Top 2022 Uncommitted Recruits Heading into Early Signing Day

Brad Shepard@@Brad_ShepardFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2021

Top 2022 Uncommitted Recruits Heading into Early Signing Day

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    Kamari Wilson is one of the best players left on the board.
    Kamari Wilson is one of the best players left on the board.Credit: 247Sports

    For those who think college football's early signing period has killed the excitement of recruiting, they aren't paying much attention this year.

    Thanks to all the coaching turnover throughout the sport, several elite prospects are still without a public destination in the final days before the Dec. 15 start of the early signing period. That includes a bevy of exceptional offensive linemen and some of the most talented defensive backs in recent memory.

    Of course, the teams with the top three classes (Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama) are all over possible destination lists.

    To make this collection of top remaining recruits, you've got to be a top-50 player or the top-ranked player at your position, but we also included a top-10 quarterback who reentered the market thanks to coaching changes.

    It's going to be a frenetic race to the finish line, and don't be surprised if some of the players who expected to make earlier decisions use the traditional February window instead. Others who are committed are at least flirting with other programs too.

Omari Abor, Edge-Rusher

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A lot of the top remaining prospects hail from the Lone Star State of Texas, and the first of those is 4-star edge-rusher Omari Abor.

    The 6'4", 240-pound defender from Duncanville physically looks like a star-in-the-making, and his film is explosive. While Texas A&M is right in the mix for his commitment, the scorching Aggies may not close with Abor. It looks like the nation's No. 38 prospect could wind up in Columbus, Ohio, instead.

    He has visited Ohio State, and while Abor has been to A&M several times, he also shows "warm" interest in LSU, Texas and Alabama, according to his 247Sports profile. You can never count out the Crimson Tide, but the Buckeyes look like they may be tough to beat for the elite defender.

    Abor told Eleven Warriors' Garrick Hodge recently after a visit: "So with Tyreke Smith and other guys leaving they were just telling me, OK, like you can kind of play already. We're just going to have to build you a little bit of muscle because you got the speed, just different stuff like that."

    When a player is that deep into personnel situations, he has some major interest in a school. Abor is one of the few pure edge-rushers with an impressive skill set, length and speed, remaining. 

Jake Johnson, Tight End

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    Credit: 247Sports

    For months, Jake Johnson seemed all set to head to LSU to catch passes from brother Max.

    Then earlier this week, all that fell apart. Max Johnson entered the transfer portal rather than be a part of incoming head coach Brian Kelly's program, and his brother decommitted the same day.

    It's unclear whether they'll play together, but considering they wanted to do so with LSU, it's part of the equation.

    CBS Sports' Shehan Jeyarajah notes the brothers played at Oconee County High School, just eight miles from the University of Georgia's campus. The Bulldogs probably will be in the mix if they want to be, and their father, Brad, starred at Florida State before going on to win a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Everybody will be looking at Jake Johnson. He's the nation's top-ranked tight end, a 6'5", 225-pound pass-catching specialist who could add several pounds and be a great in-line blocker too.

    Johnson also is the No. 83 overall recruit. Max has three seasons of eligibility remaining, as well.

    Neither the Bulldogs nor Seminoles have a settled quarterback future, so they could enter the mix quickly, along with others.

Kelvin Banks, Offensive Lineman

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Kelvin Banks, a 5-star offensive lineman, severed ties with Oregon after Mario Cristobal left for Miami.

    The 6'5", 300-pounder is the nation's second-ranked offensive tackle and No. 15 player overall, and he hails from Humble, Texas.

    "Right now," Banks wrote on social media, "I'm focused on doing what is best for my future and my family."

    The Oregonian's Andrew Nemec noted that Texas and Texas A&M had been going hard after him before his decommitment, so he will have a preexisting relationship with coaches Steve Sarkisian and Jimbo Fisher. Given his relationship with Cristobal, it's possible he gives Miami a chance.

    Banks is a long-armed, powerful, potentially program-anchoring tackle. He's going to have a lot of people trying to get him to listen in the next few weeks.   

Devon Campbell, Offensive Lineman

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Devon Campbell is yet another Texan who is a 5-star prospect. He's also another elite offensive lineman who'll be a college star if he continues to develop.

    He's been a long-time target of the Longhorns, and while plenty of teams are going after the 6'3", 310-pound athlete, all four 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have him heading to Austin to play for Sarkisian.

    With him and Banks on the market, it's possible one of the Lone Star State schools can get them together, which would be a massive haul that can bolster already exceptional classes.

    Alabama, Oklahoma, USC and LSU are among the other teams courting the nation's No. 10 overall prospect and the top interior lineman in the class.

    Before Lincoln Riley bolted for USC, Oklahoma might have been Campbell's top school, but it's unclear whether the Sooners are still an option. You can bet Riley will go hard after Banks, who already had interest in the Trojans before the move.

    Texas' FanSided writer Andrew Miller has a breakdown of Campbell's recruitment and how Sark and Co. are trying to visit him. But this one feels like it has several more zigs and zags before anything is final.

Kevin Coleman, Wide Receiver

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    Credit: 247Sports

    St. Louis has produced many top-notch players in the past few years, and 4-star pass-catcher Kevin Coleman hails from that area in the 2021 cycle.

    Coleman, a 5'11", 170-pound dynamo, is a speedster from St. Mary's High School who has been thought to be leaning to Florida State for several months. All of the Crystal Ball predictions point in that direction for the nation's No. 44 overall player and fourth-ranked receiver.

    Oregon, USC, Alabama, Arizona State and others are in the mix too.

    Coleman told Warchant.com's Austin Cox his relationships with FSU offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham and head coach Mike Norvell are big parts of his recruitment, as is the Seminoles' lack of difference-makers at wideout.

    "That's a big thing right there," Coleman said. "I feel like anywhere I can play, but especially at Florida State, I know I can make a big impact and shift the program around."

    Several schools, including USC with Riley in the fold, are taking big swings here. 

Josh Conerly Jr., Offensive Lineman

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Michigan's College Football Playoff appearance could pay big dividends in living rooms as well, and one of the Wolverines' top targets remaining in this cycle is 5-star offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr.

    The nation's No. 23 overall prospect and third-ranked offensive tackle hails from across the country in Seattle, but with the home-state Huskies' issues this year, he seems open to leaving the area.

    The Wolverines have long been in pursuit of the 6'5", 275-pounder, but head coach Jim Harbaugh and crew aren't alone, as USC has always been a threat. It'll be important for new Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer to see how receptive the lineman is.

    Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas are all in the running too. And Conerly seems open to listening to all comers, especially considering he's waiting until February to sign.

    Before all the coaching churn occurred, he told On3's Chad Simmons: "Relationships are very important to me, and that is why I am looking hard at Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma and USC. It is about who is real with me and who I feel is being genuine. I am looking hard to make sure what coaches are telling me is what I will get if I go there. The honesty and support is very big to me."

Denver Harris, Cornerback

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    Credit: 247Sports

    It's not a big surprise Texas A&M and LSU are battling for several high-profile recruits in the Houston area, and Denver Harris is among them.

    The 6'1", 180-pound North Shore High School standout has been one of the most coveted players in this cycle, and he is already the fifth Texas prospect on this list in a loaded year for the state, even for the normally fertile grounds.

    Harris is the nation's third-ranked cornerback and the No. 17 overall player.

    With the coaching change at LSU, it may be too much for the Bayou Bengals to overcome, and Kelly losing defensive backs coach Corey Raymond to Florida can't help. Texas A&M's Fisher has been recruiting Harris heavily throughout the entire cycle.

    Given how close College Station is to Houston, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Harris join that loaded class. Harris has electric top-end speed, long arms and shows coverage skills beyond his high school years. There are a lot of moldable traits that should excite fans.

    He's one of the most college-ready prospects in this class, and this is the type of prospect who can transform the back end of a defense into a strength. He's going to be a star.

Domani Jackson, Cornerback

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Domani Jackson is a 5-star cornerback who hails from prestigious Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California.

    The silky-smooth athlete looks like he does everything with ease on the field. You could put him on offense and he'd do big things. But his NFL future is in the secondary, where the 6'1", 185-pounder is the most polished prospect in the 2022 class.

    Jackson was a long-time pledge to USC, which he committed to in January 2021. He was all set to become a Trojan when they fired coach Clay Helton in September.

    Even so, Jackson stayed a USC pledge until November when he reopened things and gave Alabama and Michigan long, hard looks, along with the Trojans. After he eliminated the Wolverines, he seemed all set to sign with the Crimson Tide, but Riley's hiring in L.A. has muddied those waters.

    According to Rivals.com's Adam Gorney, Jackson's recruitment is starting to trend back westward.

    "I talked to someone who was at USC's recruiting event Sunday night, and I told him I still felt Domani Jackson was leaning to Alabama but that I could be wrong, and his response was: 'Dead wrong,'" Gorney wrote.

    Jackson is expected to sign in the early period, and while it's a two-team race and Riley could be trending, Nick Saban is tough to turn down.

Marvin Jones Jr., Edge

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Florida State's Mike Norvell has recruited indisputably well this cycle, despite his Seminoles struggling on the football field in his second full season in Tallahassee.

    The way he's bringing in elite prospects has led to tons of hope for the future.

    One of the biggest movers up the recruiting rankings recently could be the cherry on top of a terrific class for Norvell, but he's going to have to hold off Alabama, Georgia and others for 5-star edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr. of Fort Lauderdale.

    In a whirlwind recruiting tour this past week, Jones took official visits to see the Bulldogs and the USC Trojans, again a hot name with Lincoln Riley as the coach. With the Crimson Tide currently holding 100 percent of his Crystal Ball projections, it may be hard to keep Jones home.

    It's widely known the younger Jones is the son of former Seminoles standout and Butkus Award winner by the same name, but it seems he's wide-open at this point of his recruitment. It's going to be a wild finish to see who can close the deal.

    Whoever gets him is going to be securing an elite pass-rushing force. He is a 6'4.5", 245-pound missile off the edge who is going to terrorize quarterbacks for years to come.

Jacoby Mathews, Safety

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    Credit: 247Sports

    One of the hallmarks of Ed Orgeron's LSU tenure (as well as Les Miles' and Nick Saban's before them) is they didn't routinely let elite prospects out of the Louisiana borders without a battle.

    Brian Kelly has a few big tests facing him with an abbreviated recruiting cycle, but it was a big win to keep 5-star quarterback Walker Howard in the fold. It's going to take more than just him to make the Bayou Bengals' class elite, though.

    A massive win would be keeping 4-star safety Jacoby Mathews in Louisiana. The big-hitter is 6'2", 193 pounds and is being pursued by several top schools. That's what happens when you're the nation's No. 36 overall player and the fourth-ranked safety.

    The former LSU commitment told the Advertiser he wants to wait until February to sign, which will make his recruitment wild leading up to the finish line.

    You can bet Kelly will burn up the phone lines and meet with the prospect multiple times, trying to get him to recommit. But the additional couple of months will give others a chance too.

    Texas A&M is in hot pursuit, and there will be other suitors as coaches settle into their new homes across the college football landscape. Texas, Alabama, and Florida are listed with "warm" interest on his 247Sports profile.

Harold Perkins, Linebacker

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    Credit: 247Sports

    One of the most talented defensive playmakers remaining is sideline-to-sideline star linebacker Harold Perkins, who is yet another Texas defender.

    The 6'3", 210-pound star is a 5-star prospect and the nation's No. 1 linebacker and fifth-rated player overall. He plays with a nasty streak and can do everything on the second level. Gabe Brooks of 247Sports noted he runs a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash as well.

    When a player Perkins' size can run that fast, he's going to be coveted by teams around the country. Considering he played for a quality high school program at Cypress Park in Cypress, Texas, and flashes on film, he could be a star quickly.

    Brooks compares Perkins to former UCLA and current NFL star Myles Jack, and that seems to be apt. He can get after quarterbacks off the edge, play in the box and chase down defenders trying to make the turn upfield. LSU looks to be surging in his recruitment recently.

    Nine of his 247Sports Crystal Ball projections have him going to LSU, but there are six Texas A&M votes, and Texas has a shot. He is scheduled to announce his school of choice January 2.

    All three of the head coaches of those programs are scheduled to visit with Perkins this week, according to 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong, and the Bayou Bengals could receive an official visit soon with a new coaching staff.

Shemar Stewart, Defensive Lineman

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Shemar Stewart just looks like "A Dude" who can terrorize quarterbacks and whom offensive linemen do not want to line up against. At 6'6", 272 pounds, there's a reason the 5-star prospect is the No. 3-rated defensive lineman and ninth-ranked player overall. His potential is limitless.

    Back in the heyday of Florida college football, there's no way a player of Stewart's ilk would leave the Sunshine State. The Opa Locka product would be headed to one of the Big Three of Miami, Florida or Florida State.

    With the struggles of all three of those programs, he's looking elsewhere. Texas A&M holds all of his Crystal Ball projections, and others such as Georgia and Alabama are swinging too. Still, with Stewart waiting until February to sign, anything can happen.

    One potentially huge development in keeping him away from that generational class with the Aggies and staying at home is Miami's decision to part ways with Manny Diaz and hire Mario Cristobal. The Hurricanes seemingly had lost steam in Stewart's recruitment before that happened.

    Cristobal is an elite recruiter who has a truncated period to outfit 'Canes' woeful class, and he'll start in their backyard. Stewart could be a centerpiece of that effort.

Kamari Wilson, Safety

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Kamari Wilson, the nation's No. 2 safety will make his decision public Dec. 15, the first day of the early signing period.

    The race for the IMG Academy star is down to Georgia, Florida State, LSU and Texas A&M, with Kirby Smart's Bulldogs holding all the Crystal Ball projections.

    The 6'0", 200-pound defender is the No. 28 overall player and hails from the premier high school football program in the nation. Georgia gets its fair share of athletes from IMG, and it looks like Wilson might be the latest.

    He would be a perfect fit for coordinator Dan Lanning and crew.

    "I love their defense and how they play aggressive," Wilson told 247Sports in October, according to Kipp Adams. "They are fast and physical. I would love to play in a defense just like that."

    Wilson is the type of all-around back-end safety you want who can play in the box, is solid in coverage and possesses the kind of closing speed to rack up interceptions. Whoever gets him will have a plug-and-play defender.

               

    All stats courtesy of CFBStats and Sports Reference. Recruiting rankings via 247Sports' composite rankings unless otherwise noted.

    Follow Brad Shepard on Twitter, @Brad_Shepard.

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