National scene

Rich get richer as recruits flock to power schools

Commitments often waver after big day

Associated PressFebruary 3, 2011 

  • Ranking the classes

    How Rivals.com and Scout.com rated the college football recruiting classes after the first day of the signing period:

    Top 25

    School Rivals Scout

    Alabama 1 7

    Southern Cal 2 5

    Florida State 3 2

    Texas 4 4

    Georgia 5 6

    LSU 6 9

    Auburn 7 1

    Clemson 8 11

    Notre Dame 9 8

    Ohio State 10 3

    Oregon 11 12

    Tennessee 12 10

    Oklahoma 13 15

    Florida 14 21

    Nebraska 15 23

    North Carolina 16 17

    California 17 14

    Mississippi 18 24

    Texas Tech 19 18

    South Carolina 20 13

    Michigan 21 27

    Stanford 22 22

    Washington 23 19

    Arkansas 24 16

    Virginia 25 25

    Others

    Kentucky — 32

    Louisville 27 36

    Mississippi State 42 43

    Cincinnati 46 41

    Vanderbilt — 45

    Marshall 48 51

    Indiana — 58

    Western Kentucky — 81

    Rivals.com ranked only the top 50

Alabama and Auburn were at it again on national signing day.

The Iron Bowl rivals tussled for blue-chip recruits on the first day high school football players could make their college choices official.

The Crimson Tide and Tigers, who have won the last two national championships, each landed recruiting classes the experts adore and went head-to-head for several top prospects — none bigger than offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio from DeMatha High School in Maryland.

Rated one of the top-10 recruits in the country by Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPNU, Kouandjio on Wednesday said he was picking Auburn over Alabama, where his brother, Arie, plays.

But just because a recruit makes an announcement on national television, doesn't mean he's made up his mind. Cyrus Kouandjio did not sign a binding letter of intent with Auburn or Alabama — or for that matter with New Mexico, his odd other finalist — and there is no indication when he will make his decision official.

Seantrel Henderson, the top-rated offensive lineman coming out of high school last year, pulled a similar move, committing to Southern California on television but not signing on the first day of the signing period. He ultimately ended up at Miami.

But what Kouandjio did was different. Henderson wanted to go to USC, but changed his mind when NCAA sanctions hit the Trojans.

"I think Cyrus picked a school that he didn't know he wanted to go to," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said.

Another top recruit, linebacker Brent Calloway from Russellville, Ala., first committed to Alabama then switched to Auburn, but ended up signing with Alabama.

"Probably the most interesting story in this year's recruiting derby is Auburn vs. Alabama," Allen Wallace, national recruiting editor for Scout.com and publisher of SuperPrep magazine.

Kouandjio isn't the only five-star recruit who is going to take a few more days to cement his decision.

Maybe the most heralded prospect in the nation, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, from Rock Hill, S.C., said in an interview with ESPNU he probably won't sign until his birthday, Feb. 14 — Valentine's Day. He said his choices are South Carolina, Clemson and Alabama.

Generally, signing day is about the rich getting richer. The top-rated players tend to flock to the traditional powers. So it was no surprise to see Texas, Florida State, Southern California, LSU, Ohio State and Notre Dame come away with classes highly ranked by the recruiting gurus.

Oregon, fresh off its first appearance in the national title game, also got high marks.

A couple of teams that had mediocre 2010 seasons, Georgia and Clemson, gave their fans reason to believe better days are ahead with classes packed with top prospects.

And in a day full of tiresome what-hat-will-he-pick news conferences at high schools all over the country, running back Isaiah Crowell of Columbus, Ga., might have started a new trend.

After declaring that he was staying close to home and going to Georgia, Crowell pulled out a bulldog puppy in a red sweater. No going back on that.

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