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Tracking new head coaches on National Signing Day 2022

Jeremy Johnson02/02/22
Mark Brown/Getty Images

For new head coaches around the college football world, the dust has finally settled a little.

Amidst the chaos of the early signing period were new faces in new places trying to retain and gain talent that they had little face-to-face interaction with.

As National Signing Day comes to a close, many of those new coaches got the opportunity to plant their feet and, depending on the situation, make their stands or pitches.

Billy Napier, Florida

Highest ranked signee: Four-star safety Kamari Wilson, No. 41 overall in On3 Consensus
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 25

Napier and Florida were one of the programs being thrown around the most leading into signing day.

They were in the running for five-star linebacker Harold Perkins. However, Perkins landed at LSU. The Gators felt they were in it until the final days according to On3 Director of Recruiting Chad Simmons.

The Gators were also in the hunt for a pair of four-stars from Louisiana but landed neither of them. Safety Jacoby Matthews landed at Texas A&M. Despite having four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen on campus recently, the Gators were bested by Miami.

Florida pulled in a pledge and signature for four-star wide receiver Caleb Douglas. In turn, the Gators missed out on Lone Star State four-star wide receiver D.J. Allen, who committed to TCU on Tuesday.

The Gators landed three-star Jack Pyburn on National Signing Day Eve. Three-star offensive lineman Jalen Farmer also stuck with his commitment to the Gators and signed early on the dotted line on Wednesday. Miguel Mitchell signed on National Signing Day. Florida also got commitments from Hayden Hansen, quarterback Max Brown and EDGE Andrew Savaiinaea.

Expert Analysis of Florida 2022 class

Gator’s Online’s Corey Bender walked away impressed with Napier’s ability to steady the ship after losing multiple commits during the early signing period.

“I think it’s been impressive because Florida was on the outside looking in for a lot of these high profile guys, like Jacoby Matthews, Harold Perkins and even Kamari Wilson,” Bender said. “It was that last official visit that put Florida over the top. People were kind of parting ways with Jayden Gibson and some of the other guys. I think they’ve replaced that negativity from the fans with their ability to enter the race with these elite kids with a little time to work with. It shows they could be really special in the class of 2023.”

Brian Kelly, LSU

Highest ranked signee: Five-star linebacker Harold Perkins, No. 7 overall
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 12

Brian Kelly has more reasons to dance. Wednesday was be a big day for the LSU program.

The Tigers landed five-star linebacker Harold Perkins, the No.7 overall player in the On3 Consensus.

They then added DFW Metroplex three-star cornerback Jaelyn Davis-Robinson.

Kelly averted a potential disaster after a rough early signing period. He lost starting quarterback Max Johnson to the transfer portal, which in turn took his younger brother Jake Johnson off the board as well. They also lost JaDarian Rhym to Auburn and hometown star running back Le’Veon Moss.

Kelly and his staff did hold onto a host of high-profile prospects that have already enrolled in classes in offensive tackle Will Campbell, quarterback Walker Howard, defensive lineman Quency Wiggins, linebacker DeMario Tolan and offensive lineman Fitzgerald West.

Brent Venables, Oklahoma

Highest ranked signee: four-star cornerback Gentry Williams, No. 76 overall
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 8

The Sooners and Brent Venables had been mildly quiet heading into National Signing Day.

It turned out pretty productive in helping Venables close out his first recruiting class in Norman.

They finalized the battle for four-star cornerback Gentry Williams, their top signee. Williams had a few programs make runs at him since the early signing period closed. They couldn’t pull him from his Oklahoma commitment.

The Sooners did miss out on Devon Campbell, who signed with rival Texas but did flip four-star Iowa State defensive line commit R Mason Thomas.

Venables attempted to close Thomas’ high school teammate and four-star defensive lineman Ahmad Moten but he ended up at Miami.

The Sooners picked up the signature of three-star cornerback Jamarrien Burt, four-star EDGE Kevonte Henry and and four-star defensive line lineman Gracen Halton to close strong, though.

Dan Lanning, Oregon

Highest ranked signee: Four-star cornerback Jalil Tucker, No. 101 overall
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 17

Dan Lanning got a late start as he was helping Georgia win the national championship. But when he arrived, the Ducks were able to make up some ground.

They made a splash just before signing day with the commitment of four-star cornerback Jahlil Florence picking the Ducks over USC.

The Ducks signed four-star cornerback Khamari Terrell after he committed a few days ago.

Oregon also picked up a signature from offensive lineman Dave Iuli and EDGE Emar’rion Winston.

Lanning’s Georgia relationships appeared to have paid off. He flipped long-time Georgia commit, four-star running back Jordan James from the Bulldogs to the Ducks on National Signing Day.

The Ducks made late runs at four-star defensive lineman Christen Miller, as well as former commit T.J. Dudley. Both signed elsewhere.

Mario Cristobal, Miami

Highest ranked signee: Four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen, No. 93 overall
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 11

Cristobal took a swing at the highest-ranked player remaining in the On3 Consensus rankings heading into the day, Shemar Stewart.

Stewart is a Miami area prospect, and the hometown allure was intriguing, but Texas A&M won out.

A late charge from the Hurricanes overcame Auburn, LSU and Florida to land four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen. Citizen was in Miami for his last visit over the weekend.

Cristobal and running back coach Kevin Smith were both key pieces in landing Citizen.

The Hurricanes are back fighting for elite talent and that’s a positive sign. Cristobal landed a few signatures on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes signed four-star defensive lineman Ahmad Moten, three-star wide receiver Anez Cooper and three-star offensive lineman Matthew McCoy on Wednesday.

A group of four-stars after already tabbed to the Hurricanes in the class of 2022. The Hurricanes have the 11th-ranked class in the 2022 Consensus Football Team Recruiting Rankings.

Lincoln Riley, USC

Highest ranked signee: Five-Star Plus+ cornerback Domani Jackson, No. 9 overall
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 50

Lincoln Riley has been quickly building a strong and flashy class of 2023. The class of 2022 has been a more steady climb. The Trojans added Caleb Williams via the transfer portal earlier this week.

The Trojans made a strong push just before the early signing period began. Riley was able to land the commitment of Five-Star Plus+ cornerback Domani Jackson after at the end of the early signing period.

Riley was able to get commitments four-star safety Zion Branch, four-star running back Raleek Brown, four-star cornerback Fabian Ross and four-star wide receiver C.J. Williams.

Jackson and Williams are both already on campus.

Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame

Highest ranked signee: Five-star linebacker Jaylen Sneed, No. 32 overall
On3 Consensus class rank: No. 6

Freeman’s first National Signing Day was a quiet one. Notre Dame didn’t add to the class of 2022.

Things briefly got interesting when Deland McCullough was named running backs coach at Notre Dame. His youngest son Daeh McCullough is an Indiana commit in the 2023 class. His middle son Dasan McCullough, a four-star EDGE, just enrolled at Indiana.

Both tweeted Indiana is where they will remain. Freeman is now beginning to build a strong 2023 class.