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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
Tyson Campbell of American Heritage High School puts on a Georgia hat after announcing his signing with the Bulldogs.
National signing day lost a little bit of the glitz, glamour and drama this year after the first-ever early signing period in college football in December. But now that the 2018 recruiting period is really over, let's catch up on what happened this cycle, and which teams had good - and bad - days. (Note: Rankings and numbers are as of 6 p.m. ET Wednesday when this story was published.)
Georgia: The sting of losing a national championship should be lessened just a bit after Wednesday, when the Bulldogs flipped yet another four-star originally committed to Alabama. This is becoming a trend for UGA. Quay Walker is a 6-3, 218-pound linebacker who endeared himself to Georgia fans not just by picking the Bulldogs but also by picking up a Tennessee hat - was he about to head to Knoxville?!-then flinging it to the side.
Overall it was a tremendous day for the Bulldogs. They finished with the top-ranked class in the country and signed a staggering seven five-star prospects, including No. 2 cornerback Tyson Campbell. Though head coach Kirby Smart said the ranking itself, "really does not float my boat, or this staff's boat," there is no doubt Georgia's dominance on the recruiting trail will be a topic for months.
Alabama: The Tide finished out of the top five in class composite rankings, which is unusual, and lost a couple of big-time prospects, from Walker to four-star receiver Justyn Ross (he picked Clemson). The Tide were ranked No. 7 in 247sports.com's composite class rankings; the last seven seasons, they've finished with the No. 1 class.
But Alabama still managed to lock up one of the top players in the 2018 class: 6-2, 198-pound Patrick Surtain, Jr. of Plantation, Fla., is the highest-rated cornerback prospect in the modern recruiting era, and he's headed to Tuscaloosa. Yes, his dad is the former NFL cornerback of the same name.
Florida State: What a way to close. The Seminoles, under new coach Willie Taggart, were ranked near No. 70 in the class composite rankings after the early signing period but a strong last few weeks - including commits from four-stars receiver Warren Thompson, defensive end Malcolm Lamar and defensive tackle Dennis Briggs - vaulted FSU all the way to No. 11.
Southern California: As always, it's tough to lure kids away from the sunshine of Southern California. The Trojans signed five of the top six players from the state of California and on Wednesday received commitments from five-star cornerback Olaijah Griffin, four-star cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, four-star receiver Devon Williams (who many believed was headed to Oregon) and four-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu. The flurry of late commits brought the Trojans up to No. 4 in 247sports.com composite class rankings.
Arizona State: It seems that new coach Herm Edwards, an unconventional hire by the Sun Devils, has been mostly bewildered by recruiting and all the hoopla that comes with it. As such, ASU's 2018 class was near the middle of the pack, helped by a nice finish. So far the Edwards Experiment is not going well in Tempe.
Among other top schools, Ohio State (No. 2), Texas (No. 3) and Penn State (No. 5) all had big days. Clemson also was solidly in the top 10 despite a small, yet talented, class.
It went the opposite way for Michigan. The Wolverines finished with the fifth- and eighth-ranked classes in 2017 and 2016, respectively, but dropped all the way to No. 21 this year. They were hurt by the last-minute defection of top linebacker Otis Reese to Georgia and missing out on offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere to Ohio State.
The low ranking also was partially due to signing fewer players. The Wolverines signed only 19 this year, compared with 30 and 28 the previous two years.
Like most signing days, there was no shortage of drama. The memorable moment of the day came during the commitment ceremony of Jacob Copeland, one of the best receivers in the 2018 class. On live television, Copeland picked Florida over Alabama and Tennessee. His mom, who was wearing an Alabama sweater and Tennessee, got up from the table and walked away as soon as he put a Gators cap on his head. The story did have a happy ending as they hugged shortly afterward.
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