cloudy.png
Monday June 1st, 2020 8:43AM

Last-minute decisions in SEC add drama to signing day

By The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Leave it to the Southeastern Conference to provide some drama on signing day that otherwise seemed anticlimactic.

Even though the vast majority of recruits already had finalized their college decisions in the December signing period, the traditional February signing date still provided a few surprises as players SEC teams were targeting backed out of longstanding verbal commitments.

Wide receiver George Pickens, the nation's No. 24 overall prospect according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports, flipped his commitment from Auburn to Georgia. Alabama lost a couple of top-200 verbal commitments when defensive end Khris Bogle (No. 71) chose Florida and cornerback Christian Williams (No. 160) signed with Miami.

"The big surprise was George Pickens picking Georgia over Auburn," said Barton Simmons, the director of scouting for 247Sports. "That's a kid who had been committed to Auburn for two years."

Alabama still topped the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings for the eighth time in the last nine years, thanks mainly to the wealth of heralded prospects it signed in December. Alabama enhanced its class Wednesday by signing defensive tackles Ishmael Sopsher (No. 47) and Byron Young (No. 77) and running back Keilan Robinson (No. 244).

"Alabama is just more than championships," Sopsher said. "Coach Nick Saban, he's going to turn you into a man and he's going to set you up for life."

Even so, all those signing day switches added some suspense to a February signing date that has lost plenty of relevance since the 2017 arrival of an early signing period.

The SEC had four of the top five teams in the 247Sports Composite rankings as of early Wednesday evening. Georgia was second, Texas A&M fourth and LSU fifth. Also in the top 15 were Florida at No. 9 and Tennessee at No. 12.

"The SEC is known for flips, known for decommitments, known for cut-throat recruiting," said Mike Farrell, the director of recruiting for Rivals.

Some other notable recruiting stories from around the SEC.

BOUNCING BACK

Alabama's move to the top of the recruiting rankings came one year after it signed a class that ranked fifth in the team standings, ending a string of seven straight first-place finishes. Georgia topped the 2018 team standings .

"We're certainly satisfied," Saban said.

TWO-SPORT THREAT

Ole Miss had one of the day's biggest victories when it beat out Clemson and Alabama for running back Jerrion Ealy, rated 29th in the 247Sports Composite.

But the Rebels shouldn't celebrate just yet.

Ealy also is a talented baseball player and a potential first-round pick in June's draft, which could force him into deciding whether to play football at Ole Miss or launch a professional baseball career.

INVADING ENEMY TERRITORY

One interesting element of Georgia's class is that the Bulldogs signed the top two prospects in the state of Alabama .

Center Clay Webb, ranked second in Alabama and 26th nationally, signed with Georgia in December. The Bulldogs got the top prospect in the state Wednesday when Pickens made his switch from Auburn to Georgia.

The top four prospects in the state of Florida all chose either Alabama or Georgia, though they'd all signed in December. Georgia got defensive end Nolan Smith and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, while Alabama added running back Trey Sanders and offensive tackle Evan Neal.

Florida did a better job of protecting its home state Wednesday by getting Bogle to switch from Alabama to the Gators and beating out Georgia for cornerback Kaiir Elam (48th).

FORTIFYING THE LINE

Tennessee landed the nation's top remaining unsigned prospect when it added offensive tackle Darnell Wright, who was 10th overall in the 247Sports Composite.

The additions of Wright and December signee Wanya Morris (28th) should provide a big boost to a Tennessee offensive line that has struggled mightily the last two seasons.

Tennessee added anotherr top-50 recruit Wednesday as linebacker Henry To'oto'o (44th) announced he was choosing the Vols.

"One of the big selling points we've had right now that has helped us in recruiting has been our (top-ranked) men's basketball program," Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said. "Everywhere I go, everybody wants to talk about our basketball program. I think that's a great thing, putting Tennessee on the map again, building the brand."

SHURMUR SUCCESSOR?

Some schools used the signing date as an opportunity to announce the arrivals of transfers. One of the more notable additions was Vanderbilt's addition of Ball State graduate transfer quarterback Riley Neal, who becomes a potential successor to departing four-year starter Kyle Shurmur.

Vanderbilt also added former Michigan State defensive end Lashawn Paulino-Bell, who spent the 2018 season at East Mississippi Community College.

The Commodores would love these transfers to approach the success of running back KeShawn Vaughn, an Illinois transfer who rushed for 1,244 yards this past season.

___

AP sports writers David Brandt, Brett Martel, Charles Odum and Teresa Walker contributed to this report

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump predicts all IS territory will be cleared next week
President Donald Trump predicts that the Islamic State group will have lost by next week all the territory it once controlled
10:01PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Arizona city officials want border wall's razor wire removed
Officials in a small Arizona border city passed a resolution Wednesday night condemning the installation of new razor wire that now covers the entirety of a tall border wall through downtown
9:56PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Images suggest Iran launched satellite despite US criticism
Satellite images suggest Iran has attempted a second satellite launch despite U.S. criticism of its program
9:55PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: AP source: Bulls land Porter Jr. from Washington
The Latest: AP source: Otto Porter Jr. leaving Washington for Chicago, for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis
8:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: AP sources: Shumpert going to Rockets
The Latest: AP sources: Iman Shumpert heading to Houston in a 3-team deal
8:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Source: Former Michigan Rep. John Dingell in hospice care
A person familiar with the situation says former Rep. John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress in American history, is receiving hospice care
7:08PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
AP Top 25 Podcast: NCAA critics from Miami to Mizzou
AP Top 25 Podcast: NCAA hands down harsh penalties to 2 college basketball players and the University of Missouri
4:50PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Tennessee finishes strong with 2 top-50 recruits
Latest from college football signing day
4:12PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Syracuse lands DL who signed early with Miami
Latest from college football signing day
3:42PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Football
NCAA selection committee starts work with new ranking system
The NCAA selection committee is getting its first use this week of a new ranking system for evaluating teams for the NCAA Tournament
4:40PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: AP source: Anderson, Ellington in Suns-Heat deal
The Latest: AP source: Ryan Anderson, Wayne Ellington also part of Suns-Heat deal
4:39PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: AP source: Miami's Johnson traded to Phoenix
The Latest: AP source: Tyler Johnson going from Miami to Phoenix
4:07PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
The Latest: Georgia lands WR Pickens, a former Auburn commit
Latest from college football signing day
11:11AM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Miami snags 4-star CB from Alabama from Tide
Alabama already has the No. 1 class in the country locked up so losing a four-star or two on signing day is no reason to worry about the Crimson Tide. After losing a defensive to Florida, the Tide lost a cornerback to Miami
10:19AM ( 12 hours ago )
No. 1 Tennessee beats Missouri 72-60 for 17th straight win
No. 1 Tennessee beats Missouri 72-60 to extend school-record winning streak to 17 games
12:02AM ( 22 hours ago )
College Sports
Atlanta officer charged in wreck that led driver to lose arm
An Atlanta police officer has been indicted on charges including reckless driving in a wreck that caused another driver to lose an arm
8:57AM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Source: Raiders in talks with Giants over sharing stadium
AP Source: The Oakland Raiders are in talks with the Giants about playing their home games next season at Oracle Park in San Francisco
1:27AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Michel scores game's first TD; Pats lead 10-3
The Latest: Tom Brady and the Patriots finally turned up the offense to end the Super Bowl's longest touchdown drought. Sony Michel scored on a 2-yard run with 7 minutes remaining to give the Patriots a 10-3 lead over the Rams.
9:42PM ( 3 days ago )
The Latest: Zuerlein makes 53-yard FG; Rams tie Pats 3-3
The Latest: The Rams finally have scored, but the longest touchdown drought in Super Bowl history continues. Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal late in the third quarter to allow the Rams to pull even with the Patriots at 3-3.
9:16PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
McMahon shoots No. 16 Cardinals past No. 11 Hokies, 72-64
Ryan McMahon scored 12 points in a span of 83 seconds in the second half and No. 16 Louisville used a 14-3 run to pull away from a three-point game and beat No. 11 Virginia Tech 72-64 on Monday night
9:15PM ( 2 days ago )
Tennessee remains at No. 1, top 4 unchanged in AP Top 25
Tennessee still No. 1 and top 4 in AP Top 25 unchanged; losses by Michigan, Michigan State cause shake-up
12:13PM ( 2 days ago )
Gillespie's career game carries No. 14 Villanova past Hoyas
Collin Gillespie hits 6 3-pointers, scores career-high 30 points, No. 14 Villanova stays unbeaten in Big East with 77-65 victory over Georgetown
2:29PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Trump predicts all IS territory will be cleared next week
President Donald Trump predicts that the Islamic State group will have lost by next week all the territory it once controlled
10:01PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Arizona city officials want border wall's razor wire removed
Officials in a small Arizona border city passed a resolution Wednesday night condemning the installation of new razor wire that now covers the entirety of a tall border wall through downtown
9:56PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Images suggest Iran launched satellite despite US criticism
Satellite images suggest Iran has attempted a second satellite launch despite U.S. criticism of its program
9:55PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Trump introduces World Bank critic David Malpass to lead it
Trump introduces Treasury official Malpass as his choice to lead the World Bank
9:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
San Francisco gas explosion shoots fire that burns buildings
An explosion on a gas line in San Francisco prompted evacuations of nearby buildings
9:17PM ( 1 hour ago )