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What were the biggest surprises around the nation on early signing day?

A look at some of the recruiting moves around the nation on Wednesday.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Ohio State vs Wisconsin Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It seems all Ohio State does lately is win. On the field and off the field, it’s been a whirlwind of success for the Buckeyes. That continued on Wednesday with the all-important signing of CJ Stroud. Of course, the Buckeyes were one of his top contenders, but so were Michigan, Georgia, Oregon and many other big schools in the nation. It wasn’t a sure thing by any means, but OSU has been amazing at getting it done when it counts, and they did it again on Wednesday.

Not only that, but pending the decision of Clark Phillips III, they saw no flips despite losing one of the best coaches and recruiters in the game in Jeff Hafley — which might be the most impressive thing about this early signing period. Clearly the coaching staff did an excellent job letting the kids know that without Hafley this defense will continue to be a dominant force.

Lots of other teams weren’t so lucky, as surprise flips and kids getting processed out saw other programs lose out on some of the most highly-touted recruits.


Five-star wide receiver Rakim Jarrett stayed home to play for the Maryland Terrapins. He’s been an LSU commit since April 27 of this year, and made the biggest splash of the early signing period. He instantly became Maryland’s biggest get this season, a whole 0.9 composite score above its next highest recruit. He slots in as the No. 4 all-time highest rated recruit for the Terrapins. He’s the No. 20 overall player, and No. 2 wide receiver behind only OSU’s own Julian Fleming. Jarrett is the only five-star going to a Big Ten school not named Ohio State so far this recruiting class.

The flip moved LSU’s class down two spots in the 2020 rankings, which combined with the Stroud signing allowed OSU to reclaim No. 3.


Five-star SDE Jordan Burch spurned Clemson for the Gamecocks. Burch wasn’t committed anywhere, but most 247 Crystal Balls until yesterday had him as a near-lock for Clemson. Even then, two of his final three crystal balls projected him to LSU. Instead, Burch chose South Carolina in the end, and they got a good one. He’s the No. 5 overall recruit in 2020, and becomes South Carolina’s second all-time highest rated recruit.

There’s been talks this year about a historic, never-before-seen type of class from Clemson. Burch was a projected part of that, and with this latest news it goes from untouchable to just really amazing — which is a bit of a relief to the rest of the nation.


Justin Flowe, a five-star inside linebacker, chose Oregon over USC. He’s the No. 4 player in the nation, and the No. 40 highest-rated player of all time. Oregon really seems to be building something out there, nabbing two top 25 guys in 2020. Until this week, Flowe had zero Crystal Ball predictions for Oregon, and was thought to be heading to USC. Instead, the Trojans took another huge hit, and Clay Helton’s seat gets a little bit warmer.


This isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s finally official, and OSU fans can stop dreaming. Five-star RB Bjian Robinson signed with Texas, and the Longhorns stay afloat in 2020. Robinson is the No. 15 recruit in the nation, and the No. 2 RB. Would’ve been great to see him come to Columbus, but he did what he wanted to do for this family. Can’t blame the guy.


Alabama got into the flipping action by stealing high four-star RB Jase McClellan from Oklahoma. McClellan had been committed to Oklahoma for two years, committing on July 29th, 2017. 872 days later, he’s part of the Crimson Tide. Rough break for the Sooners.

Florida State flipped four-star QB Chubba Purdy from ACC rival Louisville. Purdy had been committed to the Cardinals since June 21 of this year, but FSU takes another step in the right direction in trying to become a national powerhouse once again. Purdy is the No. 6 dual threat QB in the nation — a great starting piece for the Mike Norvell era.


Speaking of FSU, they needed Purdy to replace the man who decommitted from the Seminoles last week: Jeff Sims. The four-star QB, and the No. 7 dual threat QB in the nation, is a big get for Georgia Tech, which currently has a top-25 class.


LSU lost another wide receiver commit on Wednesday, as four-star Jermaine Burton flipped to SEC rival Georgia. Burton is the No. 52 prospect in the nation, and the No. 8 wide receiver. He committed to LSU on April 20, but the Tigers had a really rough day to kick off the Early Signing Period.


Tyler Baron was another pipe dream for OSU, but the four-star SDE made it official on Wednesday that he is going to Tennessee. Ohio State was in his top three, but will need to continue its search for another defensive end elsewhere.


Finally, we end off with E.J. Smith, the No. 3 all-purpose back in the nation. Ohio State was in for him as late as November 22 when he took an official visit there, and did get to take part in the hat dance. Ultimately, it was not to be. Smith chose Stanford.


Quick Hits

There were a few more notable signings worth mentioning on Wednesday.

  • LSU also lost four-star safety Malcolm Greene and four-star WDE Demon Clowney. Both of these were expected, with Greene going to Clemson and Clowney being phased out in favor of other targets.
  • Nebraska snagged four-star safety Jaiden Francois. He was considered a Miami lock until the signing became official.
  • Four-star wide receiver Johnny Wilson flips from Oregon to Arizona State, souring the Ducks’ big day just a little. Oregon also loses four-star S Myles Slusher to Arkansas.