With several of the country’s top college football programs still pursuing targets in February, we saw some movement in the top 10 national recruiting classes on Wednesday’s signing day.
Tennessee had a big day as the Volunteers flipped four-star Florida State receiver recruit Malachi Wideman. Texas landed the gem of its class in getting five-star defensive end Alfred Collins, beating out Oklahoma.
Texas A&M made a big splash in signing four-star defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson, who some in the industry considered an Alabama lean.
After the dust settled, here’s how USA TODAY Sports thinks the top 10 classes shook out:
With five-star offensive lineman Broderick Jones and four-star offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran officially signing with Georgia, the Bulldogs locked in the best 2020 recruiting class in the country. And that comes despite Sam Pittman leaving the staff to take the head coaching job at Arkansas. Eleven of the country’s top-100 recruits, according to the 247Sports Composite, are headed to Georgia. And 6-foot-8, five-star tight end Darnell Washington, who signed in December, is one of the most intriguing prospects in the whole class.
Clemson had our No. 1 recruiting class after the December early signing period. The Tigers didn’t do anything wrong; Georgia simply had a great January and February. Dabo Swinney still brings in the No. 1 overall player in the country in defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, as well as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country in D.J. Uiagalelei. It’s a balanced class, with five-stars behind center, on the defensive line, at running back and at linebacker.
Alabama had a shot at the No. 1 class ranking, but it missed on high-profile targets in four-star defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson and four-star cornerback Ennis Brakestraw, and Oregon flipped one of its verbal pledges in four-star defensive tackle Jayson Jones. Still, Nick Saban and Company is bringing yet another star-studded class to Tuskaloosa. Bryce Young, the country’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, headlines the group, which includes 10 prospects in the 247Sports Composite’s top 100.
Ed Orgeron turned the momentum from a national-championship season into a top-five national recruiting class. He and the Tigers did most of their work in the early signing period, with five-star tight end Arik Gilbert, the gem of the class, already on campus. LSU had a shot to jump higher in this top 10 if it had flipped South Carolina five-star defensive end recruit Jordan Burch, but he stuck with his home-state Gamecocks.
5. Ohio State
The Buckeyes closed their 2020 recruiting class strong Wednesday by signing four-star athlete Cameron Martinez, who had been verbally committed since July. Ohio State did especially strong work on the offensive line in this class, signing six prospects at the position — one five-star, one four-star and four three-stars. It also added four receivers, including two five-stars in Julian Fleming (the 247Sports Composite’s No. 3 overall prospect) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
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6. Texas A&M
The Aggies made a big splash Wednesday by beating out the likes of Alabama, Auburn and LSU for Jackson, the four-star defensive tackle out of Mississippi. They also needed to add another running back in 2020, and they did just that by signing three-star Arizona prospect Darvon Hubbard, a former Ohio State recruit who held 18 offers from Power 5 programs. Texas A&M did particularly well in its secondary, adding a five-star safety, a four-star safety, a four-star cornerback and one of the country’s top junior college cornerbacks.
Dan Mullen and his staff finished their 2020 class with a bang Wednesday by signing four-star defensive end Princely Umanmielen, who picked the Gators over Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas. They did miss on a couple targets Wednesday in four-star safety Avantae Williams and four-star defensive end Damarcus Beckwith. Still, this class is securely in the top 10 thanks to talents such as five-star defensive tackle Gervon Dexter and stable of 16 four-star recruits.
Auburn continued to tap into the junior college market with its 2020 class, signing Iowa Western defensive tackle Marquis Burks on Wednesday. He adds to an already formidable group of four juco transfers, which includes four-star Blinn College cornerback Marco Domio, whom the 247Sports Composite considers the country’s No. 7 overall juco prospect. Fans will probably be most excited about four-star, 210-pound running back Tank Bigsby, who’s already on campus.
Texas jumped up to No. 9 with the huge addition of five-star defensive end Alfred Collins, who picked his home-state Longhorns over Oklahoma; he also had considered Alabama. Texas did miss on Rakestraw and Umanmielen, but Collins is just such a big win — especially considering it beat the Sooners for him. The Longhorns also already have four-star, home-state quarterback Hudson Card on campus; he’s 247Sports Composite’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback.
Jeremy Pruitt has the Volunteers in the top 10 thanks largely to two significant splashes on Wednesday. The really big one is four-star receiver Malachi Wideman, a Florida State verbal recruit who flipped to Tennessee over programs such as Oregon and Ole Miss. Earlier in the day, Tennessee also got a big get in Damarcus Beckwith, who picked the Volunteers over Florida and Kentucky.