Programs Primed for Success During Final Stretch Toward National Signing Day

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 27, 2014

Programs Primed for Success During Final Stretch Toward National Signing Day

0 of 7

    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    As college football's national signing day nears, coaching staffs are making their final pushes toward recruits, both uncommitted and committed.

    Many programs are on the offensive and the defensive, as they look to retain their current commits while applying the finishing touches with some last-minute outside additions.

    Several usual suspects, including Alabama and Florida State, are among the teams poised to finish strong.

    We'll take a look at the seven programs that could end up with the strongest finishes in the 2014 recruiting class.

     

    Note: All player and team rankings based on the 247Sports Composite ratings.

USC Trojans

1 of 7

    Top cornerback Adoree' Jackson could be USC's 2014 crown jewel.
    Top cornerback Adoree' Jackson could be USC's 2014 crown jewel.247Sports

    Current Class Rank: 25

    Steve Sarkisian has already brought several touted recruits into the fold since becoming USC's new head coach.

    He could add several more before signing day, starting with 5-star and No. 1 cornerback Adoree' Jackson. The Junipero Serra product looks to be down to just Florida and USC, and there's a good chance he'll stay in state.

    Joining Jackson could be 5-star athlete John "Juju" Smith. Jackson's 247Sports crystal ball is 81 percent in favor of USC, while Smith's is 78 percent for the Trojans.

    Damien Mama, a 4-star and the No. 1 offensive guard, looks like even more of a lock for USC.

    With the addition of that trio and 3-star Lamont Simmons, the Trojans could vault into the top 10.

Alabama Crimson Tide

2 of 7

    Alabama still stands to add two 5-stars to its class, including LB Rashaan Evans.
    Alabama still stands to add two 5-stars to its class, including LB Rashaan Evans.247Sports

    Current Class Rank: 1

    Alabama already has a hold on 2014's No. 1 class, and it isn't likely that the Crimson Tide will slide off that top spot. In fact, they will probably only improve their already elite class.

    Nick Saban's crew is making one final push for two big fish: 5-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey and 5-star outside linebacker Rashaan Evans.

    Humphrey has been long believed to be an Alabama lean, although the Tide will still have to fight off Florida State to make its crystal ball forecast come true.

    For Evans, the No. 1 outside linebacker, 'Bama will have to beat out Auburn. 

    If the Tide pull in one or both of these blue chippers, they'll have an enormous lead for the best class in the nation.

LSU Tigers

3 of 7

    LSU is looking to close its strong class with another top playmaker, WR Malachi Dupre.
    LSU is looking to close its strong class with another top playmaker, WR Malachi Dupre.Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Class Rank: 4

    LSU is fighting a battle on two fronts as it closes its 2014 class.

    The Tigers are pushing hard to keep No. 2 receiver, 5-star Malachi Dupre, in Louisiana and away from several suitors, including Florida State and UCLA.

    Les Miles is also on the defensive, fighting to keep several of his current commits on board.

    Deondre Clark, a 4-star defensive end from Oklahoma City, is being pursued by Oklahoma. Several schools, including UCLA and Auburn, are after 4-star defensive end Davon Godchaux.

    Godchaux recently visited Auburn and will now have a tough decision, as reported by Brandon Marcello of AL.com:

    "It was pretty good. I love it," Godchaux said after his visit to Auburn. "I love everything about it, seriously. I love everything."

    Whether the next two weeks will be filled with tension for LSU remains to be seen.

    "Yes, it's going to be a hard decision," said Godchaux, who added he is "100 percent committed to LSU."

    Running back Darrel Williams, a 4-star from Marrero, La., is committed to stay in-state but is also being courted by Tennessee.

Florida State Seminoles

4 of 7

    Former Florida commit 5-star WR Ermon Lane could end up a Seminole.
    Former Florida commit 5-star WR Ermon Lane could end up a Seminole.247Sports

    Current Class Rank: 5

    Florida State's national title triumph has been unsurprisingly beneficial.

    The Seminoles have a host of targets left on their recruiting board, and while they'll likely come up short on more than they'll hit, they are still poised to finish with a bang.

    FSU already has a top-five class and could add two strong recruits to that group.

    The champions are the favorites to land former Florida commit, 5-star receiver Ermon Lane. He is good friends with 5-star running back Dalvin Cook, who already flipped his commitment from UF to FSU, so seeing him follow Cook is likely.

    The 'Noles are also poised to add 4-star offensive tackle Roderick Johnson. All 38 crystal ball predictions see him heading to FSU over his other suitors, in-state Missouri and Ohio State.

South Carolina Gamecocks

5 of 7

    South Carolina might flip FSU commit, DT Dexter Wideman, before national signing day.
    South Carolina might flip FSU commit, DT Dexter Wideman, before national signing day.247Sports

    Current Class Rank: 19

    Steve Spurrier has a solid class already at South Carolina, and he has several recruits still on the table who could keep the Gamecocks competitive in the SEC.

    USC is battling with FSU to keep 4-star defensive tackle Dexter Wideman in the Palmetto State. The No. 14 DT is currently committed to the Seminoles.

    Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are on the opposite side of a situation with 4-star corner Wesley Green. The Lithonia, Ga., native will choose between Georgia and USC.

    The Gamecocks could also pull 4-star corner Chris Lammons out of Florida. South Carolina is an overwhelming 95 percent favorite in his 247Sports crystal ball.

    South Carolina is also on the defensive. The top commit in its 2014 class, 4-star linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams, is receiving a lot of attention from Georgia and Alabama. He has ties to Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Greene, as detailed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell.

Tennessee Volunteers

6 of 7

    Tennessee could add 4-star running back Derrell Scott to its deep class.
    Tennessee could add 4-star running back Derrell Scott to its deep class.247Sports

    Current Class Rank: 6

    Tennessee is eyeing two top running backs to close out its outstanding class.

    The first is 4-star Derrell Scott, the No. 3 all-purpose back in the country. Scott's 247Sports crystal ball took a huge late swing in favor of the Vols. And as expected, the Havelock, N.C. native chose to head to Knoxville, as reported by ESPN's Gerry Hamilton.

    The other target is the aforementioned LSU commit Darrel Williams. It remains to be seen how Scott's commitment will change his outlook.

    The Volunteers already boast the No. 6 class in the nation, featuring 34 commitments with 15 4-stars.

    Scott makes an outstanding final addition, and Williams would make the deal even sweeter.

Stanford Cardinal

7 of 7

    One of few remaining 5-stars, DE Solomon Thomas could be headed to Stanford.
    One of few remaining 5-stars, DE Solomon Thomas could be headed to Stanford.247Sports

    Current Class Rank: 16

    Stanford's 2014 class has already built a strong finish by drawing commitments from No. 1 tight end Dalton Schultz and 4-star offensive tackle Casey Tucker.

    That duo will help Stanford carry on its tradition of power football, while the Cardinal also have a commitment from their quarterback of the future: 4-star signal-caller Keller Chryst.

    The only piece remaining is on the defense. The Cardinal are making a hard push at 5-star defensive end Solomon Thomas, one of the top uncommitted prospects remaining. 

    He recently cut his list down to Stanford, Arkansas and UCLA, leaving out Texas and Ohio State, per Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com. After that decision, Rivals.com's Mike Farrell speculated that the Cardinal were in great shape for the star defensive end.

    If he does head to Stanford, it'll be the perfect cap on a great class.