Class of 21: Hot 100 On Signing Day

Todd Buchner (left) stands with his son, Tyler, who signed national letter of intent this week with Notre Dame. Corona Centennial’s Korey Foreman (right) also signed, but destination won’t be known until Jan. 2 All-American Game. Photos: Mark Tennis & / YouTube.

Football players this December weren’t able to be part of the usual signing ceremonies at their schools due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but they made the best of it virtually and still were able to be with their families. Since there were two prominent players from the last Hot 100 for this class we compiled that left the state and had to be taken out of a California list, we did an updated Hot 100 as of signing day. We also had to bring in a few players that have come on since the end of last season and signed with Power 5 schools.

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Going through all of the bios, twitter pages and media reports concerning the Hot 100 college football recruits in the state for the Class of 2021 in the last few days, there were two trends we were especially looking to find out.

First, how many of those in last summer’s Hot 100 left the state to pursue playing a fall season somewhere else? And second, would there be more or less late switches of players who had committed to one school and then picked a different one?

For the first question, the answer was only two, but they were both considered in the top 10 previously — quarterback Jake Garcia from La Habra and linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote from St. John Bosco of Bellflower. Garcia left La Habra (he was at Narbonne of Harbor City in the 2019 season) for what ended up two different schools in Georgia. Gaoteote left Bosco for Bishop Gorman of Nevada, which also is where he played as a sophomore.

Napa’s Brock Bowers became latest Northern California standout to sign with an SEC school, in his case Georgia. Photo:

Both of those players had to be removed from a California list, which caused most players in the last Hot 100 to move up for this one.

For the second question, the answer was less. One player who decommitted but ended up signing with the same school he earlier committed to was Gardena Serra’s Devin Kirkwood. He is headed to UCLA.

Still in the No. 1 position is defensive end Korey Foreman of Corona Centennial. He has a list of five finalists — USC, Clemson, Arizona State, LSU and Georgia — and he has signed with one of them. It’s just that the destination isn’t going to be revealed until an All-American Game on NBC on January 2. Earlier in the process, Foreman had committed and de-committed with Clemson. USC is a favorite since the Trojans already have a big-time defensive lineman from Centennial, Drake Jackson, who was a teammate of Foreman’s just two years ago.

The top placements in the Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100 player rankings are based on a consensus of what the rankings look like according to 247/Scout, & ESPN. Much of the rankings are not based on personal evaluations but on reported offers to the various players. For those who were ranked previously and had to drop, we just didn’t find reported offers through Google searches and Twitter pages. It’s obviously a fluid situation and there are many players who go on to become better NFL prospects down the road who were not in any Hot 100 rankings of any kind in high school.

But personal evaluations are the difference in some of the rankings, beginning at the No. 2 slot. We have seen many of those considered in that next group of players ourselves and went for new Helix of La Mesa quarterback Tyler Buchner in the No. 2 slot. Buchner signed on Tuesday as expected with Notre Dame, which is being led this year by a former all-state quarterback from California, Ian Book, who is from Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills).

It would appear most of the players who signed with Power 5 colleges this week will be graduating early and will not attempt to play a senior season at their schools (especially since it remains unclear if there will be much of a season if at all given the current status of the pandemic). We’ll look into that more closely once it seems like there will be a season.

With all that has been happening in this unprecedented time, congratulations to all of those in the updated Hot 100 who signed national letters of intent this week and to all of the great players who also signed but who we may have missed out on as a Hot 100 player.

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