While college football fans take note of the top high school recruits in the country, it's important not to overlook the junior college transfers also making their decisions Wednesday.
The early signing period has caused plenty of drama across the landscape of the sport, but the junior college players are also heavily involved at this stage with the opportunity to sign any time from Dec. 18 to Jan. 15. Though it doesn't always catch the attention of fans, coaches know the type of impact these players can have on a football team.
Just this past season, Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson ranked third on his team with 516 rushing yards and six touchdowns after transferring from Cerritos College. Georgia's defense was helped by JUCO transfers D.J. Daniel and Jermaine Johnson.
Several players have a chance to make an even bigger impact in 2020 after transferring to big programs across the country.
Here are the top junior college players in the country and the biggest stories from Wednesday.
1. Perrion Winfrey, DT, Iowa Western C.C.: Committed to Georgia
2. Omar Manning, WR, Kilgore J.C.: Committed to Nebraska
3. Nadab Joseph, CB, Independence C.C.: Uncommitted
4. Jordan Davis, DE, Copiah-Lincoln C.C.: Committed to Mississippi State
5. Brian George, CB, Highland C.C.: Committed to Texas A&M
6. ZaQuandre White, RB, Iowa Western C.C.: Committed to South Carolina
7. Deandre Butler, DE, Independence C.C.: Uncommitted
8. Josh Ellison, DT, Blinn College: Committed to Oklahoma
9. Marco Domio, CB, Blinn College: Committed to Auburn
10. Art Green, CB, Hutchinson C.C.: Uncommitted
Full rankings via 247Sports.com.
Oklahoma Strengthens Defensive Line
Defense was a problem for Oklahoma this season, but the team found some help in the junior college class between Perrion Winfrey and Josh Ellison.
Winfrey is the No. 1 player in the JUCO class, per 247Sports, as a defensive tackle with excellent size (6'4", 305 lbs) who can easily slide into an FBS lineup. Head coach Lincoln Riley expects him to play a role early on:
The aggressive approach seemed to be enough to convince Winfrey to come aboard with a commitment in June, which he held through signing day.
"They're building a defense that attacks the ball—no playing blocks—and I love it," Winfrey said Wednesday, per Ryan Aber of the Oklahoman.
Meanwhile, the recruiting didn't stop there for the Sooners as they also added fellow 4-star Josh Ellison this week as another defensive tackle who can help early.
Oklahoma is headed to the College Football Playoff, but it has been the offense that carried the squad for the past few years. Adding this type of talent defensively could make the team much more dangerous in the future.
Texas A&M Lands Elite Cornerback in Brian George
A lot of teams had their eyes on Brian George, a 4-star cornerback who was considering Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama, Kentucky and Miami, with each of them seemingly having a legitimate chance to land the young player.
With a pair of recent visits to Auburn, including an official one on Dec. 6, it seemed the Tigers had a good chance to get some much-needed help in the secondary. However, he ended up selecting Texas A&M Tuesday:
George could provide an instant impact to a squad that had a disappointing 7-5 record this past season in the second year under Jimbo Fisher. He won't likely transform the defense, but it he could see an early role with his new team.
"I think Brian George is a really special player," Fisher said Wednesday, via TexAgs.
With so many SEC teams involved, this type of recruiting win could have a lasting impact in the conference.
Lots of Eyes on Receiver Movement
The 2020 junior college class features several receivers who can make an impact as soon as next season.
Xavier Hutchinson signed with Iowa State despite late interest from Nebraska and Oklahoma among others. Nebraska won't be too upset considering the team was able to land Omar Manning, a 6'4", 225-pound transfer from TCU who could be a big-time player with a second chance at the FBS level.
There was more uncertainty surrounding Danny Gray, who committed to TCU before flipping to SMU on signing day.
"I love the fact of how close the coaches are and how they treat players. I saw a lot of progression in the offense over my time of being there. I like how they have a plan to maximize my talents," Gray said Wednesday, per Billy Embody of 247Sports. "SMU made a big jump in my recruitment because they didn’t sell a dream or show me any flashy things.
Gerry Hamilton of ESPN listed Gray as one of the most impactful junior college transfers in the class, saying he would be a "key vertical threat for Gary Patterson." Unfortunately, the TCU coach will have to look elsewhere as SMU will get the Dallas native.