Recapping National Signing Day

Five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans will choose between Auburn and Alabama at 11:45 a.m..  (USATSI)
Five-star LB Rashaan Evans surprised a lot of people when he chose Alabama over Auburn. (247Sports)

4:40 p.m. ET, FINAL UPDATE: In a total shocker -- or not -- Alabama will finish No. 1 in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings, though the Tide fell narrowly short of eclipsing Florida's 2010 haul as the highest-ranked class of the recruiting rankings era. A big Signing Day bumped LSU up to No. 2, with Ohio State, Florida State and Texas A&M rounding out the top 5. 

The day's other big winner was USC (see immediately below), who jumped 17 spots from 28 Tuesday to an 11th-place finish Wednesday. The day's biggest high-profile faller was Michigan, who missed on Malik McDowell, didn't add any new signees, and slipped five spots to No. 20.

4:30 p.m. ET: Oh man:

McDowell, of course, is the five-star defensive end who committed to the Spartans this morning despite his mother's previous public opposition -- vehement public opposition -- to his attending Michigan State. McDowell's father gave the choice his blessing at his Signing Day ceremony despite his own previous public complaints, but McDowell's mother did not attend the ceremony.

4:00 p.m. ET: Steve Sarkisian may be one of the biggest winners of signing day, getting commitments from each of the "Big Three" in-state prospects on the board. Athlete JuJu Smith, ranked the No. 2 prospect in California, reached for Oregon's hat before putting on the yellow Trojans cap. Smith joins Adoree Jackson and Damien Mama in a 2014 USC class that has improved drastically throughout the day.

3:50 p.m. ET: Three-star athlete Myles Autry (Norcross, Ga.) set out hats for Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, and Oregon, but eventually chose to stay in-state with Georgia Tech . Autry cited the proximity to home and the opportunity to play with his brother Anthony as reasons for the decision. 

3:40 p.m. ET: Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga.) pleased the hometown crowd in attendance by picking Georgia over LSU and Florida in a nationally televised press conference. Late visits to LSU and Florida State had some Bulldogs fans nervous, but with Jeremy Pruitt on board as defensive coordinator Carter feels good about his decision.

"I want to stay home and represent my state," Carter told ESPNU. "And hopefully bring a national championship back to Georgia." 

2:35 p.m. ET: Andrew Williams, a 4-star defensive end from Georgia, added to Auburn 's impressive haul by picking the Tigers over Clemson and the in-state Bulldogs. What did Williams like about Auburn? 247Sports caught up with Williams after his commitment. 

2:11 p.m. ET: South Carolina beat out Wisconsin for Chris Lammons, a four-star cornerback out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.. The former Florida commit told 247Sports that the Gamecocks and Badgers were "bumping heads all week," but the opportunity for playing time and a relationship with South Carolina secondary coach Grady Brown sealed the deal.

2:06 p.m. ET: Southern California and Steve Sarkisian have a very talented player heading their way. Five-star cornerback Adoree Jackson , one of the highest-ranked recruits making their decision today, announced that he would be going to USC. Jackson picked the Trojans over crosstown rival UCLA as well as Florida and LSU.

1:51 p.m. ET: One of the best things about national signing day is some of the names you hear, and we happen to believe Eastern Michigan has won the name battle this season. The Eagles received a commitment from Lion King . Yes, that's his name. It's legal and everything.

Hakuna matata, kid.

1:06 p.m. ET: Vanderbilt's 2014 class took a hit when James Franklin left for Penn State, but Derek Mason has rallied in the last week to put together a solid class. And that class got even better on Wednesday afternoon when four-star defensive end Nifae Lealao committed to the Commodores. Lealao decommitted form Stanford on Jan. 23, so it seems we have another recruit following a coach to his new job.

12:32 p.m. ET: Charlie Strong was able to pry a big recruit away from his old school on Wednesday. Four-star defensive tackle Poona Ford , who is out of South Carolina, committed to Texas over Missouri and Purdue.

Ford had originally committed to Louisville, but decommitted once Charlie Strong left to take the Texas job.

12:21 p.m. ET: Steve Spurrier has a new favorite player on the Gamecocks. South Carolina got a commit from four-star DE Dante Sawyer on Wednesday, and Sawyer has obviously been paying attention to the trash talk between Spurrier and Clemson's Dabo Swinney.

That's Sawyer holding up five fingers while standing next to fellow four-star recruit Korie Rogers, who committed to Clemson. Well, the five fingers represent South Carolina's current win streak over their in-state rivals.

11:50 a.m. ET: Five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans -- by far the most-watched recruit for both Auburn and Alabama fans on Signing Day -- stunned many in his hometown of Auburn by choosing the Crimson Tide. A huge win for Nick Saban and a big blow for the Tigers (who had been considered the favorite until recently), Evans is the No. 15 overall player in the Top 247.

How big a surprise was Evans' decision? This appeared on Auburn's site -- complete with highlight video -- as the state held its breath for Evans' announcement:

It's bad, but not all bad for Auburn; top-100 guard Braden Smith signed with the Tigers over TCU.

11:35 a.m. ET: They won't catch Alabama, but LSU's massive Signing Day haul has bumped them into the No. 2 slot in the current 247Sports Team Composite Rankings, leapfrogging No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Florida State. The next five teams are all SEC representatives -- in order, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Georgia -- before Notre Dame at No. 10.

11:25 a.m. ET: USC doesn't have a particularly large 2014 class, but as always that doesn't mean it's short on talent, and Steve Sarkisian just added maybe the biggest talent in the bunch in four-star guard Damien Mama, the No. 1 guard in the country and and the No. 38 player overall. The Bellflower, Calif., product had also considered Alabama and BYU but his signing with USC was no surprise.  

11:10 a.m. ET: Just ahead of Dupre's announcement, LSU also landed top-100, four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine of Palm Bay, Fla. The former Miami commit was ranked the No. 3 DT by the 247 Sports composite -- and has helped make this a very, very good day so far for Les Miles and Co.

11 a.m. ET: Apparently Florida State can't win them all: five-star New Orleans wideout Malachi Dupre elected to stay in-state and play for LSU. A 6-foot-2 burner, Dupre was ranked the No. 2 wideout in the country by the 247 Sports composite and the No. 17 player overall. The Seminoles had made a late push, but Dupre's decision instead gives the Tigers one of the top two players in the country at both receiver and tailback (thanks to No. 1 overall player Leonard Fournette). And meanwhile, in Baton Rouge ...

10:50 a.m. ET: It's not easy to pull top-level recruits out of Louisiana if you're someone other than LSU, but UCLA managed it with the addition of four-star inside linebacker Kenny Young. The No. 175 player in the country and a top-10 ILB, Young picked the Bruins over Texas A&M and LSU. Young's three-star teammate at New Orleans's John Curtis High School, Terrance Alexander, picked Stanford over Notre Dame.

10:45 a.m. ET: This is Florida State's new top-100, four-star linebacker Jacob Pugh. This is apparently his little brother:

10:30 a.m. ET: Two more five-star dominoes have fallen. District Heights, Md., offensive lineman Damian Prince elected to stay in-state and play for Maryland as it makes the transition to the Big Ten, spurning Florida. Florida State rubbed some salt in the Gators wounds by adding five-star wideout Ermon Lane of Homestead, Fla., a former Florida commitment. Lane's decision was no surprise, though Prince kept observers guessing right up until his announcement. Lane is the No. 24 player in the 247Sports composite Top 247, with Prince at No. 27. 

10:19 a.m. ET: Florida State expected a big Signing Day haul, and that continued with the out-of-state addition of Roderick Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound tackle from Florissant, Mo. The No. 14 offensive tackle and the overall No. 125 player in the class of 2014, Johnson has been considered a Seminole lean -- and arguably a lock -- for quite a while. He picked FSU over Ohio State, Alabama, and other heavy-hitters.

10:08 a.m. ET: The biggest news this morning for LSU is the addition of three-star defensive end Sione Teuhema of Keller, Texas ... but the biggest payoff from that signing might be on Signing Day 2015. The Tigers also picked up the commitment of Sione's brother Maea Teuhema, a 6-foot-5, 340-pound five-star mauler who shapes up as one of the top offensive linemen in his class.

9:57 a.m. ET: 5-star defensive end Malik McDowell committed to Michigan State . It was a drama-filled recruitment, with comments from his parents suggesting they did not want him to sign with the Spartans. Ohio State, Alabama and Michigan were in the mix, but the 6-foot-7, 290-pound star will be the next developing star in Michigan State's defense. McDowell's father said his son would go to East Lansing with his blessing and added this:

Interpret as needed.

9:43 a.m. ET: Despite late visits to Alabama and Florida State, longtime Hurricane commit Chad Thomas selected Miami on Wednesday morning. The 5-star defensive end announced just after Harris, his high school teammate, and flashed The U.

9:37 a.m. ET: The good news continued for Florida on Wednesday morning, with four-star dual-threat quarterback Treon Harris committing to the Gators. Florida State, Auburn and the hometown Hurricanes were in the running for this Miami, Fla (Booker T. Washington HS) athlete -- he was also a former FSU commit. This a big get for Muschamp's staff, particularly to boost the quarterback depth behind Jeff Driskel.

9:21 a.m. ET: Chris Williams flipped from Alabama to UCF late in the recruiting cycle, but there was a chance that he would flip back to the Tide on Wednesday. Not so, according to the Twitter account of the three-star athlete.

8:36 a.m. ET: 4-star athlete J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla.) has been flipping between Florida State and Florida since early 2013. Jackson even expressed some interest in Miami, but signed and faxed his NLI to Florida on National Signing Day.

8:31 a.m. ET: 4-star wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) only had Virginia Tech and Ole Miss hats on the table for his press conference, then Georgia commit Sony Michel (McKenzie's high school teammate) emerged with a Georgia hat for McKenzie. This is the first big surprise of National Signing Day, and a nice add for the Bulldogs' 2014 recruiting class.

8:11 a.m. ET: Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas) narrowed his list to Stanford , Arkansas and UCLA for a National Signing Day announcement. There was no question where he was going after pulling out a tree and donning some glasses. Thomas is a five-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite.

8:00 a.m. ET: 4-star defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va.) took official visits to Ohio State, Virginia Tech and Virginia in January, but committed to Florida State on Wednesday morning. Could this be the first of several signing day wins for the Seminoles? Stay tuned through the day. 

7:45 a.m. ET: 4-star athlete Budda Baker got the party started on National Signing Day Eve, committing to Washington . The former Oregon commit chose the Huskies over UCLA, deciding to stay in his home state with new head coach Chris Petersen. 

While you wait for more announcements, we'll leave this awesome video of a Budda Baker punt return for your entertainment.

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