Alabama shot from No. 6 to No. 1 on letter of intent day by hitting nearly every one of their targets. Landing five-star Ben Davis, the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country was the cherry on top of a Signing Day sundae that also included the No. 2 inside linebacker (Lyndell Wilson), the No. 4 cornerback (Jared Mayden) and the No. 8 cornerback (Shyheim Carter.) They joined a previously committed cast headed by five-star defensive tackle Kendell Jones, who comes in from Texas. He is the No. 14 player nationally and No. 5 defensive tackle overall. The nation's No. 4 offensive tackle Jonah Williams will block for the nation's No. 4 running back B.J. Emmons. Five-star JUCO offensive tackle Charles Baldwin could step right in for the Tide. It all adds up to Alabama winning the 2016 recruiting championship just a month after taking the national title on the field.
2. Ohio State
The Buckeyes had a strong finish, adding junior college five-star offensive tackle Malcolm Pridgeon, who could play immediately and in-state athlete Malik Harrison. This came after they recently added four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. and four-star linebacker Keandre Jones from Maryland -- and added the nation's No. 10 wide receiver Binjimen Victor. Defensive end Nick Bosa, Joey's younger brother, is a five-star and potential instant impact. Early enrollees like four-star defensive end Jonathon Cooper and wide receiver Austin Mack could see time as true freshmen.
The Seminoles have an excellent defensive class coming in. Five-star cornerback Levonta Taylor, the No. 1 player at his position and rangy safety Jamel Cook lead the way. Expect JUCO defensive tackle Walvenski Aime, a mid-year enrollee, to contribute immediately. On offense, strong-armed four-star quarterback Malik Henry is one of the headliners along with the nation's No. 3 center, a very stout 340-pound road grader.
The commitments of five-star defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence and four-star offensive tackle Willie Allen recently raised the Tigers back up to the top spot. Incredibly, 14 of the Tiger commitments come from Louisiana as Les Miles and company have locked down their borders. Five-star Saivion Smith, the nation's No. 2 cornerback, is among the top out-of-state gets. An important piece of the class may be three-star Lindsey Scott, a mobile quarterback.
Top recruiting classes are becoming the norm in Oxford. The Rebels have a talented class top to bottom, but it is without a doubt led by five-star offensive tackle Greg Little and five-star quarterback Shea Patterson, both Scout's top player at their respective positions and top five national prospects overall. The Rebels also kept several top in-state talents at home including the No. 3 tight end natonally, Octavious Cooley and defensive tackle Benito Jones, the No. 8 player at his position.
How about the Signing Day Jim Harbaugh had? He adds the nation's No. 1 player, defensive tackle Rashan Gary, in-state four-star cornerback LaVert Hill, the nation's top kicker, Quinn Nordin and tight end Devin Asiasi, a late surprise. That added to an already strong class. Los Angeles native David Long, Scout's No. 5 cornerback, was an important one for the Wolverines. Quarterback Brandon Peters will have a bevy of weapons to work with in this class including five-star running back Kareem Walker. Both will be the beneficiaries of having Ben Bredeson, the nation's top guard prospect.
Nine of the top 10 prospects in this class come from the state of California. None are ranked higher than linebacker Mique Juarez, the No. 8 overall prospect in the country, who will give UCLA the closest thing it will find to a replacement for Myles Jack. Next is Theo Howard, the nation's No. 7 wide receiver and No. 49 overall player and a sub-4.4 burner who will give UCLA the speed threat at receiver it has long coveted. Boss Tagaloa might have been the most critical get in the class, with the four-star defensive tackle and No. 87 overall player giving UCLA a replacement for Kenneth Clark at nose tackle. Defensive end Breland Brandt and linebacker Lokeni Toailoa are both four-star prospects who are pegged as future defensive stalwarts for the Bruins, with Brandt filling in as a DE/LB pass rusher and Toailoa potentially becoming UCLA's next big-time inside linebacker. Not to be overlooked either is Canadian kicker J.J. Molson, the No. 3 kicker in the country, who will inherit the starting job right away. Four-star wide receiver Damian Alloway hopped into the class just before signing day, and his speed could get him onto the field sooner rather than later.
Charlie Strong and the Longhorns' class starts with the nation's No. 6 offensive tackle, in-state product Jean Delance. He will be protecting quarterback Shane Buechele, who may not be a big guy, but throws darts and has a live arm. He will have some weapons at his disposal including two four-stars, Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. Other top defensive prospects including highly regarded defensive end Andrew Fitzgerald and cornerback Eric Cuffee.
Five-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr committing on Signing Day pushed this class into the top ten. Five-star Jacob Eason, the nation's No. 2 quarterback and No. 7 overall player, has the makings of a future high draft choice. He will have five-star tight end Isaac Nauta to throw to as well as four-star wide receiver Cavin Ridley and 6-foot-4 JUCO target Javon Wims. Running back Elijah Holyfield is more than just a famous name and will have Army All-American Ben Cleveland to run behind. Defensively, athletic linebacker Jaleel Laguins leads the way.
What a class for Jim McElwain as he landed several major prep prospects including the potentially deadly passing combo of quarterback Feleipe Franks and wide receiver Freddie Swain, both national top 100 propsects and the nation's No. 6 safety Chauncey Gardner. Further adding to the class are several JUCO standouts including five-star running back Mark Thompson, the No. 2 junior college prospect in America and four-star wide receiver Dre Massey.
On Signing Day, the Trojans added top in-state athlete Jack Jones, adding to a class already with its share of five-stars in defensive end Oluwole Betiku, athlete Michael Pittman, and the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Tyler Vaughns. Fellow wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe is one of the best athletes in the country. A massive Signing Day haul included Florida State safety flip Jamel Cook, a top 50 player, offensive tackle E.J. Price, a top 100 player, and Connor Murphy, a top 250 player.
The future of the Auburn defensive line certainly looks bright with this class as the Tigers added five-star Derrick Brown on Signing Day to four-star defensive end Marlon Davidson, disruptive four-star defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson and four-star JUCO defensive end Paul James. Another top JUCO prospect, athlete John Franklin, will get a shot to show he's the Tigers' next athletic signal caller. Whoever plays quarterback will benefit greatly from wide receivers Nate Craig, the nation's No. 8 wideout, and Kyle Davis who has an NFL type frame at 6-foot-3, 217 pounds.
13. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish finished strong. Linebacker Jonathan Jones was a big Signing Day add to go with the recent commitments of four-stars Javon McKinley (No. 9 WR) and cornerback Troy Pride Jr. (No. 16 CB) who pushed the class further up the rankings. Two Ohio offensive linemen, Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg, have the look of future standouts in South Bend, and both were top performers at their respective postseason All-Star games.
The Tigers are reloading for another national title run and two five-stars -- defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and running back Tavien Feaster -- are among the nation's top recruits. Lawrence, who is surprisingly athletic for a 335-pound kid, has all the traits to be a future first round pick. The Tigers have become known for big, athletic wide receivers and Cornell Powell, 6-foot-5 Diondre Overton and 6-foot-3 Tavares Chase fit the mold. Safety Isaiah Simmons and cornerback Trayvon Mullen were two big Signing Day adds, particularly Mullen, who experts pegged for LSU.
The Cardinals are no stranger to good quarterback and tight end play and the class starts right there with the nation's No. 2 tight end Kaden Smith and No. 6 quarterback K.J. Costello, who should form a deadly duo for them. Sure-handed, athletic wide receiver Simi Fehoko comes in from Utah as an Army All-American and has acrobatic ability. A Michigan flip, Devery Hamilton, teams with two more four-star offensive tackles, Henry Hattis and Clark Yarbrough, to help keep Costello upright to distribute the ball to those playmakers. Defensively, the class is led by top five linebacker Curtis Robinson and disruptive defensive tackle Mike Williams.
The Horned Frogs signed one of their highest ranked recent classes in memory. Two Scout 300 defensive linemen, end Isaiah Chambers and tackle Ross Blacklock are a big part of that, but three top 20 JUCO signees, wide receivers Ryan Parker and Taj Williams, linebacker Tyree Horton and defensive end Mat Boesen are big boosts to the group as well. The top-ranked prep prospect is outstanding athlete Sewo Olonilua, a good-sized in-state kid who could get looks at several positions. Offensive tackle Austin Myers is yet another four-star from Texas.
Butch Jones signed another good group of recruits. Five-star junior college defensive end Jonathan Kongbo is a 6-foot-6 future monster many believe is a future pro. The high school headliner is the nation's No. 3 quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who comes in from Jersey, and big athlete Marquez Callaway, who has the length and skills to play receiver or defensive back. Two four-star JUCO signees, defensive tackle Alexis Johnson and cornerback D.J. Henderson will compete immediately in the spring. Four-star running back Carlin Fils-Aime brings speed up from Florida.
18. Michigan State
The skill position talent is a huge part of this class as the Spartans have four four-star wide receivers, Donnie Corley and Cameron Chambers, who both enrolled early, and Justin Layne and Trishton Jackson. They will have quarterback Messiah deWeaver distributing. Of course, the Spartans did not forget defense, and defensive end Josh King and defensive tackle Naquan Jones both come in from Chicago bringing four-star credentials. Given the way the Spartans have developed their other classes, them getting their hands on this type of talent, 12 four-stars, is a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten.
Baylor didn't have to go far to get much of this top class as many come from in-state. They have three national top 100 commits, including two outstanding wide receivers, Tren'Davian Dickson and Devin Duvernay, who has been clocked as fast as 4.32 in the 40. The third top 100 commit is guard Patrick Hudson, a 6-foot-5, 320-pounder who may compete for time sooner rather than later. Speaking of which, JUCO defensive tackle Jeremy Faulk should be out there next fall.
The Sooners have four Scout 300 commits coming in, including two defensive ends in Amani Bledsoe and Mark Jackson that will make a formidable duo. Running back Abdul Adams is fast and had a huge senior season. The highest-ranked player in the class is cornerback Jordan Parker, the nation's No. 11 player at his position. An intriguing late add was offensive tackle Erik Swenson, a one-time Michigan commit whose situation with the Wolverines was well documented. The Sooners ended the day with an evening announcement from the best player in their class, five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly, the No. 17 player in the country. Kelly bumped the Sooners class to No. 20.
21. Texas A&M Aggies
21 new Agies join the program including five-star defensive end Justin Madubuike. There are seven other four-stars, including athlete Aaron Hansford, who was recruited by schools from across the country. The other four-stars, wide receiver Quartney Davis, offensive tackle Kellen Diesch, cornerback Charles Oliver, cornerback Travon Fuller, and running back Trayveon Williams all come from inside the state.
22. Penn State
James Franklin's recruiting prowess has shown up again in this class. While they lost some commitments down the stretch, their biggest coup was keeping five-star Miles Sanders, the top running back in the country, away from a Michigan State visit. Five-star offensive lineman Michal Menet and four-star defensive end Shane Simmons were both outstanding at the Under Armour All-American Game and are among the top prospects at their position nationally. Quarterback Jake Zembiec put up big numbers as a senior. Cornerback Anthony Johnson was an intriguing late find, a 6-foot-3 kid with good ball skills. The best bet to play right away may be JUCO defensive tackle Tyrell Chavis.
23. North Carolina
The Tar Heels class may pay immediate dividends as several are set to enroll early including JUCO tight end J.B. Copeland and highly recruited in-state safety Myles Dorn. Joining Dorn in the secondary will be Maryland native Greg Ross and Virginia native Patrice Rene, a big, long Canadian who the Tar Heels flipped from Rutgers just weeks before Signing Day. Two other top prospects UNC grabbed out of Virginia are four-star guard Jay-Jay McCargo and 310-pound defensive tackle Kyree Campbell.
A somewhat smaller class for the Ducks, but there is plenty of quality with six Scout 300 commits led by jumbo athlete Tristen Wallace, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder who could play multiple positions. The Ducks signed kids from Memphis, Hawaii, California, Texas and other states, but also kept several kids at home including two four-star teammates, safety Brady Breeze and linebacker Lamar Winston of Portland Central Catholic. The Ducks also have two quarterbacks committed, Oklahoma native Terry Wilson and in-stater Justin Herbert, a 6-foot-5 sleeper who had a big senior season.
The Badgers signed a classic Badgers class. It starts up front with Midwestern offensive linemen like the nation's No. 5 offensive tackle, Cole Van Lanen from Green Bay and Patrick Kasl, a Minnesota kid the Badgers held the Gophers off for. Running behind them is bruiser Sam Brodner who rushed for 47 touchdowns as a senior and runs a 4.49 40-yard dash. Defensively, defensive tackle Garrett Rand and linebacker Griffin Grady, two four-stars, lead the way. Six-foot-seven defensive tackle Isaiahh Loudermilk played 8-man ball in Kansas and brings big-time size and athleticism. Watch out, too, for athlete Kendric Pryor, who had a big season at Homewood-Flossmoor near Chicago. Caesar Williams, a cornerback from Texas, was a big late add.