National Signing Day can help shape a college football program for the next few years, but which teams succeeded and which failed in 2019?
National Signing Day 2019 is officially in the books. The once frenetic day in the college football recruiting period still has a little bit of frenzy to it, but not quite in the same manner that it once did thanks to the recent institution of the early signing period. Even still, programs had the opportunity to round out their recruiting classes in a big way.
Some teams undoubtedly succeeded in that regard, while others didn’t necessarily have to. When you look at programs like the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs, they had already completed most of their big-time recruiting work prior to National Signing Day and didn’t have much work to do.
Having said that, those two are largely the outliers as there was work that needed to be done for most college football programs throughout the country. But who succeeded and who failed in that regard? Let’s look at just that by looking at the big winners and losers from 2019 National Signing Day.
Loser: Florida State Seminoles
Even with Deondre Francois on the roster, Willie Taggart’s Seminoles were going to be thin at the quarterback position. However, with Francois being dismissed from the program, that made them in desperate need of landing a quarterback recruit on National Signing Day to provide depth behind James Blackman.
Their big target on Wednesday was James LeGendre, a 4-star recruit that was the best available passer coming into the day. However, they missed out on him as he elected to head to the Maryland Terrapins instead. This now marks the second-straight year that Florida State has failed to secure a quarterback in their recruiting class and the Taggart era in Tallahassee continues to move on less than swimmingly.
Winner: Tennessee Volunteers
With his first full year to compile a recruiting class for the Tennessee Volunteers, Jeremy Pruitt needed to make some big moves in Knoxville. Though he entered the day floating around the top 20 overall recruiting classes, his efforts on National Signing Day vaulted the Vols into the top 10 by the end of the day as they were able to pull off two massive signings.
The prize gem that Tennessee landed on Wednesday was, without question, offensive tackle Darnell Wright, the highest-ranked uncommitted recruit heading into Wednesday, getting him to spurn hometown West Virginia to come to the Vols. With that and landing the third-best outside linebacker in the country, Henry To’oto’o, the Volunteers are in a good way right now with Pruitt leading the charge.
Winner: Ole Miss Rebels
Coming off of a postseason ban, Matt Luke was able to make a splash for the Rebels on National Signing Day. He landed 5-star running back Jerrion Ealy, which is huge — even if he still might go to Major League Baseball instead of playing college football. Meanwhile, they nabbed wide receiver Jonathan Mingo as well, a 4-star recruit who was a big target of rival Mississippi State.
Those big moves and the signing of JUCO transfer linebacker Lakia Henry ultimately vaulted Ole Miss into the top 25 overall classes for 2019 recruiting. Luke still has work to do in Oxford, but they made big strides in the right direction on Signing Day.
Loser: USC Trojans
Entering National Signing Day, Clay Helton’s USC Trojans had the 18th-ranked class in the country, but had the opportunity to improve with some big targets still left uncommitted. They did get one of those guys in wide receiver Kyle Ford, but neither Puka Nacua (at least yet) nor Enokk Vmahi (heading to Ohio State) decided to go with Helton and the Trojans. Oh, and let’s not forget Bru
McCoy making his flip/transfer to Texas official.
Ultimately, Signing Day was a disappointing punctuation mark on the recruiting period for USC. Not only did things not turn out well on Wednesday, but they also missed out on 18 of the top 20 recruits in the state of California, something that would’ve been blasphemous at their peak. Helton has some serious work to do to keep his job if he’s going to misfire in recruiting like this.
Winner: Texas Longhorns
In truth, Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns weren’t all that active on National Signing Day. Their biggest moment, as previous mentioned, came in the form of announcing officially something that we already knew — that 5-star athlete Bru McCoy would be coming to Austin rather than heading to USC. That bolstered an already strong class for the Longhorns.
Even better, though, the strong class for Texas left them as one of the top five in the entire country for 2019, the only non-SEC team to earn that distinction. It was clear last season that Herman has Texas as “back” as they’ve ever been, and this recruiting class is only going to further solidify that.
Loser: Louisville Cardinals
This is too easy, but it has to be mentioned. The Louisville Cardinals finished last among Power 5 schools in regards to their overall recruiting class rankings. They signed a meager 14 recruits and they appear to be heading in the wrong direction after Bobby Petrino’s departure. That may not be the trend, but things could get ugly early on for Scott Satterfield, and really already have with this 2019 class.
Portis, Knicks beat Bulls 105-98 for 1st win of season
NEW YORK (AP) — Bobby Portis scored a season-high 28 points against his former team, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining, and the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 105-98 on Monday night for their first victory of the season.
Portis hadn’t scored in double digits yet in his first season with the Knicks, but was superb in bringing New York back from an 18-point deficit. The reserve was 10 for 14, making all four 3-pointers, and added 11 rebounds.
The Knicks needed all of it on a night when they fell behind with a dreadful start and stayed that way until the fourth quarter. They never even led until Portis’ go-ahead 3, which he followed with another 3 that pushed it to 103-98 during a 15-0 run to finish the game.
Rookie RJ Barrett added 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who had dropped their first three games. Kevin Knox II scored 14 points, and Julius Randle finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
Zach LaVine scored 21 points for the Bulls, who fell to 1-3. Wendell Carter Jr. had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Knicks missed 13 of their first 15 shots and quickly fell behind by double digits.
ROCKETS 116, THUNDER 112
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook scored 21 and fell an assist shy of a triple-double against his former team, as Houston beat Oklahoma City.
Westbrook had 12 rebounds and nine assists after notching his 139th triple-double in his last game to pass Magic Johnson for second-most all-time.
A 3-pointer by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 seconds left got Oklahoma City within 3. Westbrook made 1 of 2 free throws before fouling Nerlens Noel, who made both free throws.
But Harden, who was 21 of 22 from the line, made two free throws with 13.2 seconds to go to make it 114-110.
Gilgeous-Alexander cut it to 2 with a basket, but Harden made two more free throws to secure the victory.
It was the first game between these teams since a summer trade reunited Westbrook with Harden and sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City.
Paul had 15 points, four assists and five rebounds.
Gilgeous-Alexander had 22 points and Dennis Schroder added 22 points to lead the Thunder.
PISTONS 96, PACERS 94
DETROIT (AP) — Derrick Rose made a driving layup with 28.3 seconds left to give Detroit the lead and the Pistons beat winless Indiana for the second time in a week.
Rose shot just 4 of 16 from the field and was having a tough time in the fourth quarter, but his left-handed layup went in to put Detroit up 95-94. Malcolm Brogdon missed at the other end, but Indiana got an offensive rebound. T.J. Warren then missed badly on a tough shot from the corner, and the Pistons came up with the ball.
Luke Kennard made one of two free throws for Detroit, and Indiana had one more chance with 2 seconds left. Warren missed a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Andre Drummond had 18 points and 18 rebounds for the Pistons, and Christian Wood had 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Domantas Sabonis had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Indiana, and Brogdon contributed 15 points and 11 assists.
RAPTORS 104, MAGIC 95
TORONTO (AP) — Kyle Lowry scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Pascal Siakam added 24 and Toronto withstood a late rally to beat Orlando for its their third win in four games.
Marc Gasol had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Fred VanVleet scored 14 and OG Anunoby added 12 as the Raptors won for the 10th time in 15 regular-season meetings with Orlando.
Jonathan Isaac scored a career-high 24 points, Evan Fournier had 18 and Markelle Fultz 13 for the Magic, who have lost two straight.
Ex-Raptor Terrence Ross scored 11 for Orlando, and D.J. Augustin had 10.
BUCKS 129, CAVALIERS 112
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 21 points, George Hill added 19 and seven Milwaukee players finished in double figures in a win over Cleveland.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 29 minutes, Pat Connaughton added 17 points, Brook Lopez 16, and Wesley Matthews and Eric Bledsoe each finished with 14 points for Milwaukee.
Collin Sexton paced the Cavaliers with 18 points, while Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson each added 17.
WARRIORS 134, PELICANS 123
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stephen Curry had 26 points and 11 assists, and Golden State won for the first time this season, beating winless New Orleans.
Draymond Green had 16 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists for the injury-riddled Warriors, who dropped their first two games by 19 or more points before dominating a Pelicans squad that was missing three injured starters, including top overall draft choice Zion Williamson.
D’Angelo Russell added 24 points and Damion Lee finished with 23 for Golden State, which led wire-to-wire.
Brandon Ingram had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans were playing a second straight game without veteran guard Jrue Holiday, who has a sprained left knee, and also were without starting center Derrick Favors because of right knee soreness.
First-round draft pick Jaxson Hayes had 19 points for the Pelicans.
76ERS 105, HAWKS 103
ATLANTA (AP) — Joel Embiid scored 36 points, including the winning free throws with 5.3 seconds left, and Philadelphia 76ers won its third straight game to begin the season.
Philadelphia made things tough for Trae Young and dominated down the stretch to deny the young Hawks their first 3-0 start in three seasons.
Tobias Harris had eight of his 13 points in the final quarter as the 76ers outscored the Hawks 15-5 over the final five minutes. Josh Richardson chipped in with 14 points, and Ben Simmons also had 14.
But this was all about Embiid, who made 12 of 19 shots from the field and knocked down all 10 of his free throws. He also had 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Young had 25 points on 7-of-20 shooting. John Collins added 16 points and De’Andre Hunter 14.
SPURS 113, TRAIL BLAZERS 110
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and San Antonio overcame a sluggish start and beat Portland to remain undefeated.
Portland point guard Damian Lillard had 28 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter. Lillard’s 3-pointer from the right corner bounced in and out as time expired.
Derrick White scored 21 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 and Bryn Forbes 14 as the Spurs capped a three-game homestand to open the season.
CJ McCollum added 27 points for the Blazers (2-2).
NUGGETS 101, KINGS 94
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Jamal Murray scored four of his 18 points in the final 31 seconds, Gary Harris added a pair of late free throws and Denver Nuggets held on after nearly blowing a big lead in the fourth quarter, beating winless Sacramento.
The Nuggets (3-0) shook off a sluggish first half, took control in the third quarter with a stifling defense, then held off a late rally by the Kings to remain unbeaten.
Harris scored 17 points as Denver won its fifth straight against Sacramento. Nikola Jokic had nine points on 4-for-15 shooting with 13 rebounds and Will Barton added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Richaun Holmes had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings (0-4). De’Aaron Fox added 20 points and nine assists, and Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica each scored 12.
JAZZ 96, SUNS 95
PHOENIX (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 25 points, including the winning free throw with 0.4 seconds left, and Utah rallied to beat Phoenix.
Mitchell drove the lane in the final seconds, getting fouled by Devin Booker as he tried to make a layup. He made the first free throw before missing the second, and Frank Kaminsky III’s last-second heave was well short.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 29 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 18 rebounds and made 11 of 12 free-throw attempts.
Phoenix (2-2) was led by Booker’s 21 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18, Jevon Carter had 15, and Aron Baynes scored 12 points.
Ricky Rubio faced Utah (3-1) for the first time since signing a free-agent deal with the Suns in the offseason. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
CLIPPERS 111, HORNETS 96
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Lou Williams scored 23 points one day after his 33rd birthday in Los Angeles’ win over Charlotte.
Montrezl Harrell scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, and Landry Shamet added 16 in the Clippers’ third win in four games to start a season with championship aspirations.
Terry Rozier had 17 points to lead six Hornets scoring in double figures in the second game of a four-game trip. Devonte Graham had 14 points and 12 assists, while Cody Zeller added 14 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which has lost three straight after a season-opening win over Chicago.
By The Associated Press
Houston Astros surge past sloppy Yankees to move one win from pennant
George Springer and Carlos Correa each hit three-run homers and the Houston Astros got another wild ace off the hook to beat the sloppy New York Yankees 8-3 Thursday night and reach the cusp of a second World Series visit in three years.
The Astros lead the AL Championship Series 3-1, putting the 2017 World Series winners on the brink of a showdown with the NL champion Washington Nationals.
Houston still has Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole queued up for this series, and the Yankees will have to beat both to survive. Verlander will start Game 5 on Friday night against James Paxton.
New York worked starter Zack Greinke hard during a 28-pitch first inning, but just like with Cole in Game 3, the clutch hit never came. Many fans had left Yankee Stadium by the time it ended shortly before 12.30am.
The Yankees are at risk of failing to make the World Series for an entire decade for the first time since the 1910s.
The 103-win Yankees are 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position the past two games. Didn’t help when they committed four errors in Game 4, most ever for the club in a home postseason game.
Springer lined an errant splitter from playoff star Masahiro Tanaka in the third inning for his homer, and Correa battered Chad Green’s fastball when New York turned to its vaunted bullpen. Those All-Star sluggers have combined for just five hits in the series, but four have been homers.
Tanaka allowed four runs – three earned – for New York, his most in eight postseason starts.
CC Sabathia pitched in relief for New York but was pulled with an injury during the eighth inning. Planning to retire after the season, an emotional Sabathia covered his face with his glove as he left the field for perhaps the final time. Fans shouted his name as he walked off, and Cole and Springer were among the Houston players who stood and clapped for the 39-year-old.
Giancarlo Stanton is attempting to run the bases: pic.twitter.com/WFCQJntH9v
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 17, 2019
Gary Sánchez ended a lengthy postseason slide with a two-run homer, but a reshuffled Yankees lineup – still without injured Giancarlo Stanton – again couldn’t string together its damage.
During warmups, a buzzing Bronx crowd jeered Greinke with chants of “Donald! Donald!” – his given first name – and the veteran right-hander wobbled early. He walked three in the first inning for the first time since April 2007, including a four-pitch, bases-loaded free pass to Brett Gardner, and fell into a quick 1-0 hole.
Greinke struggled especially to locate his fastball before blowing one past Sánchez during a three-pitch K to end the inning. He sharpened up and retired nine straight before the Yankees pushed him out of the game while loading the bases in the fifth.
Ryan Pressly struck out Gleyber Torres – on a tight check swing – and Edwin Encarnación to escape.
Greinke was charged with just one run, working around four walks against the patient-but-punchless Yankees. Cole pitched seven scoreless innings despite five walks in Game 3.
Tanaka helped shut out the Astros in Game 1 but tripped up against Springer in the rematch. The Japanese right-hander left one of his signature splitters in the middle of the plate, and Springer smoked a low line drive that cleared the fence in left-center.
Springer is batting .132 in these playoffs, slumping just like he did in 2017 before breaking out to win World Series MVP. This homer was his 13th in the postseason, snapping a tie with teammate Jose Altuve for the club record.
The Astros missed a chance to pile on that same inning. Altuve and Michael Brantley followed Springer’s drive with two hits and a nifty baserunning play, putting runners at second and third with one out. Brantley was held at third on a potential sacrifice fly hit to right fielder Aaron Judge, and Tanaka got struggling Yordan Álvarez on a popup to end that threat.
Correa gave Houston its big cushion in the sixth, making it 6-1 with his drive. At 25 years, 25 days, he is the youngest player with 10 postseason home runs, surpassing Albert Pujols.
Correa ended Game 2 with a home run in the 11th inning, and connected again in October after missing a lot of time this year with injuries.
Sánchez snapped a 2-for-23 skid to start this postseason with his two-run homer in the sixth. He reached out for Josh James’ 98 mph fastball off the outside edge of the strike zone and pulled it into the seats in left-center.
Otherwise, the AL East champion Yankees looked like they belonged in a lesser league.
Sure-handed first baseman DJ LeMahieu booted two ground balls, Torres also made two errors at second, and reliever Adam Ottavino was pulled before getting an out for the fourth time in seven appearances this postseason.
Hoping to save something in the bullpen after Wednesday’s rainout squeezed the rest of the series schedule, manager Aaron Boone used six relievers to cover four innings.
Boxer Patrick Day, 27, dies days after suffering traumatic brain injury in fight
Patrick Day, the boxer who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fight Saturday, has died, his management company announced.
Day, 27, reportedly died Wednesday at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was taken after collapsing in the ring at the city’s Wintrust Arena, following a fight against Charles Conwell.
The management company, DiBella Entertainment, said Day died “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team, including his mentor, friend and trainer Joe Higgins.” The company previously confirmed reports that Day was in a coma and underwent emergency brain surgery.
Day was knocked down in the fourth and eighth rounds of the bout before several punches to the head from Conwell again sent him to the canvas in the 10th and final round. Day was attended to by medical personnel before he was taken from the arena on a stretcher. He was reported to have remained unconscious, and suffered seizures as an ambulance transported him to the hospital.
Claudia Trejos gives us an update on Patrick Day.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Patrick and his family. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Xqee6iuJqs
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 13, 2019
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” DiBella Entertainment said. “This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action. While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.
“This is a way we can honor the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us. Rest in peace and power, Pat, with the angels.”
— Charles Conwell (@CharlesConwell) October 15, 2019
Day’s trainer, Joe Higgins, was not immediately available for comment. He recently told ESPN that Day grew up across the street from him in Freeport, N.Y., and wandered over as a 14-year-old to try out the punching bag hanging in the trainer’s garage. Higgins soon had Day enrolled at the local Police Athletic League gym.
“I feel like I’m responsible, like I let him down,” Higgins told ESPN, via text message. “My special kid.”
In its statement, DiBella Entertainment described Day as a “a dedicated college student,” who earned an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree.
“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” the statement said. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.
“He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”
Day’s death is the latest in a string of recent fatalities in the sport. Maxim Dadashev, a 28-year-old Russian, died in July, after he underwent surgery for massive head trauma following a fight at MGM National Harbor casino in Oxon Hill, Md. And 23-year-old Hugo Santillan reportedly suffered cardiorespiratory failure after fighting to a draw in his native Argentina just days after Dadashev’s death.
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