Victories off the field can turn into wins on the field for college football teams. That's why the early signing day draws so much interest from fans and schools as the top prospects make decisions on where they will further their playing careers.
Not everything goes according to plan, especially during a year where the early signing day comes in the middle of a recruiting dead period that started in March and hasn't allowed players to make official recruiting visits and left coaches unable to make in-person visits with them.
A look at some of the top surprises and news from the day:
Prized Virginia offensive lineman will wait
It was expected that Tristan Leigh, one of the top offensive line recruits, would make his decision Wednesday with Oklahoma, LSU and Florida considered the top contenders. However, the five-star prospect from Robinson Secondary (Fairfax, Va.) will push his commitment announcement to Jan. 2 and won't sign until February. Leigh made two visits to Oklahoma and also spent time at LSU this fall before traveling to Florida last week. It will be a long wait for those programs hoping to gain his signature.
Good and bad for Michigan
First, the good news. The Wolverines were able to secure the signature of talented running back Donovan Edwards, who played at West Bloomfield (Mich.). Edwards chose to stay home after considering Georgia, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. He is ranked No. 44 overall and the No. 4 running back, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings
On the negative side, two important commitments on defense changed their destination at the last minute. Quintin Somerville, a four-star defensive end from Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.), signed with UCLA. Somerville was one of the highest-ranked defenders in the Michigan class and had been committed since June.
"Speaking with coaches from UCLA, their interest and love for me has grown throughout this entire process," Somerville said at his signing day ceremony. "I'm happy with this decision. I'm happy doing it."
Four-star linebacker Branden Jennings of Sandalwood (Jacksonville, Fla.) also changed his mind and announced he will be signing with Maryland. The flip comes two months after Jennings committed to the Wolverines on Oct. 16.
Alabama takes one from LSU
A recruiting battle between the SEC rivals is nothing new. There were several this year, including one surprise result Wednesday. The Crimson Tide were able to flip Keanu Koht from Vero Beach (Fla.). Koht, a four-star linebacker, committed to the Tigers on July 4, but kept in touch with Alabama before making the switch and signing his letter of intent.
Koht is the third flipped recruit in Alabama's class, joining quarterback Jalen Milroe (previously a Texas commit) and cornerback Devonta Smith (previously an Ohio State commit).
Contributing: Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press; Brett Hudeson, Tuscaloosa News
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