What to Look for as National Signing Day Approaches
Shortly before entering the final week before National Signing Day, one of the top players in the nation, running back Derrick Green who was featured on Breitbart Sports last week, has made his college choice. The #9 overall prospect according to our rankings selected the Michigan Wolverines over Tennessee, Auburn, and Florida State. While Green’s recruitment is now over, the drama and intrigue surrounding National Signing Day will be playing out over the next week.
Here’s what we will be watching:
The Race for Number One: While only currently ranked #3 in the Rivals.com rankings, Nick Saban seems to have Alabama primed for yet another recruiting “title.” Despite an already strong class, Alabama enters the final week with running back Alvin Kamara, linebacker Reuben Foster, safety Vonn Bell, defensive tackles Eddie Vanderdoes and Dee Liner, and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil still on their board.
I would look for the Tide to close with Kamara, Liner, and likely also the five-star Bell as well as one or two other solid prospects. That finish should be enough to catapult them into the top spot unless Florida could close strong by landing highly ranked players including stealing cornerback Jalen Ramsey from USC.
Notre Dame in unlikely to contend for the top spot although Georgia could make a big push if they could close with a combination of Kamara, Foster, Tunsil, and defensive tackle Montravious Adams. Such a finish, which might not be enough to get to the top spot, appears unlikely.
The “Undecideds”: While most concede that Breitbart Sports #2 prospect Robert Nkemdiche is likely headed to Ole Miss, his status, as well as the status of other uncommitted Breitbart25 prospects like Foster, Adams, Vanderdoes, Tunsil, and others is still very much in doubt. Teams like Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Ole Miss are the most active with the top undecided prospects in the country.
The “Waverers”: Breitbart Sports #1 player Carl Lawson has been wavering significantly on his commitment to Auburn since the firing of Gene Chizik. Lawson is still considering Tennessee and Clemson in addition to Auburn who will receive his final visit this weekend. He hopes to have a decision shortly following that visit.
Ramsey, committed to USC, has also been wavering and is looking hard at Florida and Florida State. I’m also keeping an eye on Breitbart25 member Chris Jones who is looking at Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny may sign with the in-state Razorbacks due to the plethora of elite running backs that Alabama appears set to sign on February 6th.
The Final Weekend: Nkemdiche’s visit to LSU in the final weekend will certainly draw the eyes of many as the Bayou Bengals are the most likely team to be able to pull Nkemdiche away from the Rebels. However, there are a number of other players who will be making visits (some of which in secret) on the last weekend, a strong ploy by the schools recruiting them.
There is not a school in the country, however, that will have as strong of a group for the final weekend as the Auburn Tigers who appear set to host Lawson, Foster, Adams, and Ole Miss defensive end commit Elijah Daniel as well as a number of other top prospects for the final weekend. If all show and the pitch is strong, the Tigers could be among the top stories on Signing Day.
Teams on the Rise/Teams on the Fall: Following any season, it is always fascinating to see how a program builds on its momentum or stumbles as a result of a disappointing year. Looking at the on-the field results combined with performance on National Signing Day provide a great indicator of the outlook of the program.
Hugh Freeze appears to be building something special at Ole Miss and a strong finish on signing day could cement the Rebels as a program on the rise. Texas A&M, UCLA (particularly if they land Vanderdoes), and Michigan who recently landed headliner Green all appear set to confirm their programs as rising forces within their conferences and Urban Meyer will likely bolster the Buckeyes’ young roster.
Oregon, following the loss of Chip Kelly, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Miami, and Florida State, which has been losing commitments at a rate only duplicated by the number of assistants that have recently left the Seminoles, are only showing the signs of programs on the decline after disappointing seasons and/or off-seasons.
Stay tuned to Breitbart Sports for the best free recruiting coverage on the internet and follow me on Twitter @ColeMuzio or keep up with our recruiting updates by following #BreitbartREC. We will be monitoring developments and making predictions leading up to National Signing Day on February 6th.