One of the wildest weeks in college football is upon us, as the early signing period for 2023 starts Wednesday and runs through Friday.
We’ve already seen a flurry of flipped commitments and notable moves in the transfer portal, but Wednesday’s national signing day is when it gets really interesting, as high school prospects declare their choices.
While a handful of recruits will wait to announce in the traditional February window, the early signing period is where the bulk of the action happens nowadays and one that often leads to fireworks from the early hours of Wednesday morning until late in the evening on the West Coast.
Keep checking back on this story, as it will be updated for every major signing as it happens.
Arch Manning, QB, Texas
Why it matters: The biggest fish of them all in the 2023 class kept things simple. The next generation of the Manning quarterback dynasty — grandson and namesake of Archie Manning, nephew of Eli and Peyton — verbally committed to the Longhorns last summer with the one and only tweet from his Twitter account.
Despite being pursued heavily by Alabama and Georgia, Manning shut down his recruitment after his June 23 commitment and signed with Texas early Monday morning. Manning’s arm talent is considered on par with his legendary uncles, making him the consensus top overall recruit in the class of 2023 and one of the biggest recruiting victories in Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian’s career.
Nicholaus Iamaleava, QB, Tennessee
Why it matters: Iamaleva committed to Josh Heupel before Tennessee’s 2022 breakout season, and he remained firm in his commitment as Heupel’s offense blossomed in Knoxville and turned the Volunteers into a top-10 team for much of the season. With incumbent quarterback Hendon Hooker out of eligibility and headed for the NFL draft, the five-star could compete for Tennessee’s starting job immediately.
Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate and Noah Rogers, WRs, Ohio State
Why it matters: Buckeyes wide receiver coach Brian Hartline continues his track record as one of the most prolific recruiters in the nation. Inniss is considered one of the most college football-ready prospects in the entire 2023 class, ready to embark on his journey to become the next great Ohio State wideout on day one. Rogers is rated as a borderline four-star or five-star depending on which recruiting service you look at, garnering national praise for his ability to make contested catches.
Caleb Downs, CB, Justice Haynes, RB and Keon Keeley, EDGE, Alabama
Why it matters: So much for the end of the Nick Saban dynasty. Alabama may be missing the College Football Playoff this season, but recruiting is business as usual in Tuscaloosa, with the Crimson Tide flexing their prowess with the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation once again. Downs and Keeley are the twin jewels of this 2023 class on the defensive side of the ball as consensus five-stars rated the best prospects in the nation at their respective positions.
Jackson Arnold, QB, Oklahoma
Why it matters: After a rough first season back in Norman, Sooners head coach Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby get a much-needed victory on the recruiting trail with a consensus top-five quarterback and top-10 overall 2023 prospect.
Malachi Nelson, QB, Makai Lemon, WR and Zachariah Branch, WR, USC
Why it matters: Lincoln Riley has the heir apparent to Caleb Williams at quarterback and also adds to the stacked wide receiver room in downtown Los Angeles with three five-star talents. Branch, the consensus top receiver in the 2023 class, is a relative of Raiders Hall of Fame receiver Cliff Branch, and evaluators compare his lighting-quick speed to that of another NFL great — Tyreek Hill. Nelson and Lemon brought Los Alamitos High School to new heights at the top level of California prep football in 2022. The teammates both initially committed to Riley at Oklahoma in 2021 and followed him to the Trojans soon after his hire at USC. Nelson’s arm talent and Lemon’s playmaking ability are considered among the best in the country.
Kadyn Proctor, OT, Alabama
Why it matters: Nick Saban does it again. There have been several high-profile flips in the lead-up to early signing day, but Proctor is a massive one, both physically (he’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds) and in terms of his profile as a consensus five-star prospect out of Pleasant Hill, Iowa who had been committed to his home-state Hawkeyes for months before a late flip to the Crimson Tide.
A.J. Harris, CB and Joenel Aguero, S, Georgia
Why it matters: Kirby Smart is staying busy on the recruiting trail as the defending champions and No. 1 seed in this season’s College Football Playoff gear up for a repeat bid. Both Harris, from Alabama, and Aguero, from Massachusetts, are considered top-50 overall prospects. If Smart needs to show them what an out-of-state defensive back can do for Georgia, he can just roll the highlight of Arizona native Kelee Ringo’s pick-six of Bryce Young to seal the 2021 national championship.
Rueben Owens, RB, Texas A&M
Why it matters: The Aggies’ whirlwind 2022 is well-documented at this point, recording one of the highest-rated recruiting classes in history and earning a preseason top-10 ranking only to bottom out and miss bowl eligibility as myriad on-field and off-field issues cropped up. But Jimbo Fisher is still working on assembling a solid 2023 recruiting class, with Owens, a dynamic running back from the Lone Star State, leading the charge on the offensive side of the ball.
Adepoju Adebawore, EDGE, Oklahoma
Why it matters: Oklahoma’s defense struggled in Brent Venables’ first year as head coach, but Venables was still considered one of the best defensive coordinators in the sport for years before taking over in Norman following Lincoln Riley’s departure. Adebawore, a five-star from Kansas City, Missouri, could provide a massive boost in Venables’ attempt to get the Sooners’ defense back to form.
Sampson Okunloa, OL, Miami
Why it matters: Miami head coach Mario Cristobal is considered one of the best recruiters in the sport and has assembled a loaded class in his first full cycle back home at his alma mater, with Okunloa leading the way. However, cornerback and top-five overall prospect Cormani McClain chose not to sign with the Hurricanes on Wednesday, with Florida, Alabama and Colorado reportedly involved for the Miami commit.
Anthony Hill, LB, Texas
Why it matters: Hill was supposed to be a key part of Texas A&M’s 2023 class, but the Longhorns were able to flip the five-star from their longtime in-state rival.
Johntay Cook II, WR, Texas
Why it matters: Cook is a lean, rangy receiver who has drawn praise for his technique and ball-catching skills. He could get a chance to show that off while catching passes from Arch Manning.
Christopher Vizzina, QB, Peter Woods, DL and Vic Burley, DL, Clemson
Why it matters: Clemson bounced back from a down year, winning the ACC but missing out on the College Football Playoff for the second straight season. The good news for Dabo Swinney & Co. is that they have one of the best defensive line classes in the nation in 2023 and added some quarterback depth behind Cade Klubnik in Vizzina, as well as Arizona State transfer Paul Tyson, who also committed Wednesday.
Malachi Coleman, WR/DB, Nebraska
The Lincoln (Nebraska) High School prospect committed and then decommitted from Nebraska after the Huskers hired head coach Matt Rhule. But Rhule and Nebraska were able to hold off a late push from longtime rival Colorado under Deion Sanders — who tried to sell Coleman on filling a role similar to that of Travis Hunter at Jackson State last season — and keep Coleman home, at least for the immediate future.
Austin Novosad, QB, Peyton Bowen, S, Daylen Austin, CB and Matayo Uiagalelei, EDGE, Oregon
Why it matters: Oregon was dealt a gut punch earlier in the week when five-star quarterback and consensus top-10 prospect Dante Moore flipped his commitment to UCLA and former Ducks head coach Chip Kelly. But head coach Dan Lanning and his staff rebounded in a massive way, wreaking havoc across the signing day landscape.
Since early Monday morning, Oregon has flipped Novosad from Baylor (thanks to his relationship with new Ducks offensive coordinator Will Stein), flipped Bowen (a longtime Notre Dame commit and five-star defensive back from Texas), flipped Austin (a four-star former LSU commit), and pulled out a shocker by signing five-star Southern California edge rusher Uiagalelei after USC and Ohio State appeared to be the leaders for his commitment throughout the 2022 season.
Dylan Edwards, RB, Colorado
Why it matters: So far, this is Deion Sanders’ biggest splash since arriving in Boulder. The four-star running back and Kansas high school player of the year was also a longtime Notre Dame commit before flipping to Colorado soon after the arrival of “Coach Prime.”
Kenny Minchey, QB and Jeremiyah Love, RB, Notre Dame
Why it matters: Despite losing some key talent — including top-ranked commit Peyton Bowen — to late flips, Marcus Freeman still has some difference-makers coming to South Bend. Love is a top-100 national prospect who was highly sought after before committing to running backs coach Deland McCullough and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
Karmello English, WR, Michigan
Why it matters: English, who committed Monday, is one of the top wide receiver prospects the Wolverines have signed in recent years. He was initially committed to Auburn, before decommitting in September following the Tigers’ early-season struggles and Michigan’s continued pursuit of the Phenix City (Alabama) Central High School star.
Dylan Lonergan and Eli Holstein, QBs, Alabama
Why it matters: The Crimson Tide went hard after No. 1 overall recruit Arch Manning, and though Nick Saban lost that recruiting battle to former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, he is still adding a pair of well-regarded four-star quarterbacks. Saban is hoping to build a more well-rounded roster after Alabama failed to win a national championship this past season.
Jason Moore, DL and Calvin Sampson-Hunt, CB, Ohio State
Why it matters: Ohio State’s defense has received plenty of criticism over the past two seasons, but these two top-100 prospects could help defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ unit get back on track. The addition of Moore and Sampson-Hunt are a big reason why the Buckeyes have turned in a consensus top-five 2023 class.
Tony Mitchell, S, Alabama
Why it matters: SEC rivals Texas A&M and Auburn reportedly made late pushes to flip Mitchell, but the Alabama high school product chose to stay committed to the Crimson Tide. A consensus top-100 recruit, Mitchell is a big part of Alabama’s No. 1-ranked 2023 recruiting class.
Samuel M’Pemba, EDGE, Raylen Wilson, LB, Troy Bowles, LB, Gabriel Harris, EDGE, Georgia
Why it matters: Dating back to his days as Alabama defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart has a long history of signing top defensive talent from the state of Florida. The Georgia coach has done it again with this quartet of top-100 recruits from the Sunshine State to help bolster the national champions’ defensive front.
Shelton Sampson Jr., WR, and Dashawn Womack, EDGE, LSU
Why it matters: After an impressive first year as LSU’s head coach, Brian Kelly is bringing in a loaded 2023 recruiting class. Womack, the No. 3 edge rusher in the nation per 247Sports.com, is expected to help shore up the Tigers’ pass rush. Sampson, who is from Baton Rouge, is a talented wide receiver and top-50 prospect. Both signed with LSU on Wednesday.
Hykeem Williams, WR, Florida State
Why it matters: One of Mike Norvell’s biggest recruiting pickups in his time leading the Seminoles, Williams is considered both a top-10 wide receiver and a top-10 overall player in the talent-rich state of Florida.
Anthony Hill, LB, Cedric Baxter Jr., RB, Derek Williams, S, Malik Muhammad, CB, Texas
Why it matters: Arch Manning is the story of the Longhorns’ 2023 class, but don’t sleep on any of these well-regarded signees either. Hill and Baxter are both five-stars and considered among the best in the nation at their respective positions, while Williams and Muhammad are both highly ranked by every major recruiting service as well.
Dante Moore, QB, UCLA
Why it matters: Moore was a longtime Oregon commit, but when Ducks offensive coordinator and Moore’s primary recruiter Kenny Dillingham left to become the head coach at Arizona State, it opened the door for Chip Kelly and the Bruins to pull off one of the most surprising flips in modern recruiting history. The five-star Michigan native and consensus top-five quarterback in the 2023 class told reporters that UCLA’s impending jump to the Big Ten in 2024 was a factor in his decision.
Qua Russaw, LB and James Smith, DL, Alabama
Why it matters: The two consensus five-star high school teammates and top-25 prospects from Montgomery, Alabama took several visits to different schools together and were regarded as a package deal. That package turned out to be an early Christmas present for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, as Russaw and Smith signed with Alabama together on Wednesday.
Adam Hopkins, WR, Colorado
Why it matters: The receiver from Georgia is Deion Sanders’ second four-star signee at Colorado, joining Dylan Edwards. Hopkins was previously committed to Auburn before decommitting from the Tigers on Dec. 1.
Francis Mauigoa, OL, Miami
Why it matters: It only makes sense that the top offensive lineman in the country would also be (as of now) the crown jewel of Mario Cristobal’s first full recruiting class at Miami. The Hawaii native’s older brother, former Washington State linebacker Francisco Mauigoa, is also reportedly transferring to the Hurricanes.
Jaden Rashada, QB, Florida
Why it matters: The Gators have had a busy month of December when it comes to the quarterback position. Starter Anthony Richardson announced he is leaving for the 2023 NFL Draft earlier this month, and the Gators went right to work, securing a recent commitment from Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz. Now, the Gators’ QB room gets a huge boost by adding Rashada, the No. 7-ranked QB prospect in the 2023 class.
Jurrion Dickey, WR, Oregon
Why it matters: Oregon’s incredible day continued late into the evening when Dickey officially signed with the Ducks. The five-star wide receiver prospect out of California is the No. 13-ranked recruit in the 2023 class, per 247Sports.com. He joins a loaded Oregon class that now ranks in the top 10 nationally.
What you need to know
- Who’s in the transfer portal and who has already found a new home? With the new transfer portal window having officially opened on Dec. 5, we’ve been tracking all the biggest names, including top 2022 recruit Travis Hunter departing Jackson State shortly after Deion Sanders left the program. (Check out our transfer portal tracker.)
- It was a 2022 coaching carousel that could largely be summed up as shock and awe. From Luke Fickell to Tom Herman to, yes, Deion Sanders, how will things play out for each of the 24 new head coaches across FBS this cycle? (Read our grades for every coach hire in the 2022 cycle.)
- An insistence that players must earn everything is at the forefront of Deion Sanders’ recruiting philosophy. On a recent episode of “Club Shay Shay,” he outlined to Shannon Sharpe his recruiting pitches to 17- and 18-year-old prospects and why he has been able to have so much success. “I’m not gonna give you nothing and I’m not gonna promise you anything,” Sanders said. (Read Sanders’ comments on his time as a college coach.)
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