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OTE National Signing Day Reactions

‘crootin is as ‘crootin does.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With another season come and gone, we are left not only looking back on our almost assuredly disappointing year with chagrin but also searching for signs of optimism on the road ahead. Today is one of the best days for the latter: National Signing Day! A fleeting moment when teenagers decide the course of the next four few 1+ years of their young lives and sad older people warp that into newfound confidence that perhaps next year is indeed The Year. We took the opportunity to reflect on our own feelings towards the state of our own teams’ recruiting efforts:

On a scale of “caring is creepy” to “these kids are my brothers” how much do you follow recruiting?

WSR: I’m usually aware of who the QB recruit is and who the biggest names (and yes, that does mean I care about the best OL) in the class.

RUReady4Brazil: I used to stay up covering all night for for two days but now just focus on northeast and enough to be a guest on the Scarlet Faithful podcast. With a growing family I can’t really follow the Big Ten as a whole in great detail or the SEC really at all. I have watched the tape of every Rutgers commit and a few other offerees who landed elsewhere, but not much more than that.

misdreavus79: I used to follow much more closely when it was my responsibility on the other side, but nowadays those responsibilities have fallen to our newer writers. Now, I look at the rankings here and there, and have a general idea of what Penn State is bringing in, but I couldn’t fire off the names and positions of every player in the class like I could five years ago.

Besides, the Portal is where it’s at now.

MC ClapYoHandz: It’s a dying interest, but I do enjoy getting a sense of how the sausage gets made. I always enjoyed GM/Franchise modes of sports games most and recruiting parallels that side of things well. These days the novelty has worn off and the changing transfer climate makes prep recruiting feel less vital, but it is at least nice to have a feel for what new freshmen are bringing to the table.

Jesse: Sorry all, I’m late to the game and publishing POST-publishing, but I hate to admit I do like following recruiting. I’m not tweeting at 18 year old kids, but I also am really always overly excited about that next big recruit that will make Nebraska suck less. I do also try to convince myself that stars matter. They matter, right? They totally matter...

What is the general vibe regarding your team’s recruiting performance for this class?

WSR: We survived the recruiting period!

RUReady4Brazil: Rutgers avoided a rash of decommits by reaching a bowl game and did enough to have a middle of the pack Power Five class. They simply need to remain steady while other programs are in constant states of flux. With so many defensive players coming back for another year plus Monangai, there is less pressure on the true freshmen to play in 2024.

misdreavus79: Same as it ever was. Second third in the Big Ten, 14th in the country. That’s in line with what Franklin’s classes have been in his tenure, closing in on top 10, usually behind Ohio State.

Penn State hasn’t had signing day drama for a long time, basically ever since the early signing period began. And, like just about every other school nowadays, the portal is taking up so much space that most classes are locked up by September, and it’s only a matter of time before it’s official.

MC: The vibe for the Fickell era in general has been turning recruiting weaknesses into recruiting strengths, and that has certainly continued with this class. Historically Wisconsin’s biggest recruiting weakness by a long shot has been at CB, and the Badgers continue to bolster that room with the additions of Jay Harper and 4* All-American Omillio Agard.

MaximumSam: Ryan Day only signed five five star prospects. This type of dereliction of duty cannot stand, and the Columbus public generally wants Day executed for his sins against football.

Jesse: Did you all hear that we signed the #2 recruit in the entire class and the #1 QB (at least according to 247 composite)? You didn’t? Well, let me tell you... We also have 2 Top 50 and 8 blue chip recruits. This is very good! Overall I think this was about as good a class as Nebraska has ever signed. Now, how the hell are we gonna sign 29 kids with almost no attrition? That’s a bigger problem... But I guess in the portal era, you just kinda roll with it.

Who is the marquis marquee signing of 2024 for your team?

WSR: S Koi Perich. You know how there’s a cocky, annoying white safety in the B1G West absolutely ruining your team’s day? That guy who feels like he’s an AJ Pierzynski in that if he was on your team you’d love him? Yeah, that’s the top recruit out of Minnesota in this cycle. Despite major interest (Ryan Day did an in-home last week), we kept him.

RUReady4Brazil: Between KJ Duff the hybrid TE/WR (think upside of Devin Funchess) or Kaj Sanders, the safety out of Bergen Catholic. Rutgers is a run first offense and probably always will be, so the receivers need to be able to block, but a TE or WR who can transition from blocking to exploding downfield is a huge weapon they haven’t had. Rutgers is not waiting around for New Jersey kids to want to go there once again, but they still need to haul in big fish from the state often enough and Sanders checks all those boxes.

misdreavus79: In terms of raw Starz, it’s Luke Reynolds, the No. 1 tight end in the country, No. 27 player overall, according to 247. Stop me if you’ve heard read this before, but Penn State is bringing in a highly rated running back in this class in Quinton Martin, to add depth and/or take over the would-be departing Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, were they to declare after their third seasons.

They’re also bringing in 27 wide receivers and offensive linemen, because you can never have enough of those. Oh and edge rushers, there’s like five of them in this class alone.

MC: Wisconsin’s newest commit is also its based (by rating) in DL Ernest Willor Jr. Badly needing both skill and depth at the line since the loss of Keeanu Benton, Top 120 recruit Willor Jr. joins fellow 4* DL Dillan Johnson and 4* EDGE Anelu Lafaele in sparking that room.

Jesse: Dylan Raiola because I mean... you can hate the hype, but the kid is talented as hell and is the best passer Nebraska has ever signed. That said, Carter Nelson is probably the most exciting athlete we’ve signed in a long time. Kid is a state medalist in both High Jump and the 200 M dash, while also being competitive across Shot Put, Discus, and Pole Vault. Oh, and he’s a 6’ 4” 205 lb TE recruit. He’s just really fun to watch.

While we’re here, I think I read that there were six legacy players, which is kinda fun and also makes me feel REALLY old because I rooted for their dads and dammmmmit they have college kids now.

Who is your pick to become a sleeper/under-the-radar impact player?

WSR: LB Mason Carrier. Speaking of assholes from outstate, we have another one. Carrier is so **ahem** confident in his abilities that when he found out that an opposing coach for an all-star game was sitting at his table for the banquet, he started talking shit. Everybody’s talking about Perich and QB Drake Lindsay and taking OL Nathan Roy out of wisconsin, but Carrier could be one of those guys who helps out immediately and well.

RUReady4Brazil: Ben Black from North Carolina. All the local schools were all over this guy as a senior, especially NC State late. Rutgers hasn’t had a guy with straight line OR turn the corner run away from you speed at wide receiver in a long time. Since they don’t have steady QB play, they need someone who can keep the safeties of opponents like Iowa or Penn State honest, rather than playing three yards closer to the line of scrimmage. Elijah King the DE out of Ohio is the type of guy Schiano was sending to the NFL during his first tenure and to stay afloat, Rutgers needs edge rushers.

misdreavus79: Let’s go with Corey Smith. He’s another running back in the class, who, like the aforementioned Allen back when he and Singleton joined, is not getting as much attention as the higher-rated counterpart, but could end up being just as good when it’s all said and done.

MC: I am tempted to say QB Mabrey Mettauer, but QBs probably shouldn’t count as under the radar, so I will take the aforementioned Agard. Really excited to see a Wisconsin defense with a dynamic secondary and I think he’s going to play right away and contribute to that. Honorable mention to RB Gideon Ituka, the least heralded of Wisconsin’s three RB commits (we are still Wisconsin, after all), who is an absolute bowling ball. Even in the new offense, I think there’s strong value in having that.


Anyhow... My favorite under the radar kid is probably is Willis McGahee IV. Like, he’s not completely an unknown - high 3*, good background, etc. - but he looks like he’s going to come in and be a force on the edge. He’s fast and just seems to always get the football (at least from high school tape). Love this signee, and it’s super fun he’s coming to Nebraska out of Miami.

How did your team fare? Tell us in the comments, or else. Something. I don’t know.