The Huntsville Times, Robin Conn, Associated Press
Every coach claims to have a great national signing day. Nick Saban actually does — every year.
Wednesday was no different. By lunchtime, the Alabama coach had most of his latest highly rated recruiting class locked up.
The national signing period for high school football players opened with the usual plethora of pick-a-cap news conferences and a few high-profile flip-flops.
New Ohio State coach Urban Meyer showed that a year away from coaching didn't hurt his ability to recruit. Meanwhile, Meyer's old school, Florida, followed a mediocre season with a promising signing day — despite having Southern California pluck a couple of blue-chippers from Gator country.
Missouri didn't need to leave the state to make the biggest grab of all on signing day, getting a letter of intent from arguably the nation's most celebrated prospect, receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from Springfield, Mo.
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., there were no big surprises for the national champion Crimson Tide. And that was a good thing because Saban and his staff had already lined up a class that most of the analysts had ranked as either the best in the nation or very close to it.
"There was little intrigue or drama to this class," said Allen Wallace of SuperPrep Magazine.
No, just talent.
The Tide swept through the South to reload. Alabama went to Baltimore to get wide receiver Cyrus Jones, down to Lynchburg, Va., for defensive tackle Korren Kirven — one of the few late additions — scooped up eight players from Georgia, three from Florida, picked up a quarterback, Alec Morris, from Texas, and even dipped into LSU territory to grab highly touted safety Landon Collins from Geismar, La.
Collins' selection of Alabama over LSU last month on national TV was memorable for his mother's obvious and vocal disapproval ("Tigers No. 1," she said, eyes rolling at her son's choice). On Wednesday, with mom by his side, Collins signed his letter of intent at Dutchtown High School.
Here's a look around the nation at more of the top stories from signing day.
RETURN OF URBAN
The Buckeyes' recruiting coaches — as opposed to their coaching coaches — did a bang-up job with Urban Meyer's first Ohio State class.
You might remember Michigan wasn't pleased with the fact that Meyer and the staff he was assembling was allowed to recruit while the old staff was preparing the Buckeyes for their bowl game. The NCAA signed off on the arrangement. This just after Ohio State was handed a one-year bowl ban for transgressions under former coach Jim Tressel.
Considering Meyer's track record, simply having him on Ohio State's side was probably all the advantage the Buckeyes needed.
Meyer's class was a consensus top-five, loaded with defensive linemen, including Noah Spence from Harrisburg, Pa., and Adolphus Washington from Cincinnati. The Buckeyes got a late boost when offensive tackle Kyle Dodson from Cleveland switched from Wisconsin to Ohio State on Wednesday.
"We had to have him," Meyer said of Dodson.
Dodson was one of at least a half dozen players who switched commitments to play for Meyer.
"He's done an amazing job flipping kids away from schools like it was easy as can be. And it's not," said Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com.
Michigan did OK for itself, too. Coach Brady Hoke's recruits received high marks from the experts and stacked up nicely with Ohio State.
So signing day was just like the old days in the Big Ten. There was Ohio State and Michigan, then everybody else.
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