College football's 2021 recruiting cycle was a unique and challenging one amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the recruiting dead period. National signing day on Feb. 3 meant it came to a close. With it coming to a close and most ESPN 300 prospects signed, though focus will turn to the future to see how these top classes perform.
Alabama locked up a record seventh No. 1 class under Nick Saban with the Wednesday addition of ESPN 300 DB Terrion Arnold. Ohio State remains No. 2 and awaits the spring decision of DT J.T. Tuimoloau, the No. 4 prospect overall, as do Alabama, Washington, Oregon and USC. Oregon, with the addition of No. 10 RB Byron Cardwell and now ESPN 300 CB Avante Dickerson on Wednesday morning, moves to No. 5 ahead of LSU.
LSU fell just short of a second straight top-five class, but despite the on-field struggles in 2020, the Tigers still assembled one of the strongest collections of talent in the nation. Battling SEC West rivals Alabama and Texas A&M, LSU was able to fight back into the mix and land in-state ESPN 300 WR Brian Thomas after national signing day. A top-five prospect in Louisiana, he should prove worth the wait, as he brings a nice blend of length and speed to their WR group. The Aggies beat out Texas for ESPN 300 RB L.J. Johnson, securing a third straight top-10 class for Jimbo Fisher in College Station in the process.
Michigan finished strong with a pair of needed late additions to the defensive line in versatile ESPN 300 DL George Rooks III, who has has a nice frame to develop, good feet and active hands, and four-stat DT Rayshaun Benny, signing day flip from Michigan State. Though the Spartans lost out on Benny, the Spartans signed the top football/basketball combo prospect in the country in four-star WR Keon Coleman out of the Pelican State.
Raesjon Davis' commitment to USC secured a top-10 class for the Trojans, a huge rebound from an underwhelming 2020 class. Texas' first class under Steve Sarkisian received a February signing day boost from ESPN 300 DE David Abiara, a onetime Notre Dame verbal. Florida State enjoyed a big signing day victory in landing ESPN 300 WR Destyn Hill out of Louisiana.
Ole Miss surged in the early signing period under Lane Kiffin and added another key piece Wednesday in ESPN 300 DT Tywone Malone, guaranteeing a top-20 class for the Rebels. Another big signing day winner was Kentucky. The Wildcats won out for ESPN 300 LB Trevin Wallace over Auburn Tigers and other SEC foes to provide a boost for the top-40 class.