National Signing Day 2013: Where the Top 50 Recruits Signed
National Signing Day 2013: Where the Top 50 Recruits Signed
For the first time in quite some time, I was closely tuned in to and interested in National Signing Day for the Class of 2013 commitments which took place earlier this week on Feb. 6. The pageantry and build-up surrounding NSD is as great as any other similar one-day extravaganza -- including, in my opinion, the NBA and NFL drafts.
Not only are programs on the verge affected -- getting that last piece that may get them over the top -- or missing out on the guy that could have been a game-changer, so many young lives lie in the balance, making for some of the best reality television there is.
While some have begun to decry the sensational nature of the programming and hype surrounding these guys, it seems to me that National Signing Day is just a reflection of the passionate fan bases across the country who care deeply for their teams, but also the individual players that give them a few hours of escape from reality on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
This slideshow is devoted to the 50 best players in the country for the 2013 class and where they will be putting on the pads and cleats next fall. Enjoy!
Damore'ea Stringfellow - WR - Washington Huskies
Washington Huskies wide receiver commit Damore'ea Stringfellow kicks off our list. At 6'3", 203, the Moreno Valley, California native is an outstanding possession receiver that has the chance to make a quick impact in Seattle for Steve Sarkisian's squad next fall.
Vonn Bell - Safety - Ohio State Buckeyes
Probably the most dapper dresser on signing day, Ohio State commit Vonn Bell seems to have it all. At 6'0", 190 Bell is a well-built safety who excels both in zone coverage and run support and was very successful academically in high school -- all traits which bode well for his future in Columbus.
Jalin Marshall - WR - Ohio State Buckeyes
Joining Bell in Columbus Middletown, Ohio native Jalin Marshall. The 5'11", 196 pound wideout runs a 4.66 40 -- not blazing speed, necessarily -- but combines this with big play capability that has caught the eyes of Urban Meyer's staff.
Trey Johnson - Inside Linebacker - Ohio State Buckeyes
We're starting to sound like a broken record here, but another Ohio State commit is 6'1", 215 pound inside linebacker Trey Johnson, who could well become a quarterback on the defense in a short matter of time. Scouts have raved about Johnson's ability to run stop and diagnose plays, both of the utmost importance in a run-heavy Big 10.
Stacy Coley - WR - Miami Hurricanes
Arguably the biggest signing in what turned out to be a disappointing class for the Miami Hurricanes, is wideout Stacy Coley. At 6'1", 173, Coley runs a 4.57 40 and has some nice breakaway speed along with good hands. His ability to earn yards after catch is first-tier and will be highly valuable to a Miami offense that needs some big-play ability next fall.
Chris Jones - DE - Mississippi State Bulldogs
6'6", 260 pound defensive end Chris Jones is one of the most imposing athletes in the 2013 class, and should step right in to make an impact for Dan Mullen's Mississippi State Bulldogs. While Jones may be raw, his athletic ability is undeniable, and with the right coaching he could well become one of the country's best at the position.
O.J. Howard - Tight End - USC Trojans
While somewhat slight at 225 pounds for a tight end, USC Trojans commit O.J. Howard makes up for it with blazing speed for his size and outstanding playmaking ability. With another 20-25 pounds on his frame, Howard could be a terror for opposing linebackers to cover in Pac 12 play down the road.
Cooper Bateman - QB - Alabama Crimson Tide
The Alabama Crimson Tide appear to have found themselves another first-tier pocket passer in Salt Lake City native Cooper Bateman. At 6'3", 196 pounds Bateman is a quarterback's quarterback, who reads progressions extremely well and has the type of accuracy necessary to throw the long ball for the Tide when the opportunity potentially presents itself with A.J. McCarron's departure after next season.
Gareon Conley - CB - Ohio State Buckeyes
Yet another Ohio State commit is Massilon, Ohio star cornerback Gareon Conley. According to scouting reports, Conley excels in both man-to-man and zone coverage and should be a nice flexible option for Urban Meyer to turn to in the Buckeyes defensive secondary.
Caleb Brantley - DT - Florida Gators
Florida Gators defensive tackle commit Caleb Brantley is a force of nature. At 6'3", 304, Brantley runs a 5.39 40 yard dash, and has the brut strength also to plow right through opposing offensive linemen. He's a run-stopper by definition, but expect to see Brantley in many SEC backfields over the years disrupting opposing quarterbacks.
Kendall Beckwith - Athlete - LSU Tigers
Kendall Beckwith is a pure athlete. Plain and simple. The 6'3", 225 pound Jackson, Louisiana native played all over the field in high school and provides Les Miles a one-size-fits-all option wherever he needs him to play. This trend is becoming more and more common.
DeMarcus Walker - DT - Florida State Seminoles
Jacksonville native DeMarcus Walker is the crown jewel of a Florida State Seminoles class that was expected to be stronger. At 6'4", 280, Walker can do it all either in run support or as a major distraction in the backfield.
Shaq Wiggins - CB - Georgia Bulldogs
Mark Richt has earned a first-class cornerback recruit in Tyrone, Georgia native Shaq Wiggins. At 5-10, 165 Wiggins is on the smaller side, but has very nice ball skills and instincts which should allow him to compete with the best receivers in the SEC.
Derrick Green - RB - Michigan Wolverines
It's possible the Michigan Wolverines have added their best running back in sometime with the addition of Derrick Green. The 6'0", 215 pound Richmond, Virginia native has the perfect combination of speed and power that coaches drool over, and even caused Brady Hoke to shed a few tears upon his official commitment. He's one to watch.
Leon McQuay - Safety - USC Trojans
Seffner, Florida native Leon McQuay is making the cross-country trip to play for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans next fall. The 6'2", 183 pound safety is an instinctive safety who should be a nice fit for the Trojans in an aggressive secondary.
Tim Williams - DE - Alabama Crimson Tide
At 6'4", 230, Tim Williams is a prototypical SEC defensive end and should make a strong impact for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2013. Williams is a great pursuer in the run defense, with the strength and agility to shed blockers and make plays for a loss in the backfield.
Robbie Rhodes - WR - Baylor Bears
Arguably the most prized wide receiver recruit -- along with Ricky Seals-Jones, whose stock dropped substantially over 2012 -- Baylor commit Robbie Rhodes can do it all and should be a nice multi-purpose wide receiver for Art Briles for many years to come. All of a sudden Baylor is a top notch destination in the state for wideouts with its wide open offensive attack. I wonder why?
Elijah Daniel - DE - Auburn Tigers
Elijah Daniel changed his mind over and over again prior to signing day, but finally decided upon the Auburn Tigers. The 6'3", 249 pound Avon, Indiana native was by far the best player in the Hoosier state in 2012, and is a first-tier pass rusher with nice speed for a big man (4.82 40). While he may not play immediately for the Tigers, he'll make an impact someday.
Alvin Kamara - RB - Alabama Crimson Tide
The beat goes on with world class running backs in Tuscaloosa, as the Alabama Crimson Tide have earned a commitment from Alvin Kamara. The 5'10", 192 pound Kamara has posted a 4.55 40 best and has an outstanding combination of elusiveness, strength and vision that should remind plenty in time of guys like Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram that came before him.
Daniel McMillan - Outside Linebacker - Florida Gators
Outside linebacker Daniel McMillan should be a nice addition to Will Muschamp's defensive unit with the Florida Gators very quickly. At 6'2", 220 McMillan has outstanding fundamentals that allow him to make an impact both on the interior and exterior -- regardless of where he's lined up on the field.
Ryan Green - Athlete - Florida State Seminoles
Another "athlete" in the 2013 class is Florida State Seminoles commit Ryan Green. At 5'10", 187 Green could be used at a skill position on offense or in the secondary. It's basically up to Jimbo Fisher what he wants to do with him -- always a good position to be in.
Dorian Johnson - Offensive Tackle - Pittsburgh Panthers
The only high-profile 2013 commit for the Pittsburgh Panthers is Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania's Dorian Johnson. The 6'6", 285 pound offensive tackle was wavering between Pitt and Penn State -- among many others -- before committing to the Panthers on Signing Day.
Jonathan Allen - DE - Alabama Crimson Tide
As if they needed any more depth on the ends, Nick Saban has gotten just that in landing top defensive end prospect Jonathan Allen. The 6'3", 245 pound Virginia native is a highly disruptive pass rusher that should give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares down the road.
Keith Ford - RB - Oklahoma Sooners
The next in the line of outstanding Oklahoma Sooners running backs could well be Cypress Ranch star Keith Ford. At 5'10", 200, Ford has it all and ended up with 17 offers on the table before eventually choosing to play for Bob Stoops in Norman.
Dee Liner - DT - Alabama Crimson Tide
Taking home the best name award in the 2013 recruiting class is Alabama Crimson Tide defensive tackle commit Dee Liner -- yes, seriously. At 6'3", 275, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama native adds even more depth to a Crimson Tide defensive unit that just gets better and better.
Robert Foster - WR - Alabama Crimson Tide
Yet another Alabama commit is wide receiver Robert Foster, widely considered to be one of the best -- if not the best -- prospect in the Northeast this year. At 6'3", 190, Foster has many of the same attributes that made Julio Jones so successful in Tuscaloosa -- a great combination of hands, speed and the ability to turn the mundane into a huge play.
Antonio Conner - Safety - Ole Miss Rebels
The Ole Miss Rebels put together one of the more surprising 2013 recruiting classes, but the commitment of Batesville, Mississippi native Antonio Conner wasn't a huge surprise. The 6'2", 200 pound safety is outstanding in both run support and zone coverage and should be a nice asset for Huge Freeze right off the bat.
Max Redfield - Athlete - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The third athlete on the 2013 Big Board is Notre Dame Fighting Irish commit Max Redfield. At 6'2", 181, Redfield can play all over the gridiron and should give Brian Kelly plenty of options. While playing in the secondary may be the most natural for him, don't be surprised to see him line up as a threat on the offensive side as well in 2013.
Greg Bryant - RB - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Joining Max Redfield in South Bend is Notre Dame running back commit Greg Bryant. While the 5'11" Bryant may not be a burner, he's certainly elusive and has great vision as a back. Florida high school football is as tough as it gets and Bryant dominated the competition in 2012.
Max Browne - QB - USC Trojans
USC Trojans quarterback commit Max Browne is widely considered one of the best pocket passing prospects in the country, and could indeed compete for a starting role in 2013 given the uncertainty surrounding incumbent starter Max Wittek. At 6'5", and a slight 214, Browne should develop with a D-I strength program and has plenty of room to grow into a future star.
Kenny Bigelow - DT - USC Trojans
Laquon Treadwell - WR - Ole Miss Rebels
The rich kept getting richer on National Signing Day with the commitment of wide receiver Laquon Treadwell to the Ole Miss Rebels. The 6'3", 195 pound Treadwell is an outstanding possession receiver that should give quarterback Bo Wallace another first-tier option this fall.
Kendall Fuller - CB - Virginia Tech Hokies
Cornerback Kendall Fuller should help Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies continue their budding tradition of secondary talent starting next season. The 5'11", 190 pound Fuller had 14 offers on the table and chose the Hokies over several Big 12, ACC and SEC schools.
Darius James - Center - Texas Longhorns
The premier commit of a small-by-design 2013 recruiting class for the Texas Longhorns is center Darius James. At a towering 6'5", 320, the Killeen, Texas native should anchor the Texas offensive line in the very near future, if not in 2013 where he could compete for the starting job in spring and fall practice.
Reuben Foster - Inside Linebacker - Alabama Crimson Tide
Inside linebacker Reuben Foster is yet another huge commit for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Although he'll be hiding his Auburn tattoo -- another story folks -- Foster should win over the hearts of Tide fans quickly with his combination of pure athletic ability and instinct.
Christian Hackenberg - QB - Penn State Nittany Lions
It was a foregone conclusion that one of the top quarterback recruits in the 2013 class, Christian Hackenberg would commit to the Penn State Nittany Lions, and he did just that on National Signing Day. The Fort Union, Virginia pocket passer has prototypical size at 6'4", 212 and should develop into a very nice signal caller in Happy Valley.
Jalen Ramsey - CB - Florida State Seminoles
One of the many first-tier cornerback prospects in the state, Florida State Seminoles commit Jalen Ramsey should make Jimbo Fisher a very happy man with his varied and polished skill set in years to come.
Montravius Adams - DT - Auburn Tigers
It's easy to make a case that Auburn Tigers commit Montravius Adams is the best defensive end prospect in the 2013 recruiting class. At 6'3", 281, Adams is an imposing force at tackle with a huge frame that could put on plenty more muscle if necessary. As dominant as he's been up to now, however, it may not be.
Su'a Cravens - Safety - USC Trojans
USC Trojans safety commit Su'a Cravens was arguably the best player in the state of California in 2012 and that's saying a lot. Rated by most scouting websites as the top secondary prospect in America, Cravens could play immediately for Lane Kiffin in 2013.
Eli Apple - CB - Ohio State Buckeyes
The long and rangy Eli Apple is another huge piece of the Ohio State Buckeyes class this season. While only 6'0", Apple covers as much ground as any corner in the country and has outstanding ball skills which should allow him to be effective quickly in Big Ten play-- while maybe not being a starter in 2013.
Eddie Vanderdoes - DT - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
A classic war was waged between the USC Trojans and Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the services of Eddie Vanderdoes and the Irish won out. The 6'3", 310 pound defensive tackle will help the Irish have another dominating defense in 2013 and perhaps be right back in the National Championship mix.
Derrick Henry - Athlete - Alabama Crimson Tide
Yet another in the "athlete" class is Alabama Crimson Tide commit Derrick Henry. At 6'3", 243, Henry could literally play anywhere on the field apart from the lines and with 4.72 40 yard dash speed, gives Nick Saban an interesting plug-and-play piece which could be a huge x-factor on Saturdays.
Kelvin Taylor - RB - Florida Gators
The best running back recruit in the 2013 class is Florida Gators commit Kelvin Taylor. The Belle Glade, Florida native ran for a ridiculous 2,423 yards and 41 -- yes, 41 -- touchdowns on 237 carries in 2012, for a whopping average of greater than 10 yards per carry. The next Emmitt Smith? It's a hard comparison to make, but not totally unreasonable.
Jaylon Smith - Outside Linebacker - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
In outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, Brian Kelly added another huge piece to his future defensive units. Among the top 3 OLB's in the nation by most accounts, Smith is a great cover linebacker who can drop into the secondary if necessary, but is equally as effective as a run stopper-- a dual-threat which should fit nicely into the Irish scheme.
Matthew Thomas - Outside Linebacker - Florida State Seminoles
Outside linebacker Matthew Thomas was the prize piece of Jimbo Fisher's Florida State Seminoles recruiting class -- that may have just been underrated. At 6'3", 205 Thomas has amazing straight line speed -- he clocked a personal best 4.59 40 yard dash -- and will be as disruptive on the edges as any OLB in the 2013 class when given the chance to be.
Laremy Tunsil - OT - Ole Miss Rebels
Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was one of two prize pieces which gave the Ole Miss Rebels the most impactful, if not the best, overall recruiting class in the country for 2013. At 6'6", 295, Tunsil has a massive frame which could allow him to be an immovable force at 320 or 330. He's a program changing tackle, and one that Bo Wallace will welcome with open arms in Oxford.
Mackensie Alexander - CB - Clemson Tigers
The first of the country's two best corners, Mackensie Alexander made Dabo Swinney a very happy man on National Signing Day becoming one of a handful of signees for a Clemson Tiger class that was small by design. The 5'11", 175 pound Florida native is a true shutdown corner and should play right off for the Tigers next fall.
Vernon Hargreaves III - CB - Florida Gators
The other top corner in the country is another Florida native, but this time, a Florida Gators commit: Vernon Hargreaves III. The Tampa product is as good as they come at 5'11", 185 and having a natural athleticism and instinct which will undoubtedly serve him well.
Carl Lawson - DE - Auburn Tigers
In short, Carl Lawson, and our No. 1 recruit, could be the two most dominant defensive players in the country in a very short period of time. The 6'3", 251 pound Lawson is a terror at defensive end who few offensive tackles can contain -- at least on the high school level. If this same dominance translates to the SEC game, watch out.
Robert Nkemdiche - DE - Ole Miss Rebels
Unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware of Robert Nkemdiche. In short, he has the potential to be the next Jadaveon Clowney if not better. That's really all that needs to be said.