Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Ole Miss muscled in on the powerhouses that usually dominate national signing day, landing several of the nation's most sought-after prospects Wednesday.
The Rebels, coming off a 7-6 season under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, signed three big names and built a well-rounded class.
"I do think (this class) has the possibility of being a program changer," Freeze said. "But it's all on paper right now."
The day started with defensive end Robert Nkemdiche from Loganville, Ga., rated the No. 1 recruit in the country by just about every recruiting service, deciding to join his brother, Denzel, in Oxford.
"I feel like it's the right place for me," said Nkemdiche (pronounced kim-dee-chee). "I feel like they can do special things and they're on the rise."
Nkemdiche made a nonbinding oral commitment to Clemson last year, then backed off and made his field LSU, Florida and Mississippi.
A couple of hours after Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, a top-rated offensive tackle from Lake City, picked the Rebels over FSU and Georgia.
"Tunsil to Ole Miss I think was the biggest surprise of the whole (recruiting season)," said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting director for 247Sports.com.
Then touted defensive back Antonio Conner from Batesville, Miss., chose the Rebels over Alabama, and Laquon Treadwell from Crete, Ill., one of the top receivers, followed through on his commitment.
Mom won't sign son over to Arkansas
South Plantation's Alex Collins, a five-star running back who was previously committed to Miami and then abruptly changed to Arkansas on Monday, saw his mother exit his would-be signing ceremony Wednesday.
Andrea McDonald, a single parent, went to the school with Alex's brother, Johnny, and older sister, but after a private chat with Alex, she left without signing his papers.
A parent or legal guardian must sign a national letter of intent if the prospective athlete is under 21.
"She said she didn't want to sign," Johnny Collins, 20, told the Miami Herald. "She's having anxiety. I know she preferred him to go to UM."
Alabama at top: The Crimson Tide wrapped up a 25-player class that was rated a consensus No. 1, with 18 of the ESPN 300. Five-star defensive linemen A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen, who could play defensive end or outside linebacker, were among six players rated as a five-star prospect by at least one recruiting service. "I think we added fast-twitch pass-rushing athletic guys to the defensive line category as being a higher priority because of more spread offenses, more athletic quarterbacks," coach Nick Saban said.
Gone to Bruins: Asiantii Woulard, ESPN's top dual-threat quarterback who orally committed to USF then decommitted, signed with UCLA. Woulard, out of Winter Park, is expected to be the backup to Brett Hundley, who will be a sophomore.
Boston College: Former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, the new Eagles coach, will be joined by his son, Louie, who is transferring from Syracuse, and Matt Patchan, an offensive lineman transfer from UF who was an Armwood standout.
UCF-Penn St.: The Nittany Lions will host the Knights on Sept. 14 and make a visit to UCF in 2014 or 2015.