Early National Signing Day 2019: Day 2 Recruit Commitments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on while his team warms up prior to the start of the Pac-12 Championship game against the Oregon Ducks at Levi's Stadium on December 06, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The early signing period for the 2020 recruiting class entered into its second day Thursday, following an action-packed opening that helped set the college football landscape for the years ahead.

Clemson has been a big winner as the No. 1 overall player, 5-star defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, signed with the reigning national champion. The Tigers also added strong-side defensive end Myles Murphy, the third-best player nationally.

Oregon went into Southern California and signed inside linebacker Justin Flowe, compounding what has been a brutal recruiting cycle for USC.

The university's commitment to another year with Clay Helton as head coach may have seemed like a mistake as the Trojans have assembled the No. 79 class so far, below the likes of Bowling Green, Appalachian State, Western Michigan and Troy.

With many of the top names already off the board, the 22nd-ranked Trojans (8-4) are running out of time to bolster their group ahead of the 2020 season.

One of their Pac-12 rivals scored a win Thursday as Utah signed 4-star strong-side defensive end Xavier Carlton. The Draper, Utah, native is 13th at his position.

Adam Gorney @adamgorney

#Utah continues to put together a very impressive class with the addition of four-star DE Xavier Carlton, who has tremendous length. Could get better later on with the decision of Clark Phillips. #RivalsNSD

The Utes scored one of the bigger surprises as well when they snagged Clark Phillips III, the No. 4 cornerback. Phillips had originally committed to Ohio State, so getting him to flip from a playoff team represented an obvious boost for head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Bud Elliott @BudElliott3

Utah is going to like CB Clark Phillips. He has that SoFla dog mentality on the field. Relentless.

Ari Wasserman @AriWasserman

Clark Phillips was such an awesome prospect to hang out with. He's not only a tremendous athlete, but he's a good person and just the ideal kid you want in your program. Utah just hit a home run and I know the Buckeyes are feeling this loss.

Utah had some fun at the Buckeyes' expense:

Utah Football @Utah_Football

THE University of Utah.

"They were one of my first offers and have been involved with me since I was a freshman," the Californian  said of the Utes, per 247Sports' Greg Biggins. "That whole staff has been a constant for me since freshman year, and I have great relationships with them. That relationship has continued to grow, and I have a clear vision of how I fit in to their system."

Arkansas endured another brutal season the field, finishing 2-10 for the second year in a row. The Razorbacks fired Chad Morris in November, a defensible decision that still risked hurting the team on the recruiting trail.

After finishing 23rd in 2019, Arkansas ranks 58th across FBS and 13th in the SEC.

Sam Pittman, who replaced Morris earlier this month, is regarded as a great recruiter and showed his chops by signing a second 4-star recruit Thursday. Darin Turner is the No. 34 wide receiver and No. 196 player overall, and he joins 4-star safety Myles Slusher, who signed Wednesday.

Arkansas Razorback Football @RazorbackFB

With a nickname like "Megatron" you know Darin Turner can make plays all over the field! #WPS https://t.co/fQ9u3VGKek

Turner had decommitted after Morris' firing, so Pittman and his new staff had to convince the Memphis native to choose Arkansas all over again.

"They've got a good coaching staff, they're bringing in a good coaching staff," Turner said, per Danny West of HawgSports.com. "They've got an incredible fanbase; I'd get to play with some of my former teammates. I mean, there's not much more you could ask for. They've got a good education program."

Elsewhere in the SEC, Joel Williams officially signed with Kentucky. The Louisiana prep star is the No. 13 athlete and will likely slot into the Wildcats secondary as a cornerback.

Joel Williams🌹 @sayyjoee

New beginnings, Same Goal💰 #BBN let’s make history🔵⚪️ https://t.co/EO2sgr9S0S

Going 10-3 and winning the Citrus Bowl appears to have helped Mark Stoops in recruiting. After ending 2019 with the 34th-best class, Kentucky is 23rd in 2020. To add some perspective, however, the Wildcats are only 7-5.

In case you wanted to feel even older after Emmitt Smith's son, E.J., signed with Stanford, Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore's son is making the jump to college. Frank Gore Jr. announced Thursday he's going to Southern Miss.

The Miami native is a 3-star running back and ranks 65th at his position.

The window for signing early closes Friday. Once that passes, recruits will have to wait until Feb. 5 to make their commitments final.


Recruiting and team ranking info are courtesy of 247Sports.