National signing day is nearly upon us (less than ten days away for those keeping track) and we are continuing to see some big recruiting news leading up to the most important day in college football's off-season. Over the weekend Michigan and Notre Dame each secured some lucrative verbal commitments, and once again it seems Ole Miss is continuing to build momentum.
Michigan received the verbal commitment of five-star running back Derrick Green out of Virginia. Green made the announcement Saturday that he will be heading to Ann Arbor to play for the Wolverines and Brady Hoke, who apparently was brought to tears over the news.
"He was real excited,” Green told 247 Sports. “I kept him on his toes. But when I told him today he was just astound and actually started crying. It was crazy, it was an unbelievable experience.”
We know that recruiting can have a way to result in some emotions from coaches, for better or worst. Whether Hoke actually cried or not remains to be seen. If legit, is it strange that Hoke broke down in tears over the good news? Probably not, considering Michigan is losing Denard Robinson and the status of Fitzgerald Toussaint remains in question for the upcoming season. Hoke may be relieved to know that one of the top running back prospects will be on campus ready to contribute right away. It is possible the Wolverines could need him to step right in from the start.
The addition of Green gives Michigan 27 recruits lined up for the Class of 2013, and could be enough to move Michigan just past Ohio State in the recruiting rankings. Given the trend on the field, Michigan will take the victory where they can. Michigan appears to be on track to having one of the best recruiting classes in a long time, so clearly Hoke is doing something right. Now if they could just put it all together on the field, the Wolverines could be something special in the Big Ten soon enough.
Michigan's non-conference rival, Notre Dame, is also putting together what appears to be a very solid class. Coming off an undefeated regular season seems to be forgotten by many given the way the month of January has turned out for the Fighting Irish on and off the field, but Brian Kelly continues to be doing some good work on the recruiting trails.
The recent addition of tight end Durham Smythe out of Texas gives the Irish a second solid tight end for Kelly and his offense in the Class of 2013. Smythe had previously been committed to the Texas Longhorns, who now have just one tight end in this year's recruiting class – a three-star junior college transfer in Geoff Swaim. The loss of Smythe comes as a bit of a blow for Mack Brown's program but should be seen as a solid victory for Notre Dame, who is solidifying a top ten class and could end up with a top five class when all is said and done.
Notre Dame's offense tends to utilize the tight end position more than some other schools, so adding a second quality tight end to the fold should not be too much of a concern when it comes to depth. The more the merrier at most positions of course, but when an offense relies on the tight end formation the way Notre Dame would like to, this is even more so with this position. With Everett Golson growing he will likely have some dependable options in the passing game moving forward.
In the meantime we are still keeping a watchful eye on Ole Miss, who continues to open some eyes with their recruiting efforts. The Rebels added a three-star offensive guard in Davion Johnson today just a couple of days after wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo flipped to Ole Miss from Texas A&M on an official visit. Hugh Freeze is doing something special in Oxford it would seem and it could be getting better by the day. Ole Miss is still considered to be heavily in the mix for the nation's top prospect, Robert Nkemdiche.
We will have more thoughts on the recruiting stories to watch later today and this week and next. Which recruiting stories are you paying the most attention to, whether nationally or more locally? Let us know in the comments below.