With more and more big programs moving toward offensive dominance over a defense-first mentality, top recruits who possess game-breaking abilities have become more valuable than ever.
National signing day is upon us on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and there are a few 5-star, explosive offensive playmakers who have yet to commit to any school.
These young men possess the talent to become cornerstone players for the programs that land them, and as such, pressure to make the right decision is immense.
So where will they land?
Ermon Lane, Wide Receiver
Ermon Lane is a talented receiver out of Homestead, Fla., and he had been verbally committed to Florida until announcing he decommitted on Jan. 10, via his Twitter account:
No Hard Feelings But I Just Decommitted From The University Of Florida . Not Because Dalvin Cook. No lie I love gator nation. #OneLove— Ermon Lane lll (@_MoneyLane) January 10, 2014
247Sports lists Florida State as the overwhelming favorite to land Lane's services, with Miami (Fla.) coming in a distant second. Other top schools, like Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, have offered, but it appears the receiver would prefer to stay in Florida.
Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel doesn't see Lane going anywhere but Florida State:
Lane took an official visit to FSU this past weekend and is essentially a lock to end up in Tallahassee. He is best friends with Miami Central RB Dalvin Cook, who enrolled at FSU last month and hosted Lane on his visit. Miami is in the mix, but it seems unfathomable that he goes anywhere else
The final selling point will likely be quarterback Jameis Winston, who will be back for at least one more year in 2014.
Prediction: Lane will select FSU.
John "JuJu" Smith, Athlete
John Smith is a California kid who could potentially play both sides of the ball at the next level. However, his biggest impact will likely be on the offensive side, where the dangerous receiver has the size, speed and hands to thrive.
Where will JuJu Smith land?
Not surprisingly, USC is considered the slight favorite to land Smith over Oregon, Notre Dame and UCLA, per 247Sports.
Given the star power of new head coach Steve Sarkisian, it will be surprising if USC doesn't land the talented athlete. That said, there's been plenty of chatter about Oregon being a legitimate threat, and until these players sign on the dotted line, anything's possible.
If he does end up choosing Oregon, then he'd be heading into a prime situation to flourish immediately, playing with Marcus Mariota, who will be one of the nation's hottest quarterbacks in 2014-15.
Prediction: Smith will choose Oregon.
Malachi Dupre, Wide Receiver
Malachi Dupre is the top receiver who has yet to commit. At At 6'2.5" and 187 pounds, he possesses all the tools teams are looking for in a No. 1 target.
He hails from the state of Louisiana, so it's long been assumed he'll choose LSU, which is listed by 247Sports as the team in the lead for his services. UCLA, Florida State, Ole Miss and Alabama are also in the mix, and at this point, nobody knows where the receiver is headed.
This is clearly illustrated in a couple of Tweets sent out on Feb. 4 by Mike Farrell of Rivals.com:
WR Malachi Dupre has not made his decision yet he says, wondering if it's foolish to go against #LSU -- might flip back before we lock in— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) February 4, 2014
While Florida State would seem like an attractive destination, in the end Dupre would be fighting with a handful of other worthy receivers for playing time.
Whereas if Dupre ends up heading to LSU, then he'll be in a position to contribute immediately on a team that could use his services.
Prediction: Dupre will sign with LSU.
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