Signing Day winners and losers: Aggies steal show, ’Noles epically fail
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Signing Day winners and losers: Aggies steal show, ’Noles epically fail

Jeremy Crabtree12/16/21
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The smoke from the first day of the early signing period – aka Signing Day – has cleared. While there are plenty of big names still to come off the board on Thursday and Friday and even more who will choose later on, we do have a relatively clear picture of the big winners and losers of the early signing period. Here’s a look at On3’s Signing Day winners and losers.

Signing Day winner: Texas A&M

We’re going to not dwell too long on this obvious choice. The Texas A&M Aggies are in a prime position to sign the nation’s No. 1 class. They held a solid lead Thursday morning over Alabama and Georgia.

There still are some pieces to finalize – such as making sure five-star wide receiver Evan Stewart’s LOI comes in on Thursday and landing five-star cornerback Denver Harris this weekend – but this will go down as a historic Aggies class without a doubt and is a big Signing Day winner.

What’s scary is that it could get even better before February 3 with five-star linebacker Harold Perkins and five-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart still on the hook.

This class, on the surface at least, ranks right up there with the epic Alabama 2017 class with eight five-star signees and arguably is the best recruiting class ever.

Signing Day loser: Florida State

Florida State did close with solid additions such as four-star safety Azareye’h Thomas and four-star offensive tackle Julian Armella. But no matter how you look at it, the Seminoles are without a doubt the team that was a Signing Day loser.

Losing On3 Consensus No. 1 Travis Hunter on Signing Day to Jackson State will go down in recruiting history as one of the biggest misses ever. That’s especially true with the way that it went down – in the shadows and at the last minute – and with all the national attention it received. Heck, the flip to Jackson State was the talk of national morning shows on all the major TV networks.

It was a loss that everybody who was near a TV in the last 24 hours heard about.

Then there was the loss of Marvin Jones Jr. to Georgia. Jones is an FSU legacy with deep, deep family roots to the program. To allow Kirby Smart to come into Florida and lure him away leaves a mark.

Signing Day winner: Texas

If it weren’t for the outstanding A&M class, the national attention would be focused on the job that Steve Sarkisian and Co. did down the stretch.

Without a doubt, the Longhorns are a Signing Day winner because they were able to close with five-star offensive lineman Kelvin Banks and four-star offensive lineman Neto Umeozulu, Cameron Williams and Malik Agbo.

They also provided one of the biggest Signing Day surprises by flipping coveted four-star cornerback Terrance Brooks from Ohio State. That was an underappreciated flip from a national standpoint because of what happened with Hunter. But for the Longhorns, it was a monster recruiting moment that showcased that Sark and staff know what it takes to win on the trail.

Signing Day loser: Nebraska

The Huskers did finish with a late splash by signing four-star safety Jaeden Gould out of New Jersey. But it still doesn’t erase the struggles throughout the year on the recruiting trail for Scott Frost.

Nebraska is a Signing Day loser not because they signed a small class of 12 recruits. The Huskers fall into this category because there’s no real star power, other than in-state linebacker Ernest Hausmann and Florida receiver Victor Jones Jr.

Yes, there are some solid players in the class. But the Huskers need immediate impact players to help them turn things around in the Big Ten. The good news is that there is room for Frost to do good things in the transfer portal with just 12 in the recruiting class.

Signing Day winner: Michigan

The Wolverines are riding a wave of momentum on the field with their College Football Playoff appearance. That momentum carried over to the recruiting trail with a top-10 class.

The Wolverines closed as strong as anybody with Signing Day additions of four-star defensive lineman Derrick Moore, four-star wide receiver Darrius Clemons and four-star safety Keon Sabb. They are three of the Wolverines’ top four signees.

The new additions – along with athlete Alex Orji and wide receiver Amorion Walker, two more four-star recruits added Wednesday – rounded out what already was one of Jim Harbaugh’s best classes.

The Wolverines weren’t afraid to compete against anybody on the trail in the 2022 cycle. Yes, they lost some key battles. But with the way they closed, Harbaugh’s staff proved they are among the elite recruiters in the country.

Signing Day loser: Arizona State

Arizona State hired Herm Edwards four years ago largely because he promised success on the recruiting trail. Edwards assured that success then turn would into wins against Pac-12 rivals.

Fast forward to the 2022 recruiting cycle, and the Sun Devils are being investigated by the NCAA for alleged recruiting violations that already resulted in the suspensions of three assistants.

The investigation destroyed the 2022 recruiting class. The Sun Devils signed only six recruits Wednesday and are currently 98th in the On3 Consensus Team Recruiting Ranking.

There was some positive reception to the ASU administration giving Edwards a vote of confidence after the end of the regular season. But recruits were still wary of jumping on board with so many questions about the future in Tempe.

Other winners and losers:

  • Winner: Missouri goes into the winner category for landing a top-15 class and keeping a lot of local elite talent, like five-star WR Luther Burden, at home.
  • Loser: Kansas garnered national attention when the Jayhawks beat Texas this season. But the momentum on the field never translated to the recruiting trail. KU signed a small class that ranked No. 107 in the country. Lance Leipold must continue to rely on the transfer portal to boost talent in Lawrence.
  • Winner: Stanford signed a sneaky good class that ranks 19th in the country. Beating out USC for top-10 LB David Bailey was huge. And there are some three-stars in the class that are built to excel in the Stanford system.
  • Loser: If there was ever a year for UCLA to make a move for some of the top talent in the Southland this was it. With coaching changes at USC and Oregon, the Bruins weren’t able to get back in with some of the best of the best in LA. Yes, the Bruins did sign the No. 27 class, but they couldn’t move the needle when the opportunity was there.