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National Signing Day 2021: Alabama, USC and Texas A&M among winners as new staffs struggled

After a day full of hats on heads and socially-distanced announcements, 2021 National Signing Day is in the books — and with it, the Class of 2021 is nearly complete. The 2021 recruiting rankings have settled with Alabama not only on top but pulling in the highest-rated class of all-time.

It has been a year of uncertainty in nearly every walk of life, and the same has been the case in recruiting for the 2021 class. NCAA rules due the pandemic limited the in-person contact that’s often used by both coaches and players to help finalize the decision-making process, so Zoom calls and unofficial visits to campus had to suffice for players and coaches.

Now that National Signing Day has wrapped up, let’s take a look at who came out on top, and who lagged behind, on Wednesday.

Winners

Alabama: The Crimson Tide locked up the No. 1 recruiting class of all-time, edging out 2010 Florida. There was little drama in it as 25 of the 27 players in Alabama’s class signed early in December, and even the 26th member was verbally committed in Camar Wheaton, who made things official at his school before lunch. Alabama’s class has 16 of the top 91 players in the country. There are an incredible seven five-star prospects. This includes the top two offensive tackles in the nation: JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer.

The Tide also have the No. 2 guard in Terrence Ferguson and the No. 1 center in James Brockermeyer. They also have four of the top 10 wide receivers in JaCorey Brooks, Agiye Hall, Christian Leary and JoJo Earl. Oh, plus the No. 2 running back Wheaton. Nick Saban has now hauled in six of the 10 highest-rated recruiting classes ever during his tenure at Alabama. Every class Bama has signed under Saban has won at least one national championship.

Established coaches: Recruiting in the pandemic was quite difficult. There were no visits to college campuses or to high schools. There were no in-person evaluations. No summer camps. No official visits. This gave a big advantage to staff who had pre-existing relationships prospects. Of the top 15 classes in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, none hired a coach in 2019 or 2020.

Texas A&M: The Aggies held off Texas for the commitment of four-star running back LJ Johnson. Texas A&M is rebuilding on the line of scrimmage with this lot, and in total, it has one five-star and 16 four-stars, according to the 247Sports Composite. The Aggies are No. 4 in the SEC and might not be done as No. 1 junior college offensive tackle Jordan Moko commits Friday.

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