National Signing day is a big day for college football programs and of course the high school athletes them selfs. These high school players put in years of hard work to become marketable for college football programs around the country. This is truly one day that can change a program for years to come. Think about when Clowney inked with South Carolina, that program changed and brought them into the spotlight, or when Vince Young signed with Texas. All of the recruits that signed today are one step closer to their dream, and thats making it big time into the NFL.
This article is going to cover the power five conferences, ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, and Big 12. I would cover all the conferences, but I hate to say it, none of the others matter because we won’t see them in the college football playoffs. Even though there will be some very talented players and good teams in those non power five conferences. Take Western Michigan, a very deep and talented team with arguably the top wide receiver in the country and this upcoming draft. But we also saw them play against a very good and power five conference team in Wisconsin and run them into the ground.
To start I will have to cover the best conference in football hands down and its the Big Ten. The Big ten has been able to compete every year and have the best two teams in the country regularly in Ohio State and Michigan. Ohio State signed one of the best players in high school football in Tate Martell. Ohio State and Michigan finished in the top ten this year but that is expected when you have the national championships, top NFL draft picks, and Heisman winners. My winner for the Big Ten would have to be Maryland. They finished 18th this year and signed 9 four star recruits. Maryland isn’t a dominate team in the Big Ten and probably won’t be ever, but with this kind of talent coming in they will be able to make a run and possibly get into a bowl game. Now my loser will have to be Wisconsin, and I chose them because as good as they were last year and being ranked in the top 5 at one point in the season, they didn’t reload and only signed 2 four stars. Also one of the top defensive lineman in the state of Wisconsin inked with Indiana today, Juan Harris, a 6’3 365 nose guard. If Wisconsin wants to compete in the Big Ten down the road they will need to recruit better and not rely on the Watt family.
Now for the most talked about conference and I think overrated is the SEC. Now once again Alabama has the number one recruiting class in the country this year, signing future NFL draft pick Najee Harris, who will continue that Alabama pedigree of dominant running backs. The SEC as a whole didn’t do to bad in recruiting as 8 teams finished in the top 25 for this recruiting class. Now for my winners and losers. I’ll start with the loser who is Ole Miss. The rebels did not recruit well, even though they finished 33rd in the country, they finished 12th in the SEC and last in the SEC West. The possible sanctions in Oxford didn’t help the case for the Rebels, plus there instate rival finished above them. Now my winner is LSU, they finished in the top ten in this years class. This is a great first step for the Ed Orgeron Era in Baton Rouge. The tigers also signed one of the best defensive ends in the country in K’Lavon Chassion. The only major problem for LSU is that Alabama is in their conference, but with this talent LSU should be able to pull of an upset against the tide.
The ACC is up next and they have the of course the defending national champion Clemson Tigers who upset Bama. I personally didn’t think it was an upset because of Clemsons fire power on offense and Alabama lack of, defense can win you a championship but it helps if you a explosive offense. The ACC this year won the most bowls game and one the college football playoff, so recruits should flock to these schools. My winner for the ACC is Florida State. They finished with the best recruiting class in the ACC, which is good considering they were kind of a disappointment last season. Will Florida State be able to replace Dalvin Cook with any of their current and incoming running backs, that remains to be seen. My loser is actually going to Clemson. Clemson is my loser because even though they finished 16th in the country, they only signed 14 players. But the good news is they signed Hunter Johnson who is a very capable quarterback and can replace Watson, plus he has enrolled early already and is getting full speed college snaps come spring ball. The only thing is I don’t think Clemson will see the playoffs in the next two years, because of a lack of playmakers and experience.
Big 12 football has been down lately and hasn’t really made any strides as a conference and hasn’t competed that well with any of the other power five conferences. Remember when people said that Oklahoma was going to give Ohio State a run for their money, yeah they got smacked and it was embarrassing and a waste of a prime time game. The loser for this conference is clearly Texas. They hired Tom Herman, but he has a lot of work to do and will need a lot of help building up Texas to what it use to be. The majority of the top talent this signing class has signed somewhere else than Texas. The winner of the Big 12 is Oklahoma, even though they got whooped by the buckeyes, they still finished strong this season and with two players up for the Hesiman. They reloaded again this year with the 8th best recruiting class and still keeping Baker Mayfield. Baker will have many weapons around him this season as the Sooners should be able to make a run in the Big 12 and possibly the playoff.
Finally the last conference is the Pac-12. The Pac hasn’t been as dominate since Mariota left the ducks but with the emergence of Washington and a Resurrected USC, the PAC should be able to compete better and get more bowl teams and possibly playoff contenders. My big winner for the PAC and honestly big winner for this class is clearly USC. They started off rocky but changed quarterbacks and then rallied off wins and played Penn State in the Rose bowl. USC reloaded this year and finished the top ten this year. This will be a very dangerous USC team who I’m picking to be in the playoff and the national title game against Bama. My loser would Cal, they were a very strong team last year in the PAC-12 even though there record didn’t show it, but they couldn’t put together a top 50 recruiting class this year. They will need to build this program with two or three good recruiting classes in a row and this year wasn’t a good start for Cal.
Now with all this being said, it doesn’t mean jack. Recruiting classes are just people on paper. You won’t really know how good a player is until they put the pads on in the fall or the spring if they’re an early enrollee. Recruiting is also one of the most over hyped things about college sports. Very few of these recruits will go to their respectful universities and be impact players and start right away. That’s why the whole recruiting scene is over hyped. Now most of these players will develop into sound college players after sitting for 1-2 years and maturing and improving their athletic ability. The players that do start right away, they will be elite and considered future NFL draft picks. This is also all speculation, none of us can predict how these kids will play or what their future is like. One thing for sure is they will get an education and get a once an a lifetime opportunity that a lot of people dream about.
By Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli 3h ago • 4 min read. “2017 National Signing Day winners and losers: USC, Alabama continue to reload.” CBSSports.com. N.p., 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.
By Chip Patterson & Ben Kercheval 3h ago • 2 min read. “2017 National Signing Day college football recruiting rankings, commitments.” CBSSports.com. N.p., 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.