Final Predictions for CFB's Biggest Winners and Losers of 2019 Signing Window
Recruiting is full of twists, turns, spins and flips, but the most dynamic part of college football is almost over in 2019. National signing day is nearly here.
And you want to know what will happen.
Because December's early signing period finalizes the majority of decisions from top prospects, there's a limited group of upper-tier players still on the board. Regarding those, a smaller number of schools are involved in the recruitment of multiple 4- and 5-star players.
Consequently, this outlook ended up being exclusively focused on the SEC. That's simply where the action will be Wednesday, Feb. 6.
All information is based on the 247Sports' composite rankings.
Winner: Auburn Tigers
One way or another, the decision of 5-star receiver George Pickens will be Auburn's biggest signing-day news. He's committed to the Tigers but has traveled to LSU, Georgia and Miami—and either Florida or Tennessee will get his last official visit.
But there's plenty of other news coming.
Auburn is a leading candidate for 4-star athlete (RB) Mark-Antony Richards and 4-star defensive end Charles Moore. Defensive tackle LeDarrius Cox and linebacker Octavius Brothers, both 3-star recruits, are trending toward the Tigers on the 247Sports Crystal Ball, too.
While the class ranks 12th nationally, Auburn has a decent chance to edge into the top 10.
Loser: Mississippi State Bulldogs
And that sums up the program's signing-day outlook.
Charles Moore backed off his pledge to the Bulldogs in early January. While the staff has continued to recruit the 4-star defensive end, visits to Florida, Florida State and LSU―along with his December trip to Auburn―seem likely to steer him elsewhere.
Mississippi State is also in danger of losing two 3-stars to Florida schools. Offensive tackle Darius Washington has visited Florida State and Miami (twice because of the coaching change from Mark Richt to Manny Diaz), while Miami is the primary threat for cornerback Martin Emerson Jr.
For good measure, 5-star running back Jerrion Ealy is eyeing Clemson. Even if the valued baseball prospect chases the diamond, he might not sign with Mississippi State.
Winner: Florida Gators
In addition to battling Auburn for Moore and Richards, Florida remains a high choice for a couple of 4-star prospects.
The son and nephew of former Gators safeties Abram and Matt Elam, Kaiir Elam is considered the No. 48 player in this class. Florida is the favorite but needs to outlast Georgia, which was a key contender anyway and hired now-former UF defensive backs coach Charlton Warren.
Khris Bogle, a 4-star defensive end, is the primary flip target. He's committed to Alabama and considering Miami but also visited Florida in late January.
Additionally, the Gators are poised to officially add unsigned 4-star receiver Arjei Henderson and 4-star linebacker Diwun Black. Throw in two of the uncommitted players, and that's a great finish for UF.
Loser: Tennessee Volunteers
Unquestionably, that would be great news. Will that be the only positive development for the Vols, though?
Henry To'oto'o, a 4-star linebacker, is linked to Alabama, while Pickens won't be a realistic target if he doesn't visit. Cox is trending toward Auburn, and 4-star commit Anthony Harris isn't a lock. Jammie Robinson, a 3-star cornerback, has visited but might choose a different SEC school.
If a February visit from 3-star linebacker Christopher Russell doesn't vault Tennessee past Arkansas and Texas A&M, the Vols may smack a home run. If not, they may only strike out.
Winner: LSU Tigers
LSU already owns the country's eighth-best haul, and there's a decent chance the Tigers will rise on signing day.
Their highest-rated target is 4-star defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher, who is also considering Alabama. He's one of several D-linemen on the board. According to Shea Dixon of 247Sports, the staff used Wednesday for in-home visits with 4-stars Pickering, Young and Moore.
Also on the board are several other 4-stars: cornerback Christian Williams, athlete Devonta Lee, and cornerback Maurice Hampton. While Hampton could be selected in the 2019 MLB draft, receiving the current commit's signature would be Step 1 of a two-part process for LSU.
Recruiting can change quickly, but it seems Ed Orgeron and his staff are heading toward a hot finish with three or more intruiging players.
Loser: Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide are working on 5-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright and top-50 prospects in Sopsher and linebacker To'oto'o. It's possible they're limited to the last, though.
Four committed 4-stars in Bogle, Young, Williams and running back Keilan Robinson are exploring other options. Losing any of them would be disappointing. Plus, Ealy and Mississippi State pledge Pickering are 4-stars but will be tough pulls.
That's not even the comprehensive list of players on Alabama's radar. With 15 early enrollees and nine confirmed signees, the Tide already have 24 players in the class, excluding the verbal commits.
Alabama's shortage of space will push a few valued targets elsewhere and create a whole bunch of NSD movement.