David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Alabama continues to crush the recruiting cycle.
The defending champions crushed the early national signing day on Wednesday, landing 5-star running back Trey Sanders, 5-star offensive tackle Evan Neal and defensive end Antonio Alfano. Sanders is ranked as the No. 5 overall recruit in the nation and the top player at his position, while Neal comes in at No. 20 overall and is the fifth-ranked offensive tackle. Alfano is the No. 28 player overall and No. 3 at his position.
And Sanders expects to hit the ground running in Tuscaloosa:
SI College Football @si_ncaafb
The nation’s top-ranked running back Trey Sanders is heading to Alabama with some BIG talk: ‘I will be a [Heisman] finalist. I will be in New York next year, looking forward to it.’ https://t.co/ql0RBskB03 https://t.co/w3i9qAMWi1
For good measure, the Crimson Tide also flipped 4-star safety Jordan Battle from Ohio State. Oh, and they also added Tua Tagovailoa‘s younger brother, 4-star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa:
Alabama Football @AlabamaFTBL
Welcome QB @tauliaa12 to the Alabama Football Family!
They even got the top kicker prospect in the country, Will Reichard:
It wasn’t all fun and games for the Crimson Tide, however, as the top safety recruit in the country, 5-star Daxton Hill, flipped his commitment from Alabama to Michigan:
SI College Football @si_ncaafb
A huge re-flip for Michigan, as five-star S Daxton Hill officially signs on with the maize and blue after switching his pledge to Alabama a few weeks ago: https://t.co/2YQfbCyyTC https://t.co/Js94wsCepj
Alabama also has Georgia nipping on its heels in the class of 2019, as the Bulldogs landed their fifth 5-star recruit on Wednesday, with inside linebacker Nakobe Dean committing to Georgia. He joined the top recruit in the nation, defensive end Nolan Smith, alongside 5-stars in center Clay Webb, defensive tackle Travon Walker and wideout Dominick Blaylock.
Dean’s recruitment came down to the wire, as Chad Simmons of Rivals noted:
Chad Simmons @ChadSimmons_
Five-star LB Nakobe Dean told me Monday night that he could have his decision made that night. Here we are Wednesday morning, and I’m hearing that decision still hasn’t been made. #Bama #UGA #LSU #OleMiss are doing all they can to get this elite prospect. #RivalsNSD
Ultimately, however, the Bulldogs got their man.
As for the No. 2 prospect in the land, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux officially signed with the Oregon Ducks.
Mario Cristobal @coach_cristobal
BOOM!!! LETS WELCOME KAYVON THIBODEAUX TO THE FAMILY!!! @kayvonT8 https://t.co/LgygB40THI
Over in Norman, the Oklahoma Sooners have fielded the last two Heisman Trophy winners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. So it was only fitting that the program would also add the top quarterback in the country on Wednesday when Spencer Rattler officially signed with the school.
Spencer Rattler @SpencerRattler
Extremely excited to be officially apart of the Oklahoma Family! Thank you @LincolnRiley for making this the best recruitment ever. Next stop Norman. 💯 #BOOMER #NewWave19 https://t.co/r6a0cJ53zM
The Ohio State Buckeyes haven’t had a vintage recruiting cycle, likely in part to Urban Meyer‘s decision to leave the team, though they did land the No. 4 overall recruit in the class of 2019, defensive end Zach Harrison. That decision earned the seal of approval from Nick Bosa, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft:
South Carolina got a major boost to its recruiting class when 5-star defensive lineman Zacch Pickens committed to the Gamecocks. And he might play more than just defense for the team:
Josh Kendall @JoshatTheState
Will Muschamp on 5-star DL Zacch Pickens, who rushed for almost 1,000 yards this season: “I think he gives us some short yardage and goal line options.”
As for some of the notable 4-star players, Arizona State landed a pair of twins, USC brought aboard a two-sport star, North Carolina nabbed a quarterback and Florida won the chase for the Lakeland Trio:
Sun Devil Football @ASUFootball
@kejuan_markham @keonmarkham_11 ✌️ Twins
🌊😈 Cali Devils
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Four Stars https://t.co/aC6iX3PLAt
USC Men’s Basketball @USC_Hoops
Congratulations on signing your NLI with @USC_Athletics, @DrakeLondon_!
The two-sport star is a major piece of our 2019 class as well.
#FightOn | #NSD https://t.co/xiN0CrMsKi
Carolina Football @TarHeelFootball
The moment Sam Howell put on that Carolina blue hat 👊🧢
#TakeFl19ht #GoHeels https://t.co/TH3LiEN7Kj
It was a busy day in college football, with a large number of players taking a step forward in their football careers. And yet when the dust settled, a familiar theme emerged: Alabama won the day.
The early signing period runs through Friday, though, so plenty could still happen.
Note: All commitments and recruiting ranks via 247Sports’ composite rankings.