Alabama finished the No. 1 class overall after the first day of the final signing period for recruits in the 2021 Class – and possibly Nick Saban’s best since joining the Crimson Tide.
The Crimson Tide was able to stop ESPN 300 from freaking Camar Wheaton back to Oklahoma, and they signed the ESPN 300 Security Terrion Arnold to complete with 22 ESPN 300 commitments. These include three five-star and 13 interested parties in the top 100.
“”[Saban’s] The message to me was just, “Why not come to a winning program?” Arnold said during the ESPN program that aired his announcement. “The level of competition there is a high-level competition, and if I feel like one of the best players in the country why not compete with the best?”
Saban certified its employees that they had adapted to the times and developed virtual relationships with recruits during the pandemic.
“We turned official visits and camps and all that into virtual reality, so to speak, in terms of our management, relationship development, the time we spent with the players we recruited and the relationships we could develop, ”said Saban.
The state of Ohio did not add any recruits during this signing period as staff were based on a decision by the five-star defensive tackle J.T. Tuimoloau, the No. 4 view overall. How long he’ll wait is up in the air, but he’s considering Ohio, Alabama, Oregon, Washington, and USC states.
The most notable leap into the top 10 of the class that day was the Texas A&M Aggies moving from 9th to 6th after landing ESPN 300 and L.J. Johnson ran back, recruits with the number 86 overall.
Other moves included Oregon making the top 5 and USC moving up to 8th. LSU fell two places to 7th place.
Dickerson puts Ducks in the top 5 class: Cornerback Avante Dickerson, the overall No. 49 prospect and one of only four recruits who were not signed in the top 50 of the rankings in February, chose Oregon on Wednesday.
The 6-foot, 170-pound corner of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska, had been relocated to Minnesota and was the highest engagement the Gophers ever had, but he was fired on January 24th after serving in December had not signed.
When he resumed his recruiting, Dickerson considered Oregon, Nebraska, and Minnesota and finally settled on the ducks. His engagement contributes to an already stellar recruiting class for Oregon that was # 6 on the class rankings prior to his engagement.
Dickerson is now the highest ranking engagement in the class for Oregon, 10 spots ahead of broad receiver Isaiah Brevard, who ranks 59th. His engagement gives the Ducks 16 ESPN 300 recruits, three of whom are defense lawyers.
The staff has already built a foundation of young defensive players on the roster and added 13 defensive ESPN 300 prospects in the last three grades. In the 2021 cycle, seven of the eight most important obligations are punishable.
These include quarterback Ty Thompson, wide receivers Brevard, Troy Franklin and Dont’e Thornton, and Seven McGee.
Oregon has steadily risen in recruitment rankings over the past few cycles under coach Mario Cristobal, and the 16 ESPN 300 commitments in this class are the highest the program has signed since the ESPN 300 launched in 2013.
# 46 Davis Commits to Trojans: USC added a top 50 engagement in its class with linebacker Raesjon Davis, number 46 overall.
Davis chose the Trojans over Ohio State, LSU, Oregon, and Vanderbilt. USC now has engagements from three of the top four recruits in the state, including defensive end Korey Foreman, number 1 in California.
USC, which finished 54th overall last year, made a big leap into the top 15 class this year. Staff made a concerted effort to keep USC’s top recruits in the west.
USC only had one ESPN 300 commitment in the 2020 cycle. In 2021, the coaching team has 10 in class with Davis.
Defensive tackle Malone chooses Ole Miss: Ole Miss was able to play Tywone Malone, the number 45 recruit overall, in the ESPN 300 defensive tackle, despite not meeting Lane Kiffin in that recruitment cycle.
Malone is a 6-4, 310-pound device from Bergen Catholic High in Oradell, New Jersey that Ole Miss selected across Texas A&M, the State of Florida, Rutgers, Tennessee, and USC. He also intends to play at Ole Miss baseball after getting permission to try both after being hired by both coaches.
Malone is the highest ranked commit in the class. Ole Miss was able to turn over Florida state ESPN 300 quarterback Luke Altmyer and also received a pledge from Hudson Wolfe, a four-star tight-end who had been released from Tennessee.
In total, Kiffin has seven ESPN 300 engagements in the class.
Receiver Hill chooses FSU: The state of Florida is still trying to rebuild the roster and compounded the offense when ESPN 300 recipient Destyn Hill announced its commitment to the Seminoles.
Hill is the No. 89 recruit overall and is now the top ranked engagement in class for Trainer Mike Norvell and his staff. Hill is a 6-foot, 170-pound recipient from Edna Karr High School, New Orleans, and is the second ESPN 300 recipient in class with Malik McClain.
The staff now has a total of six ESPN 300 commitments, but has also focused heavily on the transfer portal this cycle. Norvell added eight transfers, including quarterback McKenzie Milton, safety Jammie Robinson, and running back D.J. Williams.
These transfers will help Norvell and his staff quickly transform the roster by adding players who can help immediately as the high school recruits advance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.