National Signing Day 2013: Analyzing Top Undecided Prospects
National signing day takes place on Feb. 6, but there are still several of the country's premier prospects that haven't officially decided on which school they will attend.
This big decision comes under a lot of media scrutiny, with pressure to side with the hometown school always imminent. The fact that young teenagers can create the kind of buzz they do speaks to their eye-popping athleticism and ability to handle playing for a big-time college program.
Here is an analysis of four of the top players in the country that have yet to put on a college hat.
Note: Prospect rankings are based on 247Sports.com's composite rankings.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Grayson High School (Loganville, Ga.)
Nkemdiche is the No. 1 overall prospect in the country. At 6'4" and 285 pounds with 4.65 speed in the 40-yard dash, it's easy to see why.
On Friday, Nkemdiche took an official visit to LSU, which confirmed what he had tweeted the night before:
LSU tommrow what up!— Robert Nkemdiche (@Aceboogie_001) February 1, 2013
Prior to that trip, Ole Miss was the clear top choice on his list. Nkemdiche has the kind of ability to swing the balance of power in the SEC. The Rebels are coming off of a 7-6 season that featured several conference thrillers, and badly need a player of Nkemdiche's caliber to join the fold.
Meanwhile, if the Tigers somehow snatch up Nkemdiche at the last minute, it would be critical to absorbing the loss of future NFL players Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery.
With the physical strength to already match up favorably with SEC competition, there is little doubt that Nkemdiche will have immediate success wherever he goes. He is a stout run defender, a nightmare to handle as a pass-rusher and will be the main attraction this coming Wednesday.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Columbia High School (Lake City, Fla.)
Tunsil is the fourth-ranked prospect overall and the premier offensive tackle of the 2013 class. He has the opportunity to be the next, massive phenom at the University of Alabama, but also has Georgia and Ole Miss on his radar.
From a professional football playing standpoint, it's hard to beat going to play for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. That said, there is not clear favorite in the Tunsil sweepstakes as of yet.
Possessing a great wingspan and standing at a towering 6'6" and 295 pounds, Tunsil also has exceptional athleticism to be a program cornerstone at left tackle, even as a true freshman.
His biggest strength is pass-blocking, which bodes well for the increasingly spread-oriented college game. According to his 247Sports.com profile, Tunsil is warmest to the Rebels, since that was his most recent visit back on Jan. 25. He shared his thoughts with ESPN's Derek Tyson (subscription required) on his trip to Oxford:
I mean Ole Miss has been near the top, too...But after I went down there, it made them go up a little bit. They are even with Georgia and Alabama. I like their tempo on offense. They think I could fit in with their tempo and I think I could, too.
If Ole Miss somehow lands both Nkemdiche and Tunsil, it would be a stunning achievement and possibly vault the Rebels into SEC contention within a year or two at most.
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, Placer High School (Auburn, Calif.)
Here's to changing gears and deviating a bit from the Southeastern Conference. Vanderdoes was originally committed to Southern Cal, but then spurned them after having his doubts when visiting archrival Notre Dame.
That's a big blow to the Trojans, who struggled mightily on the defensive side of the ball in 2012 and could have used the top-ranked defensive tackle as a vital building block for the future.
USC isn't officially out of the running, but the Fighting Irish have emerged as prohibitive favorites to snag Vanderdoes, who is a physical specimen at just over 300 pounds with outstanding upside.
In addition to being stout against the run, Vanderdoes has the ability to collapse the pocket from the interior and disrupt the rhythm of the passing game.
But wait: Vanderdoes actually did visit Alabama on Friday in a last-minute courtship, which could ultimately sway him to the SEC anyway. Wherever he goes, he figures to see the field very early on thanks to a strong motor and prototypical frame.
Reuben Foster, ILB, Auburn High School (Auburn, Ala.)
Being from Auburn, it makes sense that Foster is a hot commodity for the hometown Tigers and other rival SEC schools. With the dire straits that the Auburn program is in right now, it may be difficult to sway Foster to stay.
Helping the cause, though, is that Foster made an official visit on Friday, giving his local team the last chance at leaving an impression.
As reported by Matt Scalici of AL.com, Foster decommitted from Auburn back in December, but the fact that he went back for one more trip gives Tiger fans some hope.
Foster is the seventh-ranked prospect and top inside linebacker. He has the speed to chase down ball-carriers on the sidelines but also the thickness to immediately contribute against the physical, punishing running backs he'll face in conference play.
Although he is a slight liability in coverage, there is plenty of raw talent to build upon, and Foster will simply need to study up on schematics and route concepts.
Should that expected development occur, there's no reason to think that Foster won't be a player to watch for in the 2013 season.
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