Biggest takeaways from 2022 National Signing Day
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Jeremy Bryant
National Signing Day saw a lot of surprising headlines, but it also did not pass without leaving a heap of drama on its way out the door. Signing day is a time where it should be all about high school football recruits finally choose their home for the next four years; However this year’s edition seemed to be more about the coaches than the actual talent.
Here are some of the takeaways from 2022 National Signing Day.
Texas A&M comes away with the best recruiting class ever
Jimbo Fisher welcomed Nick Saban into his home stadium in early October and sent the Crimson Tide home with a bruising 41-38 loss, making him the first of Saban’s assistants to beat him. Fisher made history Feb. 2 by unseating Saban once more at the head of the table by grabbing the highest rated recruiting class ever.
How much of that victory played a part in attracting recruits is unknown, but the Aggies finished the day with seven 5-star recruits placing Alabama’s 2021 class at No. 2 in 247Sports composite rankings. The big fish of the day was 5-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart, who was heavily recruited as a Top-10 talent. He chose to give the “Home of the 12th man” something to cheer about as he picked the Aggies over the Miami Hurricanes and national champion Georgia Bulldogs.
Fisher also enticed one of the best recruits in the country, Walter Nolen, to sign back in December. Along with the other four Top-50 recruits, Fisher got the highest ranked safety Jacoby Mathews to jump aboard the ship to solidify his historic class.
Brian Kelly needs a new recruiting method
Newly hired LSU head coach Brian Kelly made huge ripples in the college football world when he decided to abandon his Notre Dame team that were on the verge of a playoff push, and took his talents to the Bayou. He had some some unorthodox moments in his short time included his alleged new accent in his first appearance with the Tigers.
None were more entertaining than when he had 3-star tight end Danny Lewis come for a visit and suit up in LSU threads for a viral video. Kelly would go all out to make the tight end feel at home by dancing behind him for a moment many will not forget for long time.
Unfortunately the tight decided to sign with Alabama just a week after the video attracted over 8 million views. Kelly did make up for his dunce of the day moment by signing the N0. 1 linebacker in the nation, Harold Perkins.
NIL recruiting is no laughing matter
After a historic day for Texas A&M, somehow it got overshadowed by allegations that Jimbo Fisher bribed his recruits with an astronomical amount of money using the Name Image Likeness rule. Fisher did not take too kindly to being accused of basically buying his player’s commitments.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin would make joke that the Aggies might “incur a luxury tax in how much they paid for their signing class,” after an internet message board poster named “SlicedBread” said the Aggies put up $30 million for recruits to attend the school.
Fisher would end the day off with a wild rant calling out Saban flaunting that Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was making close to seven figures in NIL money. He went on to attack the vice president of Notre Dame in the process of calling some of the coaches in the college football world “clown acts.”
While many did not seem to read too much into Kiffin’s joke or the credibility of an internet user named after food, the accusation surely made Fisher turn his nose up at a few of his colleagues.
The dynasty continues to roll
Aside from the epic rant, Nick Saban’s recruiting trail looked as stout as ever, finishing second place in 247sports composite rankings for the 2022 class. The Tide did most of the dirty work in the early signing period, where they signed 23 players including No. 8 ranked edge defender Jeremiah Alexander.
Saban did not have to do much to keep a hold on one of the top recruiting classes Wednesday. His work in the transfer portal as of lately has been exceptional, pulling dynamic players that can pitch in right away when the 2022 season rolls around. The Tide managed to bring in Georgia Wideout Jermaine Burton, Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs and LSU defensive back Eli Ricks within a two-month span.
Harbaugh is here to stay
Arguably the biggest headlines to come out of National Signing Day had nothing to do with a recruit signing anywhere at all. As the chaos started to unravel, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh made the decision to stick to what he knows best, and that was to stay and coach at his alma mater.
Harbaugh was linked to a few head coaching vacancies in the NFL including the Raiders, Bears and Vikings. He had some success during his time in the NFL when he previously lead Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. He interviewed with the Vikings Wednesday morning and made a phone to the Michigan athletic director shortly after to inform him that he will not be making another round trip to the big league.
There have been more reports coming out about why he decided against taking the job in Minnesota, but for now college football gets to continue seeing the enigmatic coach stalk the sidelines.