National Signing Day 2018: Predictions for Top Recruits After CFP Championship

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2018

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 03:   Under Armour footballs on the field before the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Howard Bison at Maryland Stadium on September 3, 2016 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
G Fiume/Getty Images

Now that the 2017 college football season has come to a close, the full focus of every program in the nation will be on recruiting.

With national signing day rapidly approaching in February, teams are trying to figure out what needs they have to fill after NFL departures are settled and transfers are decided.

Although a good amount of prospects in the class of 2018 took advantage of the early signing period last December, there's still a wide array of talented players looking for a home next season.

Below is a look at a few players worth keeping an eye on over the next month.

             

Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB, Helix (San Diego, California)

USC might lose a California kid to the SEC if Isaac Taylor-Stuart's recruitment continues to trend toward the southeast. 

The highly-coveted defensive back, who is one of a few top-rated players at his position still available, is planning on visiting USC on January 12 before making treks east to Georgia, Tennessee and potentially Alabama. 

Taylor-Stuart admitted his relationship with the coaches at Georgia has improved over the last nine months. 

"I've been having a great connection with the [Georgia] coaches, and I've been talking to them since the beginning of the summer," Taylor-Stuart said, per Adam Gorney of Rivals. "We've kept building and building and building. Most people don't know about that. Also, they have a great recruiting class coming in. The coaches are great. I want to go out there and see it with my own eyes and see what's happening."

With some of Georgia's top commits doing work on Taylor-Stuart, there's a chance he could lean toward the Bulldogs as they look to add as much talent as possible for their quest to get back to the national championship game.

Don't count out the other SEC powers still involved in the process since Tennessee has picked up momentum since the hire of head coach Jeremy Pruitt, and Alabama has an established NFL factory that you can't argue against.

Prediction: Georgia

              

Olaijah Griffin, CB, Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, California)

Olaijah Griffin is in a group alongside Taylor-Stuart, Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell that make defensive back the most intriguing position group on the recruiting market ahead of February's signing day.

Griffin recently decommitted from UCLA and has a few SEC teams on his radar, just like the other three top-rated players at his position.

The son of rapper Warren G has mentioned in conversations that Tennessee is the favorite for his signature, per Blake Morgan of SEC Country. Griffin's interest in the Volunteers has risen since Pruitt took over, and it could be a good fit for both sides as the former Alabama defensive coordinator looks to bring Tennessee back to prominence. 

Auburn and Clemson have also offered Griffin since he decided not to commit to UCLA in December. Regardless of where he ends up, it appears Griffin is also set for a move to the southeast.

Prediction: Tennessee

              

Tanner McKee, QB, Centennial (Corona, California)

One of the most intriguing prospects left unsigned is quarterback Tanner McKee, who has a recruiting journey unlike any of the other top players in the class of 2018.

Although he is a part of the class of 2018, McKee won't attend college until 2020 since he'll start his two-year Mormon mission after he graduates high school.

Stanford, USC and BYU appear to be the favorites in the race for McKee, with a few other top-tier programs lurking behind them.

McKee's commitment will be one strictly for the future, but it could set up Stanford or USC with a mature heir apparent to one of McKee's classmates.

Stanford has Jack West already committed and USC received a boost in December when J.T. Daniels reclassified from the class of 2019. BYU also has a pair of quarterback commits from the class of 2018 so not having McKee right away won't hurt the Cougars either.

Coaching consistency could also play a role in McKee's decision, and if it does, there's few head coaches with better job security than Stanford's David Shaw.

Prediction: Stanford

            

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Recruiting information obtained from 247Sports.

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