National Signing Day 2011: Who Are the Biggest Winners and Losers?
We're a few hours into National Signing Day 2011 and already the day has been stacked with surprises and some serious shifts in recruiting rankings.
For those of you who need a quick catch-up, here are our biggest winners and losers from the action so far.
Winner and Loser: Florida State
The Seminoles fit into the category of winner and loser this morning with a couple of huge decisions from top prospects that turned into a split decision.
First was 5-star linebacker Tony Steward spurning the 'Noles in favor of Clemson. Steward was one of the first surprises of the day, as most experts pegged him as an FSU lean and predicted he'd be staying in-state and heading to Tallahassee.
But shortly after Florida State lost Steward, it was rewarded with the signing of 5-star defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, one of the nation's top defenders, who chose the 'Noles over LSU.
Georgia's biggest news of the day was the commitment and signing of 5-star running back Isaiah Crowell, but with 5-star defensive end Ray Drew signing as well as 5-star tight end Jay Rome and 4-star cornerback Malcolm Mitchell, the Bulldogs really locked up the in-state talent.
Crowell was the final piece of the elite three and has the chance to be one of the top impact freshman in the nation next season.
With his addition, Georgia arguably has a top-five recruiting class now, and in an SEC conference that dominates the recruiting scene, it often requires no less to be successful.
Normally you don't hear much about Kentucky this time of year, and with good reason. The Wildcats simply aren't good football recruiters and they proved it again this morning.
Four-star linebacker Lamar Dawson was down to Kentucky and Tennessee, and a lot of experts felt that the Wildcats had a solid chance of pulling off the signing.
But in the end, Dawson bypassed both schools for USC—a team that hadn't really been recruiting him hard at all.
So if you're Kentucky, it has to be disheartening to see a big dog swoop in at the last minute and take the only big-time recruit you had a shot at.
Winner: Ohio State
Ohio State brought in only one new commitment on Signing Day, but when that happens to be the No. 1 linebacker in the country one seems like more than enough.
Not much needs to be said here. The Buckeyes already had one of the best classes in the country.
Add Grant to the mix and Ohio State is just a hair behind Texas and Florida State for the No. 1 class in the country.
Winner: Dabo Swinney
On the flip side of the Tony Steward decision is Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers, who must be thrilled with the way things have gone this morning.
Not only did Swinney lure Steward away from Florida State, but his signing was shortly followed by 5-star linebacker Stephone Anthony as well.
Steward and Anthony join Lateek Townsend to form what's arguably the top incoming linebacker corps in the nation. Considering Clemson already arguably has the best offensive class in the country, things are looking very good for the Tigers.
Winner and Loser: Alabama
Not only did Alabama bring in a huge signing with 5-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan and re-secure the formerly decommitted Brent Calloway, but the news that Jadeveon Clowney decided to delay his decision can also only be a good thing for the Tide.
Clowney was considered by many to be a South Carolina lean for the last few months, considering the Gamecocks are the hometown team, as well as the fact that South Pointe High School is traditionally the stomping grounds for South Carolina.
But with Clowney delaying, the Alabama staff has time to get into his ear some more, and you can bet they'll take advantage of every minute.
Of course, Cyrus Kouandjio bailing for Auburn pretty much neutralizes things. That's if he actually signs his letter of intent, though.
Loser: Cyrus Kouandjio
We generally stay away from picking on high school athletes, but in Kouandjio's case we're a little irked.
Kouandjio committed to Auburn in the morning and while he was expected to sign his letter of intent and fax it over, hours later nothing has been received.
Rumors and numerous reports indicate that Kouandjio will not sign his letter today and might even be wavering on his commitment.
While it's perfectly understandable to have second thoughts, Kouandjio muffed this one when it looks like the reasonable thing to do would have been to simply wait on a decision rather than leave Auburn in limbo.
Winner: Al Golden and Miami
Things have been rough for Miami since the school fired coach Randy Shannon. That move cost the 'Canes 5-star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and 4-star safety Albert Louis-Jean.
But on Wednesday morning, new coach Al Golden had a decommitment go his way for a change when 5-star defensive end Jalen Grimble jumped ship from USC and signed with Miami.
With Grimble and 5-star defensive end Anthony Chickillo on board, the 'Canes have a deadly pair of linemen that have the chance to be big-time players at the next level.
USC got some good news early and some very bad news late.
Sure, getting Lamar Dawson was a great pickup, but then watching 5-star defensive end Jalen Grimble walk off to Miami hardly leaves the Trojans as winners this morning.
Then add in the fact that all the latest reports have 5-star cornerback and USC commitment De'Anthony Thomas leaning toward Oregon, and this could be a very bad National Signing Day for USC.
Auburn has been the hottest recruiting team in the country over the last month and things just continued to roll along for the Tigers with a massive haul on Signing Day.
Of course it all begins with 5-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who committed but for unknown reasons is delaying on his letter of intent, but he was one of several big pieces brought on board.
Four-star defensive tackle Gabe Wright, 4-star safety Erique Florence, and 4-star cornerback Jermaine Whitehead all committed to the Tigers as well and reportedly have signed their letters of intent.
With those pieces, no team in the country jumped higher in the recruiting rankings today than Auburn.