National Day has changed.
The Early Registration phase for the 2022 recruiting class opened on Wednesday, an event that removed much of the drama from NSD in February. This is also the first signing phase in the Name, Image and Similar Era.
Deion Sanders emerges as a top story by bringing in Travis Hunter, the #1 player in 2022 according to 247Sports.com, to the Jackson State. That’s right, Hunter chose an FCS school across Florida, Georgia and Auburn State. So Sanders is the undisputed winner at the expense of Seminoles coach Mike Norvell.
Despite that sudden change, college football powerhouses of the same age have dominated this cycle. Georgia, Alabama, and Texas A&M reel in classes loaded for 2022. There are 29 changes to FBS coaching in 2021, and some of those programs have struggled to keep up.
Sporting News looks at the winners and losers:
Winner: Texas A&M and Texas
Georgia and Alabama are still fully operational, but the Aggies are catching up to Jimbo Fisher. Those three shows are the only ones with more than two five-star rookies.
The quarterback Conner Weigman (Bridgeland, Cypress, Texas) was the center of a class loaded with three more five-star rookies in defense Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy (Lakeland, Fla.) and Walter Nolen (Powell). , Tenn.) And the recipient. Evan Stewart (Liberty, Frisco, Texas).
This is Fisher’s best kind to date, and that will pay off in the SEC West race. Texas A&M played inconsistently on the field this year during the 8-4 season, but the Aggies beat Alabama 41-38.
Texas, meanwhile, is at least hiring like an SEC school under Steve Sarkisian.
The Longhorns, 15th in 2021, returned to the top 10 with a strong showing. Texas had 11 prospects in the state with four stars or less a week after Quinn Ewers, who would have been a five-star quarterback in this class if he hadn’t been reclassified, was transferred from Ohio State.
Speaking of which, 4-star defensive back Terrance Brooks (Little Elm, Texas) is from Ohio State. Given the success of the Buckeyes in Texas under Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, it was a significant turning point.
Five-star Kelvin Banks (Summer Creek, Humble, Texas) is the anchor of the class, but Ewers will have some elite goals in four-star Brennan Thompson (Spearman, Texas) and Xavion Brice (Seguin, Arlington, Texas) , who moved from Oklahoma.
The Longhorns are having a disappointing 5-7 season. Former coach Tom Herman had three places in the top 10 from 2018-20. Will Sarkisian go beyond this class on the field?
Losers: Florida and Miami
Gators and Hurricanes have 75 and 77 rating classes, corresponding. That is perhaps the most astonishing development in 2021.
Gators have only two five-star rookies in the final five classes. Dan Mullen’s departure leaves little time for Billy Napier to salvage a class with only eight commitments for the day.
Miami fired Manny Diaz and hired Mario Cristobal from Oregon. Cristobal has built classes that are solid with Duck and possibly modeled with Storm, but both of these programs deliver better in this next class.
That’s because Florida State, despite losing Hunter to Jackson State, is in a much better class than the Gators or the Hurricanes. Five-star Safety Sam McCall (Lake Gibson, Lakeland, Fla.) highlighted that group.
Winner: Ohio State
The Buckeyes lost to Michigan and failed to win the CFP for the first time in three seasons under Ryan Day.
And that’s… OK?
As long as this recruiting brilliance continues. Ohio State responded to that loss by hiring Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. The Buckeyes then reeled in another better fifth than Penn State and Michigan.
The two best products in this class are also products in condition. Five-star defender CJ Hicks (Alter, Dayton, Ohio) and defensive back Sonny Styles (Central, Pickerington, Ohio) could be immediate impact players in Knowles’ defence. The Buckeyes have added to a four-star defence, Devin Brown (Corner Canyon, Draper, Utah).
The Day has pinned the top five for three consecutive cycles, and there’s been no drop since Urban Meyer’s retirement.
Riley’s departure led to a string of outages, and Venables went to great lengths to save the class. Brice flip is one of those moves.
It’s still a top 10 class, but it doesn’t have five-star recruiting. The Longhorns and Aggies have better classes, and it’s competition with a pending SEC move.
Any good news? Four-star recipient Jayden Gibson (West Orange, Winter Garden, Fla.) is one of the top rookies in this class, and Venables did a great job recruiting for Florida State while he was at Clemson. Notice how well the Sooners perform in the Sunshine state in the next cycle.
Mark Stoops continues as head coach. Coordinators Liam Coen and Brad White also remained the same. Wildcats is hiring like a top 10 program. That’s impressive in the SEC.
Stoops continues to recruit at the midpoint of the Big Ten and the SEC nation with great success.
Five-star tennis player Kiyaunta Goodwin (Charleston, Ind.) is the anchor of another strong class that includes players from 11 different states. On Wednesday, Kentucky went north and landed four-star defensive opponent Deone Walker (Cassi Tech, Detroit).
This cycle also landed the four-star edge thruster Tyreese Fearby (Perry Traditional Institute, Pittsburgh) and the four-star receiver Barion Brown (Pearl-Cohn, Nashville). Stoops’ expansion means that the Wildcats will continue to build on that steady success.
The Tigers slipped out of the top 10 after a 9-3 season in 2020, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney replaced longtime coordinators Brent Venables and Tony Elliott with Wes Goodwin and Brandon Streeter, respectively. Swinney is also upfront about the concept of paying players before the Name, Picture, and Like era began.
Will those threads tear the Dabo dynasty apart?
We will meet this story halfway. North Carolina has the highest ranked ranking in the ACC, and this broke up four categories in the Tigers’ top 10 in a row. Even South Carolina is gaining traction under coach Shane Beamer.
Clemson still won the last five games and will be back with the help of those loaded classes. The Tigers’ average recruiting rank in the CFP era ranks 9.6, so a year outside the top 10 isn’t a deal-breaker. Four of the top five prospects in South Carolina still choose Clemson, including 4-star full-back Jeadyn Lucas (Mauldin, SC) and four-star recipient Adam Randall (Myrtle Beach, SC).
It’s been a cycle, but it’s something to watch closely in 2022.