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National signing day 2012: A great day for Texas, bad day for Cal

February 1, 2012 |  2:17 pm

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Scout.com national analyst Brandon Huffman said in a phone interview he thinks Texas will hold off Alabama and emerge as the big winner from national signing day 2012.

"Texas ekes it out," Huffman said.

ESPN has Alabama No. 1, with Florida State edging out Texas for No. 2. Rivals has it Alabama and Texas, followed by Florida.

The shocker of the day was receiver Deontay Greenberry ditching Notre Dame for ... Houston?

"When has Notre Dame ever lost a recruit to Houston?" Huffman said.

Flip-flopper award goes to Oaks Christian receiver Jordan Payton, who chose UCLA after previously giving verbal commitments to USC, Cal and Washington.

"If there is a theme to the 2012 class, it's that a commitment doesn't mean anything anymore," Huffman said.

USC and UCLA both had strong classes despite being in various states of distress. The Trojans lose 10 scholarships a year for the next three years as a result of NCAA probation, yet Coach Lane Kiffin made the most of his scholarships in landing an abbreviated, but elite, class.

"He was able to be pickier and choosier," Huffman said of Kiffin.

The only downer of the day was losing top offensive lineman Kyle Murphy (San Clemente) to conference rival Stanford. 

People wondered how first-year UCLA Coach Jim Mora, with limited college experience, would fare in the recruiting wars. Mora did just fine, according to Huffman, because he made his first priority hiring coaches who could recruit.

"The smartest thing he did was attack the recruiting side of things before the X's and O's," Huffman said.

Big Signing Day losers appear to be Penn State and California, for very different reason. Penn State's class was crippled by the scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Cal was hurt by the recent defection of assistant coach Tosh Lupoi to Washington. It cost the Golden Bears key recruits, including defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, who ended up signing with UCLA.  

Cal dropped from No. 11 in Scout's national rankings to No. 10 in the service's Pac-12 rankings.

"I've never seen an assistant coach have that big of impact," Huffman said. "The idea that you commit to a school, and not a coach, is hilarious. You commit to a coach. And more than the coach, the assistant coach."

RELATED:

USC football signings

UCLA football signings

Receiver Darreus Rogers chooses USC

Complete coverage of national signing day 2012

-- Chris Dufresne 

Photo: Safety Deontay Greenberry, left, chases receiver JaQuay Williams during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix on Jan. 3. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

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