National signing day is one of the most exciting times of the year for many big-time college football fans. After months of intrigue, speculation, rumors and more, we finally get to figure out where the best young prospects in the nation are going to play for the next few years.
Things started early this morning, with star recruit Robert Nkemdiche holding a 7:30 a.m. ET press conference to declare where he would take his talents, and it’s been a non-stop rollercoaster of action and announcements since then.
Let’s take a look at where the top prospects (based on 247Sports’ composite ratings) in the nation are going to attend as of midday Wednesday.
No. 1: Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
Ole Miss came out of nowhere in 2013 to land one of the top classes in the nation. It’s now blessed with Nkemdiche’s presence, arguably the crown jewel in coach Hugh Freeze’s recruiting crown.
The Rebels were fortunate to have the star defensive end’s brother, Denzel, on the roster already and therefore had the inside track in convincing Robert to attend the university and play for the football team.
Nkemdiche is an absolute machine and bona fide 5-star prospect, as nearly every single major collegiate program went after this kid. He possesses insane size for his age, incredible explosiveness, the ability to get into the backfield, defend against the run and pass, plus much more.
There’s not much to knock about the Grayson High School product’s game, and we’re highly interested in seeing how the Georgia native does when he gets on the field for the Rebels.
No. 4: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
As if it wasn’t enough that Freeze locked up the No. 1 overall prospect and elite DE in Nkemdiche, a few hours later he locked up the best offensive tackle in the class.
At 6’6”, 305 lbs., there is no doubting that Tunsil has the raw size to succeed as a pass-protecting left tackle, and he’s extremely skilled to boot. The Lake City, Florida native developed into a true talent during his time at Columbia High School and already shows a number of traits that the premier tackles possess.
The tape on Tunsil shows some amazing hands, great footwork, solid balance and extreme physical strength. He does have some work to do as a technician, but that will come over time if he’s willing to learn in Oxford.
It’s truly amazing that Ole Miss was able to haul in two of the top three prospects in the nation, and we imagine this school will be competing in the SEC in the near future.
No. 2: Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame
After losing the BCS National Championship game, the future seemed somewhat gloomy for the Fighting Irish.
Things quickly changed Wednesday morning when Smith, a complete beast of a linebacker, confirmed that the rumors swirling that he would be heading to South Bend were true.
Coach Brian Kelly knew that he needed some big playmakers behind his defensive line, so he went all out to nab this Fort Wayne native.
If you roll the footage from his time at Bishop Luers High School, you’ll see that Smith is a freakish athlete with great instincts and a high football IQ. The only foreseeable problem with this young man is that he’s relatively untested, but that will soon change when he steps onto the field for the Irish.
Notre Dame football seems like it is truly back on the map and here to stay, proven by the fact that the university continues to recruit elite, versatile defenders like Smith.