College Football Analysis

National Signing Day 2022: What You Need To Know

Early National Signing Day serves as a precursor to the primary one that takes place in February, but most classes are built in December. Several teams will have their 2023 recruiting classes either made or broken depending on how the cards fall for them on this NSD, which opened Wednesday and closes Friday.

Players can make verbal commitments, but until the ink is dry on a letter on intent, it remains open season on player commitments. The transfer portal remains open but schools rely on their recruiting classes to do the real team building.

With the first of two windows open, some early takeaways can be made for both specific teams and recruiting as a whole. Here are five:

Oregon, Dan Lanning Flip Tables

Coach Dan Lanning came to Oregon in January after a successful run at Georgia, where it appears he picked up some recruiting tips from Kirby Smart. The Ducks had a strong class heading into National Signing Day but they fully utilized their final few hours to sell players on their program.

Within a span of three hours Tuesday morning, Oregon was able to flip the commitments of five-star safety Peyton Bowen, four-star cornerback Daylen Austin, and four-star quarterback Austin Novosad. Add in the fact they were able to lock down five-star defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei and it is easy to include Oregon as one of the day’s biggest winners.

Alabama Reminds Everyone They Aren’t Done 

Despite not making this year’s College Football Playoff, Alabama has not lost any ground in recruiting. On Tuesday, the Tide locked down a pair of five-star defensive linemen in James Smith and Qua Russaw, as well as five-star cornerback Caleb Downs.

Those three commitments bring Alabama’s total of five-star recruits to six. That many five-stars should have Nick Saban well on his way to locking down another top-ranked recruiting class.

Malachi Nelson Makes USC Official 

While everyone clamored over Arch Manning signing with Texas on Wednesday, Lincoln Riley was quietly laying the groundwork to replace Heisman-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. USC signed five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson, who is expected to be on Campus in January. 

The second-ranked quarterback in the 2023 class had a recruitment that you would expect of any top-ranked passer. Nelson had offers from the likes of Oklahoma and Alabama, but ultimately decided to stay home in California and continue the renaissance of USC that Riley has started.

Prime Recruiting at Colorado

One of the biggest shockers of National Signing Day was cornerback Cormani McClain deciding to delay signing his letter of intent with Miami after verbally committing in October. McClain is the top-ranked cornerback in the 2023 class and the cause for his delayed signing has raised more than a few eyebrows.

It was reported by 247 Sports on Wednesday that Colorado and new coach Deion Sanders had made contact with McClain. While the exact details of their conversation are unknown, there appears to be a recruiting battle brewing for McClain’s services. 

Sanders has been busy on his phone. Late Wednesday night, he got a commitment from former five-star recruit Travis Hunter, who played both cornerback and wide receiver for Sanders at Jackson State. Hunter, a top-5 prospect in the 2022 class, originally committed to Florida State before flipping on national signing day last year to join Sanders’ FCS program.

Hunter was the second Jackson State player to follow Sanders to Colorado. Earlier on Wednesday, his son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, announced he would join the Buffs. 

Quarterback Transfers

High school recruits were not the only ones announcing what schools they would be playing for in 2023. Several notable quarterbacks took their names out of the transfer portal by committing to their new schools. 

Quarterbacks Graham Mertz (formerly of Wisconsin), Emory Jones, and J.T. Daniels all decided what schools they would be playing for next fall. Mertz announced his commitment to Florida; Jones, formerly of Florida, chose Cincinnati; and Daniels, who played at West Virginia, is transferring to Rice.

Gators coach Billy Napier will try to get out of Mertz what Wisconsin couldn’t from the former five-star recruit. Mertz will compete to replace Anthony Richardson, who recently announced his intention to enter the 2023 draft.

Two other notable quarterbacks, D.J. Uiagalelei (Clemson) and Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina), remain in the portal.

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