Oregon makes noise as Alabama exits signing day with the No. 1 class

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Oregon caused a stir on the first day of the initial signing period when five-star safety Peyton Bowen switched his commitment from Notre Dame to the Ducks — but that wasn’t the only big impact Oregon had on Wednesday as the coach Dan Lanning and his team went from just outside the top 10 in the class standings to 6th overall.

The week didn’t start off on the right foot when five-star quarterback Dante Moore switched his commitment from Oregon to UCLA.

The Ducks’ team quickly adjusted and traded ESPN 300 quarterback Austin Novosad from Baylor. The Ducks were also in a recruiting battle with USC and Ohio State for ESPN 300 defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei, younger brother of former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and the 65th overall prospect. Oregon won that fight as well.

The Ducks also traded four-star running back Jayden Limar from Washington and ESPN 300 cornerback Daylen Austin from LSU. In total, Oregon now has 12 ESPN 300 appointments.

The Ducks may have moved up the class standings with all the day’s action, but it’s the Alabama Crimson Tide who will end up at the top of the class standings.

Alabama finished behind Texas A&M in the last cycle, and head coach Nick Saban made sure his program was the best in the 2023 cycle. He traded five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor from Iowa before the signing period began.

Alabama then earned engagements from five-star teammates Jaquavious Russaw and James Smith on Wednesday. Russaw is the No. 7 overall candidate and Smith is No. 10. These two appointments, plus Proctor, give the Crimson Tide four five-star appointments in this class, the most of any program.

Saban was able to attract these highly sought after recruits while also retaining recruits already committed to Alabama. ESPN 300 safety Tony Mitchell and five-star safety Caleb Downs had other programs try to pull them away from Alabama, but both signed with the Crimson Tide.

Georgia started the day No. 2 in the rankings behind Alabama, and while it was a good day for the Dawgs, the Tide failed to stay on top.

Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart made it interesting, getting a commitment from ESPN 300 cornerback Daniel Harris and ESPN 300 defensive end Damon Wilson on Wednesday.

Miami also attempted to move up the rankings from its No. 3 spot by adding ESPN 300 cornerback Damari Brown, who chose the Hurricanes over the Alabama.

Michigan added two top-300 commitments on Wednesday, receiver Karmello English and cornerback Jyaire Hill. The Wolverines have also been active on the transfer portal and have secured commitments from Stanford forwards Myles Hinton and Drake Nugent, Arizona State forward LaDarius Henderson and Nebraska rookie linebacker Ernest Hausmann, among others.

Rival Ohio State got a commitment from ESPN 300 defensive end Joshua Mickens, the No. 205 prospect and a must-have position for the Buckeyes.

The Wolverines and Buckeyes had established coaches who were entrenched in this recruiting class, but some of the newer coaches in several programs were trying to navigate the initial hiring period with only a few weeks to prepare.

New Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze was able to turn ESPN 300 cornerback Kayin Lee of Ohio State, defensive end Keldric Faulk of Florida State and move up the rankings from outside the top 40 to 29th overall.

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders, who in the 2022 cycle shocked the college football world on his first day of hire as head coach of Jackson State by turning Florida State five-star corner Travis Hunter, was looking to have another big day with the class of 2023.

He’s managed to add some key pieces — including his son, Shedeur Sanders, the Jackson State quarterback who on Wednesday officially committed to playing for his father at Colorado.

Sanders managed to turn ESPN 300 running back Dylan Edwards out of Notre Dame before the signing period began and also signed ESPN 300 wide receiver Adam Hopkins on Wednesday.