South leads pack in signing day pickups

NEW YORK --- These days, the Alabama-Louisiana State University rivalry is revved-up year round.


The Tigers and Tide tussled for the top spot in the recruiting rankings Wednesday, with Nick Saban and 'Bama closing strong and even getting one Louisiana star to switch from purple and gold to crimson and white on signing day.

As if LSU fans needed another reason to seethe about Saban, the former Tigers coach who needed just two seasons in Tuscaloosa to wrest the SEC West away from Les Miles' Tigers.

On signing day, LSU and Alabama went at it again. and gave Alabama their top spots, with LSU second in both services. LSU was No. 1 in ESPNU's rankings, with Alabama fifth.

Few coaches are as relentless as Saban and Miles when it comes to recruiting.

The next meeting on the field between the burgeoning rivals is Nov. 7 in Tuscaloosa.

The other schools vying for the top spot were mostly the usual suspects: Southern California, Texas and Ohio State.

Florida coach Urban Meyer didn't have many scholarships to hand out -- most of his national championship team will be back next season -- but what his class lacked in quantity it made up in quality.

One newcomer to the top-10: North Carolina, with coach Butch Davis. The Tar Heels haven't had this type of recruiting success since Mack Brown was in Chapel Hill in the late 1990s.

Rich Rodriguez's first season at Michigan was a 3-9 debacle, but his first recruiting class drew top-10 rankings.

And the top running back prospect in the country decided NOT to sign a letter of intent Wednesday.

Bryce Brown of Wichita, Kan., who has given a verbal commitment to Miami, plans to mull his decision over for a few more weeks.

Manti T'eo from Honolulu, a top-rated linebacker, made his choice Wednesday and surprised many of the experts by picking Notre Dame over Southern Cal and UCLA.

Still it was another good signing day for Pete Carroll and USC. The Trojans' latest heralded recruiting class features the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the country. Matt Barkley is from Mater Dei High School, the same southern California school that produced Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart.

Texas' Brown also found a five-star quarterback prospect in his backyard when Garrett Gilbert from Austin signed.



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