National Signing Day 2013: Players Who Will Boost Programs Atop Recruiting Ranks

Justin OnslowContributor IIFebruary 3, 2013

Photo courtesy of 247Sports
Photo courtesy of 247Sports

Recruiting season is almost in the books, but college coaches are still holding their collective breath. On February 6, the last of the nation’s top recruits will announce their future schools.

Many recruiting classes are highlighted by several standout, can't-miss high school candidates and this year's crop is no exception. While many have already chosen a school, there are a number of potential program-changing players yet to decide.

The usual suspects are at the top of the recruiting board this year, including Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame, while USC and LSU aren’t far behind. For any program already near the top of the rankings, one more big-time recruit can be the missing piece that puts them over the top.

There are also several schools currently ranked outside of 247Sports’ top 10 that have a chance to make a significant move on Wednesday's National Signing Day, including Ole Miss. The Rebels have a number of terrific prospects still on their radar and landing just one of them would likely push the program into the recruiting top 10 this year.

We’ll take a look at some of the most significant undecided recruits and speculate as to where they might land on February 6.

*All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.


Robert Nkemdiche: 5-star defensive end

All the pieces will begin to fall in place when Nkemdiche announces his decision at 7:35 a.m. EST on National Signing Day.

Nkemdiche is the consensus No. 1 prospect this year and he’ll be an immediate boost to whichever school he chooses. With a 6’4”, 285-pound frame, the 5-star defensive end is ready to play and contribute immediately at the college level.

Ole Miss is the favorite to secure a commitment from Nkemdiche, a move that would likely move the Rebels into the top 10. They also have a number of other high-profile targets on the radar and Nkemdiche’s decision could be a game-changer for the Rebels.

According to Shea Dixon of 247Sports, it may not be too late to count out LSU, though:

There are always surprises on National Signing Day and it appears Nkemdiche will keep us all guessing until February 6.


Laremy Tunsil: 5-star offensive tackle

Tunsil is another top target for Ole Miss, and the interest seems to be mutual. According to 247Sports National Recruiting Director JC Shurburtt, talk is still swirling of an Ole Miss/Tunsil union:

Tunsil would not only be a boost for Ole Miss, but any program that manages to land the nation’s top offensive line prospect. At 6’6” and 295 pounds, he is a mauler with quick feet and good technique and he’s ready to start at the next level.

Georgia and Alabama are also on Tunsil’s short list, but all recent indications point to the big tackle taking his talents to Ole Miss. We will all find out on February 6 at 9:35 a.m. EST on Wednesday.


Matthew Thomas: 5-star outside linebacker

Thomas attends Booker T. Washington high school in Miami, and it looks like he’ll continue his playing career in his home state.

According to 247Sports, Miami and Florida State are the two leading candidates for one of the nation’s top linebacker prospects. According to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, Thomas is still considering Miami, despite reports that he was leaning toward attending Florida State:

Shurburtt has heard otherwise:

Florida State currently has the No. 14 recruiting class in the country, while Miami is at No. 32. Landing Thomas would be a huge boost for either school and he has a chance of seeing immediate playing time on either roster.

Thomas will make his final decision at 9:15 a.m. EST on national signing day. Until then, Florida State and Miami will have to wait patiently for his decision.


Vonn Bell: 5-star safety

Bell is the No. 3 safety in the nation and, with a good mix of size and speed, he offers a versatile, athletic option for college coaches. Bell has the potential to line up all over the secondary and he could be an impact player very early in his career.

According to 247Sports, Bell is considering Tennessee, Alabama and Ohio State as his top three choices. While it seems Alabama has fallen behind in the race, Tennessee and Ohio State are gaining steam. national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell believes Bell’s decision will benefit the Volunteers:

Tennessee ranks No. 26 this year in recruiting, and the Volunteers have failed to land a 5-star recruit thus far. Bell’s commitment would be a huge boost for the team, and would also vault Tennessee up the recruiting ranks.

While signs point to Tennessee as his destination, we won’t know for sure until 10:05 a.m. EST on National Signing Day, when he is scheduled to make his announcement.


Montravius Adams: 5-star defensive tackle

At 6’4” and 310 pounds, it’s easy to see why so many schools coveted Adams this year. He’s an absolute mauler at the defensive tackle position, and he has the frame to be a plug-and-play option at the next level.

Adams is 247Sports’ No. 2 defensive tackle prospect, trailing only Eddie Vanderdoes in the rankings. He’ll make his final decision at 9:45 a.m. EST on February 6 and it appears now like he may be leaning toward Georgia, according to UGARecruitingInsider:

Apart from Georgia, Adams has also been considering Clemson, Auburn and Alabama. Alabama is widely considered to have the best recruiting class in the nation at this point and Georgia holds the No. 9 position, but Auburn (17) and Clemson (19) would greatly benefit from adding a 5-star prospect of Adams’ caliber.