Signing day carried less drama than in recent years

Recruiting drama is part of every signing day, but it was much less of a soap opera among the state’s high-profile prospects Wednesday than in recent years.

Out of Georgia’s top 10 overall prospects, all but one had revealed their college plans in advance. The lone holdout was Norcross High defensive end Lorenzo Carter, who pledged to Georgia over LSU in front of a national audience on ESPN.

It was boring TV compared with last year, when five of the state’s top 10 prospects prolonged the suspense until the last minute.

This year was different in many ways.

Georgia Tech might’ve had its first recruit commit on ESPN when Norcross High’s Myles Autry decided to follow his brother, Anthony, to play with the Yellow Jackets rather than go separate ways and sign with Florida State.

Last year, Georgia missed on four high-profile targets on signing day, along with losing Reuben Foster to Alabama a few days before. On Wednesday, Georgia recovered for a signature ESPN moment, with the state’s No. 1 prospect (Carter) putting on a red and black baseball cap.

Kennesaw State made history with its first recruiting class. The Owls will begin play in 2015 and signed 29 players, including the AJC’s All-Classification player of the year, Griffin quarterback Jaquez Parks. The first player to commit to the Owls, South Paulding quarterback Chandler Parks, was also the team’s initial signee.

Georgia State also signed 24 players, including one of its largest classes of junior-college imports with seven overall transfers. The Panthers need a lot of immediate contributors next season while making the jump to FBS-level competition.

The SEC dominated the national landscape with seven of the nation’s top 10 classes in the team recruiting rankings, including Alabama at the No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row in the composite rankings.

“Alabama’s class is almost unfair; they got five of the 15 five-stars (players),” ESPN’s Derek Tyson said.

Georgia ranked second-best in the SEC East, which incredibly was only good enough for eighth in the nation. The only non-SEC teams in the top 10 were Ohio State and FSU at third and fourth, respectively.

Carter was the icing on the cake as Georgia closed with a lot of momentum. The Bulldogs flipped West Hall tight end Hunter Atkinson from Cincinnati on Wednesday and beat out Ole Miss and Virginia Tech for a played once committed to Notre Dame, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Georgia made a late offer to McKenzie on Monday, but had inside position because one of his high school teammates, five-star running back Sony Michel, already was headed to the Bulldogs.

Tech finished with the nation’s No. 59 class, led by pair of late additions from Norcross. Autry banked on his family connections on Wednesday, preceded the day before by Clinton Lynch, who was committed to Georgia State. Both will get looks at wide receiver and running back, the two positions they alternated at while helping Norcross win back-to-back state championships. Tech signed 21 players.

As usual, there was plenty of last-minute drama across the state of Georgia, which projects to have around 250 seniors sign with major-colleges by end of the spring.

The biggest soap opera involved arguably the state’s largest prospect. Peachtree Ridge offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr. switched from Tennessee to Oklahoma without taking an official visit to the Sooners. The 6-foot-7, 340-pounder is the son of the late NFL player, Orlando Brown.

Camden County defensive back Chris Williams tweeted Wednesday that he was switching from Alabama to Central Florida. Alabama had a tough time at Camden County, with cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent flipping from the Crimson Tide to Auburn a couple of months ago.