National Signing Day 2021: Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes After NSD

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2021

National Signing Day 2021: Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes After NSD

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    The time has come to assess the impact of national signing day on our rankings of the top 25 recruiting classes of the 2021 cycle.

    The baseline for our rankings was set Tuesday morning when B/R's Brad Shepard published his top 25 recruiting classes heading into national signing day.

    That gives us a nice head start, so it's just a matter of factoring in the handful of top-tier recruits who made their college decisions Wednesday and seeing how that shakes things up.

    Included is a breakdown of each team's recruiting class, a look at its top prospect and a quick rundown of any pertinent news from Wednesday's flurry of activity.

    It's no secret who will be No. 1 in these rankings, but there were a few notable shuffles counting up to Alabama's historic recruiting class.

    Off we go!

Nos. 25-21

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    Mike Norvell
    Mike NorvellPhil Sears/Associated Press

    25. Arkansas Razorbacks

    Class size: 22

    Top Recruit: WR Ketron Jackson (4-star, No. 163 overall)

    NSD Impact: Nothing of significance on national signing day. Still, the Razorbacks hold onto a top-25 spot with a 22-player class that includes three 4-star recruits. Wide receiver Ketron Jackson is an impressive raw athlete with the tools to develop into a game-changing receiver.

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    24. Mississippi State Bulldogs

    Class size: 22

    Top Recruit: QB Sawyer Robertson (4-star, No. 134 overall)

    NSD Impact: The Bulldogs added to their haul by securing a commitment from 3-star defensive end Ty Cooper, winning out over in-state rival Ole Miss. Strong-armed pocket passer Sawyer Robertson is still the headliner here, and he has a chance to be the best quarterback at Mississippi State in some time.

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    23. Penn State Nittany Lions

    Class size: 16

    Top Recruit: OT Landon Tengwall (4-star, No. 53 overall)

    NSD Impact: Originally viewed as a likely Arizona State signee during the early signing period, 4-star defensive end Davon Townley ended up choosing Penn State over Nebraska and Washington. The 6'6", 220-pound pass rusher is the sixth 4-star recruit of the 2021 class for the Nittany Lions and their top-rated defensive lineman.

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    22. Florida State Seminoles

    Class Size: 17

    Top Recruit: WR Destyn Hill (4-star, No. 113)

    NSD Impact: The Seminoles vault into the top 25 thanks to a commitment from 4-star wide receiver Destyn Hill, who immediately jumps to the top of a 17-player recruiting class. While he "doesn't present a dominant skillset" at this point in his development, per 247Sports' Barton Simmons, Hill has a high floor and will likely be a 2021 contributor for a Florida State offense that needs significant help in the passing game.

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    21. Iowa Hawkeyes

    Class size: 19

    Top Recruit: OT David Davidkov (4-star, No. 149 overall)

    NSD Impact: No national signing day additions for the Hawkeyes, who entered the day comfortably locked into a top-25 spot thanks to seven 4-star recruits headlining a 19-player class. Three of those seven top-tier pickups are offensive linemen as Iowa continues to build around the trenches, just as it has for years.

Nos. 20-16

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    Lane Kiffin
    Lane KiffinRogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    20. Nebraska Cornhuskers

    Class size: 20

    Top Recruit: TE Thomas Fidone (4-star, No. 93 overall)

    NSD Impact: Among the finalists for 4-star safety Avante Dickerson and 4-star defensive end Davon Townley heading into national signing day, the Cornhuskers ended up whiffing on both. Disappointing conclusion aside, it was a successful recruiting cycle for Scott Frost. His 2021 class is headlined by 6'5" tight end Thomas Fidone, who has star potential in the passing game.

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    19. Tennessee Volunteers

    Class size:Β 21

    Top Recruit: WDE Dylan Brooks (4-star, No. 76 overall)

    NSD Impact: Uncertainty remains amid Tennessee's coaching transition. But they didn't lose any committed recruits Wednesday, so that's a positive. In fact, they added 3-star JUCO offensive tackle Jeremiah Crawford, who had offers from Baylor, Iowa State and Ole Miss, among others.

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    18. Maryland Terrapins

    Class size: 23

    Top Recruit: ILB Terrence Lewis (5-star, No. 20 overall)

    NSD Impact: The Terrapins scored their big win a month ago when 5-star linebacker Terrence Lewis joined an already impressive recruiting haul by Mike Locksley. They trail only Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin among Big Ten schools in the 2021 recruiting cycle and will now look to build off a 2020 season that included wins over Minnesota and Penn State.

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    17. Ole Miss Rebels

    Class size: 25

    Top Recruit: DT Tywone Malone (4-star, No. 62 overall)

    NSD Impact: Ole Miss was one of Wednesday's biggest winners thanks to a commitment from 4-star Tywone Malone later in the afternoon. The 6'4", 305-pound defensive tackle was the No. 62 overall recruit in the class, and he's now the top incoming player in this group. He's expected to follow in the footsteps of Jerrion Ealy and play both football and baseball for the Rebels.

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    16. Wisconsin Badgers

    Class size: 21

    Top Recruit: OT Nolan Rucci (5-star, No. 15 overall)

    NSD Impact: This is almost certainly the deepest recruiting class Wisconsin has reeled in during the Paul Chryst era. While they did not make any additions on national signing day, 5-star offensive lineman Nolan Rucci and five 4-star recruits behind him give the Badgers an excellent crop of newcomers to reinforce the roster.

Nos. 15-11

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    Brian Kelly
    Brian KellyGerry Broome/Associated Press

    15. Texas Longhorns

    Class size:Β 21

    Top Recruit: ATH Ja'Tavion Sanders (5-star, No. 12 overall)

    NSD Impact: The Longhorns were unable to steer running back LJ Johnson away from Texas A&M, but they did add 3-star David Abiara to their 21-player recruiting class. With offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, the former Notre Dame commit was a hot commodity, so he's a good get for Steve Sarkisian.

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    14. North Carolina Tar Heels

    Class size: 19

    Top Recruit: SDE Keeshawn Silver (5-star, No. 30 overall)

    NSD Impact: The job Mack Brown has done recruiting in his time at North Carolina can't be overstated. The Tar Heels picked up a buzzer-beating commitment from 3-star cornerback Dontae Balfour on Wednesday, landing the No. 441 recruit in the class over Auburn and LSU. North Carolina has 11 4-star recruits this cycle, along with 5-star defensive end Keeshawn Silver, as it continues its rise to national prominence.

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    13. Oklahoma Sooners

    Class size: 17

    Top Recruit: QB Caleb Williams (5-star, No. 6 overall)

    NSD Impact: Long-snapper Jake Mann became the 17th member of Oklahoma's 2021 recruiting class Wednesday. That addition doesn't move the needle much as far as recruiting points are concerned, but Oklahoma still walks away with the top class in the Big 12 after Texas failed to land LJ Johnson. The prize of the class for the Sooners is the quarterback of the future, Caleb Williams.

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    12. Miami Hurricanes

    Class size: 21

    Top Recruit: DT Leonard Taylor (5-star, No. 10 overall)

    NSD Impact: Miami had a quiet national signing day, but it made plenty of noise this recruiting cycle as the only team outside the top five of these rankings to land multiple 5-star recruits. Safety James Williams and defensive tackle Leonard Taylor have the potential to become stars for the Hurricanes on the defensive side of the ball.

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    11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Class size:Β 27

    Top Recruit: OT Blake Fisher (4-star, No. 54 overall)

    NSD Impact: The Fighting Irish capped off a 27-player class by officially signing 3-star Logan Diggs on Wednesday. The No. 28 running back in the 2021 class, Diggs verbally committed to Notre Dame over the summer, but he picked up an offer from LSU in December and there was some fear he might flip. With 12 4-star recruits, it's another impressive haul for Brian Kelly.

Nos. 10-6

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    Jim Harbaugh
    Jim HarbaughTony Ding/Associated Press

    10. Florida Gators

    Class size: 22

    Top Recruit: CB Jason Marshall (5-star, No. 28 overall)

    NSD Impact: Florida was in the mix for 4-star safety Terrion Arnold heading into national signing day, but he wound up joining Alabama's stacked 2021 class as expected. Nevertheless, the Gators snagged a top-10 spot with 12 4-star recruits and 5-star cornerback Jason Marshall leading the way in a 22-player class. The No. 2 cornerback in the 2021 class, Marshall was a big get during the early signing period after he appeared to be leaning toward Miami.

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    9. Michigan Wolverines

    Class size: 23

    Top Recruit: QB J.J. McCarthy (5-star, No. 24 overall)

    NSD Impact: It was a busy morning for Jim Harbaugh. He started the day by flipping 4-star defensive tackle Rayshaun Benny away from a commitment to in-state rival Michigan State. Less than an hour later, he made another big move by prying 3-star defensive tackle Ikechukwu Iwunnah away from a commitment to Colorado. It was a solid day's work to cap off a recruiting class led by 5-star quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

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    8. Oregon Ducks

    Class size: 23

    Top Recruit: OT Kingsley Suamataia (4-star, No. 35 overall)

    NSD Impact: The highest-rated recruiting class without a 5-star recruit, Oregon added cornerback Avante Dickerson to a 23-player class that features 19 4-star recruits. A Nebraska native, Dickerson was believed to be leaning toward his home state Cornhuskers after decommitting from Minnesota on Jan. 24, but the Ducks were able to swoop in and add him to a deep and talented class.

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    7. USC Trojans

    Class size:Β 22

    Top Recruit: SDE Korey Foreman (5-star, No. 1 overall)

    NSD Impact: Clay Helton did a fantastic job keeping California's top talent in the state this year, starting with landing No. 1 overall recruit Korey Foreman from Centennial High School in Corona. He put the finishing touches on his 22-player class by signing Mater Dei 4-star linebacker Raesjon Davis on Wednesday, helping the Trojans leapfrog the Ducks for the top class among Pac-12 teams in these rankings.

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    6. Texas A&M Aggies

    Class size:Β 23

    Top Recruit: DT Shemar Turner (5-star, No. 21 overall)

    NSD Impact: The Aggies walked away with the day's biggest prize, holding off Texas to land 4-star running back LJ Johnson. The No. 4 running back in the class and the No. 45 recruit overall, Johnson has the potential to develop into one of the nation's elite tailbacks in the years to come. He joins a class that features 5-star defensive tackle Shemar Turner and 16 4-star recruits.

Nos. 5-1

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    5. LSU Tigers

    Class size:Β 22

    Top Recruit: DT Maason Smith (5-star, No. 19 overall)

    NSD Impact: A disappointing 2020 season did little to deter Ed Orgeron and LSU on the recruiting trail. With a pair of 5-star recruits in defensive tackle Maason Smith (No. 19 recruit) and safety Sage Ryan (No. 29 recruit) along with 15 4-star recruits, another influx of talent is en route to Baton Rouge. The Tigers didn't add anyone on signing day, but they weren't expected to.

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    4. Clemson Tigers

    Class size:Β 19

    Top Recruit: OT Tristan Leigh (5-star, No. 13 overall)

    NSD Impact: Offensive lineman Tristan Leigh (No. 13 recruit), all-purpose back Will Shipley (No. 31 recruit) and outside linebacker Barrett Carter (No. 32 recruit) give Clemson a trio of 5-star standouts in this recruiting class, and the Tigers added four others ranked inside the top 100. The Tigers also had their class all wrapped up before signing day arrived.

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    3. Georgia Bulldogs

    Class size: 20

    Top Recruit: OT Amarius Mims (5-star, No. 7 overall)

    NSD Impact: Georgia was in the running for 4-star safetyΒ Terrion Arnold, but most recruiting experts expected him to wind up at Alabama, so there were no big surprises for the Bulldogs on Wednesday. They locked up four 5-star recruits, including quarterback of the future Brock Vandagriff, and finished with eight players ranked among the top 100 overall.

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    2. Ohio State Buckeyes

    Class size:Β 21Β 

    Top Recruit: SDE Jack Sawyer (5-star, No. 4 overall)

    NSD Impact: Despite finishing a distant second to Alabama in recruiting points, there's nothing wrong with an Ohio State class that includes five 5-star recruits and 13 4-star recruits among a 21-player haul. Quarterback Kyle McCord (No. 27 recruit), running back TreVeyon Henderson (No. 22 recruit) and wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (No. 9 recruit) are the future of the Buckeyes offense.

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    1. Alabama Crimson Tide

    Class size: 26

    Top Recruit: OT JC Latham (5-star, No. 2 overall)

    NSD Impact: The Crimson Tide ran circles around the competition this recruiting cycle, finishing with 16 of the nation's top 100 players. They officially clinched the best recruiting class in 247Sports' composite rankings history when running back Camar Wheaton signed his letter of intent in the morning, and they tossed a cherry on top when they beat out Georgia and Florida for 4-star safety and top-50 recruit Terrion Arnold in the afternoon.

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    All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.