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All-Decade: The most captivating recruitments of the 2010s

Bru McCoy
Bru McCoy

The past decade has seen plenty of crazy recruiting moments, with de-commitments increasing every year and the early Signing Period throwing another wrinkle into the mix. While it’s hard to narrow it down to just 10, here are the most captivating recruitments from the past 10 years.

MORE ALL-DECADE: Top QB | Top RB | Top WR/TE | Top OL | Top DT | Top DE | Top LB | Biggest flips | Programs trending up, down | Biggest busts | Ranking the No. 1s | Crazy recruiting storylines in 2010

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Collins' story is one of the most famous recruiting stories ever, as his mother disagreed with his Signing Day commitment to Arkansas and took off with his National Letter of Intent, keeping him from signing with the Razorbacks. While she preferred he stay close to Miami, Collins liked his fit in the Arkansas offense and also wanted to play with his close friend, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, who didn’t have a spot at Miami. After lawyers intervened and Collins and his mother made national news, his father signed the paperwork and faxed it to Arkansas the following day. Collins starred with the Hogs and went on to be a fifth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks,

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Chase had a rather quiet demeanor as a recruit but that didn’t mean his recruitment was quiet. He and several Louisiana prospects made national headlines when they committed to Kansas in early 2017. That commitment would last less than two weeks and was just the start of the drama for Chase.

During the summer of 2017, Chase intended to announce his commitment to TCU during a TV broadcast of an offseason event but, after another prospect’s announcement went too long, Chase was bumped from the broadcast. Rather than announce his commitment, Chase instead elected to reevaluate his options.

Less than a month later, Chase committed to Florida in another surprise decision. He seemed set on sticking with the Gators until head coach Jim McElwain was fired mid-season. Chase then decommitted again and took his recruitment all the way until Signing Day 2018, when he signed with LSU.

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As the No. 1 player in the nation, Cowart’s every move was watched by fans and coaches alike. During long stretches of the process, he proclaimed Oregon as his leader, despite the fact that he had never visited Eugene.

Most pundits had him pegged as a future Florida Gator, but when then-coach Will Muschamp was fired following the 2014 season, that threw Cowart’s recruitment into a tailspin. Eventually, Muschamp would land at Auburn as the Tigers' defensive coordinator and on Signing Day, Cowart announced his intentions to follow him on live TV. The only problem? The Tigers didn’t receive Cowart’s National Letter of Intent.

Rumors floated that he had actually signed two letters and could still be heading to Florida, but after a day filled with drama his letter eventually ended up at Auburn. Neither Muschamp nor Cowart lasted with the Tigers, as Muchamp left after one year to coach at South Carolina and Cowart finished his career at Maryland. He’s now a rookie with the New England Patriots.

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A legend in South Florida from his days on the youth football scene, Cook quickly became a star on the recruiting circuit early in his high school career.

He made his first commitment to Clemson the summer prior to his junior year of high school. He stuck with the Tigers until the next spring, when he flipped to Florida.

Everything seemed to be set for a marriage between Cook and the Gators, especially when his close friend and fellow five-star Ermon Lane committed to the school a few months later. But the Gators struggled in the 2013 season, opening the door for Cook to look around.

Despite going into the all-star events insisting he was solid to the Gators, Cook and Lane both flipped to Florida State and enrolled early in Jan. 2014. Cook went on to a stellar college career and now plays for the Minnesota Vikings.

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Some might argue that the McCoy saga is still going on as he has yet to see the field as a college player. McCoy remained uncommitted throughout the entire recruiting process, electing to announce his decision at the 2019 All-America Game in San Antonio. While most had him pegged for Texas, he ended up committing to USC and enrolling early with the Trojans.

After a few weeks on campus he had a sudden change of heart and transferred to Texas. McCoy spent spring practice with the Longhorns and despite being in line to see the field as a true freshman, changed his mind again and transferred back to USC.

He missed long stretches of fall practice with an illness while redshirting and if healthy is expected to see the field for the Trojans in 2020.

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Moses lands on this list just because of how long of a recruitment he had as a prospect. When he was offered scholarships by Alabama and LSU as an 8th grader, Moses made national headlines. But unlike some players who garner early hype, Moses continued to be a star throughout high school.

He initially made an early commitment to LSU, which as a Baton Rouge native made sense. Most expected his would stick with the Tigers throughout, he re-opened his recruitment prior to his junior year. Moses then transferred to IMG Academy in Florida and after weighing his options with several schools, made a surprise fall commitment to Alabama.

Moses missed the 2019 season with an injury, but was a Butkus Award finalist in 2018.

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Robertson was a fixture on the national recruiting scene from early in his high school career and after receiving offers from all over the country, he committed to Alabama during the summer prior to his junior year.

But drama seemed to find Robertson, including when he was declared ineligible for his junior season after transferring schools and had to fight for most of the season to get back on the field.

Prior to his senior year he decommitted from the Tide and opened up his recruitment to include Georgia, Stanford, California and several others. Seemingly set on attending Stanford, Robertson worked hard to gain admission and even took his recruitment past Signing Day 2016. After he couldn’t make it work with the Cardinal, Robertson waffled between the Bulldogs and the Golden Bears. Nearly three months after Signing Day, he announced his commitment in a ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame by revealing a painting of the California Bears logo, shocking the gathered media there for the event that expected him to commit to Georgia.

He spent two seasons with the Bears before a coaching change led to him transferring to Georgia, where he is a redshirt junior this season.

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Despite being from the small town of Montezuma, Ga., the spotlight seemed to follow Smith everywhere he went. His recruitment spanned from coast-to-coast and went all the way until Signing Day, when he announced his commitment to UCLA on national TV.

One of the main draws for the small-town Georgia native to head to the Pac-12 school was his relationship with then-assistant coach Jeff Ulbrich. The only problem? Ulbrich had already agreed to leave UCLA for the Atlanta Falcons. Georgia coaches alerted Smith and his high school coach and he delayed sending his National Letter of Intent to the Bruins.

Nearly two weeks after Signing Day, Smith agreed to attend Georgia, even though he never sent in a traditional binding National Letter of Intent. He went on to be an All-American with the Dawgs and was a first round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2018.

Another habitual transferer, Steele’s recruitment was full of ups and downs. He initially committed to UCLA as an underclassman in 2017, a pledge that lasted eight months before he went back on the market. Steele would later commit to USC, only to back off that pledge as well, and flirt with Oklahoma and Oregon before committing to Florida at the 2019 All-America Game.

Steele enrolled early with the Gators and turned heads during spring practices, but elected to transfer after his then-roommate Jalon Jones was accused of sexual battery. Steele quickly committed to transfer to Oregon and was announced by the Ducks as a future member of the team. But before he made it to Oregon he had a change of heart once again, and transferred to USC.

Steele has played in every USC game this season, including six starts.

Watkins' recruitment was one that was constantly evolving as he made commitments to four different college programs during his high school career.

He committed to Louisville and LSU before he appeared set on heading to Austin to play for Texas. But the thought of playing that far from home eventually led to another change of heart and a commitment to Florida a few weeks before Signing Day 2018.

All of his antics were for not, as he ended up never playing a snap for the Gators before being dismissed from the team after multiple arrests.

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