gets the nod here because Texas' TE class isn't even ranked...at all. No kidding.
This category came down to points. Neither school recruited too hard for O-linemen this year, though they each made earned high marks in quality for what they didn't get in quantity.
Pictured above is Dominic Espinoza (Cedar Park, TX/Cedar Park), who is ranked the No.1 Center in the country by Rivals.com. Together with fellow signee, Trey Hopkins (Galena Park, TX/North Shore), Rivals.com's No. 1 ranked Guard in the country, they should both help to immediately shore up a Texas offensive front that lost four seniors to graduation from the 2009 squad.
Again, Florida got two 4-star players as well in Chaz Green (Tampa, FL/Tampa Catholic), who is ranked No. 6 nationally, and Ian Silberman (Fleming Island, FL/Fleming Island), ranked 10th.
However, with two No. 1's versus a No. 6 and a No. 10, Texas wins this category as well.
This is where it got crazy yesterday for Florida fans everywhere. Pictured above is the MVP of the 2009 U.S.Army High School All-American game, and the 5-star and nationally No. 1 ranked DT in America, Shariff Floyd.
Floyd, together with fellow 5-star and No. 2 ranked DT Dominique Easley (Staten Island, NY/Curtis), and 4-star, 11th ranked DT Leon Orr (New Port Richey, FL/Gulf High), are easily the best class of incoming Freshmen DTs in the nation, sporting a 4.67 ASP rating.
Texas didn't fair too badly at DT either, mind you, pulling in two 4-stars and a 3-star, giving it an ASP of 3.67, ranking 9th nationally.
However, there is not a question here, folks. Florida, in a walk at this position
Although Texas landed 5-star superman, Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX/Plano West), who is pictured here, this category once again goes to the Longhorns by way of rankings and points, even though the No.1 DE, and No. 1 overall recruit in the country, Ronald Powell, spurned USC and went to Florida.
Per Rivals.com and the ESPNU 150, both schools signed one 5-star and two 4-star DEs, yielding each team a 4.33 ASP. However, based soley on the rankings of the individual players, Texas gets the advantage by the narrowest of margins.
Texas wins this position category 321-286.
Pictured here is Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH/Lakota West), the 5-star, No.1 ranked OLB in America. Hicks, who chose Texas over Florida and in-state and national power Ohio State, leads an incoming class of LB signees that ranks 3rd nationally.
Together with No. 11 ranked, 4-star OLB Aaron Benson of Cedar Hill, TX/Cedar Hill (and cousin of former Longhorns and current Cincinnati Bengals standout RB Cedric Benson), and Tevin Jackson, the No. 3 ranked, 4-star OLB from Garland, Texas/Garland High, this group easily surpasses the group of LBs from Florida's class, earning an ASP of 4.33.
The Gators, on the other hand, signed one 4-star and two 3-star LBs, garnering a 3.33 ASP and a No.10 ranking among LB classes nationally.
Check the box for UT in this position category.
Texas did well again in signing DBs again this year, with two 4-stars, and a 3-star DB, earning a 3.67 ASP and ranking 14th nationally among FBS schools.
However, led by the above pictured No. 2 ranked, 5-star DB phenom, Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL/Dwyer), Florida also signed four 4-star DBs, leading to a 4.2 ASP and No. 2 position ranking in the nation.
Florida handily outclasses Texas in this position category.
Pictured here is William Russ, a kicker/punter is 3-star kicker and is ranked 11th nationally by Rivals.com. Mack Brown said he saw him play one time. "That's all I needed to see," he said.
Recounted Brown, "He kicked it five yards through the endzone the first time I saw him kick and I said 'I want him'...and I walked out. They knew I was serious, and we offered him a scholarship that night."
Florida didn't even sign a kicker, so Texas wins this position category as well.
This is that generic category that coaches use when they have that special player who can do anything, or everything. Or, sometimes more aptly put, when the coaches know the kid can help, they just don't know where to fit him into the line-up.
In this category, Texas signed two 4-star athletes, earning a 4.0 ASP, but ranking only 14th nationally. Whereas, Florida, on the other hand, signed two 4-star athletes and a 3-star athlete, earning only a 3.67 ASP, but a No. 6 national ranking in this category.
Here again is where the mathematics and various formulae come into play but, suffice to say that, on points alone, Florida wins this category 118-59.
Florida gets the check.
And The Winner Is...The Texas Longhorns!!
Okay, I am done with the math, done with the analizations, watched all the film I can watch. And I have stated my case as simply and succinctly, I believe, as can be stated.
So, what have you learned?
Well, you learned that, in a head-to-head competition in 11 possible categories that student/athletes were recruited and signed as, Texas won six of those categories, Florida four, and we had a "push" in one category.
You learned that, although the Gators from Gainesville had a combined ASP (Remember? Average Stars per Player) of 3.87, the Longhorns were slightly higher, at 3.92 ASP.
Okay, so, let me get this right. Texas went 6-4-1, and had a higher ASP, albeit only by .05. But better is better. Right?
Those my friends, are the numbers provided by the experts in our industry.
And that is why Texas has been crowned the National Champion for Signing Day 2010.