College football recruiting: Winners, losers and rankings from National Signing Day 2019

An Early Signing Period in the 2019 recruiting cycle muted the dramatic swings in team rankings and class fortunes that we're used to seeing on Wednesday's traditional National Signing Day. But there was nonetheless plenty of drama throughout the day on Wednesday,. 

Here are the biggest winners and losers from Wednesday's National Signing Day action. 

Winners

SEC: At the end of the day, four of the top five teams in the 247Sports Composite team rankings hail from the SEC. Seven of the top 12 are SEC teams, while Mississippi State is 11th in the conference and still sits inside the top 25. Collectively, the SEC had a great cycle and a great day on Wednesday. Some of the highlights are below:

North Carolina: It didn't make a dramatic climb in the team rankings, but for a Mack Brown that could have been rusty back on the trail, the Tar Heels sure looked like a smooth operation. North Carolina finished the day just outside the top 30, and it is not far removed from being outside the top 60. In particular, the Tar Heels effectively managed to land two of the biggest senior risers in the country in linebacker Eugene Asanta out of Virginia and jumbo athlete Wisdom Asaboro from inside the state. It was only two prospects, but it was a 2-for-2 session that finished off an impressive close for Brown in Year 1.  

Maryland: Mike Locksley is going to hope to see his future signing classes ranked much higher than it will finish in the 2019 cycle, but he's also going to hope for signing days much like the one he put together on Wednesday. The close was impressive. In particular, Locksley was a thorn in the side of Florida State, stealing linebacker Cortez Andrews from the Seminoles and picking off Florida State's top quarterback target in Lance Legendre. It also added junior college offensive lineman Parris Heath, and perhaps most importantly of all, top 100 safety Nick Cross out of the Maryland area elected to hold off on signing with Florida State as he ponders flipping his commitment to Maryland or perhaps Penn State.

Losers

UCLA: Already working on a disappointing class that came into the day ranked 43rd in the country, UCLA had five targets it was focused on adding. The batting average at the end of the day was .000 with two pending. The lineup isn't pretty:  

  • Linebacker Tuasivi Nomura signed with USC.
  • Defensive back Kenyon Reed signed with Kansas State.
  • Linebacker Drew Fowler elected to walk-on at Washington instead of accepting a scholarship at UCLA. Ouch.
  • Running back Jordan Wilmore has yet to sign as of this publication but looks bound for Utah or Arizona State.
  • Wide receiver Puka Nacua has yet to sign but is projected by most to land at Washington, Oregon or Utah.  
  • Chip Kelly's recruiting effort will need a facelift in the 2020 cycle. 

Florida State: There's no context needed for a FSU class ranked 16th in the country. That's just not good enough. But the circumstances of Wednesday were a particular slap in the face. Willie Taggart lost Legendre and Andrews to Maryland, and he looks unlikely to hang on to Cross, who happens to be one of the best safeties in the country. Compounding the damage is the fact that, with the failure to secure a quarterback, Florida State is about to go two straight signing classes without a high school QB signee. The Seminoles did land critical offensive linemen Ira Henry and Darius Washington, but that doesn't quite soothe the disappointment of the other losses.

USC: The Trojans are finishing up their lowest-ranked class of the internet recruiting era. Wednesday featured a few commitments but nothing like we're used to seeing with USC. More notable were the losses. Hawaiian offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi chose Ohio State over USC, but more expected was the loss to Ohio State for Midwest offensive lineman Dawand Jones. The Trojans did get an National Letter of Intent from five-star wide receiver Kyle Ford, but another highly-regarded wide receiver in Nacua declined to sign. In fact, despite Nacua being committed to the Trojans, he's got about four other programs in a better position as his decision approaches. USC may have found some future stars and NFL talents on Wednesday but they weren't the kind of players that other programs were valuing in the same way we've come to expect.

CBS Sports Writer

Barton Simmons has been involved in college football and recruiting since 2000, first as a player and then as a reporter and analyst. As a player, he was a two-time All-Ivy League safety at Yale before... Full Bio

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