College Football

10 Things You Need to Know Heading into National Signing Day

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2014

10 Things You Need to Know Heading into National Signing Day

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    National Signing Day is Wednesday, which is to the joy of every recruiting fan. This is the biggest day of the recruiting cycle, as everything will finally come to a head.

    Wednesday is shaping up to be another fantastic day of events, with Bleacher Report being your best bet for excellent coverage. Before you get a chance to experience another exciting National Signing Day, you should know a few things.

    An SEC program's class is not just the best this year, it's one of the best ever. There's a neat schedule listing the times for each top uncommitted recruit's announcement, plus a Pac-12 program's class will be defined by a trio of elite prospects.

    All recruiting totals are based on 247Sports

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Don't Expect a Lot of Noise from Columbus

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Ohio State has put together yet another outstanding recruiting class under head coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes are currently No. 2 in the 247Sports recruiting rankings, so Meyer and his staff will be all smiles on Wednesday.

    However, don't expect a ton of fireworks from Columbus on National Signing Day as it pertains to the Buckeyes landing a big-time recruit. Aside from 5-star defensive lineman Malik McDowell and 4-star defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, Ohio State isn't in the mix for any of the top prospects announcing on Wednesday.

    Plus, McDowell and Nnadi will likely head elsewhere. 

Nine out of the Nation's Top 10 Recruits Have Already Made Up Their Mind

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    That's right, there's not going to an overwhelming amount of drama at the top. Per the 247Sports composite rankings, nine of the top 10 recruits in the 2014 class are already committed to a school.

    National Signing Day used to be the main day the nation's top players made their declarations. However, the trend in recent years among recruits has been to make an early commitment.

     

Adoree' Jackson Is the Top Uncommitted Recruit Who Will Announce His Decision

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    The only top-10 recruit who has yet to commit is 5-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson. The 5'9.5", 182-pounder is a gifted athlete who has kept his intentions close to the vest for the entire 2014 recruiting cycle.

    However, he will finally announce where he is going to play in college on National Signing Day, according to Sports Illustrated. Jackson's recruitment will come to an end on Wednesday afternoon, as one program will land an exceptional talent. 

    Greg Biggins of Scout.com (subscription required) wrote on Feb. 1:

    "In talking to three different coaches at Serra and a few of his teammates earlier today, to a man, each person said they have no idea what Jackson is going to do."

Speaking of Announcement Schedule

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    Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

    National Signing Day will be a coordinated affair, as each uncommitted recruit who is announcing is part of an organized schedule.

    The announcements will get going at 8 a.m. EST with 4-star defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. The final announcement will come at 6 p.m. from 4-star defensive tackle Poona Ford.

    The full schedule can be seen here, via Sports Illustrated.

This Isn't the Only Day a Player Can Sign with a School

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Many people falsely believe recruits have to hurry up and make their decisions before the end of National Signing Day, thinking it's the only day they can sign with a school.

    That's wrong.

    It's just the first day senior high school players can sign with a college. Some former recruits, like South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, signed with their schools several days after National Signing Day.  

Some Recruits Will Live Up to the Hype, Many Won't and Others Will Overachieve

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    All recruiting fans look at how many stars each player their favorite school signs is rated. While the 5-star and elite 4-star prospects command all of the attention, things will probably be different when everyone looks back at this national class in five years.

    There are going to be several 5-star recruits who do absolutely nothing in college, while a couple of 2-star and 3-star recruits will become pillars for their programs (cough-Johnny Manziel-cough).

    Remember, for every Jadeveon Clowney, there's also a Whitney Lewis. 

It'll Be Another Big Day for the SEC

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    For anyone who hates the SEC, you may not want to pay too much attention to National Signing Day. As it stands right now, seven of the top 10 classes in the 247Sports recruiting rankings belong to SEC teams.

    Plus, a large portion of the elite prospects set to announce on Wednesday are expected to pick SEC schools. This is not going to be a great day for SEC naysayers.

     

USC Is Sweating Bullets over Three Recruits

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    USC has made a nice surge up the recruiting rankings, as 247Sports currently slots its class at No. 28. That's a solid standing when one considers that USC was significantly lower only a few months ago.

    However, the Trojans' 2014 class will come down to the decisions three elite prospects: 

    USC has limited scholarships to give due to sanctions, but the above-mentioned trio of recruits are the make-or-break players for head coach Steve Sarkisian's first recruiting class. If USC lands perhaps two of them, it'll move up the recruiting rankings.

    If it fails to land any of the three, then National Signing Day will be awfully disappointing in Troy. 

Alabama Will Sign a Historic Recruiting Class

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Many recruiting fans can fiercely debate over which are the best recruiting classes of all time.

    From the classes Miami and Florida State put together in the 1990s, to Texas' 2002 class, to some of the groups USC and Florida brought to their campuses in the mid-2000s, plus several classes in past generations, everyone has their opinion.

    However, the class Alabama will sign on Wednesday belongs in the discussion. There have been some exceptional classes brought to Tuscaloosa by head coach Nick Saban during his tenure, but this one may be his best.

    Alabama has 25 commitments, with five being 5-star recruits, plus another 15 4-star prospects. This is an exceptional collection of talent by the Crimson Tide. 

Finally, It's a Big Day Because It's a Big Deal

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    Listen, none of these recruits have done anything on the collegiate level. All analysts, reporters, writers and evaluators know that.

    Yet, you want to know the reason why Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was able to win the BCS Championship this year? Because he's a great recruiter. You want to know why Alabama is always in the hunt for SEC and national titles? Because its staff is full of great recruiters.

    Recruiting is the lifeblood of every single college football program in America. Getting talented players is the foundation for success in high-end college football.

    Coaches get talented players from recruiting, which is why its a huge deal, and National Signing Day is basically the equivalent to the Superbowl for recruiting.

    Enjoy it all folks!

2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

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    The 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map will be a great resource and tool on National Signing Day!

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.

     

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