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February 7, 2013
Rivals.com analyst Rob Cassidy's reviews some of the National Signing Day headlines.
If it is, indeed, hard being king, Alabama sure makes it look easy. On Wednesday, the Tide added to their national championship season with a title on the recruiting circuit. Nick Saban's program finished the day with the top overall recruiting class and did so by adding top-flight players such as A'Shawn Robinson, Dee Liner, Reuben Foster and Alvin Kamara.
In a way, college football is a game of make-it take-it, and as long as Alabama keeps winning, the results will keep showing on the recruiting trail. The Tide have finished No. 1 overall in five of the past six recruiting cycles.
When a non-traditional recruiting power lands a haul such as the one Ole Miss pulled in, it's going to cause a stir.
And the Rebels have done just that. A class headlined by Robert Nkemdiche, the top player in country, was spurred on by fellow five-stars Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell. Overall ,the Rebs landed a combine 12 four- and five-star prospects and generated plenty of chatter. Accusations flew and sour grapes were swallowed, but none of that changed the work done by head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff. In many ways, Ole Miss was the day's top story.
Word leaked out that five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes was leaning toward Notre Dame late Tuesday night. Then, on Wednesday, his name magically appeared on the Irish's signing day press release. Vanderdoes took to Twitter to tell the world that he had not signed with Notre Dame, and the school dismissed the situation as a mistake.
With that, any lingering suspense evaporated. A few hours later Vanderdoes announced that he had made things official with the Irish. His pledge served as the kicker for Brian Kelly's impressive, fourth-ranked class.
First, Oregon played defense. It protected the coveted Robinson twins, Tyrell and Tyree, from a late push by Washington and inked the four-star prospects in the early afternoon. Then, it transitioned to offense. The Ducks pulled a shocker by stealing former USC commit Torrodney Prevot and added four-star tackle Cameron Hunt, a one-time California pledge. Oregon's class might not be as strong as it would have been without the coaching change, but it was a good day for the Ducks, nonetheless.
No matter how you look at it, Texas' 2013 class isn't very Texas-like. There's not a single five-star in the lot and it doesn't wow anyone on paper. This was definitely a down year for the Longhorns, who missed on a couple of prized targets. That said, Mack Brown's team did fill some of its most pressing needs (the offensive line). Nobody is going to praise the Horns for a great recruiting cycle, but maybe it's not time to pound the panic button in Austin just yet. Familiarize yourself with the button's location, you know, just in case.
Mora, Mora, more
Well hello there, Jim Mora Jr.. As expected, UCLA reaffirmed its standing as an up-and-coming program with a ridiculously deep class that features 17 four-star prospects. Defensive back Priest Willis is expected to make that No. 18 by signing with the Bruins on Friday. LSU is making a push for Willis, too, but most think the Rivals100 safety will land in Westwood.
It's easy to spin USC's recruiting class in whichever direction suits your view. On one hand, the Trojans signed five five-star recruits, the most of any team in the country, and finished with the highest average star rating in Rivals.com history. On the other hand, ouch.
USC experienced some serious attrition on signing day and in the days leading up to it. Lane Kiffin, who held the top recruiting class in the country for most of the season, can't be at ease with a 12-member class. In the end, the fizzle with which the program finished overshadowed months of outstanding work.
Collins' mom wants her son close to home and took matters into her own hands. The situation was still being resolved on Wednesday evening. Miami and the Razorbacks seem to be the only programs left alive in the four-star running back's recruitment. At this point, though, who's ruling anything out? Once your own mother pilfers your signature, all bets are off.
West Virginia reached across the country to steal an Arizona commitment early in the day. Wide receiver Mario Alford joined Georgia Military Academy teammate Brandon Golson in the Mountaineers' class at the last minute, leaving Arizona fans in a state of disbelief.
Tashawn Bower's marriage to LSU materialized out of nowhere. As a matter of fact, the two basically eloped. Bower committed to Auburn early in the process and started looking around during the Tigers' disaster of a season. People suspected that Bower would sign with Florida if he decided to break his pledge. There was even an erroneous report that he had signed with the Gators. Bower shot down that rumor via Twitter and surprised by signing with the Tigers shortly after.