NCAA Football News

College Football Recruiting 2015: Ranking Programs That Landed Top Classes

National signing day is an exciting event for college football fans, but strong recruiting classes are built well in advance. 

Yes, many of the nation's brightest young stars wait until deadline day to announce their decision, so it's easy to understand the importance of the day. However, while schools such as UCLA, LSU, Auburn and Florida cleaned up on Wednesday—and deservedly shot up 247Sports' composite team rankings—it's the programs that cleaned up over the last several months that boast the deepest and most talented classes. 

Let's take a look. 

 

No. 1: Alabama

Ho-hum. For the fifth consecutive year, Nick Saban has landed the country's top recruiting class, signing a national-best six 5-star prospects to go along with 14 4-stars. 

Interestingly enough, Alabama finds itself at the peak of the class rankings despite not wrangling a top-10 recruit. Still, the cream of the Crimson Tide 2015 class is a special one: wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who ranks 11th in the country and No. 1 among wide receivers. 

Some historically prolific wide receivers have come through Tuscaloosa, and Saban believes the electric Ridley is capable of having a similar impact, via BamaPrideNation:

Ridley figures to combine with 5-star running back Damien Harris and 5-star quarterback Blake Barnett, who rank No. 1 and 2 at their respective positions, to keep the Crimson Tide offense at an explosive level for the next several years. 

On defense, Saban seemed to make the secondary a priority, bringing in 5-star corners Kendall Sheffield and Minkah Fitzpatrick, as well as 4-star safety Deionte Thompson

The Crimson Tide have came up just short of national championship aspirations the last two years, but their continued preeminence in recruiting circles means they will remain near the peak of the sport for a very long time. 

 

No. 2: USC

While the Crimson Tide are at their familiar No. 1 spot, they were challenged more than any of the previous four years. According to 247Sports' points system, which attempts to put a numerical value on the strength of the classes, the Crimson Tide finished with 311.08, while USC was barely behind at 310.44. 

Steve Sarkisian always brought in tremendous classes for Washington. Combine that prowess on the recruiting trail with the bright lights of Southern California and a full year on the job, and it's no surprise he hauled in four 5-stars and 14 4-stars for the Trojans. 

As the Pac-12 Network's Yogi Roth noted, it's an especially impressive haul on defense: 

The future of the secondary begins with cornerback Iman Marshall, the nation's No. 4 overall prospect who also ranked No. 1 in creativity when announcing his decision, via Bleacher Report: 

It's not just defense, though. This is a diverse, loaded class that features eight players who are in the top five at their positions, including running back Ronald Jones II. The Trojans have fallen outside the nation's elite the last couple of years, but Sarkisian clearly has the program moving back in the right direction. 

 

No. 3: Florida State

Alabama's streak of dominant classes has been impressive, but don't discount what Jimbo Fisher and Florida State have done over that same span. Since 2011, the Seminoles have finished second, third, 10th, fourth and now third. 

This year's class features a pair of top-10 recruits—which is something neither Alabama nor USC can boast—in safety Derwin James and defensive end Josh Sweat

Fisher offered some extremely high praise toward both players, via Warchant.com's Twitter feed: 

The Seminoles' national signing day didn't go as hoped, with Fitzpatrick, Marshall and Shelton Johnson all opting to go elsewhere, but Fischer's previous success—James committed way back in December 2012—exemplifies the triviality of this day if coaching staffs put in the early, necessary work. 

 

Note: All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Wisconsin Football Recruiting 2015: National Signing Day Grades and Analysis

The Wisconsin Badgers rounded out 2015's national signing day with a strong class, landing Jordan Stevenson and Jon Dietzen. These commits will have a big impact in the future for the Badgers.

Bleacher Report College Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer break down the class and dish out their grades.

What do you think of Wisconsin's class? Check out the video and let us know!

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Florida State Football Recruiting 2015: National Signing Day Grades and Analysis

The Florida State Seminoles rounded out the 2015 national signing day with a strong class, landing Derwin James, Josh Sweat and Tarvarus McFadden. These commits will have a big impact in the future for the Seminoles.

Bleacher Report College Analyst Michael Felder, Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee break down the class and dish out their grades.

What do you think of Florida State's class? Check out the video and let us know!

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Top Recruits Who Didn't Sign on National Signing Day 2015

National signing day has evolved into one of the more captivating events of the college football schedule and for good reason. It marks the first time prospects who didn't enroll early can sign the all-important national letter of intent.

After weeks, months and even years of a non-binding commitment, the signature on the LOI seals an athlete's collegiate destination.

But national signing day isn't the only moment a recruit can do so.

Sometimes, a prospect realizes he needs more time, which is a commendable decision. Choosing a destination for the next three, four or five years is often difficult for non-athletes, let alone someone who must devote 40 hours per week to football too.

With that in mind, who are the best 2015 recruits remaining on the board?

 

Roquan Smith

He was living a recruiting dream. The highly touted linebacker from Macon County High School (Ga.) announced on ESPNU that he'd be attending UCLA, a decision met with raucous cheers from family, friends and supporters.

As Roquan Smith proceeded to answer questions from the media about why he spurned the Bulldogs, Bruins coaches waited for his paperwork. But Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes Georgia's coaches had a message for Smith.

...Just as Roquan and his coach started finishing up the paperwork to send to UCLA, they noticed their cells were getting blown up by UGA's coaches.

How about this for timing? There were reports surfacing that UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was joining the Atlanta Falcons as a linebackers coach. Smith's relationship with Ulbrich was the reason he committed to UCLA over UGA.

And that's why Smith, committed to UCLA but unsigned, remained unsure of his college plans on Wednesday afternoon.

Carvell notes Macon County coach Larry Harold said Smith will likely choose between UCLA, Georgia, Michigan and Texas A&M. Each school received an official visit from Smith.

"He was glad everything was over and he had made his decision for UCLA," Harold said. "And now he's like...there's all this new stuff. This is a lot on a young man. I feel sorry for him. It's just one of those things that is new for us. It's like a soap opera."

Smith carries a high 4-star rating of .9764, which makes him the No. 47 prospect of 2015 and No. 5 outside linebacker.

 

Kendrell McFadden

Though West Virginia was expected to sign three key defensive backs, Tyrek Cole and Rasul Douglas don't have the third member of the triumvirate quite yet.

A 4-star from Miramar High School in South Florida, Kendrell McFadden committed to Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers in January of 2014. Damon Cogdell, the former head coach at Miramar, is now an assistant at WVU.

However, the safety's delay shouldn't come as a surprise. In mid-December, Keenan Cummings of Rivals noted McFadden said the process may extend past signing day because he wants to check out other campuses.

"The reason I made this decision is because it's the biggest decision of my life so I have to double-check and make sure that West Virginia is the perfect choice for me."

With that being said, neither 247Sports nor Rivals lists any official visits for McFadden, who is the No. 326 player overall and 19th-best safety in this cycle.

McFadden will be a superb late addition to whichever program he ultimately selects.

 

Jaylon Lane

Perhaps one of the more peculiar sagas of the 2015 cycle, Jaylon Lane had received 38 offers. His on-field talent is undeniable, since he once held the third-most scholarships for a defensive back in the nation.

The 4-star cornerback committed to Oklahoma State in May 2014, but Lane's recruitment eventually took a turn. According to Kyle Frederickson of The Oklahoman, Lane was arrested in November 2014 and subsequently backed off his pledge to the Cowboys.

It's unclear how many programs withdrew their offers following the matter, so realistic landing spots for the Nacogdoches, Texas, product are unknown.

Lane is the No. 341 prospect in the country, ranking 34th at his position. He earned a third-team selection on the 5A All-State Team as a utility player.

 

Matt Colburn

Sometimes, recruiting stinks. Matt Colburn committed to Louisville in June, visited campus in mid-January and told Mike Hughes of 247Sports what he enjoyed about the trip.

"It was real nice," Colburn said. "We toured the facilities, went to the basketball game and that was good, met with the players and create bonds with my future teammates. Everything we did added to my excitement about being up here this summer."

Colburn—who was named 2014 South Carolina Mr. Football—was hours away from signing with the Cardinals. But then, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino flipped the 3-star running back's recruitment on its head, asking Colburn to take a grayshirt.

According to Derek Phillips of WACH, Colburn hopes to choose between Georgia Southern, Marshall and Wake Forest on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Colburn is No. 23 player from the state of South Carolina.

 

CeCe Jefferson

Florida fans, don't panic. Rival school, don't scramble to the comments or message boards. This one is merely a technicality.

CeCe Jefferson declared his intentions on ESPNU that he would sign with Florida. Upon his arrival, the 5-star defense will attempt to fill the void left by NFL-bound Dante Fowler Jr., who is expected to be a first-round draft pick.

However, Jefferson hasn't utilized the wonderful technology that is the fax machine to make it official yet, so he theoretically could sign elsewhere. With that being said, Jacksonville radio host Frank Frangie tried to discourage any rumors from starting.

The nation's No. 7 player and second-best strong-side defensive end, Jefferson will be a phenomenal add for the Gators—once it's official, of course.

 

Note: Stats courtesy of CFBstats.com. All recruiting information via 247Sports and rankings based on 247Sports Composite.

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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National Signing Day 2015: Grading Every Top 25 Team's Recruiting Class

The dust is finally beginning to settle in the aftermath of a frenzied national signing day. Results include several surprises, a few letdowns and some seriously talented classes.

We examined the country's top 25 recruiting hauls, as rated by 247Sports' composite rankings, handing out grades to each program. Our assessments are based on realistic expectations that were placed on each coaching staff at the outset of this cycle, with extra credit rewarded to regimes that closed strong despite duress.

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Alabama Football Recruiting: Meet the Crimson Tide's 2015 Class

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Grading recruiting classes against each other can be a fickle thing.

Alabama, for example, at the end of national signing day 2015 had the No. 1 class as rated by ESPN. 247Sports, Scout and Rivals gave Alabama the No. 2 spot behind USC, which surged behind several signing day pickups.

But, the 247Sports Composite, “a proprietary algorithm that compiles prospect ‘rankings’ and ‘ratings’ listed in the public domain by the major media recruiting services,” has Alabama on top, edging out USC by the slightest of margins, despite having two fewer members than the Trojans. It also says Alabama’s average rating per player was the highest in the country.

Nick Saban reminds us every year what we’re all thinking right about now. In the end, none of those specifics really matter—who edged out whom for the No. 1 class. As long as you’re at or near the top, you’re pulling in the players needed to compete at the highest levels of college football.

And so it went on Wednesday.

“We're certainly pleased with our guys but predicting how a young person is going to do academically and athletically in college by giving them some rating when he's in high school is not very scientific,” Nick Saban said, standing behind a podium in his crimson blazer after a largely uneventful signing day.

“We try to use science to create things that are very subjective in terms of what someone's performance is going to be, and I don't think that's really possible. There's no scientific way to know what the achievement of any person is going to be in anything they try to do. It's impossible.”

Whether Alabama is one or two, there is a lot to be excited about. It pulled in six 5-stars, according to that composite score, and filled a lot of needs.

Let’s jump right in and meet the 2015 class.

 

Instant Impact?

While Alabama is losing the most talent on the offensive side, the better bets for playing time in this 2015 class are on defense, specifically at safety.

Saban said in his signing day press conference that the biggest focus on defense was linebackers and secondary.

Safety is where he could use the most immediate help, and he scored well.

Deionte Thompson and Ronnie Harrison, his two 4-star safety signees, are already on campus as early enrollees. Both have a good shot at some sort of defensive playing time, with Alabama losing Landon Collins, Nick Perry and Jarrick Williams after this season.

“I think I have a good opportunity to start playing next year,” Harrison said. “I just have to learn the playbook and come in and work hard every day.”

Thompson shared the same sentiments.

“It’s one thing to talk about it and it’s another thing to go out there and do it,” he said. “It’s just about me working hard, being dedicated, being patient and remaining humble. I’ve been humble through the whole process. Spring practice will be my first college practice, and I probably won’t get adjusted to the speed the first day. But I want to learn as much as I can learn and if my number is called to play this year I want to contribute.”

Thompson and Harrison would be your best best for playing time right now, either on special teams or otherwise, in 2015.

 

Offensive Cornerstones

In addition to beefing up the offensive line, Alabama added three skill position players who could form a formidable trio in years to come.

Quarterback Blake Barnett, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running back Damien Harris are all 5-stars with game-breaking ability.

Barnett himself spoke specifically about those two when asked about his impressions of the class.

“Those are guys who are going to make a big impact I believe in the next couple of years. Top recruits,” he said. “And I know that both of them have extremely great work ethics and good heads on their shoulders. Their mindset and their preparation for college football is going to make them successful.”

Ridley and Barnett have already teamed up once before at The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon. Gary Laney of AL.com noted their chemistry and timing when Ridley was running routes for Barnett.

Harris was a late add to the class, committing to Alabama over his home-state Kentucky Wildcats.

Together, they could become cornerstones of the Crimson Tide’s offense in the future.

 

Defensive Difference-Makers

Besides safety, Alabama added a handful of stud defenders who are poised to be stars.

For the second year in a row, it signed two 5-star cornerbacks, grabbing Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kendall Sheffield. That gives Alabama insane depth behind last year’s 5-stars, Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey, while Cyrus Jones and Eddie Jackson are the likely starters in 2015.

On the defensive line, 5-star Daron Payne was a big get from in-state rival Auburn. He can be a game-changing player inside like Josh Chapman, Jesse Williams or Terrence Cody.

And then there are those linebackers Saban talked about.

Adonis Thomas, Joshua McMillon and Keaton Anderson will give depth to a unit that is a little thin right now with the loss of Trey Depriest.

Here’s a full look at Alabama’s 2015 signing class:

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting information comes courtesy of 247Sports.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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How Charlie Strong's Switch to the Spread Offense Will Impact Texas Recruiting

There's three yards and a cloud of dust, and then there's 59 yards of total offense in a 31-7 loss to Arkansas in the Texas Bowl. 

That's the last thing Texas head coach Charlie Strong needed to see before conceding that something had to change. First, Strong let go of wide receivers coach Les Koenning and tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Bruce Chambers. While Koenning and Chambers had deep Texas ties, Strong's next move—to that of a spread offense—had deep in-state roots, too. 

Frankly, it's something he probably should have done when he arrived in Austin a year ago. 

Word about the switch surfaced when 2015 quarterback Zach Gentry flipped his commitment from Texas to Michigan last month. In the short term, it cost the Horns a recruit. In the long run, moving to the spread will make life far easier for Texas in recruiting. 

If nothing else, it's a matter of fit. Texas and the rest of the Big 12 sit smack in the middle of spread country. Strong has to adapt to what thousands of high school athletes in the recruiting map run, not the other way around. Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU have all had success with their own versions of the spread. 

Strong's primary responsibility on the recruiting trail is to mine the best in-state talent available. At least on offense, he's yelling into the wind if he tries to sell someone with a spread background on a pro-style approach that no one else in the Big 12 uses. Texas' best years under former coach Mack Brown and quarterback Colt McCoy were born out of the spread. 

While a new offense wasn't enough to lure 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray away from Texas A&M, it was enough to get 4-star athlete Kai Locksley to flip from Florida State, where he more than likely would have been a wide receiver.

And, indeed, Strong noted in his post-signing day press conference that Locksley will have a shot at the starting job as a true freshman this fall. 

Strong recruited Locksley away from the state of Maryland, but there are more than enough spread quarterbacks in Texas' backyard. One, redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, is already on the roster. 

Getting the right quarterback is crucial. It could be the thing that makes or breaks the offense, and thus makes or breaks Strong's chances of making Texas a national power again. Who knows, maybe neither Locksley nor Heard is the answer. The only way to know is to get as many guys who fit the system onto campus as possible. 

To be sure, Strong has experience with great quarterbacks, as he will forever be mentioned in the same breath as former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. However, it's not the only position impacted by the new offense. The Longhorns will likely be moving to new formations where four- and five-wide receiver sets are more common. 

As a result, new wide receivers coach Jay Norvell, who formerly held the same position as well as a co-offensive coordinator title at Oklahoma, suddenly becomes one of Strong's key assistants. Norvell, along with former Sooners co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, was let go last month because Oklahoma failed to produce on offense. Along those lines, the knock (fair or not) on Norvell was that he was a relentless recruiter but struggled to develop his receivers

Maybe Norvell needed nothing more than a fresh start. Oklahoma spent the past few recruiting cycles finding personnel that fit more of a run and read-option based attack. For myriad reasons, the results never matched the more pass-happy approach for which the Sooners were best known. 

Now at Texas, Norvell and the rest of Texas' coaching staff can sell everything the school has to offer with a high-powered offense to boot. The pitch to incoming freshmen, such as 4-star receivers John Burt and Ryan Newsome, is that they can be the ones who light the fireworks.

That doesn't mean Texas has to get away from bigger wide receivers like John Harris, who reached 1,000 receiving yards last season. However, it does mean looking at speed guys, which TCU has been doing. It means adding smaller receivers and running backs whose roles may be those of utility players. (In that vein, Newsome is listed at 5'8" and 170 pounds and could double as a return player.) 

In time, Texas would like to be churning out skill players to the NFL at the same rate as Baylor or Texas A&M. Then, that reputation becomes the selling point as much as anything else. A handful of schools claim to be "Wide Receiver U" or "Quarterback U"; the only thing that should matter to Texas is that it joins that group. 

It may take a year before the spread offense pays dividends for Strong in recruiting and on the field. It may take several. It may not ever happen. But any second not spent on implementing the spread was a second wasted for Strong. 

Wasting away is the reason the Longhorns are where they are anyway. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com

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UCLA Football Recruiting 2015: National Signing Day Grades and Analysis

The UCLA Bruins rounded out 2015's national signing day with a strong class, landing Josh Rosen, Cordell Broadus, Keisean Lucier-South and DeChaun Holiday. These commits will have a big impact for the future for the Bruins.

Bleacher Report College Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer break down the class and dish out their grades.

What do you think of UCLA's class? Check out the video and let us know!

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Baylor Football Recruiting 2015: National Signing Day Grades and Analysis

The Baylor Bears rounded out 2015's national signing day with a strong class, landing Jarrett Stidham, Blake Lynch and JaMycal Hasty. These commits will have a big impact for the future for the Bears.

Bleacher Report College Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer break down the class and dish out their grades.

What do you think of Baylor's class? Check out the video and let us know!

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National Signing Day 2015: Winners and Losers of College Football Recruiting

National signing day did not disappoint. The top recruits in the 2015 class made some unexpected commitments, along with some not-so-surprising ones, but it was always interesting.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer debate the winners and losers of national signing day.

Who was the biggest winner today?

Watch the video and let us know!

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National Signing Day 2015: Ranking the Top 5 Recruiting Classes

National signing day has come and gone, with all the big-name recruits signing on the dotted lines as they continue their football careers at the next level.

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by college football analyst Barrett Sallee as he ranked the top five classes after a wild signing day.

Who is in your top five? Check out the video and let us know!

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National Signing Day 2015: Biggest Surprises of CFB Recruiting

National signing day is coming to an end, and Bleacher Report college football analyst Adam Kramer breaks down the biggest surprises along with host Stephen Nelson in the video above.

What do you think was Wednesday's most shocking outcome?

Watch and let us know!


Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports Top 100 and overall team rankings.

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Ohio State Football Recruiting: Top Signees, Surprises for Buckeyes' 2015 Class

It's not easy to follow up a national championship, though Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer isn't likely to complain about the challenge. One big reason for that is because of his innate ability to recruit, which is virtually unmatched by anyone outside of Nick Saban. 

The Buckeyes don't have a lot of immediate needs to be contenders in 2015, though one could have said the same thing prior to last year and been proved wrong with how things shook out at quarterback. 

Meyer and his staff are building another strong class, though this one doesn't look like it will take full advantage of that championship win, as the Buckeyes are currently sixth in 247Sports' team rankings. The day certainly wasn't a waste, as there were plenty of notable signees and surprises. 

Here's a look at how Ohio State's 2015 class looks, as well as a closer examination of the key signees and surprises from national signing day. 

 

Worst-Kept Secret: OLB Justin Hilliard

The best player Ohio State landed on national signing day was Justin Hilliard. As nice as it was to see the 5-star outside linebacker put his name on a letter of intent for the Buckeyes, there wasn't much drama because the move had been expected. 

After all, Hilliard is from Cincinnati and has been on Ohio State's radar for a long time. That doesn't lessen the impact he will have for the program or on the recruiting class. 

Former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke raved about Hilliard's potential with these comments, via Anthony Lima of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland:

Hilliard is an excellent athlete who has no problems defending the run or pass, though he may have to wait another year before being a significant contributor due to his slight 225-pound frame. 

Meyer does love to let prospects get their feet wet early, so he may not play things safe with Hilliard. The Buckeyes can get him into their workout program soon so that he starts adding muscle and plays his share of snaps as a freshman. 

Whatever path Hilliard takes before getting in Ohio State's starting lineup, he will have little problem finding success. It won't be long before his name starts appearing on highlights for his powerful tackling ability and tremendous sideline-to-sideline speed. 

 

Heart-Stopping Moment: RB Mike Weber

Unlike Hilliard, Michigan prep star Mike Weber kept everyone in suspense on national signing day. He was originally scheduled to announce at 10 a.m. ET but pushed it back to 10:30, though he had a valid reason posted on Twitter:

The Buckeyes still seemed like the favorite coming into the day, despite a late push from Michigan. Weber's next tweet would bring a huge sigh of relief to everyone in Columbus:

As the fine people at Eleven Warriors noted, Weber might have been one of the best gets of the day for Meyer because he is from Detroit:

Jim Harbaugh didn't have a lot of time on the recruiting trail for Michigan after being hired in December, but his resume in college and the NFL could have given him an edge in certain recruiting battles. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, it wasn't a factor for Weber. 

Weber also had some interesting comments about why he chose Ohio State involving current running back Ezekiel Elliott, via George Sipple of The Detroit Free Press:

Given the fragile nature of running backs in college—just ask Todd Gurley if he would have liked the option to leave Georgia after the 2013 season—Weber's comments about Elliott's future shouldn't be a surprise.

It also doesn't hurt that Elliott ran for 1,878 yards last year, including at least 220 yards in the final three games. Weber will likely get some touches as a freshman before taking over full time in 2016, assuming Elliott does go to the NFL after next season. 

 

Biggest Coup: OT Isaiah Prince

The rivalry between Meyer and Saban took a different turn this recruiting season. Ohio State and Alabama, along with Maryland, were battling for 4-star offensive tackle Isaiah Prince

For a few weeks before national signing day, the Crimson Tide seemed to be in control when Ryan Barlow of 247Sports reported on January 23 that Prince verbally committed to Alabama. 

However, Prince's high school coach Tom Green told Matt Zenitz of The Baltimore Sun on February 3 that the big tackle was still deciding after taking late visits to Ohio State and Maryland:

He’s fresh off his Maryland visit. Of course, like most teenagers, when he got back from Alabama, he was gung ho about that. When he got back from Ohio State, he really loved them. When he got back from Maryland, he really loved them. He’s 17, and they’re all are good programs and have a lot to offer. He just has to sit with his family and figure out what’s the best fit for him. I don’t think he can go wrong. With the position he plays and his talent, I don’t think he can go wrong at any of the schools, to be honest.

Prince made the announcement at his high school on Wednesday to great fanfare, via Michael Bohlin of 247Sports:

One reason that Elliott was able to have the success he did last year was because of the offensive line that Meyer built in his first three recruiting classes. He did have to replace four starters in 2014, which worked out well. 

This year won't see such drastic turnaround, though Joel Hale's departure will leave a void at guard that must be filled. Prince doesn't exactly fit that bill as an outside player on the offensive line, but Meyer certainly has options to play with. 

Every program in the country hopes to be strong in the trenches. Ohio State has been one of the best at building and replacing talent in that area. The addition of Prince is the latest coup for Meyer, who has made a habit out of prospect thievery in his career. 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

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UCLA Football National Signing Day 2015: 5 Takeaways from Bruins' Class

UCLA football's 2015 national signing day can be best described as bittersweet. 

Head coach Jim Mora swung for the faces on signing day and hit a home run, signing 5-star running back Soso Jamabo and 4-star tight end Chris Clark, both before 7 a.m. local time. Offensive lineman Josh Wariboko and wide receiver Cordell Broadus, both 4-star recruits, followed. 

The Bruins also received a verbal commitment from 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith, but the bitter of the bittersweet signing day came when Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com first reported defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was leaving UCLA to take a positions job with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. 

Nevertheless, UCLA secured a No. 2-rated recruiting class among Pac-12 programs, and the nation's No. 7 class overall, pending Smith's decision.

Five takeaways from UCLA's dramatic national signing day tell the story of a wild recruiting season for the Bruins.

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National Signing Day 2015: Highlights from Most Entertaining Recruit Commitments

National signing day is known as a building block for college football programs, but really it has become just a ridiculous spectacle.

Once players started to announce their college decisions on TV, the process escalated to everyone trying to one-up each other for the most memorable moments. Of course, just months after we give these teenagers the national spotlight, they are yelled at for not being humble enough to help the team.

Still, this year's national signing day featured plenty of drama from the top players as well as plenty of entertainment all around. Here is a look at the highlights from Wednesday's events.

 

Chris Warren Flips a Coin

You never know what goes into a recruit's decision. For some, it's a fit within the team. Others want to be at a great academic institution that will help them get a good degree.

For Chris Warren, it was apparently random chance.

The 4-star running back was choosing between Texas and Washington before flipping a coin to make his decision (actually announcement starts at 4:30):

This scenario is obviously extremely difficult to believe, but Michael Florek of the Dallas Morning News did some digging to confirm the story:

Whether Warren was planning on signing with Texas the whole time and this was all an act or really did leave it up to the fate of a coin, this was certainly an entertaining way to make his decision.

 

Marcus Lewis Makes Some Enemies

Over the past week, it seemed like Marcus Lewis was only deciding between Kentucky and Miami. However, some late interest from top programs caused him to rethink his situation, according to Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio:

This ended up being a death blow for these programs, as the 4-star athlete signed with Florida State.

Of course, just picking an in-state rival wasn't enough to really anger Miami fans. He had to twist the knife with this line:

You can be certain the next time the Seminoles go on the road to face the Hurricanes, the few fans that do show up will give Lewis quite a hard time.

 

Snoop Dogg Steals Cordell Broadus' Spotlight

Although Cordell Broadus is a quality player with huge upside, as evidenced by his 4-star rating on 247Sports, he is known mostly as Snoop Dogg's son. The two are even featured in a TV documentary entitled Snoop and Son: A Dad's Dream.

Broadus did have his chance to speak, announcing that he would choose to play for UCLA:

However, it was the rapper who had the best line of the broadcast, discussing his new apparel:

Snoop Dogg is a well-known USC fan, but he will now have to root for the rival Bruins when his son takes the field.

On the plus side, Bleacher Report's Michael Felder believes Broadus can have his own career as he steps out of his father's shadow:

Of course, it might take quite a few touchdowns for people to forget about his lineage.

 

Soso Jamabo Wins This Recruiting Cycle

As much fun as everyone had following recruiting over the past couple of months, there might not have been a bigger star than 5-star running back Soso Jamabo. 

The Texas native got everyone's attention last month when he "narrowed down his choices" on Twitter:

While fans of ITT Tech and the University of Phoenix might have been excited, he ended up snubbing them both for a choice between Texas and UCLA.

Of course, even that decision didn't end up being real because when Jamabo put out the hats, he named his first and second choices as both being UCLA:

For the cherry on top, the running back returned to Twitter to confirm his decision, using hilarious lines from Childish Gambino:

No one will really know what made Jamabo pick the Bruins, but we can be certain the team is not only getting an excellent football player, it is also getting quite an entertaining young man.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Tavien Feaster to Clemson: Tigers Land 5-Star RB Prospect

Tavien Feaster, one of the top recruits in the 2016 class, has decided to attend Clemson.

According to IndependentMail.com, Feaster made his announcement official after days of speculation that this move was coming. 

Feaster talked about his decision on local TV, via IndependentMail.com:

I felt like if I get it over with now, I basically know what I want to do that it would make life easy. I get a lot of phone calls and the recruiting process is kind of stressful on me and my parents. I felt like I could get it out of the way. I knew what I wanted to do and it will make qualifying easier for me and I can go on to my senior year of football and focus on my team.

Feaster, a 5-star recruit from South Carolina and the No. 2 running back in the country according to 247Sports, has been attached to Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee throughout this process. The 247Sports Crystal Ball Projections were all-in on Clemson, giving the Tigers 100 percent of the vote. 

Bleacher Report recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue also tweeted the same thing, and he also provided some statistical evidence for what Feaster is capable of doing on the big stage:

Ryan Bartow of 247Sports spoke to Feaster before his decision about the process he went through and why Clemson seemed like the odds-on favorite before making his final decision:

"Just the family feel," Feaster said of Clemson. "I love my mom, dad and grandparents. That's a big thing to me. Coach Swinney is a great coach. He's straight forward and honest."

It's not often that during national signing day for 2015 a program will be in celebration mode because of what's coming in 2016, but Feaster is one of the few truly elite prospects in the country. Landing a top-flight running back is a great way to show other recruits that the future of a program is bright. 

Feaster's decision should have a ripple effect that is felt over the next year for his new program. Building around a 6'0", 193-pound runner gives everyone on the coaching staff extra juice as they head out on the recruiting trail during the season. 

One elite talent doesn't instantly make a program a national championship team, but it helps set the foundation for something special. Feaster has the ability to make a program more dynamic the second he steps on campus. 

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Miami Football Recruiting 2015: National Signing Day Grades and Analysis

The Miami Hurricanes rounded out 2015's national signing day with a strong class, landing Jaquan Johnson, Mark Walton and Bar Milo. These commits will have a big impact in the future for the Hurricanes.

Bleacher Report College Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer break down the class and dish out their grades.

What do you think of Miami's class? Check out the video and let us know!

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Michigan Football Recruiting: Meet the Wolverines' 2015 Class

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh swung and missed on 4-star tight end Chris Clark and 4-star running back Mike Weber, but he didn’t strike out on national signing day.

In fact, with less than a month to recruit, Harbaugh put together a more-than-respectable 14-man class that should greatly complement the existing talent on the Wolverines roster.

Also important to keep in mind is the fact that Harbaugh signed with Michigan on Dec. 28 and had roughly three weeks to land more than a handful of prospects. He had six commits on Dec. 30, the day he was introduced as the new coach.

On Wednesday, he held a press conference at 2 p.m. to introduce his then-12-man class. Shortly thereafter, Michigan landed 4-star tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and 3-star defensive end Shelton Johnson.

Considering timing and other circumstances, Harbaugh did well his first time around.

Links: Michigan’s 2015 class (247Sports, table below), Harbaugh presser (MGoBlueTV)

 

Chin Up

So Harbaugh didn’t get Clark—not the end of the world. However, the 6’6”, 247-pounder would have been a tremendous fit in the Wolverines offense. Earlier in the week, Clark-to-Michigan was a thing. But on Tuesday, Clark-to-UCLA began to seem more likely.

As for Weber, well, don’t torture yourself too badly. You knew he was staying put with Ohio State, but the fact that he once committed to Michigan and visited this past week with Harbaugh was enough to rekindle dreams of grandeur.

Didn’t happen, and he’ll probably stand behind Zeke Elliott for at least a year.

With that said, the 5’9”, 220-pound 4-star battle tank would have been right at home in offensive coordinator Tim Drevno’s backfield. Again, such is recruiting. Even Harbaugh’s Michigan can’t win them all.

 

Surprise, Surprise?!

Next to Harbaugh, Keith Washington was the man of the hour Wednesday. The 3-star athlete is one of Harbaugh’s “very, very favorite players of this class” and was committed to Cal before choosing the Wolverines.

Harbaugh said he gets a good feel while watching tape of players, and Washington’s highlights were of the impressive variety. His position wasn’t specified, but Washington could end up as a slot receiver or kick returner.

Or maybe even a corner? Who knows? He’s athletic and Harbaugh constantly showered him with praise.

 

Offense Scores Big

Alex Malzone and Zach Gentry are the new arms in town.

The 4-stars are both pro-style quarterbacks, but that’s about where the comparison ends. At 6’7” and 230 pounds, Gentry, oddly enough, seems to be a bit more mobile than Malzone, a 6’1.5”, 200-pounder with a cannon arm and three MHSAA state titles to his credit.

But they both fit well, said Harbaugh, who also secured 3-star wide receiver Grant Perry, a teammate of Malzone’s at Brother Rice. Perry certainly fits the mold—and it didn’t hurt that he grew up a devout Michigan fan, either, said Harbaugh.

Prior to national signing day, it appeared that Michigan would either get Weber to flip or go without a running back for 2015. As mentioned, Weber stuck with the Buckeyes, but the Wolverines didn’t go without—they landed Karan Higdon instead.

While not as highly touted as Weber, Higdon—a 5’9”, 190-pounder out of Florida—brings a certain quality of toughness to the fold, said Harbaugh, who frequently used “tough/toughness” while describing the rest of the 2015 class.

Covering the basics, Harbaugh discussed Higdon’s hard-running style and instincts. But he was also impressed that Higdon made sure he made his visit—according to Harbaugh, Higdon had difficulty along the way while trying to clear airport security on the night of Saturday, Jan. 31, the date of the offer.

Despite issues, Higdon made it that Sunday morning before flying out later in the evening. The fact that he had gone through the gauntlet just to stop in for a few hours blew away Harbaugh.

An obvious win-win, Wheatley brings blocking and hands to the group of tight ends. At 6’6” and 260 pounds, he’s big enough to play the role of a husky pass-catcher or a super-athletic defensive tackle/end.

Wheatley’s father, Tyrone Sr., is one of the greatest running backs in Wolverines history—and he’s also coaching them. The family connection/legacy thing is in full effect with this one.

Grant Newsome, a 4-star tackle, is the latest piece to the revolving Wolverines offensive line. The 6’6”, 290-pound Jersey kid is also, well, you know—“tough." He was also the No. 22-ranked OT of his class, which suggests that he could evolve into a high-caliber college player.

Just a hunch.

Michigan also signed 3-star linemen John Runyan Jr. and Nolan Ulizio. 

 

Defend the Class

Flipping from Nebraska, 3-star defensive end Reuben Jones helped solidify Michigan’s 2015 crop of defensive recruits. Quick and long, the 6’3”, 233-pounder could end up filling an outside linebacker position on occasion.

Notre Dame and Alabama tried to pry away Tyree Kinnel, but instead of jumping ship, the 6’0”, 205-pound safety stuck with Michigan. The 4-star recruit joins an already stocked group consisting of Jourdan Lewis, Blake Countess and, among others, the yet-to-be-unleashed Jabrill Peppers.

Shelton Johnson, a 3-star defensive end, committed to Michigan after Harbaugh’s afternoon presser. At 6’5” and 220 pounds, the Floridian could slide into other roles—maybe that of a tight end?! Johnson finished high school as the No. 20-ranked player at his position.

 

The Kicker

Not only was he a great kicker in high school, but it turns out that Andrew—“John Paul,” according to Harbaugh—David was also a pretty good shortstop.

As expected, Harbaugh complimented the 5’9”, 165-pounder for being “tough.”

And for being a Michigan fan.

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and references were obtained firsthand by the writer via press conference, press release or other media availability.

All recruit info comes courtesy of 247Sports.com.

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