The Early Signing Period has come and (almost) gone. As of this publication, we still have announcements coming from four-star athlete Braden Lenzy and five-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall. But the hay is largely in the barn and it was an important week.
Roughly 80 percent of committed prospects signed over the course of the week. Using last year's signees totals as a comparison, about 65 percent of the total number of FBS prospects signed during the early period. The importance of this week's work can't be overstated and there were a few clear winners. Here were some of our takeaways.
Biggest Winner: Georgia
In our first ever Early Signing Period, Georgia set a high bar for all early classes to come. The Bulldogs landed three five-star signees on the day, bringing their total up to six. They stole a surprise commit from Alabama, landed an unexpected prize in the evening from four-star linebacker Channing Tindall and grabbed the No. 1 spot in the team recruiting rankings. Suddenly, it looks unlikely that anyone tops the Bulldogs for the best class by February.
Most important commitment: QB Emory Jones to Florida
Dan Mullen is a coach that likes dual-threat quarterbacks, but has inherited a room of pro-style problems. Not only did he find a talented dual-threat quarterback to start to transition his offense by flipping Jones from Ohio State, but he also got his first win over in-state rival Willie Taggart at Florida State in the process.
Biggest surprise: CB Nadab Joseph flipping from Alabama to Georgia
We often catch wind of the big movements before they happen, but late on Wednesday when Alabama cornerback commit Nadab Joseph decided to sign with Kirby Smart, everyone was caught off guard, even the Tide. He's a four-star defender with a lot of athleticism, but Smart besting his mentor for the pledge is what makes him notable.
Biggest steal: OT, Jackson Carman
This one was the most hotly contested battle of the week. Carman, the nation's top offensive tackle, had a great visit to USC and many thought the Trojans had done enough to land him. But the home-state team, Ohio State, made an 11th hour push to land him before Clemson and Dabo Swinney ultimately closed the deal. When Carman says that he decided Wednesday morning, believe him.
January's Mr. Popularity: CB, Patrick Surtain Jr.
Patrick Surtain Jr., the nation's top cornerback prospect, is the highest rated remaining player that is uncommitted and unsigned. He was already going to be a popular guy, but with LSU needing good news, Willie Taggart desperate to start landing big names and Nick Saban smarting from losing a cornerback to Georgia, things are about to go next level in his recruitment. LSU is currently considered the favorite.
January's new priority: QB, James Foster
Foster is a solid quarterback prospect, but because he is extending his recruitment beyond the early signing period, he's a "Plan B" guy that's about to be treated like a five-star with LSU, Florida State, Alabama and Texas A&M all about to make him a major priority.
Ranking the new hire signing days
I am grading these coaches strictly on their activity during the early signing period. Here's how the new Power 5 coaches stack up.
1. Dan Mullen, Florida -- Landed Emory Jones and four-star Trey Dean, held the rest of his class together and squeezed Florida into the Top 15, currently the second best class among new coaches.
2. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee -- Beat Mississippi State on a priority, in-state offensive lineman, landed a big power back to help transform his offense and beat Alabama on the best junior college tight ends in the country.
3. Matt Luke, Ole Miss -- Flipped talented wide receiver Elijah Moore from Georgia, flipped defensive end James Williams from Mississippi State, landed massive defensive lineman Jalen Cunningham and grabbed JUCO linebacker Vernon Dasher, making a move up 25 spots in the rankings to No. 35.
4. Scott Frost, Nebraska -- Landed a pair of JUCOs, including Greg Bell -- one of the more highly recruited running backs out of the junior college ranks -- but did lose a wide receiver to Ohio State in Cameron Brown.
5. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State -- Though he lost James Williams, Moorhead signed four-star wide receiver Devonta Jason and four-star Malik Heath. Other key commits like Nathaniel Watson and Fabien Lovett held off.
6. Willie Taggart, Florida State -- The week was almost a disaster for Taggart, who lost a commitment to South Carolina and failed to beat Mullen to land a quarterback, but by making a huge come-from-behind win to land five-star safety Jaiden Woodbey out of California and stealing one of his old Oregon commits in Isaiah Bolden, Taggart salvaged the 72 hours.
7. Mario Cristobal, Oregon -- Oregon has lost nine commitments since the start of December and though Cristobal has kept the Ducks inside the Top 15, he didn't make any moves during the signing period beyond just holding the class together.
8. Herm Edwards, Arizona State -- Landed a commitment out of JUCO cornerback Terin Adams, got a late commitment out of Louisiana RB AJ Carter and signed a couple of commits that were considering holding out.
9. Chad Morris, Arkansas -- Flipped a defensive end from North Carolina, but lost a tackle commit the day before it was time to sign. Morris also convinced safety Myles Mason to hold off on signing with Mississippi State.
10. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State -- A pair of decommits in the days leading up to the Early Signing Period and no new commits to replace them with, Smith simply held the line on a class ranked 87th in the country.
11. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M -- After spending a lot of energy on getting big names on campus, many of those guys signed elsewhere. He also lost a commitment in Bobby Brown and has to wait out the signature of star linebacker commit DaShaun White.
12. Chip Kelly, UCLA -- Kelly lost WR Jahan Dotson to Penn State, lost four-star DE Abdul-Malik McClain to cross-town rival USC and has to wait out the signature of star quarterback commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson into January.