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Although the December period has stolen much of February’s thunder, college football’s late signing window still featured a few splashes in 2020 recruiting.
Several top-100 prospects revealed or affirmed their college choices, signing national letters of intent to join their future programs. The result is a smaller, yet still notable, group of winners and losers that emerged from national signing day.
Since many recruiting classes were full or close to it, we kept the focus on programs that had multiple marquee decisions Wednesday as much as possible.
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Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies had two spots to fill, and Texas A&M achieved its best-case scenario.
To start the day, 4-star running back Darvon Hubbard committed to the SEC program. He was a crucial addition because departures had decimated the position. Since the 2019 season began, four backs transferred. The only remaining scholarship player for the Texas Bowl was Isaiah Spiller.
Hubbard’s arrival will help address the shortcoming, while McKinnley Jackson will bolster the defensive line.
Considered the No. 61 prospect in the country, Jackson chose the Aggies over Alabama, LSU and Auburn. His signature ensured Texas A&M would finish with a top-10 class.
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New head coach Sam Pittman wasted no time making a positive impact on the recruiting trail for Arkansas.
After flipping 4-star safety Myles Slusher during the early signing period, Pittman had a splashier February. Wednesday, the Razorbacks picked up 4-star quarterback Malik Hornsby, 4-star offensive guard Marcus Henderson and 3-star guard Jalen St. John.
For good measure, Arkansas signed 3-star tight end Collin Sutherland too.
Given that the Razorbacks had 15 decommitments in a class that ranked 118th nationally as late as December, Pittman and Co. managing a top-30 haul is nothing short of brilliant.
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Considering the small number of top-rated prospects available, Florida and Alabama had a disappointing day.
The Gators whiffed badly on Avantae Williams. Since backing off a pledge to Oregon in December, the 4-star safety had been viewed as a Florida lean. However, he instead chose Miami.
As for Nick Saban and the Tide, they missed on 4-star defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson, 4-star defensive end Alfred Collins and 3-star cornerback Ennis Rakestraw. Four-star center Sedrick Van Pran stuck with Georgia despite his late interest in Alabama.
It wasn’t all bad, though.
Florida swiped 4-star defensive end Princely Umanmielen from Baylor and Texas, and he’s a quality last-minute addition. Alabama signed three previous commits and has the No. 2 class anyway.
By no means are the misses a crushing development for Florida or Alabama. Still, both had higher hopes for signing day.
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Early in the morning, Jordan Burch reaffirmed his commitment to South Carolina. That locked in a “winner” spot.
But the Gamecocks weren’t finished.
In addition to signing Burch and his 4-star teammate in defensive tackle Alex Huntley, they landed 3-star receiver Ger-Cari Caldwell and 3-star defensive end Gilber Edmond. Junior college running back ZaQuandre White also joined the class.
Even after a 4-8 campaign, Will Muschamp and his staff managed to reel in a top-20 recruiting class.
Note: South Carolina still hasn’t announced Burch, so consider this a tentative win until official.
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Georgia put together a strong finish to secure the No. 1 class ranking for the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Most notably, Kirby Smart and Co. kept 5-star offensive tackle Broderick Jones and 4-star center Sedrick Van Pran in the fold. Both elected not to sign in December and officially visited other schools in January, but they both joined the SEC power anyway.
Factor in signatures from with 4-star running back Daijun Edwards and 3-star wideout Ladd McConkey and a recent pledge from 3-star quarterback Jackson Muschamp, and Georgia closed 2020 about as well as possible.
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The state of USC recruiting can hardly be summed up better than Charlotte edging the Trojans for 3-star running back Elijah Turner.
Charlotte. The program that has played at the Football Bowl Subdivision level only since 2015.
We can talk semantics, sure. USC didn’t officially extend an offer to Turner. However, the Trojans missed that window because they chased 2-star quarterback Cade Fennegan (Boise State) after missing on 3-star quarterback Blake Shapen (Baylor).
USC is set to finish outside of the top 50. That’s an absolute disaster for Clay Helton and the program.