Early National Signing Day 2021: Day 1 Recruit Commitments and Reaction

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders motions to his players during an NCAA football game against Louisiana Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Monroe, La. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

Deion Sanders and Jackson State ushered in the early National Signing Day with a bang. 

Cornerback Travis Hunter, the top-ranked player in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports.com's Composite Rankings, committed to the Tigers on Wednesday over Florida State. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

It's official. 🔥 <br><br>Travis Hunter, the nation's top overall CFB recruit, will be heading to Jackson State. <br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/247Sports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@247Sports</a>) <a href="https://t.co/e6KpN6ADE2">pic.twitter.com/e6KpN6ADE2</a>

Travis Hunter @TravisHunterJr

It’s OFFICIAL <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/jsu?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#jsu</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/gotigers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#gotigers</a> 🐅 <a href="https://twitter.com/jacksonstatefb?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jacksonstatefb</a> <a href="https://t.co/UTyzMPgVH6">pic.twitter.com/UTyzMPgVH6</a>

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

Was just on the phone with an FBS head coach a bit ago who asked me when Travis Hunter was going to announce that he was going to play for Deion Sanders and an HBCU. Next words out of his mouth: "This will be a game-changer."

Jalen Ramsey @jalenramsey

Wow that was huge <a href="https://twitter.com/DeionSanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeionSanders</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TravisHunterJr?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TravisHunterJr</a> ❕

If Sanders was the head coach at a traditional football powerhouse, the top cornerback in the nation going to play for a Hall of Famer at the position wouldn't be seen as much of a surprise. But the top recruit in the nation committing to an HBCU sent major reverberations throughout the college football landscape. 

Certainly, Sanders has dramatically turned around a Jackson State program that hadn't won a Southwestern Athletic Conference since 2007 before his arrival. 

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

The Coach Prime effect in two years at HBCU Jackson State 🐐<br><br>✔️ First winning record at JSU since 2013 <br>✔️ First SWAC title since 2007<br>✔️ 2021 SWAC Coach of the Year<br>✔️ 2021 SWAC East champions<br>✔️ Landed 2022's No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter<br>✔️ 2021 FCS Coach of the Year <a href="https://t.co/Gxm8YJG04J">pic.twitter.com/Gxm8YJG04J</a>

Not that the traditional football powerhouses had a bad day. Alabama landed 4-star receiver Shazz Preston, 4-star defensive tackle Khurtiss Perry and 4-star edge-rusher Jihaad Campbell. The Crimson Tide sit at No. 2 in 247Sports.com's Composite Recruiting Rankings

They trail only Texas A&M, who got a commitment from the nation's top tight end prospect, Jake Johnson, on Wednesday, to go along with 4-star edge-rusher Enai White, 4-star defensive tackle Anthony Lucas and 4-star offensive lineman Kam Dewberry. 

Mike Craven @CravenMike

The Texas A&amp;M class doesn’t look real. There is zero doubt that the move to the SEC + Jimbo Fisher made something seemingly impossible come to life in College Station. <a href="https://t.co/8xfUuiLVnV">pic.twitter.com/8xfUuiLVnV</a>

Mike Lucas @KAGS_Lucas

I can not wait to watch Twitter burn down tonight after Texas A&amp;M signs the #1 class in the country.

Have yourself a day, Jimbo Fisher. 

As for the 5-star recruits who committed Wednesday, Florida got a major boost when safety—the No. 2 player in the class at his position—Kamari Wilson chose the Gators over a number of suitors, including Georgia, Florida State and LSU. 

Suffice to say, the Florida staff was hype:

Florida Gators Football @GatorsFB

𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐦.<br><br> <a href="https://twitter.com/Kamariwilson1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Kamariwilson1</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChosenFew22?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChosenFew22</a> 🐊 <a href="https://t.co/KctZlj51On">pic.twitter.com/KctZlj51On</a>

Georgia got a big boost when 5-star edge Marvin Jones Jr. chose the Bulldogs. 

Adam Lichtenstein @ABLichtenstein

BREAKING: American Heritage fives-star defensive lineman Marvin Jones Jr. picks Georgia over FSU and Alabama. <a href="https://t.co/f55c9fsMti">pic.twitter.com/f55c9fsMti</a>

And Kentucky will be thrilled to land 5-star offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin, who spurned Michigan State, a huge get for Mark Stoops' program. 

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

Five-star OT Kiyaunta Goodwin: "I'm staying home and I'm playing football at the University of Kentucky." Huge, huge one for Stoops and Marrow to hold onto him. Michigan State tried until the last possible second to pry him away.

Adam Gorney @adamgorney

Major credit should go to that Kentucky staff for developing that relationship early because Kiyaunta Goodwin was being pursued by everybody and their mother even late into last night.

While the primary focus of National Signing Day is, well, the signings, there are often other moments and gestures worth highlighting. 

None were better on Wednesday than Michigan State announcing that Tate Myre, who would have been in the Class of 2023 but was murdered in the Oxford High School shooting, would be an honorary member of this year's class:

Michigan State Football @MSU_Football

💚<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OxfordStrong?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OxfordStrong</a> <a href="https://t.co/7QBOfa3G2o">pic.twitter.com/7QBOfa3G2o</a>

Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana and Justin Shilling were also killed in the Nov. 30 shooting. According to ESPN's Tom VanHaaren, Myre had taken a visit to Toledo.