The closer we get to national signing day, the hotter the recruiting chatter gets.
We are nine weeks away from national signing day, and more teams are filling out their 2017 recruiting classes. The weekend saw big winners from coast to coast. Plano, Texas, 5-star linebacker Anthony Hines III was the biggest get, as he verbally committed to Texas A&M on Friday.
A top-20 player in the 2017 class, according to Scout.com, Hines chose Texas A&M over TCU, UCLA and a host of other schools. Of the top 20, 11 players are still uncommitted, which means recruiting should be at peak level over the next few weeks.
Here are some updates on a few players expected to be FBS football stars of the future.
Alabama QB pledge Tagovailoa has 'it' factor
It's been a good year for Honolulu 4-star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. An Elite 11 MVP, a U.S. Army All-American Bowl invitation and a state championship—the first for Saint Louis School since 2010, according to Brandi Higa of KITV—sit highly on his football resume. Not to mention that he finished his senior season as Hawaii's all-time high school passing leader, per Billy Hull of Hawaii Prep World.
Tagovailoa, who officially visited Alabama over the weekend, is now preparing for next-level competition. He sees what freshman Jalen Hurts is doing for Alabama, and it gives him hope to come in and show his worth.
"I don't think it's something amazing for me to hear [a] freshman is starting. It's more so just getting the opportunity to compete for a spot as Jalen did," Tagovailoa said. "Some college coaches don't play the best guy; they play the most experienced guy. Listening to [head coach Nick] Saban, he's going to play the best. That's what I like best."
Tagovailoa said he's excited about being in the same backfield as running back commit Najee Harris, the top-ranked player in the 2017 class. He also said he's hoping to add one wide receiver to an already-loaded class.
"I think Devonta Smith is going to make his decision on signing day," Tagovailoa said. "The first time I met him was at Coach Saban's NSFC Camp. He's a great person, not only on the field, but off the field. I got time to fellowship with him during lunch breaks. He's just someone you want to surround yourself with."
The Alabama class is loaded with 5-star and 4-star athletes, but Elite 11 coach Matt James believes Tagovailoa is a special type of player who can be the leader among a large group of alpha dogs.
"As a leader, he has that 'it' factor. There's something about him where kids—and even coaches—gravitate to him," James said. "We saw him early at All Poly camps in junior high going into high school. We knew then there was something special with him. We just felt he needed to be honed and polished.
"If all things work out, he should be a very successful player, not only for what he does on the field, but for who he is off the field. With a kid like that, it's easy to go on and on about him."
Ohio State DB commit Pryor eyeing 5-star target
Ohio State has its share of stud commits for the 2017 class, and it landed a big one in 4-star safety Isaiah Pryor on July 27. The IMG Academy prospect is on pace to graduate early and enroll in January.
Before he puts on a college uniform, Pryor will play in the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Florida. And before he heads to Columbus, Pryor said he's willing to do all he can for Ohio State to add one more big-name player to the class' roster.
"Jeffrey Okudah," Pryor said, referring to the 5-star athlete from Grand Prairie, Texas, who tweeted Saturday he'll choose either Oklahoma, Florida State or Ohio State on Jan. 7 at the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio.
"He's a really good player. He's really dominant on the field," Pryor said of Okudah. "I saw that at all the camps we went to. He's been a playmaker, and I feel he can be a really good addition to the team."
Okudah is expected to play cornerback at the next level. He, Pryor and cornerbacks Shaun Wade, Amir Riep and Marcus Williamson make up a dangerous secondary unit of the future for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his staff.
JUCO CB Sheffield a hot recruiting target
The junior college talent pool is one to watch this year, and one name that has a few college programs buzzing is Kendall Sheffield. A former cornerback at Alabama, Sheffield has found a home at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, and has been busy the past few weeks with recruiting. He took official visits to USC and Ohio State last month, and he officially visited TCU this past weekend.
Sheffield is next scheduled to take an official visit to Texas A&M. He also recently picked up a Texas offer, according to Justin Wells of Inside Texas, and has one official visit remaining.
Which school will land Sheffield?
"He is literally wide open to everyone," Blinn head coach Ryan Mahon told Bill Kurelic of 247Sports.
Once a consensus top-20 player in the 2015 class, Sheffield, per Blinn's official website, recorded 31 tackles, two interceptions and a team-high 11 pass breakups in nine games at the cornerback spot this season. Expected to be a mid-year transfer, Sheffield will have three years to play two seasons.
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All player ratings are courtesy of Scout.com.
Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles