Early National Signing Day 2019: Day 1 Recruit Commitments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn talks at a press conference during the first day of NCAA college football signing day on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Todd Van Emst)
Todd Van Emst/Associated Press

The early national signing day for the 2020 recruiting class took place Wednesday, featuring a number of surprises and a couple of high-profile flips by top recruits.

While there are still some big names who are yet to make their decision and will wait for the standard signing day, the class of 2020 has essentially coalesced into what it should look like moving forward. Here is a look at some of the 5-star announcements from Wednesday, along with updated rankings for the top classes.


Top 25 Classes (247Sports)

1. Clemson 

2. Bama

3. Ohio State

4. LSU

5. Georgia

6. Texas A&M

7. Auburn

8. Florida

9. Texas

10. Oklahoma

11. Michigan

12. Penn State

13. Notre Dame

14. Washington

15. Tennessee

16. South Carolina

17. Miami

18. Oregon

19. North Carolina

20. Nebraska

21. Florida State

22. Stanford

23. Kentucky

24. Georgia Tech

25. Mississippi State


Top Wednesday Commitments

Justin Flowe Heads to Oregon Over USC

Chalk another loss up for Clay Helton in an ugly recruiting cycle. Five-star linebacker Justin Flowe announced he would be heading to Oregon over USC after the Pac-12 powers made plays late to reel him away from Clemson, which had been a favorite for much of the process.

"I had great comfort level at Oregon," Flowe said, per Greg Biggins of 247Sports. "That was one of the biggest things for me about Oregon. I have great relationships with the players and coaches and I really loved everything about the school.

"It was never just one coach, it was the whole staff, and I loved that. I loved the facilities and the campus overall, but from a football standpoint, I think I'll fit in really well. They have an attack-style defense, and I know I'll be able to make a ton of plays there."

Flowe will combine with fellow signee Noah Sewell to give Oregon the best linebacking corps in this class. Sewell and Flowe should develop into the foundational pieces capable of giving Oregon one of the best defenses in the country when they're upperclassmen.

Missing out on Flowe is another setback for Helton, whose class failed to come together amid uncertainty about his future. USC is currently ranked as the No. 74 class in the country, with a group that's shaping up as one of the least touted in program history.


Jordan Burch Spurns Perennial Title Contenders for South Carolina

Sometimes proximity and close relationships is all it takes to land a recruit, and that was the case for 5-star defensive end Jordan Burch. The star pass-rusher announced his commitment to South Carolina on Wednesday, choosing the Gamecocks over starrier programs like Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Clemson—the latter an in-state option that's won two of the last three national titles.

Playing in South Carolina's favor: Burch is from right down the road in Columbia and was high school teammates with Jackson Muschamp, the son of Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp. While that gave the Gamecocks a leg up in recruitment, Clemson was considered formidable opposition.

"USC is gonna get a hard worker," Burch said, per Lou Bezjak of The State. "A kid who doesn't take plays off. I'm going to encourage my teammates. And I'll play as hard as they need me to play, or better."

Burch is the nation's second-ranked defensive end and eighth overall nationally. South Carolina, on the back of Burch's commitment, currently sits 16th nationally. Eight of the school's 21 commits are ranked 4 stars or better.


Rakim Jarrett Shocks Most, Commits to Maryland over LSU

One of reasons coaches pushed for the early signing period is it allowed them certainty in their recruiting class for the following season. For years, verbals from December or January perished at the last minute on national signing day—often leaving coaches scrambling to replace the players they thought they had.

"Flipping" is less prevalent now. Guys essentially stick to their verbals if they sign during the early recruiting period and most who don't have already announced they're reopening their commitment.

Rakim Jarrett is the fun exception this time around—unless you're a fan of LSU. The 5-star wideout shocked the college football world Wednesday by announcing he'd committed to Maryland, spurning his verbal to LSU.

"What's a better place to do it than your city.. see y'all in the fall," Jarrett said on Instagram.

The 6'0" Washington, D.C., native is the second-ranked wide receiver in this class and was expected to be a cornerstone of this LSU group. He already has a pro-ready frame and combines good speed with strong hands and a willingness to make plays over the middle. 

Brian Dohn of 247Sports compared him to Stefon Diggs, another Maryland product.