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Early Signing Day 2023: A Deep Dive — and more on Jordan Seaton

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The Early Signing Period for the 2024 college football recruiting class unfurled its sails on Wednesday. This event, akin to a royal feast, still heavily favors the blue-blooded powerhouses. Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State – the three musketeers of college football – all brought in loaded classes.

Georgia, like a grand conductor, orchestrated the symphony of the day by securing the top-ranked recruiting class for the 2024 cycle. The Bulldogs might have lost the No. 1 quarterback, Dylan Raiola, to Nebraska, but their ensemble of stars, including top-ranked cornerback Ellis Robinson IV and top-ranked linebacker Justin Williams, is nothing short of impressive.

Adding to their victory was the successful flip of KJ Bolden, the top-ranked safety, from Florida State.

Nebraska, too, had a moment in the sun with their recruitment efforts. The flip of Dylan Raiola from Georgia marks a new dawn for the Cornhuskers under the stewardship of head coach Matt Rhule. Raiola’s commitment is akin to a shot of adrenaline, bringing newfound optimism to the team and its fans

The Buckeyes bagged No. 1 recruit Jeremiah Smith after late-stage fireworks, a prospect who could be the next comet streaking across the college football sky. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs also reloaded their arsenals, and this year’s cycle had more plot twists than a bestselling novel. While the transfer portal and NIL might alter the trajectory for some of these recruits, this remains the golden path to constructing a champion.

Let’s delve deeper. Let’s dissect the victors and vanquished from Signing Day, the annual chess game that shapes the future of college football.

The Blue-Blooded Powerhouses: Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State

In the grand theater of recruiting, the script may have been revised, but the central plot remains the same. It’s about talent accumulation, a high-stakes round of poker where Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State consistently hold the royal flush. These are the only three schools to assemble top-5 recruiting classes each of the last five years. The new chapters added to the rulebook – the recruiting calendar, transfer portal, and NIL – have not changed that.

Georgia, like a master magician, pulled off a stunning trick by securing 247Sports.com’s No. 1 class after flipping five-star safety KJ Bolden (Buford, Ga.) from Florida State. Cornerback Ellis Williams (IMG Academy) and defensive tackle Justin Williams (Oak Ridge, Conroe, Texas) are the cornerstones of another formidable fortress for Kirby Smart.

Nick Saban crafted another masterpiece with the Crimson Tide around five-star quarterback Julian Sayin (Carlsbad, Calif.), who will have a year to blossom behind Jalen Milroe. Five-star receiver Ryan Williams (Saraland, Ala.) and cornerback Jaylen Mbakwe (Pinson, Ala.) were the shining stars of their home state. The Crimson Tide also managed to flip local four-star running back Kevin Riley (Tuscaloosa County, Northport, Ala.) from Miami, like a well-played game of chess.

Despite late-game pressure from other suitors, Ohio State clung to Smith, a towering 6-foot-3 receiver who is the latest jewel in offensive coordinator Brian Hartline’s crown. This made up for the sting when four-star receiver Jeremiah McClellan (Christian Brothers College, St. Louis) switched allegiance to Oregon earlier in the day. Defensive lineman Eddrick Houston (Buford, Ga.) also stood firm with the Buckeyes, even as the Crimson Tide surged forward.

Jordan Seaton: A Wild Card in the Deck

In the high-stakes poker game of recruiting, Jordan Seaton was one of the most watched cards. Rumors swirled like a tornado that the promising talent might flip from Colorado to Maryland. The potential switch added a thrilling subplot to an already dramatic day.

Seaton, a five-star recruit, had originally committed to Colorado. But as the day unfolded, it became increasingly clear that he might change his mind. The suspense was thicker than a bowl of chili in a Denver winter.

Colorado’s performance on Early Signing Day was akin to a gloomy winter day – they only managed to sign five high school players. This low number is a red flag, indicating possible challenges in attracting top talent. Conversely, Maryland could hit a goldmine with Seaton’s potential flip, adding a star to their constellation and boosting their recruiting class.

Signing Day and the Importance of the National Letter of Intent

National Signing Day is the crescendo of college football recruiting. It’s the day high school players officially sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI), cementing their commitment to a school. The NLI is a pact, a bond between the player and the school, ensuring that the player will grace the school’s gridiron.

For schools, securing NLIs from top recruits is like striking gold. It solidifies their recruiting class and ushers in an era of optimism. However, missing out on coveted recruits can be a bitter blow, necessitating a re-evaluation of their strategies.

Football Recruiting Rankings and Their Impact on Programs

Football recruiting rankings are the yardstick by which a program’s recruiting prowess is measured. These rankings consider a myriad of factors – the number of highly rated recruits, the overall talent level of the class, and the program’s ability to address specific needs.

A high rank is a feather in the cap for programs, attesting to their ability to attract top talent and build a strong foundation. Conversely, programs that lag in recruiting rankings may face an uphill battle in competing at a high level and may need to re-strategize to enhance their recruiting efforts

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