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Signing Day surprises

UNC lands top class, USC's rush, Devine intervention

Posted: Wednesday February 7, 2007 5:49PM; Updated: Wednesday February 7, 2007 5:49PM
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Butch Davis made an instant impact at North Carolina, signing such stars as Marvin Austin.
Butch Davis made an instant impact at North Carolina, signing such stars as Marvin Austin.
Michael Kurec/SI
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By John Talman, Special to SI.com, Rivals.com

Here were the five biggest surprises on Signing Day.

1. Green sticks with the Trojans. It was a huge pickup for USC to land running back Joe McKnight, the nation's No. 2 overall player. However, it was the decision of Broderick Green that surprised everyone across the country. Green had been committed to the Trojans since April, but official visits to Penn State and Ohio State had many thinking Green was going to head to the Big Ten. In the end, Green reaffirmed his decision to sign with the Trojans after wavering for several months.

2. Tar Heels finish with flurry. Not many people believed that North Carolina would land Dwight Jones and Marvin Austin. But new Tar Heels coach Butch Davis got both -- and more. Austin is the No. 7 player in the country and the No. 1 defensive tackle. Jones is the No. 22 player in the nation and the fourth-ranked wide receiver. If that wasn't enough, Greg Little switched his commitment from Notre Dame to the in-state Tar Heels late on Signing Day after talking things over with his family.

3. Rivals250 receiver signs twice. During a public announcement, many expected longtime Clemson commitment Markish Jones to sign with the Tigers. The four-star wide receiver announced he was going to play for the Tigers and signed his paperwork. But he didn't fax his letter-of-intent to Clemson. Instead, Jones walked into his coach's office and said he wanted to go to Florida State instead. Jones then signed his letter-of-intent to play for the Seminoles and faxed it to FSU. Jones' high school coach said Jones' relationship with Seminoles new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher made the difference in the end.

4. Ross pulls Signing Day switch on Huskers. After losing four-star linebacker Travis Lewis days before, Nebraska found out this morning that longtime commitment David Ross was faxing his letter-of-intent to Oregon State. According to Ross' coach, the chance of playing sooner at Oregon State was a factor. Ross, a four-star cornerback, may have changed his mind because the Huskers signed five defensive backs -- including two junior college prospects who are expected to compete for early playing time.

5. Devine doesn't sign. After making a commitment to West Virginia on Tuesday, the recruiting process seemed to be finished for five-star running back Noel Devine. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound speedster surprised some by delaying things once again. Devine's high school coach, James Iandoli, said on Wednesday that Devine had a long talk with mentor Deion Sanders. During that conversation, Sanders apparently convinced Devine to wait. A visit to Florida State is possible this weekend, or Devine may opt to head to prep school in order to improve his academic standing. It appears things are on hold not only for West Virginia, but also the several other schools that are recruiting Devine.