10 Sure-Fire Locks for 2014 National Signing Day
With national signing day less than a week away, college football’s recruiting races are heating up.
Recruits are making the most of their 15 minutes of fame, fans are chiming in on Twitter and coaching staffs are working their hardest to sell their respective universities. Needless to say, the college football world has been somewhat of a circus in recent weeks.
But while the commitments of some of the highly recognized prospects are still up in the air, for others, the decision is actually quite obvious.
Join B/R as we take a closer look at 10 recruits whose national signing day decisions are pretty much a lock.
LB Richard Yeargin III
247Sports Composite: 4-star (89.84)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Clemson (87%)
Ever since last August, linebacker Richard Yeargin had been a solid Notre Dame commit.
That all changed on Jan. 24 when the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native officially decommitted from the school, via 247Sports’ Tom Loy.
The news was definitely a sign of good things to come for Clemson. However, his family chose to remain silent on that front.
Unfortunately, Yeargin’s high school made a terrible blunder, letting it slip as to where he would be playing football in 2014, via The Sun Sentinel’s Dieter Kurtenbach.
Although the school officially stole the 6’4”, 225-pounder’s thunder, the Tigers coaching staff certainly doesn’t mind hearing the good news sooner.
CB Chris Lammons
247Sports Composite: 4-star (91.90)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): South Carolina (95%)
When it comes to cornerback Chris Lammons, the Gamecocks are hoping that the second time is the charm.
Back when the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native originally made his commitment to Florida last August, South Carolina was a finalist. Now, following Lammons’ decommitment from the university earlier this month, via ESPN’s Derek Tyson, the Gamecocks appear to be the front-runner.
Wisconsin was believed to be a contender for Lammons’ services, however, the school recently picked up commitments from two cornerbacks, via South Carolina’s Sportstalk.
That puts South Carolina in prime position to land another solid recruit to its class of 2014.
OT Roderick Johnson
247Sports Composite: 4-star (94.15)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Florida State (100%)
The Seminoles made offensive lineman Roderick Johnson a priority from the get-go, offering him a scholarship last February.
Since then, the team has seemingly been the front-runner to land the Florissant, Mo., native. Who wouldn’t want a chance to learn behind a strong and senior-dominated line that helped lead Florida State to a national championship last year?
Other than Florida State, Johnson has only officially visited Ohio State.
Still, it seems the only reason the 6’6”, 315-pounder hasn’t made his decision official yet is because he wants to make a splash on national signing day.
It would be a surprise if Johnson picked anyone but the Seminoles.
S Steven Parker
247Sports Composite: 4-star (94.66)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Oklahoma (96%)
It’s no secret that the Sooners are in need of help in the secondary. In fact, the only two starters lost on defense are cornerback Aaron Colvin and safety Gabe Lynn.
That makes winning the commitment of 4-star safety Steven Parker a priority for Oklahoma.
Other than the Sooners, Texas A&M seems to be making a late push for the Jenks, Okla., natives’ services. After an official visit to College Station, Parker had Sooners fans worrying with an interesting tweet.
Still, belief is strong that Parker will eventually come to Norman.
“My gut feeling is OU,” said Oklahoma tight end commit Carson Meier on where Parker might commit, via Scout.com’s Bob Przybylo (subscription required). “He speaks more about OU than any other school.”
Who exactly is Meier? Oh, nobody except one of Parker’s closest friends going back to their days of playing AAU basketball together.
It certainly helps that Parker will have an opportunity to get immediate playing time next season.
OG Damien Mama
247Sports Composite: 4-star (98.08)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): USC (100%)
When all is said and done, don’t be surprised to see the No. 1-ranked offensive guard in the class of 2014 Damien Mama stay in state.
A Bellflower, Calif., native, Mama is favored to commit to the Trojans. All 39 Crystal Ball predictions have him signing there and he even has USC listed as his leader as recently as Jan. 14.
Part of the “Uce Crew”—a group of talented athletes of Polynesian heritage in the class of 2014—Mama will strongly consider the Trojans.
After all, three other members of this group are already committed to USC with a couple of others leaning towards the school. Not to mention, the Trojans have a track record of having deep roots in the Polynesian community, producing top talents such as Junior Seau and Rey Maualuga.
USC has got to like its chances of landing the commitment of Mama.
DE Solomon Thomas
247Sports Composite: 5-star (98.81)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Stanford (85%)
It’s no secret that the Cardinal have a long history of producing top-quality edge-rushers over the years. Seniors Ben Gardner and Josh Mauro can attest to that.
Throw in the strong academics, and Palo Alto seems like the perfect opportunity for any undecided young defensive lineman.
That’s exactly the case with 5-star defensive end Solomon Thomas.
Early on, the Coppell, Texas, native was believed to remain in state. Even Ohio State seemed to be making a serious play for Thomas.
However, the 6’3”, 256-pounder recently eliminated the two schools, listing his final three as Stanford, Arkansas and UCLA, per his Twitter.
While the Razorbacks and Bruins are both solid candidates, neither can offer the opportunity to Thomas that Stanford can. It’s hard to pass up early playing time and an institution known for its great academics.
WR Ermon Lane
247Sports Composite: 5-star (98.89)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Florida State (84%)
When 5-star running back Dalvin Cook flipped from Florida to Florida State in December, it foreshadowed a similar exit for fellow Gators commit Ermon Lane.
Also a 5-star prospect, Lane considers Cook as one of his best friends. In fact, it’s believed that Lane’s sole reason in committing with Florida was to follow Cook.
As expected, 10 days after Cook made his announcement, Lane also decommitted from the Gators, via his Twitter.
Ranked as the No. 3-ranked wide receiver in the class of 2014, Lane’s commitment is a hot commodity right now. Aside from the Seminoles, Lane also has offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ohio State among others.
Still, it’s hard to persuade the 6’2”, 196-pounder away from the opportunity to play close to home alongside one of his best friends.
Surely, the prospect of having reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston throwing him the ball will also help make Lane’s decision easier.
DE Lorenzo Carter
247Sports Composite: 5-star (99.11)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Georgia (65%)
It’s no secret that the Bulldogs are doing work as far as their defensive coaching staff goes. The team has recently brought in Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator and added Tracy Rocker as the new defensive line coach.
These additions have caught the eye of 5-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter.
"He did a pretty good job at FSU, so it'll be cool to see what he's planning on doing at UGA," Carter said of Pruitt, via Kipp Adams of 247Sports (subscription required).
A Norcross, Ga., native, Carter seems destined to join Georgia. He was recently visited by head coach Mark Richt on Monday and has his final official visit scheduled for Athens on Friday.
Don’t underestimate the impact of Carter spending three of his final seven days in the recruiting process with the Bulldogs coaching staff.
WR Malachi Dupre
247Sports Composite: 5-star (99.15)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): LSU (96%)
It’s hard to see wide receiver Malachi Dupre play anywhere other than LSU.
With both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham leaving school early for the NFL draft, the Tigers have an immediate need at wide receiver. That means the opportunity to start as a true freshman will be there for Dupre.
Not to mention, LSU seems to be great at locking up top in-state prospects—Dupre hails from New Orleans, La.
He still has an official visit with UCLA on Jan. 31, but the opportunity to stay close to home and have early playing time at one of college football’s top programs will be incredibly difficult to pass up.
CB Marlon Humphrey
247Sports Composite: 5-star (99.40)
Prediction (Crystal Ball): Alabama (96%)
For a long time, the decision for cornerback Marlon Humphrey was neck and neck between Florida State and the Crimson Tide.
However, the recent departure of defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has hurt the Seminoles' chances a bit—especially given that Pruitt handled a large majority of Humphrey’s recruitment with the school.
Furthermore, Humphrey currently goes to school in Alabama and lives minutes away from Tuscaloosa. Not to mention, his father, Bobby, was a star for the Tide back in his day.
While playing for the defending national champions is nice, it’s hard to go up against a family legacy and the opportunity to be coached by Nick Saban.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com. All recruit star ratings, Crystal Ball predictions and other recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com unless otherwise noted.