Mississippi schools, Auburn lead the way on JUCO National Signing Day
The SEC West got a recruiting head start by inking potential instant impact players on Wednesday, but other programs around the country added JUCO pieces to their 2015 classes as well.
On Wednesday, many mid-year enrollee junior college prospects made it official and signed their commitment papers to their universities of choice.
Junior college players are more physically mature than their high school counterparts and can sometimes make instant impacts. Often, JUCO players come with three years of eligibility, having chosen to redshirt their first year of junior college, focus on academics, and put together strong second years to catch the eye of four-year college coaches. Stars like Walter Jones, Cam Newton, and Nick Fairley came from junior colleges.
Here are the highlights from this year.
The SEC cleaned up in a major way. That is not all that different from what the preeminent conference does on the other Signing Day as well, but eight of the top 10 JUCO prospects who signed Wednesday signed with the SEC.
The Mississippi schools loaded up, which makes sense because several major JUCO programs are in the Magnolia State. The Rebels flipped four-star defensive tackle D.J. Jones from Florida State, which wasn’t all that surprising given that Jones canceled his visit to Alabama after visiting Oxford. And Ole Miss added much-needed quarterback help in Chad Kelly, the former Clemson Tiger. Cornerback Tony Bridges is a big get for Hugh Freeze, who beat Auburn for his signature. Linebacker Terry Caldwell will fit nicely into the Rebels’ 4-2-5 defense.
Heading south on Highway 9, Dan Mullen and Co. beat Oklahoma for No. 1 JUCO offensive tackle Martinas Rankin and held onto two other four-stars, including explosive slot receiver Donald Gray.
Auburn kept a commitment from five-star running back Jovon Robinson, who originally signed with the Tigers out of high school. Auburn also picked up athlete Jason Smith, who could play receiver, quarterback, or perhaps find a home on defense, plus defensive tackle Maurice Swain.
Tennessee picked up former Alabama running back Alvin Kamara, still considered a blue-chip.
South Carolina added much-needed help on the defensive line with the signing of four-star Marquavius Lewis and others.
Among the other SEC teams with signings, Georgia added four-star offensive tackle DeVondre Seymour, LSU picked up four-star safety Jeremy Cutrer, and Texas A&M signed three three-stars.
And everywhere else
Louisville signed a large group of mid-year enrollees. Receiver Paul Harris and offensive tackle Khalil Hunter are most likely to make immediate impacts, according to Mark Ennis of Card Chronicle.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys went heavy on the circuit, with six JUCO transfers.
UCLA added four-star offensive tackle Zach Bateman. Bruins Nation has his highlights.
Texas landed defensive end Quincy Vasser, who should have a chance to replace Cedric Reed next year. Texas had Reed playing end in its three-down looks, and Vasser is the same size and good against the run, according to Burnt Orange Nation.
Washington State signed a pair, including top-ranked JUCO safety Shalom Luani.
And Arizona added three, led by three-star defensive tackle Anthony Fotu.
One of the highest-rated players still on the board is Arizona State commit Davon Durant, a four-star linebacker who has yet to sign and could end up at Ole Miss.