National signing day news flash: Alabama seems to be winning again
Here's the early morning line on college recruiting: Players are signing everywhere, with all different kinds of schools. ESPN with the sound down looks like a cross between the apocalypse, a stock market crash and a swap meet. Minnie Pearl never wore so many hats with the price tag on.
What does it all mean? Everything, and maybe nothing. It's still early, especially in Hawaii. Be warned: ESPN has a paywall up on some exclusive information that's only available on a million other free outlets.
You don't need a paywall to know Alabama is having a really strong day and Penn State is struggling. Alabama appears to be the consensus No.1 at this point. The Crimson Tide is riding momentum from its second national title in three years, signing guys like top defensive back Landon Collins and running back T.J. Yeldon. Who are these guys? Don't worry, you'll know in two years, or maybe one.
Ohio State just got hit with a one-year bowl ban but that hasn't slowed down first-year Coach Urban Meyer, who has taken advantage of Penn State's woes to secure a solid, top-10 class. Meyer, on ESPN's on-air paywall (basic cable subscription), called this class, "very, very solid. I don't like to use the word great."
Meyer was able to flip previously Penn State-bound stars such as defensive tackle Tommy Schutt and linebacker Camren Williams. Penn State, coming off the Jerry Sandusky scandal and Joe Paterno's death, is understandably struggling, projecting a class ranked from the 40s to forget-about-it.
It doesn't help that new Penn State Coach Bill O'Brien is still coaching with the New England Patriots.
USC doesn't seem to be bothered by NCAA sanctions that will cost the school 30 scholarships over the next three years. The Trojans are capitalizing on a 10-2 season and quarterback Matt Barkley's return to ease the pain and have already scored big in Florida with receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive end Leonard Williams.
UCLA is also doing well under first-year Coach Jim Mora and scored a huge morning get with Oaks Christian receiver Jordan Payton, who had previously pledged verbal allegiance to USC, California and Washington.
As of this writing, Payton has not recalled his fax and made commitments to the eight other Pac-12 schools he missed the first time.
But could you imagine getting stuck in line at Burger King behind this guy?
-- Chris Dufresne
Photo: Alabama signee T.J. Yeldon. Credit: Lloyd Gallman / Associated Press