National Signing Day 2018: Date, Top Prospects and TV Schedule for Commitments

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2018

Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks through practice for the upcoming Sugar Bowl, which will be one of the CFP semi-final games, against Clemson, in New Orleans, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The college football universe shifts its focus to the nation's top unsigned recruits on Wednesday.

National signing day marks the end of a long process for many high school football players who are ready to achieve their respective dreams at the collegiate level.

As they always are, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and a few other blue bloods will be front and center on Wednesday as they try to secure the best recruiting class possible.

Wednesday begins with commitments from a trio of teammates, and by day's end the argument over which program brought in the best haul of prospects will conclude.


National Signing Day Schedule

Date: Wednesday, February 7

TV Coverage: ESPNU (10 a.m.-Noon ET), ESPN2 (Noon ET-3 p.m. ET)

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Announcement Schedule (according to ESPN)

10 a.m. ET Hour

Patrick Surtain Jr., DB, American Heritage (Plantation, Florida)

Tyson Campbell, DB, American Heritage (Plantation, Florida)

Andrew Chatfield, DE, American Heritage (Plantation, Florida)

Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Florida)

11 a.m. ET Hour

Tanner McKee, QB, Centennial (Corona, California)

Noon ET Hour

Solomon Tuliaupupu, LB, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, California)

Tommy Bush, WR, Samuel Clemens (Schertz, Texas)

1 p.m. ET Hour

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

Justyn Ross, WR, Central (Phenix City, Alabama)

2 p.m. ET Hour

Devon Williams, ATH, Antelope Valley (Lancaster, California)

Jacob Copeland, WR, Escambia (Pensacola, Florida)

Maurice Washington, RB, Trinity Christian (Cedar Hill, Texas)


Defensive Backs Will Be a Hot Commodity

Four of the top five unsigned recruits are defensive backs, and two of them are teammates.

Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell from American Heritage High in Plantation, Florida, will make their decisions on Wednesday morning, and their choices could start the day off in fine fashion for the schools they choose.

LSU has long been the favorite for Surtain, who is the top unsigned recruit in the country, while Alabama is in the mix and Miami (FL) is looking to keep him home with a late push.

Campbell has Georgia and Alabama high on his list of prospective suitors, while Miami is trying to make a surge at the last minute to sign him as well.

If Campbell chooses Georgia, he would be yet another top recruit on the Bulldogs roster. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart already has three of the top 10 recruits committed to his program, including quarterback Justin Fields.

A pair of California defensive backs will be in the spotlight later on Wednesday. Olaijah Griffin, who decommitted from UCLA, could opt to stay in state with USC, or he could end up in the SEC with Tennessee, while Oregon is still in the mix as well, per Rivals' Woody Wommack.

Tennessee is also in the running for Isaac Taylor-Stuart along with USC, Texas A&M and Alabama. New Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt is looking to make a big splash in the class of 2018, and he could do so with the commitment of Griffin, Taylor-Stuart or both.


McKee Will Commit Wednesday, Wait 2 Years to Play

One of the most intriguing cases in the last few years is that of quarterback Tanner McKee, who will commit to a school on Wednesday but won't play until 2020 when his Mormon mission ends.

The quarterback from Centennial High School in Corona, California, is considering Alabama, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and Washington.

Alabama is still searching for a quarterback in the class of 2018, and McKee would be perfect for the Crimson Tide since Tua Tagovailoa appears to have the starting job for the next two years.

Texas A&M is also looking to fill its quarterback vacancy in the class of 2018. New head coach Jimbo Fisher is in the same boat as Nick Saban at Alabama since he has a starter in Nick Starkel for the next two years and would benefit from McKee's return in 2020.

Texas, Washington and Stanford all have committed quarterbacks in the class of 2018, with Texas and Washington owning two each. Stanford has one current recruit at the position in Alabama native Jack West.

Alabama and Texas A&M seem like the ideal fits for McKee since they aren't in dire need of a quarterback for next season, and by the time their current signal-callers are ready to depart the program, an opening will be created for McKee.


Petit-Frere to Choose Between Nation's Top Programs

The best offensive recruit left on the board is offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Florida.

The five-star lineman is weighing his options between Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan.

If Petit-Frere chooses his destination based off NFL pedigree, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Alabama would be in front of the other two schools.

Alabama and Ohio State have produced a plethora of stars at the next level at numerous positions over the last few seasons, while Notre Dame is known for sending talented linemen to the pros.

Three Fighting Irish offensive linemen have been selected in first two rounds in the last three years, and they are expected to see two more go in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.

Florida and Michigan appeal to Petit-Frere for different reasons. The Gators are the only in-state school in the running for his commitment, while the Wolverines used his high school as a practice facility for the Outback Bowl to leave an impression on the lineman.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Recruiting information obtained from 247Sports.


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