Top Uncommitted Recruits Who Didn't Sign on National Signing Day
National signing day is widely regarded as the end of the recruiting cycle, but it's not. It's merely the last and most important checkpoint.
For reasons of pageantry and tradition (and downright fatigue), it's the day that most recruits sign their name to a letter of intent, but not all of them. Some either choose or are forced to wait longer.
Whether it be a personal issue or whether it be...the weather, some unexpected things popped up and prevented a number of very good players from signing on Wednesday.
School cancellations and mom protestations have delayed their decision for a later date, keeping some of the nation's top programs on the edge of their collective seats.
Here's a look at some blue-chip guys who fit the bill.
DE Malik McDowell
Malik McDowell, a 5-star defensive end, signed something early Wednesday morning, according to Fox Sports' Steve Kornacki. The event was broadcast over the Internet. His father stood behind him and, begrudgingly, signed it as well. Everybody saw it happen.
But no letter has arrived in East Lansing.
Why? As well-documented throughout the recruitment process, McDowell's mother strongly opposes his decision to attend Michigan State, and she's ostensibly the reason for the holdup.
"Something happened, I don’t want to put it out there what it was," she said of Malik's official visit to East Lansing, according to Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press. "But I had a bad experience at MSU."
McDowell prefers MSU, but his parents want him out of the state. It's hard to divine why else the Spartans, per Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News, didn't include McDowell on the list of commits they handed out after signing day.
Get ready for a tedious, drawn-out process, Spartans fans. This is shaping up to be Alex Collins 2.0.
DE Deondre Clark
Clark is currently a 4-star commitment for LSU. A story leaked that the Tigers had received his letter of intent but were oddly holding off on announcing him, per ESPN's David Ching (subscription required).
According to Scott Wright of The Oklahoman, though, Clark's mom Dorshell has denied reports of this ever happening. Wright notes that Clark has strongly considered Oklahoma in recent weeks. He was a verbal commit at LSU since July.
LB T'Kevian Rockwell
T'Kevian Rockwell is a versatile, freaky-athletic 4-star defender, capable of playing both linebacker and safety at the next level.
He's a Baylor commit and exactly what the Bears like and need on defense—someone much like outgoing starter Ahmad Dixon, who oscillated between the same two positions during his time in Waco. He's also the highest-ranked pure defender in Baylor's class.
He didn't sign, however, because of academic issues, which may cast his eligibility into doubt. According to Kevin Lonnquist of Rivals, the interest between Baylor and Rockwell is still mutual, and he'll sign if and when the academic issues are sorted.
James David is a 3-star linebacker facing similar, albeit more severe, academic eligibility problems from this Baylor class.
ATH Kalen Ballage
Like Deondre Clark, Kalen Ballage's signing ceremony was postponed due to inclement weather. He will announce his decision Thursday at 3:30 p.m., according to correspondent Tyler Ziskin, via House of Sparky's Kerry Crowley.
Also like Clark, his decision is not a lock. He is committed to play for Arizona State but took a visit to Washington on Jan. 24 and Nebraska on Dec. 14. UCLA and Colorado are also still in play.
A 4-star athlete who's capable of playing both running back and receiver, Ballage would be a big signing. According to 247Sports, he's the third-best player in Colorado and 29th-best athlete in America.
RB Markel Smith and DE Torey Hendrick
Smith, a 3-star recruit on the 247Sports rankings and the No. 19 running back in the country, will reportedly sign with Iowa, but snow in St. Louis prevented the official announcement until Thursday, per The Gazette's Marc Morehouse.
Hendrick is a thick-bodied, 3-star JUCO defensive end with underrated pass-rushing skills on the edge. However, according to 247Sports, eligibility issues have forced him to push back his commitment:
Torey Hendrick, 2013 3-star JUCO strong-side defensive end, won't sign today either. He does have the intention of signing with Iowa, but unfortunately some eligibility issues will restrict him from signing until June. He's planning on visiting on June 3rd, 2014, and will sign after.
Hendrick needs to get himself cleared by June or risk another year outside of the NCAA. That would be a shame for both the player and the program.