Some like to compare signing day to the NFL draft. I'm not one of those people. There are way too many intangibles when it comes to recruiting high school seniors to consider it even close to the NFL draft. For every 4 and 5 star recruit that pans out to be what he's supposed to be, there is another recruit of the same status that falls flat on their face. The same cannot be said for the NFL draft. Also, for every 4 and 5 star recruit to make it, there is a 3 or 2 star recruit that everyone passed on because they didn't go to the "right" school, or show the right flashes.
Hence it's hard to immediately judge a signing day, or even think about judging a signing day, but if you look at where certain teams finished the day, you can start to shine a light on certain programs and the direction they're moving in.
USC - Finishing #1 in the country after falling out of the top 10 at one point this season was a huge accomplishment for Lane Kiffin. I had actually foreseen Kiffin falling flat on his face; Obviously I was wrong and it looks like Kiffin will, on paper, have a team capable of winning a national championship in the next couple of years.
UCLA - For as impressed as I was with Kiffin and USC, I was probably more impressed with Rick Neuheisel who was able to get UCLA into the top 10, even after a relatively poor 2009. The fact that UCLA showed flashes of improvement in 2009 makes this 2010 recruiting class that much more dangerous for the rest of the NCAA, especially their PAC 10 rivals.
Tennessee - Losing their head coach actually may have helped this team in recruiting. With Kiffin still in town, the Vols were recruiting well, but not great. Kiffin's departure had little to no effect on the Volunteers recruiting efforts, raising the question if Kiffin ever had any swagger in the SEC to begin with?
Hawaii - Hawaii jolted to number 65 yesterday after swimming around the mid 80's most of the season. Though it sounds pretty bad, consider that Hawaii's recruiting class was the strongest of their rivals in 2010, including Boise State, Nevada, and that school in Texas coached by June Jones. This recruiting class is a great morale boost for this program.
Missouri - The team in the Big 12 no one really talks about but is actually pretty good. Mizzou picked up six four star recruits en route to catapulting the team to the #21 spot in this years recruiting class. Though Missouri have flirted around this area for the past couple of years, for Mizzou to still be doing this well after a year that saw the program come back down to earth is a sign that this program is for real.
Miami - What the heck is the U doing at #24? No five stars? Only six four stars? Ouch. Something needs to be done to revitalize this program and it starts at head coach. This is a program that should be winning championships, not struggling to outrecruit USF.
Notre Dame - A number 14 finish is great on a national scale, but for a program that notoriously finished top 10 in recruiting under Charlie Weiss, you have to wonder how good Weiss really was at that whole recruiting thing. Recruiting for Notre Dame is harder than it sounds, especially with bigger, more party friendly schools going after some of the same recruits. I've got a feeling the Irish will be back in the top 10 of recruiting next year.
Michigan - If this team wants to rebuild successfully recruiting classes finishing 20th aren't going to cut it. If this is the last year of what looks to be a faile Rodriguez expirement, whoever takes over the program will bare the burden of this mediocre class.
TCU - A BCS team in the state of Texas that finished 46th in recruiting? Ouch. I didn't expect the Horned Frogs to finish top 20, but top 40 was reasonable. Something has to be up if this team can't tap into that talent pool. There are enough quality players in Texas to get this team a top 40 recruiting class. Especially after their past two seasons. To give the program some credit, being top 50 in the country is a sign of progress for a program that at one point was considered lower tier in Texas.
Boise State - I know it's the system, not the players that wins on the Smurf Turf, but number 82? For a team that expects to be in the National Championship game next year, recruiting number 82nd doesn't exactly help the Broncos when it comes to being taken seriously by the media. Personally, I think the Broncos deserve a shot at the top, but I also think they should be recruiting better than Hawaii, Kent State, and Toledo.