If you asked a group of high schoolers if they knew how to use a fax machine, most would probably just smile right back at you, pretending they knew exactly what this foreign device is. When tasked with actually completing the task, however, they would undoubtedly turn to their iPads for immediate guidance.
This process of having recruits actually fax in their Letters of Intent is just one of the interesting storylines to keep tabs on during Wednesday’s national signing day. There are (as you might imagine) some other items, teams and players who will draw slightly larger headlines, and deservedly so.
Recruits will be committing at a frantic pace, and team evaluations will change hourly. If you’re attempting to manage the headlines from a cubicle a) good luck and b) here’s what you should look out for.
The Day’s First Commitment Will Pack a Punch Early (Very Early)
Although many aren’t predicting a shocker, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche will kick off the NSD festivities with a 7:30 a.m. ET press conference. At this time, we will know whether or not Nkemdiche will join his brother at Ole Miss—which feels likely—or if a last-minute visit to LSU this past weekend was enough to bring on a stunner.
Either way, your morning cup of coffee will be accompanied with an announcement that could set a very interesting trend for the rest of the day. Seriously, Pac-12 folks might as well stay up all night.
As for Nkemdiche, aside from having a name that the average college football fan would butcher horribly in a spelling contest, he’s a physical specimen. At 6’4” and somewhere around 285 pounds, you’ll see plenty of him next fall, regardless of where he lands.
Also, imagine the 5’11”, 245-pound high school tackle who was tasked with guarding him this year. Not fun.
Hugh Freeze, America; America, Hugh Freeze
We led with Nkemdiche, although look out for Ole Miss. Forget about the potential of a top-10 class (which they’re awfully close to already), the Rebels could find their way into the top three if things go as planned.
Wideout Laquon Treadwell is widely considered the best pass catcher in the country, and he’s verbally committed. Defensive end Elijah Daniel, as well as a handful of talented players, have also pledged their verbal to this already impressive group.
It likely won’t stop there, however.
The nation’s best offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil, has a sudden hard lean toward Ole Miss after a late visit, and he could make this much more than a lean when he announces at 9:35 a.m. ET.
Five-star safety Tony Conner—who will announce at 10:45 a.m. ET—could also select Ole Miss, although Conner has other SEC schools (including Alabama) in the mix. Mississippi State commit Chris Jones, who is now receiving death threats over his recruitment (per ESPN.com's Kipp Adams), could potentially flip to Ole Miss. His announcement date, however, is still unknown. As a side note: If you send death threats to recruits, you are truly a world-class pile of garbage.
For Ole Miss, there may be a few surprises still to come. After all, given how things have gone in the past few weeks, nothing would surprise at this point.
Hugh Freeze, the spotlight is yours.
Reuben Foster…The Softest of Verbals
On Monday night, 5-star linebacker Reuben Foster made it “official” that he would sign with Alabama on Wednesday, via a live announcement on Fox Sports South. Now, before we get to all the fine print, please watch him destroy pretty much everyone if you haven’t seen it already.
Foster is a physical freak, and he’s regarded as one of the top overall players in the country. He’s also had an interesting recruitment to say the least.
Yes, you’ve probably heard about the Auburn tattoo on his forearm—which he’s keeping to honor his late cousin and former Auburn running back LaDarious Phillips—and he was committed to the school before the staff overhauled.
With his announcement just days before National Signing Day, we can close the books, right? Well, not so fast, my friends.
Foster could very well make it an uneventful day and fax over his LOI and be done with it. Or, he could change his mind yet again and provide some fascinating drama to a day expected to have its fair share.
JC Shurburtt, scouting wiz and National Director of Scouting for 247Sports, believes you should keep your eye on this:
Source earlier this week "Foster recruitment is a cartoon. It will get crazier between now and WEDNESDAY" #SigningDay— JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt) February 5, 2013
Translation: It ain’t over, until it's over.
Say It With Me...Roll Tide
Are you tired of hearing about Alabama and Nick Saban?
If you answered “yes” to this question, then you might as well stay away from the television or the Internet for the next 36 to 48 hours. Actually, perhaps staying away until Saban retires is an even better idea, especially at this pace:
If Alabama maintains its spot at the top, it will have Rivals.com's No. 1 class for 5th time in 6 years.— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) February 5, 2013
With the commitment of Reuben Foster, Alabama is poised to land the top overall class on perhaps every recruiting outlet out there. Foster joins defensive end Jonathan Allen, running back Derrick Henry, tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Robert Foster just to name a few.
Seriously, there’s more impressive names that will provide an impact sooner rather than later and perhaps even more difference makers on the way.
As for a comparison for how Alabama matches up to the rest of the SEC, well, according to 247Sports, the answer is rather favorable:
Per 247Sports' rankings, Alabama has commits from five 5-stars. The rest of the SEC combines for six.— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) February 5, 2013
Roll Tide. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Premier Talent Still Lookin’ For a Home
Now, technically no commit is official at this moment (see: above), and we all know how much a verbal commitment is worth. With that being said, there are still a handful of supremely talented players who are currently mulling over their decisions with the big day looming. And, of course, Robert Nkemdiche has already been discussed.
ESPNU will have coverage all day, but here are a few of the big guns to keep an eye on. Again, early is the theme.
Matthew Thomas, OLB, announces at 9:15 a.m ET: An athletic freak in every sense, Thomas is unlikely to leave his home state of Florida. Although he grew up just off the Miami campus, Thomas could very well end up at Florida State. A very intriguing prospect and an early interesting decision.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, announces at 9:35 a.m. ET: As mentioned above, Tunsil could very well be Ole Miss bound. He’s also been linked to both Georgia and Alabama. At 6’6” and 295 pounds, Tunsil is incredibly mobile but also has a frame that will handle more weight well.
Montravius Adams, DT, announces at 9:45 a.m. ET: Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Clemson are considered the finalists, and all would love to land this fascinating talent. Perhaps the nation’s best defensive tackle, Adams is a fascinating prospect. Disruptive, that’s what stands out when you watch him terrorize basically everyone.
Vonn Bell, S, announces at 10 a.m. ET: A hard hitter with fantastic ball skills, and as good a defensive back prospect as there is in the class. Bell has kept his recruitment decisions tightly sealed, and his decision is one of the day’s great unknowns. It will be Tennessee, Alabama or Ohio State.
Mackensie Alexander, CB announces at 11:15 a.m. ET: One of the nation’s premier cover guys and a potential star on the defensive side, Alexander is one of the great unknowns on national signing day. He will likely decide between Auburn, Clemson, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.