National Signature Day winners and surprises: Clemson, Ohio State, SEC powers clear with top 2020 ranks

The college football’s early signing period – the new National Signing Day – opened Wednesday with a flurry of commitments that will continue to run through Friday.

The recruits have a 72-hour period to sign a national letter of intent with their school of choice, and several teams have begun to put together a five-star class. Ordinary factories – Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State – were among the big winners as usual.

Few other schools, however, made their rank. Here’s a look at some of the biggest winners of National Day of the Day, from the familiar big names to a few amazing schools.

MORE: Complete list of early signing commitments

Clemson

For all the success Clemson has enjoyed under Dabo Swinney, the Tigers have never had a recruiting class that has been ranked No. 7 in the last decade.

That changed on Wednesday. Clemson has confirmed a 2020 class of starfish with six five-star youngsters. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (Saint John Bosco, Bellflower, CA) and starting back Demarkcus Bowman (Lakeland, Fla.) Will have time to develop into two elite points for the Tigers in the Playoff era.

247 Sports No. 1 overall recruit Bryan Bresee (Damascus, Damascus, MD), defensive end Myles Murphy (Hillgrove, Powder Springs, Ga.) And defensive tackle Demonte Capehart (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida) will keep the defensive line for the Tigers.

Cornerback Fred Davis II (Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville, Florida) rounds out that star-studded class.

Georgia Tech, North Carolina Surprise

Of course, we’re still looking for someone to challenge Clemson at the ACC, and two second-year coaches have been removed from their stunning top 25 classes between Miami and the State of Florida.

Georgia Tech created a different kind of class around Geoff Collins, and that starts with double threat quarterback Jeff Sims (Sandalwood, Jacksonville, Fla.). He has two four-star receivers to grow up with Bryce Gowdy (Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fla.) And Nate McCollum (Holland, Hampton, Ga.).

North Carolina also improved with Mack Brown. It should come as no surprise that no one has a home building, and the top three armies are defensive linemen in Desmond Evans (Lee County, Sanford, NC), Myles Murphy (Dudley, Greensboro, NC) and Kendrick Bingley-Jones). If Brown continues to do well, then the pitch heels will make a real journey to the ACC Coastal sooner rather than later.

State of Ohio

Ryan Day removes any doubts about hiring the best spices in the Big Ten, led by Julian Fleming. The Buckeyes landed four receivers with four stars or better, a nod to Brian Hartline’s ongoing coaching work.

The reputation of the day as a Guru General continued to grow and landed a pair of four stars on Jack Miller (Chaparral, Scottsdale, Ariz.) And C.J. Stroud (Rancho Cucamonga, Rancho Cucamonga, California). The rest of the conference is catch-up, which means you’re trying to keep up with Day on the recruiting trail.

Nebraska

The Huskers gave Scott Frost a two-year extension during another lost season – a nod to the confidence the administration has in spite of the prevailing losses.

Frost responded by delivering the best recruiting class since the program ended No. 16 in 2011. This was the second-best class in the Big Ten that year. Frost still has work to do to cover the situation in Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, but he has shown one thing in this category that is important.

Frost, a former UCF coach, may bring recruiters from Florida to Nebraska. Four-star prospects in linebacker Keyshawn Greene (Wakulla, Crawfordville, Fla.), Safety Henry Gray (Miami Central, Miami), receiver Marcus Fleming (Miami Northwestern, Miami) and safety Jaiden Francois (South Dade, Homestead, Four of Nebraska’s top six recruiters in this circle, the Huskers also added receiver Omar Manning (Kilgore Junior College, Lancaster, Texas), which is a fascinating class.

The SEC units

According to the 247Sports.com team ranking, the SEC had six of the top 10 recruiting categories. Alabama, LSU and Georgia retained the top five, while Texas A&M, Florida and Auburn lagged behind in the top half. This is where the concept of “SEC bias” disappears. These schools systematically accumulate more four- and five-star talent than other Power 5 conferences, and showed Saturday.

Jordan Burch stays home in South Carolina

Five-year defender Jordan Burch (Hammond School, Columbia, S.C.) stayed home and gave the Gamecocks the highest rating of the day. It was a move similar to Jadeveon Clowney, who rejected larger plans to stay closer to home.

This is huge for coach Will Muschamp, whose son played with Burch in high school. South Carolina is the bridge between the top six schools mentioned and the SEC back half when it comes to recruiting, and the Gamecocks have proven they can compete for division titles when they land elite at state talent. Burch is one of those recruits that the defense can build around.

Oregon

For the second year in a row, Oregon coach Marios Cristobal kept a long-time defensive player on the West Coast. Five-star linebacker Justin Flowe (Upland, Upland, CA) chose ducks for Miami and Clemson. Flowe will pair well with defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux for the next two seasons.

Flowe is the latest blue chip recruiter. For the second season, Oregon closed out the top high school player in California.

Oregon was good enough to win the Pac-12 this season. With more impact players like Flowe and Thibodeaux coming in, this program could be ready for the Playoff soon.

Oklahoma and Texas

For the third consecutive year, the Sooners and Longhorns have all 10 top courses, evolving into a trend that didn’t happen from 2010 to 2010.

Oklahoma maintained another strong order built around offensive lines. They offered the first two guards to Nate Anderson (Reedy, Frisco, Texas) and Andrew Raym (Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow, Okla.).

Texas keeps its momentum under coach Tom Herman. They created another strong category around Bijan Robinson’s five stars (Salpointe, Tucson, Ariz.) And quarterback Hudson Card (Lake Travis, Austin, Texas).

The accumulation of talent will appear during the following seasons in the Big 12. Perhaps one of these schools might be able to win the first CFP game of the conference down the road.

Other surprises of the first day of signing

Significance of the signature day remains part of the experience, even with the early signature period:

Baylor used puppets to introduce the recruits on Wednesday and it was … weird.

Meanwhile, Herman was caught letting double birds fly on the Longhorn network camera.

Was it worse than “Horns Down”?

Emmitt Smith was having some fun after his son E.J. chose Stanford over Florida, where the Elder was a star before a Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys.

We couldn’t say it better.

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