National Signing Day 2014: Top Talent Worth Monitoring

Alex KayCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2014

Jul 2, 2013; Beaverton, OR, USA; Wide receiver Malachi Dupre (15) runs a pass route during the Nike 7on7 pool play at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon on Tuesday July, 2, 2013. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

National signing day is finally upon us, meaning there is about to be a whirlwind frenzy that blends tough recruiting decisions, fax machine activity and high drama to bring college football fans one of the most exciting, stressful days of the year.

If you haven’t been paying attention up until now, that’s all right. The recruiting trail can be an intimidating one, but the end is something all fans should enjoy.

You aren’t going to want to be completely in the dark when it comes to which prospects the top coaches in the country are impatiently waiting around on.

If you aren’t sold yet, just picture Nick Saban, Les Miles and the rest of the elite recruiters in the nation, respectively, gathering up their staffs and congregating in a room, just hoping that their fax machine begins whirring with a letter of intent from a 5-star prospect.

It’s about as awesome as it sounds, and you aren’t going to want to miss out on it. Keep reading for info and a scouting report on some of the top players to keep an eye on as decisions are made this national signing day.


Adoree' Jackson, CB, Junipero Serra High School

Adoree' Jackson is the top unsigned prospect in the country, a true 5-star prospect that 247Sports’ composite rankings have deemed worthy of a grade just a shade under a perfect score of 100.

He’s wanted by nearly every major program in the country, with many still in the running to sign him. This star in the making is currently believed to be considering Florida, USC, LSU and UCLA with the most sincerity, with the latter two being the most likely landing spots for his letter of intent on national signing day.

Jackson is one of the best athletes in the country, a rare combination of explosiveness and speed that will make him a bona fide playmaker at any level of organized football.

While the California native definitely needs to add some bulk to hang with the bigger receivers—and survive the big hits that will undoubtedly be put on him if he plays some snaps on offense—this 5’9.5”, 182-pound prospect is going to be able to hang with anyone (or avoid even the quickest defenders) due to his off-the-charts quickness and agility.

He’s a rangy, instinctive corner that can recover from a rare mistake by turning on a dime and using a burst of speed to close the gap. His hips are everything you could ask and more from a top-tier corner prospect, meaning he should have no problem playing man or zone for his new team.

While Jackson’s athleticism alone won’t allow him to completely dominate the college game, it’s going to be a big help, and this young man is going to be quite dangerous once he’s getting coached up and locked in to a permanent position.


Malachi Dupre, WR, John Curtis Christian High School

Malachi Dupre is another superstar in the making, as the 5-star wideout is also just a few percentage points away from a perfect composite grade doled out by 247Sports.

The New Orleans product is thought to be giving the most consideration to his home state’s flagship program, the LSU Tigers, but he’s yet to clue the rest of the world in on his decision.

As per 247Sports, there is some speculation that Dupre may choose UCLA, Ole Miss, Florida State or Alabama, but those schools aren’t as likely to nab this elite talent.

LSU would be very happy to bring aboard this Louisiana born and bred prospect, as he has everything the school needs in a playmaking receiver that will be tasked to pace the offense.

The 6’2.5”, 187-pound recruit jumps off the page based on measurables alone, and it only gets better from there. Just watch the tape, and you will see a natural football player who simply makes plays.

Dupre uses his big frame to box out defenders and then relies on innate athleticism to leap up and snag the ball at the highest point. His speed is uncanny for someone his size and shouldn’t diminish as he packs on some weight in college.

His hands are some of the strongest in the nation, able to snatch the ball away from his body if needed and pull it in with ease—even with defenders hanging on him. Dupre has a knack for the big play and is going to find the end zone quite often at the next level.

This kid is going to be the next offensive star for whichever team he chooses on national signing day, so keep a close eye on his decision—it will impact college football for at least the next three years.


John “JuJu” Smith, ATH, Long Beach Polytechnic High School

John "JuJu" Smith has a flashy name and the type of game that can back it up. If there was any doubt of that, just know that he is widely regarded as a 5-star prospect and has been given a grade of 99 by 247Sports' composite rankings.

The Southern California native is a highly coveted recruit, with local USC thought to be the top choice for the Long Beach native. However, Oregon, Notre Dame and UCLA are also still in the running and should not be discounted until his letter of intent is loaded through the fax machine.

It’s easy to see why so many elite programs are in pursuit of Smith’s services. He’s an immensely versatile athlete that is capable of playing a number of positions at the next level.

At 6’1”, 200 pounds, he can line up at safety or wide receiver with equal efficiency and has ideal size for both spots. One reason he could play both sides of the football is that he has a knack for winning 50-50 balls, using his physicality and strength to outmuscle the competition and elite hands to haul in the pass or interception.

JuJu is also smart and instinctive, he runs great routes and isn’t afraid to improvise to get to the right spot on the field. He also has a knack for sniffing out plays and is adept at both coming up to the line and crushing the run or dropping back into coverage and keeping everything in front of him.

There isn’t much this kid cannot do, so it’s going to be a relief for one powerhouse program when he finally makes his decision and signs.