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February 16, 2012
Recruits who frequently flop don't always fail
After all, Payton signed with UCLA only after verbally committing to USC, California and Washington first. The Rivals100 receiver made his Signing Day switch to UCLA just one day after making his commitment to Washington, a move that came less than a month after he announced he would play for California.
Payton wasn't the only recruit whose frequent changes of heart raised eyebrows.
When five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel enrolled at Notre Dame after reneging on verbal commitments to Indiana and LSU, it inevitably raised questions about whether he might show similar indecisiveness in leading an offense. LSU coach Les Miles even told a booster group that Kiel "did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program," without mentioning the quarterback by name.
Payton and Kiel had plenty of company in the Rivals250.
Crowley (La.) High athlete Davante Bourque committed to Texas A&M and LSU before signing with Tennessee. Missouri City (Texas) Hightower wide receiver and Rivals250 pick Bralon Addison made a Signing Day switch from Texas A&M to Oregon after initially committing to Oklahoma State. South Miami cornerback A.J. Leggett was committed to Miami and Florida State before ending up at Marshall.
While it's unusual to have this many high-profile recruits in one class commit to three different schools, their cases are hardly unprecedented. We've put together an alphabetical list of 10 previous four-star or five-star prospects since the formation of Rivals.com in 2002 who also committed to at least three different schools.
Some of them made more headlines during the recruiting process than they ever created during their actual careers. Others eventually proved they were worth all the fuss.
Hurst (Texas) L.D. Bell TE Chris Barnett (2011)
Hampton (Va.) Phoebus QB Tajh Boyd (2009)
Jeffersonville (Ga.) Twiggs County LB Antonio Clay (2005)
Indianapolis Warren Central DB Jerimy Finch (2007)
Houston Nimitz RB Josh Huff (2010)
Houston Eisenhower S Craig Loston (2009)
Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider DB Markelle Martin (2008)
Salt Lake City (Utah) Highlands DT Haloti Ngata (2002)
Asheville (N.C.) DE Jeoffrey Pagan (2011)
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas CB Marcus Roberson (2011)