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National Signing Day Brings Hope For Fla. Schools

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The annual rite of passage that is National Signing Day in college football began early Wednesday morning with teams all across America hoping to sign the next Johnny Manziel or Jameis Winston.

The University of Miami came into Wednesday with a borderline top 10 class, according to Rivals.com, that could be punctuated with the signing of a massive defensive tackle Travonte Valentine. But, it was not to be as the Hialeah player instead signed with LSU.

Losing out on Valentine was a big loss for the Canes, but the team did plenty to reload at most key positions across the field. The Canes signed eight four-star players and one five-star player according to the Rivals.com rankings.

The top player in The U’s class is defensive end Chad Thomas from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. Thomas stands 6’5” and weighs 229 pounds and was committed to the U since July of last year. The school is also high on California quarterback Brad Kaaya, a 6’4”, 213 pound flame-thrower who could be the next good quarterback to suit up for the Canes.

Up the road in Gainesville, the Gators needed a massive influx of talent after the disastrous 2013 campaign and head coach Will Muschamp looks like he filled in several key areas. One surprise on NSD was quarterback Treon Harris, also of Booker T. Washington.

Harris had long been committed to Florida State, but flipped his commitment to the Gators Wednesday. He was a four-star quarterback at BTW, but he will likely be moved to another position since he’s around 5’11” and 180 pounds.

The jewel of UF’s class is defensive back Jalen Tabor from Washington, DC. The 6’1”, 186 pound defensive back will help ease the loss of several starters from last year’s defensive backfield for the Gators.

Tabor was rated as a five-star recruit by Rivals.com and committed to UF in early January.

Finally, the old saying of the rich getting richer was especially apropos in Tallahassee where the Florida State Seminoles continued their annual haul of top talent from around the nation.

FSU reached down to South Florida to steal five-star running back Dalvin Cook. The 5’11”, 192 pound running back committed to FSU in late December and will go a long way towards giving the defending national champion another option to dominate the running game.

Overall, as of noon, Rivals.com reported FSU had signed 11 four-star recruits and 2 five-star recruits with a handful of recruits still waiting to be signed.

According to Rivals.com, the top five classes this year belong to: Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and LSU. Six of the top 10 schools are from the SEC, while only one SEC school ranked outside of the Top 37, Vanderbilt at 66.

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