National Signing Day: Nebraska, Tennessee top winners, Florida leads losers in early signing period 2019
The early signing period is still ongoing, but some conclusions can be made based on Wednesday's activities
National Signing Day is a culmination of a lot of hard work on the recruiting trail over the course of three years -- or more, in many cases. We keep score of the overall winners and losers of that process with the 247Sports Composite team rankings.
But winning signing day itself is something different. That's about meeting expectations and finishing on a strong note ... or closing with a sputter. These are the winners and losers based purely on the results of Wednesday's decisions on the first day of the early signing period.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers didn't really miss on Wednesday, especially when it came to prospects in the state of Florida. They landed speedy slot receiver Marcus Fleming out of Miami Northwestern, South Dade defensive back Jaiden Francois and prep school WR Alante Brown. All that only a couple of days removed from flipping elite linebacker Keyshawn Greene from Florida State. The only real miss of the day was four-star safety Myles Slusher, who flipped from Oregon to Arkansas instead of going to Nebraska.
Tennessee: Jeremy Pruitt is quickly developing a reputation for saving some good news for signing day. On Wednesday, it was running back/linebacker Len'Neth Whitehead kicking the day off with a commitment, followed by a flip of speedy quarterback Jimmy Holliday, who went to Tennessee from TCU. Then it was massive defensive tackle Reginald Perry and four-star defensive end Tyler Baron pledging. A win for four-star Morven Joseph over Florida and Florida State was the finishing touch. Tennessee got bigger and better on Wednesday.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks kept the No. 5 player in the country home in five-star DE Jordan Burch. Not only that, but in doing so, they got a huge win over in-state rival Clemson as well as SEC foes Georgia, LSU and Alabama, all of whom were College Football Playoff contenders this fall. South Carolina could do nothing else the rest of the day, and that still is a win. Fortunately, Burch wasn't the only good news as the Gamecocks also added four-star jumbo athlete Jaheim Bell as a bonus.
Utah: The Utes made the signing day moves in the Pac-12 that USC was hoping to make. They started the day ranked behind USC at No. 84 and are still climbing the rankings inside the top 50 as the period unfolds. Four-star DE and one-time Texas commit Van Fillinger is the headliner of the day, but in-state safety Nate Ritchie is a big pickup, too. This all comes on the heels of a commitment a week ago from previous Texas pledge Ty Jordan. Before the week is done, Utah could also add in-state four-star defensive line prospect Xavier Carlton, and it is in the mix to flip top 100 cornerback Clark Phillips from Ohio State.
Maryland: It wasn't a perfect day for Maryland. DT Jerzahn Newton flipped to Illinois, and there were a few names that the Terrapins missed on, but they also landed the biggest steal of the day. Mike Locksley being able to flip a top-100 talent in WR Rakim Jarrett from LSU and keep him home in the DMV region was the story of the day. Locksley hasn't dominated the Washington, D.C. and Maryland area like he had hoped he would with his arrival, but with a pickup like Jarrett, that could be a momentum-shifting pledge.
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Florida: The Gators had really high hopes for the way Wednesday would unfold. A potential flip of four-star defensive end Donell Harris from Texas A&M or defensive tackle Timothy Smith from Alabama were in the card. They also wanted to beat Stanford and Texas A&M on Florida legacy EJ Smith (the son of Emmitt Smith) but saw him go to the Cardinal. There were several other prospects the Gators were in on, including Morven Joseph. None of the news fell in Florida's favor. Florida still finishes the day inside the national top 10, but it was a rare 0-for-signing day performance.
USC: The Trojans entered the day with 10 commits. They finished the day with 11. That one commitment was a quality pickup in Tuli Tuipulotu, the younger brother of USC DT Marlon Tuipulotu. But that's all USC got. USC finishes the day ranked just inside the top 80 after starting the day just outside the top 80. This is not the furious USC close that we are used to seeing. The big loss was Justin Flowe, a five-star LB that is leaving his hometown of Los Angeles for Oregon. The lack of activity for the Trojans alone defined a very disappointing day.
LSU: The Tigers have had a phenomenal recruiting cycle, and for most programs, they would have had a phenomenal signing day. But LSU is looking for a No. 1 class this year, and the events of Wednesday weren't what it had hoped for in its search for that top class. While the Tigers landed four-star offensive tackle Marcus Dumervil and four-star edge rusher Phillip Webb, they missed on Burch and saw Jarrett flip to Maryland. Top 100 WR Jermaine Burton also flipped from LSU to Georgia, and safety Malcolm Greene flipped from LSU to Clemson.
Louisville: There's been nothing but good news for Louisville since Scott Satterfield took over as head coach, so it was due a bad day. That day came on Wednesday when the Cardinals lost a quarterback commit in Chubba Purdy and a defensive end commit in Josh Griffis, both committing to Florida State. They didn't fare much better on the commitment front with the exception of a flip from Appalachian State in cornerback Marqui Lowery.
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