Most of the college football world has finished its recruiting efforts at this point in the year, looking ahead to the uncertainties of next season. But for a number of schools still in the running for the nation’s top unsigned players, national signing day gives hope for an even brighter future for their programs.
Starting at 7:35 a.m. EST on February 6, 18 of the country’s top football prospects will officially announce their choice of school to attend next year. ESPNU will be covering the announcements live, giving college football fans a chance to share in the excitement that this time of the year brings.
All but four of the recruits to announce their decision are members of 247Sports top 247 prospects, including the No. 1 overall player in Robert Nkemdiche. No. 3 prospect Laremy Tunsil and No. 10 prospect Montravious Adams, will also be announcing their decision on February 6.
With so many top-ranked players announcing their choice on national signing day, there are several who will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the future of their respective school. We’ll take a look at a few such prospects and break down their potential.
*All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.
Robert Nkemdiche: 5-star Defensive End
It’s impossible to discuss this year’s recruiting class without talking a little about Nkemdiche.
Nkemdiche is the most talented player to come out of high school this year, and there’s no reason to dislike what he brings to the table. At 6’4” and 285 pounds, Nkemdiche has a frame fit for mauling offensive linemen at the next level.
Because of his impressive mix of size, strength, speed and quickness, Nkemdiche will garner immediate playing time at whichever school he decides to attend. His versatility would ensure that he finds an immediate fit, and with as much talent as he possesses, Nkemdiche will have a monster impact early in his career.
Ole Miss has been leading the charge for Nkemdiche, who will be the first to announce his decision on February 6. As Bleacher Report’s own Barrett Sallee points out, he would be a huge commit for the program:
If Ole Miss is able to flip Jones and land Nkemdiche and Conner, it's looking at a top 5 class...coming off a 7-6 season. Impressive.— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) January 26, 2013
Laremy Tunsil: 5-star Offensive Tackle
247Sports ranks Tunsil as the No. 3 prospect in this year’s class and the No. 1 offensive tackle. It’s easy to see why.
At 6’6” and 295 pounds, Tunsil already has the frame to hold up against elite college defensive linemen and pass rushers. He’s long and lean with plenty of room to add bulk in a college weight room. That weight room could very well be either that of Georgia or Alabama.
According to 247Sports, those are Tunsil’s top two choices, with Ole Miss not far behind. He’ll make his decision at 9:35 a.m. EST.
Tunsil already has the tools to be a terrific left tackle at the college level, and he stands to start almost immediately. The transition to that level is often difficult for true freshmen, but he has the physicality and technique to be a star in the coming years.
Matthew Thomas: 5-star Outside Linebacker
Thomas played his high school ball at Booker T. Washington High School in Florida, and it looks as though the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker prospect could remain in his home state for college.
Florida State and Miami are Thomas’ top two choices, and he’s set to make his official announcement at 9:15 a.m. EST on national signing day. Whichever school manages to land Thomas is assured of a top-notch player who will make a huge difference on Saturdays.
Thomas is 6’3” and 210 pounds of explosiveness and speed. He has the potential to line up at several positions on defense, but outside linebacker is probably the best fit for Thomas. Given his lateral agility and toughness against the run, it shouldn’t take long for Thomas to secure considerable playing time at the next level.
According to UGARecruitingInsider’s tweet from Tuesday, Thomas plans to visit Georgia this weekend. While Florida State and Miami are leading the race right now, late-season visits can sometimes swing players’ decisions:
OLB Matthew Thomas says he is excited about official visit to UGA this weekend. Long shot, but again, simple trip to Athens can change a lot— UGARecruitingInsider (@UGA_Recruiting) January 29, 2013
Thomas will have an immediate impact at the next level, regardless of which school he decides to attend. With his physical tools and room to grow, Thomas has a chance to dominate the linebacker position for the next few years.
Montravius Adams: 5-star Defensive Tackle
Most of the nation’s remaining undecided recruits are defensive players, and Adams is the best defensive tackle yet to make a decision.
According to 247Sports, Georgia and Clemson lead the race for Adams, whose 6’4”, 310-pound frame promises to dominate opposing offensive lines for the foreseeable future.
Adams is still a bit raw, but his first-step explosiveness is what makes him one of the most intriguing prospects in this recruiting class. He’s a huge body and has terrific quickness—traits that will make him a dominant penetrator and interior pass rusher at the next level.
Adams is also fairly adept at plugging running lanes and stopping opposing rushers in their tracks. He needs a little polish, but Adams stands to be one of the most disruptive defensive linemen to come out of this class.