College Football Recruiting 2013: Predicting National Signing Day Surprises

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 11, 2013

College Football Recruiting 2013: Predicting National Signing Day Surprises

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    National Signing Day is the most exciting day of the year for many college football fans, especially fans of every single program that didn't win the National Championship that season.

    Scratch that, even Alabama fans are excited for the amount of potential Nick Saban will be bringing in through recruiting.

    Excitement is the key word for National Signing Day. Potential is on everybody's minds and hope for the future is in the air.

    That said, National Signing Day has also been known to provide us with a surprise or two. Whether it be a huge flip, a surprise commitment, or a change in the overall team rankings.

    With that in mind, here are five surprises that I predict will happen on National Signing Day, 2013.

5-Star OLB Matthew Thomas Will Commit to Florida State

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    Miami seems like the natural choice for 5-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas.

    He's from Miami, he goes to Booker T. Washington High School (a known Miami pipeline) and he's been high on the Hurricanes for a long time now.

    Thomas has visits scheduled to Alabama, USC, Florida State and Georgia—with Georgia getting the final visit.

    On National Signing Day, Miami will appear to be the favorite and I do think Georgia will make a strong final push considering their final visit, but Thomas will elect to stay in-state.

    Instead of Miami though, he will pick Florida State. 

    Jimbo Fisher is a great recruiter, Thomas can stay in-state, and Florida State does a chance to become a legitimate contender. Unfortunately, I have a feeling the potential sanctions surrounding Miami will hurt them in this case.  

5-Star DE, Carl Lawson Will Flip to Clemson

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    Carl Lawson is currently committed to Auburn and I have to believe that the Tigers and head coach Gus Malzahn will do everything they can to make sure that he remains committed to their program, at least up until National Signing Day.

    Many will be surprised that Lawson remained committed to Auburn all along, and the Tigers will be applauded for holding on to his commitment.

    Then, out of nowhere, the news breaks that Lawson has actually made a last minute decision to flip to Clemson.

    Dabo Swinney is a great recruiter, and somehow he was able to convince Lawson that he could come in and completely erase the memory of Clemson ever losing Robert Nkemdiche's commitment.

    It's worth noting that Lawson is actually taking an official visit to Clemson this weekend.

    That visit will make a huge impact on his recruitment, and we'll see the final result on National Signing Day.

5-Star ILB Reuben Foster Will Commit to Auburn, Again

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    There's no way Reuben Foster would go back to Auburn, right?

    Foster's commitment should go all the way down to the wire and we'll all be waiting anxiously to see who he picks on National Signing Day.

    Georgia will seem like the hands-down favorite to land his commitment, but it's worth noting that Auburn is still in the top two of his 247Sports interest list. The latest news in regards to Foster's recruitment is that he had a good time getting to know Auburn's new staff, and he apparently really likes new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.

    Everybody will expect Foster to commit to Georgia, but in the end, he'll stay true to the Auburn tattoo on his arm and go back to the Tigers.

5-Star DT Eddie Vanderdoes Will Commit to Alabama

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    5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes is a former USC commitment.

    While USC is still a major option for the elite defensive tackle, he also has Washington, UCLA, Alabama and Notre Dame on his new interest list, according to 247Sports. He does have an official visit to both Notre Dame and USC scheduled, and the Trojans will get his final visit, according to Gerard Martinez of USCFootball.com.

    USC and Notre Dame look like they should be the two favorites for Vanderdoes, but Alabama is a very intriguing option as well. He could play either the zero or five technique in their 3-4 scheme, and the Crimson Tide are making a strong push for the elite defensive tackle.

    In fact, here's a recent Tweet from Vanderdoes, if you're feeling skeptical about Alabama's chances:

    Good talk with Coach Rumph #ROLLTIDE

    — EV4™ (@EddieVanderdoes) January 11, 2013

    I expect his recruitment will come all the way down to National Signing Day and Alabama will make a late push for the 5-star. 

    Most will be thinking either USC or Notre Dame, but when all is said and done, Vanderdoes will reveal an Alabama hat and commit to the Crimson Tide.

Nick Saban, Alabama Will Finish with No. 1 Overall Class

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    Alabama currently has the No. 4 ranked recruiting class according to Rivals.com.

    That will drastically change on National Signing Day. Saban's program will finish on an epic note.

    When all is said and done, I expect Alabama to add three more 5-star recruits, including the aforementioned Vanderdoes.

    5-star safety Tony Conner (top two) will choose Alabama, as will 5-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (top two).

    With the addition of Conner, Tunsil and Vanderdoes on National Signing Day, Alabama will finish the 2013 recruiting cycle with the best overall class.

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