|Florida made a late push for Florida State commit Dante Fowler, and it paid off on National Signing Day in 2012. (US Presswire)|
The most demoralizing pump fake does not always come from a quarterback in the fall. For some fans, the image of a highly touted recruit reversing his intentions on National Signing Day will linger forever.
Whether it is the dramatic hat switch or an unexpected press conference, there are a few notable players that have flipped their commitment in the 11th hour and changed the outlook for both teams involved.
Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio, 2011: On National Signing Day, Kouandjio announced he was heading to Auburn to join the defending national champions. But after the national television announcement, the five-star offensive lineman did not sign his national letter of intent. Three days later it was announced he would be joining the Crimson Tide instead, and he has since become a key piece of two national championship teams.
Florida DE/LB Dante Fowler, 2012: Both Florida and Florida State battled back and forth for Fowler's commitment right up until signing day, and the reports conflicted until his nationally televised announcement. Fowler was reportedly concerned with the depth the Seminoles had along the defensive line but remained committed until the last week. But when Fowler made his announcement, it was clear the late push from Florida paid off as he became a key piece of Will Muschamp's new defense in Gainesville.
Ole Miss LB C.J. Johnson, 2011: Johnson's recruitment is the horror story when it comes to fans abusing social media to the detriment of their favorite team. The top-rated linebacker in the state of Mississippi was a Mississippi State commit until then-defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left for Texas. Johnson decided to reconsider his options, much to the chagrin of Bulldogs' fans everywhere. They flooded his Facebook account with pleas and statements of hatred, leading Johnson to quit Facebook altogether and renounce any ties to Mississippi State.
Washington S Shaq Thompson, 2012: Cal entered National Signing Day with a star-studded class in 2012, but that quickly fell apart when defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi joined Steve Sarkisian's class at Washington. Jordan Payton and Ellis McCarthy flipped to UCLA, but it was five-star safety Shaq Thompson who followed Lupoi to Seattle. After committing to the Bears in January, Thompson signed with the Huskies on signing day.
BONUS: The Early Enrollee Flip -- It may seem like ancient history after the Tide's BCS title run, but Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon was once "highly touted Auburn commit T.J. Yeldon." After being committed to the Tigers for six months, Yeldon changed his mind in Dec. 2011. Not only was one of the state's best prospects in years switching to the Tigers' Iron Bowl rivals, he also was going to enroll just weeks later. Also nominated for Early Enrollee Flip: Five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel reversing his decision from LSU to Notre Dame.
BONUS: The Original National TV Flip-flop -- Five-star running back Lorenzo Booker was a verbal commit to Notre Dame. Booker arranged to have his college announcement live on ESPN's SportsCenter, and as soon as an hour before the show the word was that Booker was committing to the Irish. But when the cameras turned on he shocked Notre Dame fans by choosing Florida State instead. Booker was drafted in 2007 after an up-and-down career in Tallahassee, but the theatrics of the announcement triggered the wall-to-wall coverage we see more than a decade later.
There are too many instances to list in one post, so feel free to add your own famous flips in the comment section below. Are you nervous about any of your favorite team's commits? Recent history says there will be at least a few surprises by the end of the day on Wednesday.
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