The winners of national signing day
The GIST: Now that Wednesday’s National Signing Day “pick me” energy has subsided, the winners are clear. To no one’s surprise, Alabama and Georgia inked the best early recruiting classes with enough five-star athletes to create their own solar systems. But elsewhere, some top prospects left the drama until the end.
Key letters of intent: Yesterday’s biggest signing belongs to South Carolina, who wooed the nation’s top uncommitted player, tight end/edge rusher Nyckoles Harbor. Colorado HC Deion Sanders also made waves by clinching five-star cornerback Cormani McClain, the Buffs’ highest-ranked defensive recruit ever.
- Oregon soaked up the sun this winter, attracting some of California’s best talent. Stealing four-star cornerback Rodrick Pleasant from USC on Wednesday? The Ducks’ cherry on top.
Zooming out: This recruiting season flip-flopped more than a Sunisa Lee beam routine, and many think name, image and likeness (NIL) deals creating pay-to-play schemes are why. For example, quarterback Jaden Rashada first ditched Miami for Florida’s promise of a $13.9 million NIL payday, and then decommitted when the deal fell through.
- On Wednesday, Rashada signed again, but without an NIL promise — this time with Arizona State. But the saga has many wondering how NIL will continue to affect recruitment and parity in the college game.