Early National Signing Day 2018: Dates, Announcement Schedules and Latest Rumors

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 13, 2018

Wide view of Bryant Denny stadium during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Alabama and Mississippi, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

One of the most important stretches of the college football recruiting cycle occurs over the next week. 

The December early signing period allows programs across the country to build their classes for the 2019 season before the bowl schedule heats up. 

Some of the best unsigned recruits in the nation are expected to announce their college choices over the next week, with the official signing period running from December 19-21. 

While a good volume of prospects will sign during the early period, there will be other big names who weigh their options for a few more months ahead of National Signing Day on February 6. 

Dual-threat quarterback Jayden Daniels is the first top-notch prospect to make his decision in the coming days, as he announces Thursday, while a whole host of players are set to commit between now and December 21, according to 247Sports

                         

Jayden Daniels

The top unsigned quarterback in the class of 2019 will be headed to a Pac-12 school.

But we won't know which program Daniels opts to sign for until Thursday afternoon, as his list is trimmed down to Arizona State, California, Utah and UCLA. 

A few factors could be in play during the final hours of the decision-making process for Daniels, as Arizona State currently has two quarterbacks set to sign in December and his high school teammate Darren Jones is off to Utah. 

During last year's recruiting cycle, we saw high school teammates J.T. Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown sign for USC, so it's far from an unfamiliar trend. 

California and UCLA offer the allure of Daniels playing in his home state, but the Sun Devils appear to be the favorite at the moment, per Chance Linton of 247Sports

                    

Kayvon Thibodeaux

Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is the top uncommitted prospect in the class of 2019, and we'll find out on Saturday where he'll be playing his college football. 

Thibodeaux is so coveted across the country that he normally awakes to text messages from coaches, sometimes as early as 5 a.m. PT in California, as he told ESPN.com's Tom VanHaaren

"I'm on the West Coast and a lot of the coaches are in the East, so I'm waking up at 5 because my phone is going off," he said. "I get flooded with messages and then I can't even reply to the people who are trying to tell me something."

Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Oregon are among the schools in the mix for the player from Oaks Christian High School in California. 

Oregon is the lone Pac-12 school on his list, and SB Nation's Bud Elliott believes the Ducks will be the choice for Thibodeaux. 

He would be a game-changing recruit for Oregon, Florida State or Florida, but if he elects to go to Alabama, he would be the star of yet another marvelous recruiting class pulled in by head coach Nick Saban.

                         

Trey Sanders

A handful of SEC programs are in the mix for running back Trey Sanders, who is set to commit Wednesday amid a flurry of important recruiting decisions. 

Sanders recently visited Georgia and has interest from Florida and Alabama ahead of his decision. 

The running back out of IMG Academy is one of a few players listed by Rivals' Adam Gorney as possible prospects leaning toward Alabama. 

If he chooses to link up with the Crimson Tide, Sanders will be one of a few standout players signing with the program during the early signing period. 

However, Georgia should be considered a contender because of its ability to pump out NFL-quality running backs in Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley. 

If he heads to Georgia, he could be the next player in the growing line of stars at the position, while Florida is an intriguing option because of the offensive prowess of head coach Dan Mullen. 

Related

    Teams Dominating the 2020 Recruiting Trail 💪

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Teams Dominating the 2020 Recruiting Trail 💪

    Brad Shepard
    via Bleacher Report

    Ranking CFB's Top 10 Freshmen for 2019

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Ranking CFB's Top 10 Freshmen for 2019

    Brad Shepard
    via Bleacher Report

    Reddit Wonders: Who Stayed in School Too Long? 🤔

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Reddit Wonders: Who Stayed in School Too Long? 🤔

    reddit
    via reddit

    Clemson's Etienne Ate Too Much Over Spring Break 😂

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Clemson's Etienne Ate Too Much Over Spring Break 😂

    Tony Crumpton
    via TigerNet.com