4 schools that crushed it with big moves on National Signing Day
While almost 75 percent of the nation's recruits in the class of 2018 made their choice during the Early Signing Period in December, there was still an opportunity for schools to make their move on National Signing Day.
Most programs saw their ranking change by two spots or less but there were four schools among the top 20 that closed in strong fashion to significantly change their class.
Here are the big movers on the day:
Thanks to a monster closing day by Clay Helton, USC jumped from No. 14 to No. 7 and easily claimed the top class in the Pac-12. The Trojans already had Amon-Ra St. Brown and J.T. Daniels on board from the Early Signing Period, but Helton wasn't content to sit tight with that haul.
The veteran coach landed commitments from the No. 1 athlete Devon Williams, No. 1 linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, and the ninth and 10th-ranked cornerbacks in the country, Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart. USC once again dominated the state of California, bringing in the top three players in the area and gaining commitments from five of the top eight prospects. The Trojans are the only Pac-12 school to pull a top-10 class in this period and look set to build on last season's conference championship.
Florida State fans may be used to their school finishing in the top five nationally of the recruiting rankings, but what Willie Taggart pulled off in two months since coming over from Oregon is reason to celebrate. The energetic coach was able to piece together some major signings on Wednesday to move the Seminoles from the No. 16 overall class to No. 11.
The Seminoles already had their top five commits locked-in entering Wednesday, but added commitments from four-star defensive tackle Malcolm Lamar and electric athlete Tre'Shaun Harrison. Wideout Warren Thompson followed Taggart to Florida State from Oregon to give the Seminoles nine players on the ESPN 300.
Dan Mullen already got his quarterback in the Early Signing Period with four-star standout Emory Jones, and Wednesday he added some weapons for Florida's new pivot to throw to. Justin Watkins and Jacob Copeland are both top-five players nationally at their positions and should immediately help the Gators' anemic passing game from last season.
Florida may have missed out on the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, but salvaged the position by landing the sixth-ranked player at the position, Richard Gouraige. Mullen also added four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield and showed that the Gators will be a force to watch under his tenure.
Jimbo Fisher earned the reputation as one of the country's best recruiters at Florida State, and the veteran coach showed that to be true on Wednesday at his new school. Texas A&M jumped from No. 24 to No. 16 in the rankings, by far the biggest move among the top 20 schools. The prize of the day on Wednesday was four-star quarterback James Foster out of Alabama signing on with the Aggies.
Fisher also added running back Jashaun Corbin and guard Tank Jenkins to the offensive side of the ball while strengthening the defense with four-star defensive end Jeremiah Martin. He may have only landed two of the top-20 recruits in the state of Texas, but Fisher showed in a short period of time that his recruiting talent certainly made the trip with him from Florida State.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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