Experts Answer Post-Signing Day Questions
Seantrel Henderson capped a big day for Trojans
Seantrel Henderson capped a big day for Trojans

Posted Feb 4, 2010


As the smoke begins to clear from signing day, Scout.com recruiting analysts from around the country answer five important questions.

What team had the biggest signing day surge?
Scott Kennedy | Director of Scouting
Looking nationally, it’s hard just to pick on team, so I’ll comment on several. It was a good day in Los Angeles as both USC and UCLA vaulted into the Top 10 with huge days. In the South, Florida State is back as a national player amongst recruits, and Ole Miss again closed with a flourish on Signing Day.

Allen Wallace | National Editor
For me, that team is UCLA. The Bruins elevated their rank hugely on LOI Day by adding LB Jordan Zumwalt, LB/DE Josh Shirley, DB/WR Anthony Jefferson, D Dietrich Riley and perhaps most importantly Owamagbe Odighizuwa. That's an amazing amount of firepower and it's all the more impressive because Pac-10 rivals USC, Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Arizona were all the victims of this final Bruin onslaught.

Chad Simmons | Southeast Region
LSU had the best surge in 2010; they stole Jarrett Fobbs from Texas A&M, Kadron Boone from Texas Tech, J.C. Copeland from Tennessee and then landed Ego Ferguson whom most felt would land in Miami. Les Miles really closed strong this year and they would be the top school in my region.

Brandon Huffman | West Region
USC and UCLA both. With Seantrel Henderson, Markeith Ambles, Nickell Robey and Hayes Pullard, the Trojans ended up with some elite eleventh-hour commits. While they'll have to wait to see what happens with Henderson and if he signs, the other signees USC got on Signing Day are a big boost. Across town, the Bruins landed five-star Owamagbe Odighizuwa and four-stars in Josh Shirley, Dietrich Riley, Jordan Zumwalt and Anthony Jefferson

Greg Powers | Midlands Region
Oklahoma may have not have moved up the most numerically, but the one spot that they did climb was huge as the Sooners supplanted Texas as the top class in the Big 12 and number two nationally with the news that five-star linebacker Corey Nelson had spurned Big 12 South rival Texas A&M to sign with Oklahoma. All in all, the Sooners inked 29 players with eleven of the 29 playing along the offensive or defensive line, so the Sooners could be bringing back some smash mouth football to the Big 12.

Bob Lichtenfels | East Region
I would have to say West Virginia made the biggest push on signing day by landing three commitments including four-star standout wide receiver Ivan McCartney and securing the services of three-star safety Travis Bell who had been a soft verbal. Rutgers would be a close second as they had a very good final twenty-four hours themselves including the signing of four-star wide receiver Brandon Coleman.

Allen Trieu | Midwest Region
Things were very quiet around the Big Ten. Michigan and Illinois were some of the few who picked up Signing Day commitments. As far as late surges though, Purdue had a couple late commits I really liked.

What team was hit hardest by either decommitment or missing out on players?
Scott Kennedy | Director of Scouting
Georgia took a couple of hits through the week losing four-star cornerback Nickell Robey to USC and five-star wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers to Tennessee. Stanford also was hit with defections including 4-Star corner Louis Young to Georgia Tech and 4-Star linebacker Jordan Zumwalt to UCLA.

Allen Wallace | National Editor
I think the team's that suffered the biggest late disappointments are Texas A&M and Georgia. The Aggies are at a point where they need to seriously start upgrading if they are to begin successfully competing with Texas again. Instead, Mike Sherman loses LB Corey Nelson to Oklahoma. Nelson was set to play the Mike position for the Aggies and they have a big need there. The loss of Jarrett Fobbs, their best WR commitment was just another punch in the stomach. Georgia fell badly by losing big play in-state WR Da'Rick Rogers to Tennessee and diminutive but speedy CB Nickell Robey to USC. Those are both the type of players who can change the complexion of games for a team and the Bulldogs look like they could use a jumpstart.


Da' Rick Rogers changed the course of two teams | Chad Simmons, Scout.com
Chad Simmons | Southeast
Georgia has to be the school here. They lost five-star wide receiver Da’ Rick Rogers to Tennessee on Signing Day and he had been committed to Georgia since June. B.J. Butler, Deon Rogers, and Nickell Robey also de-committed from them in the last few weeks and went on to sign with other schools. They lost out on top in-state defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker (signed with Auburn), linebacker Telvin Smith (signed with FSU), and wide receiver Jordan Akins (signed with UCF) amongst a couple others.

Brandon Huffman | West Region
Washington State lost two of their top commits, tight end Asante Cleveland to Miami and Maxx Forde, the son of a Cougar legend, to Idaho. They did, though, C.J. Mizell to soften the blow. But losing an elite tight end like Cleveland and a legacy like Forde hurt.

Greg Powers | Midlands Region
Texas A&M plummeted in the recruiting rankings after losing Jarrett Fobbs to LSU and Corey Nelson to OU. They were able to ink 3-star defensive tackle Brandon Jackson, but after starting the day in the Top 15 nationally the Aggies were left hanging on to the 25th spot by the end of the day.

Bob Lichtenfels | East Region
Again I would have to choose West Virginia, the last time I looked they lost eleven players who were committed to them at one point and that number could be twelve if you count the 72 hours of a commitment from Richard Ash. At one point in time West Virginia had the top class in the Big East and were top 15 overall earlier this season.

Allen Trieu | Midwest Region
Illinois had some decommitments earlier in the year that they were able to then fill the spots with. Ohio State lost Jordan Hicks, Matt James and Seantrel Henderson, but that is going to happen when you recruit the top players in the country.

What player’s decision surprised you the most?
Scott Kennedy | Director of Scouting
Linebacker Hayes Pullard attends a school in L.A. that had typically been very pro-UCLA, so his decision to attend USC was one of the bigger surprises. Five-star defensive end Corey Lemonier spurning Florida State to sign with the out of state Auburn Tigers was also a big surprise.

Allen Wallace | National Editor
I was totally blown away by LB/DE Josh Shirley's decision to attend UCLA over USC. For months the sentiment was that Shirley was headed USC's way. When he picked up the UCLA hat at his press conference, you could see even the interviewer was totally shocked. We later learned that Shirley had been secretly committed to UCLA for an unknown length of time, making the scenario even more interesting. You don't often see this type of misdirection combined with that amount of surprise at a national signing announcement. Another major surprise was DT Ricky Heimuli's decision to attend Oregon over UCLA. I had really penciled in Heimuli as a Bruin. The west was crazy this year as there were other late semi-shockers involving LB Hayes Pullard (USC), S Sean Parker (Washington) and TE Asante Cleveland (Miami).

Chad Simmons | Southeast
Keenan Allen really surprised me going out to the West Coast and signing with California. It did not really surprise me on Signing Day, but up until the last 24-48 hours, it looked like Clemson would be the school for him. It was a little shocking to see him go all the way across the country. Brandon Gainer to Kentucky was a big surprise too even though he is not a real high profile recruit.

Brandon Huffman | West Region
Josh Shirley to UCLA. For two months, he had said he was down to Arizona, USC, Washington and Miami. Then on Tuesday night, he told us he was down to USC, Washington and Miami. So who does he pick on Signing Day? UCLA, where he never even visited officially.

Greg Powers | Midlands Region
As surprising as the Corey Nelson to Oklahoma news was, the news that Arkansas managed to convince two committed Tulsa (Okla.) area players to switch their commits last minute was huge. Jarrett Lake had been committed to the Sooners for months and did not even play as a senior, but ended up signing with the Hogs. U.S. Army All-American defensive tackle Calvin Barnett's possible decommitment had been speculated upon for months and that speculation came to fruition on Wednesday when he switched from Oklahoma State to Arkansas.

Bob Lichtenfels | East Region
Good Counsel cornerback Louis Young changed his mind more than any player I have seen in all of my time in this industry. It’s not even the fact that Young did not end up at Stanford, but he goes to Georgia Tech and I am not sure anyone saw that one coming at all.

Allen Trieu | Midwest Region
Bruce Gaston going to Purdue came out of nowhere for me. It looked like Notre Dame for awhile, then the coaching change and his great visit to Michigan State happened and I thought he would be a Spartan. So he picks Purdue, but I think it's a good fit for both.

What team had the best recruiting year?
Scott Kennedy | Director of Scouting
Two traditional powers that thrust themselves back into the recruiting forefront for the first time in years are the Washington Huskies and the Florida State Seminoles. Washington had a much better season on the field, but the Huskies had laid the groundwork for a top fifteen class before the football season even began and Florida State closed on the week of Signing Day like the Florida State of old.

Allen Wallace | National Editor
Florida had the best year and the strength and depth of Urban Meyer's defensive accumulation of players is truly remarkable. Roping in DE Ronald Powell from California, DT Sharrif Floyd from Pennsylvania and Dominique Easley from New York is about as good a defensive trenches triumvirate as I have ever seen land in one place. Throw in in-staters Lynden Trail and Leon Orr and you wonder how Gator opponents will hope to scheme against such immediate, overwhelming defensive pressure. Finishing strong with WR Adrian Coxson and OL Chaz Green was practically overkill. Also, imagine signing two safeties with the ability of Matt Elam and Jonathan Dowling.


Sean Parker was a key addition for Washington | Kevin Carden, SCPlaybook.com
Chad Simmons | Southeast Region
Auburn had the best recruiting year in the South. Many questioned the hiring of Gene Chizik from the very beginning and he won some big games in 2009 and recruited very well in 2010. He is off to a great start and will finish in the top five in his first full year at Auburn. Landing the top players in Arkansas (Michael Dyer), Louisiana (Trovon Reed), and Mississippi (Shon Coleman) is great and then landing five-star defensive end Corey Lemonier out of South Florida just added to their success in Alabama and Georgia.

Brandon Huffman | West Region
USC, UCLA and Washington all have to be happy with their hauls this year, especially the latter two, coming off a 7-6 and 5-7 season respectively. They are all amongst the top dozen schools.

Greg Powers | Midlands Region
The Sooners ended up with the top class in the region, but the case could definitely be made that Texas had the best year. How many coaching staffs would like to virtually get to pick their class? That's right, all of them! And that is basically what Texas did for the Class of 2010. They offered 33 players and 25 of them committed to Mack Brown and the Longhorns including the last six commitments coming from five-star talents.

Bob Lichtenfels | East Region
Penn State by a landslide they were the best team wire to wire. The hit the accelerator and never looked back. What is even more amazing is could you imagine how good this class would have been with five-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley and four-star wide receiver Adrian Coxson in it?

Allen Trieu | Midwest Region
Penn State had an outstanding year. They have one of the best classes in the nation. I'd have to throw Purdue and Northwestern in as teams who had excellent years and out of the MAC, Toledo had a really good class.

What player in your region is going to have the biggest impact?
Scott Kennedy | Director of Scouting
I think running back is the easiest position to come in and have the biggest impact, so I’d answer that question with another, by asking which good running back is going to a school that has the biggest need at the position? I could see number one running back Marcus Lattimore having a Trent Richardson (Alabama) like season at South Carolina. Maybe a guy like Spencer Ware at LSU with the Tigers losing its two leading rushers. But overall, if Scout’s number one quarterback Jake Heaps wins the job at BYU, he is going to throw for a lot of yards next year.

Allen Wallace | National Editor
I think USC, which was in need of playmakers, is the team that stands to realize the biggest impact, but it could be from four different prospects: WRs Kyle Prater, Robert Woods or Markeith Ambles and OL Seantrel Henderson - if he signs. The Prater/Woods/Ambles equation is very intriguing. Just who will emerge as the leader of that group is hard to say. For USC to try so hard for Ambles after securing Prater and Woods shows you how much the staff thinks of him. And the three might strongly impact the USC program immediately by igniting a fire under WRs like Brice Butler, De'Von Flournoy and Ronald Johnson, who will have to step up if they expect to hold the youngsters off. And if Henderson ends up signing with the Trojans and is truly comparable to past great OLs such as Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden or Anthony Munoz, then the USC o-line will be dramatically upgraded before long.

Chad Simmons | Southeast
I have to go with the obvious and say Marcus Lattimore. He is just the total package at running back and South Carolina needs someone like him. He is mentally and physically strong enough to play a big role in their offense as a true freshman in 2010. I look at Lattimore and see him having a Tim Tebow-like effect on South Carolina football. I am not talking about them winning two out of the next four national championships like the Gators, but just becoming the face of the program, representing them well on and off the field, and making key plays in key moments for the Gamecocks. Lattimore is just that special.

Brandon Huffman | West Region
Since it's uncertain what Seantrel Henderson will do, I look to either Robert Woods/Kyle Prater at USC, to become favorite targets of Matt Barkley and Chris Martin at Cal to become the anchor of the Bears defense.

Greg Powers | Midlands Region
The player that may have the biggest impact right off the bat is Kansas Junior College quarterback signee Quinn Mecham. The race for the top spot is wide open in Lawrence and since Mecham was hand picked by Turner Gill's staff he would probably be the odds on favorite to win the job by the time the season rolls around. Kale Pick has received some reps behind Todd Reesing, but Mecham would still probably be considered the most veteran leader on the squad.

Bob Lichtenfels | East Region
Short term, I would choose Penn State recruit Mike Hull. I think Hull steps in at linebacker and plays right away. Long term, two guys who I think will eventually be high round draft choices if they work are offensive tackle Tom Ricketts who is headed to Penn State and defensive end T.J. Clemmings who is going to Pittsburgh. Ricketts has phenomenal upside and Clemmings is a freak athlete who will excel under the tutelage of Pitt defensive line coach Greg Gattuso.

Allen Trieu | Midwest Region
As far as immediate impact, I think Kyle Prater will be able to come right in and play at USC, he's just too special to not get on the field. I also think with the quarterback situation at Penn State, Paul Jones and Robert Bolden will be able to make an instant impact.


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