What to expect on National Signing Day


By Matt Murschel - Orlando Sent



It’s easy to get caught up in all of the hoopla associated with National Signing Day. For it’s the culmination of — in some cases — years of recruiting capped off on that special day when a high school recruit puts pen to paper and sends in his National Letter of Intent to play football. There are bound to be laughs, smiles, a few tears and a case or two of some good old-fashion drama.

As the clock ticks down to Wednesday, here are some things you can expect to see this week:

—Expect Alabama to once again garner the top recruiting class. The Crimson Tide head into this week with most recruiting sites picking them as the top class with as many as 25 commitments — nearly half of those already enrolled at the school, including two of the best players in the nation in (Najee Harris) and Alex Leatherwood). It would take a major decommitment or signing over the next few days for Nick Saban’s staff not to wind up with the number one class for the seventh straight time.

—Expect Ohio State to finish with its best class under Urban Meyer. Meyer is known to be one of the best recruiters in the country and he proves it once again with another stellar class — this one featuring 19 commitments — including two of the best players in the country in cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and receiver Chase Young. “He’s had great classes every year but it is one that’s going to be right there with the best he’s ever done if he finishes strong,” said Tom Lemming, CBS Sports Network’s national recruiting expert.

—Expect a much more subdued Michigan performance. Jim Harbaugh kicked off his first class at Michigan with a star-studded signing day spectacular that included the likes of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeter. This time around, expect a more muted showcase. “This year he’s playing it low-key for him but this class is as good as last year’s class,” said Mike Farrell, national recruiting director for Rivals.com.

—Expect Florida State to win the in-state recruiting battle once again. The Seminoles have claimed the top recruiting class in the Sunshine State the past three seasons and will make it four in a row with a group that is currently ranked among the tops in the country. That’s bad news for everybody else in the state including Florida, which hasn’t captured a top 10 class since 2014.

—Expect the SEC to command a lot of attention. Going into the week, the SEC featured as many as 10 schools with top 25 classes led by Alabama and Georgia, according to Rivals.com. That’s one more than last year’s nine teams and one less than the 11 schools in 2015. Meanwhile the Big Ten (5) is second followed by the ACC and Pac-12 with four teams apiece.

—Expect to hear Marvin Wilson’s name — a lot. The 6-foot-4, 329-pound defensive tackle out of Bellaire, Texas, is a top-five player who has earned the attention of programs like Florida State, Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma and South Florida. He is expected to make his decision Wednesday in front of a nationally-televised audience on ESPN around 4 p.m. ET. Wilson’s commitment could be the crown jewel in a lot of classes.

—Expect another tough day for the Big 12. The good news is that Oklahoma is putting together one of its best classes in more than five years with the Sooners landing as many as 27 commitments heading into this week and a top 10 ranking. The bad news is that there is no other Big 12 team ranked in the top 25 with Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU needing a big push to land a team in the top 25.

—Expect a few surprises like Maryland, Nebraska. The Terrapins head into this week with a top 20 class and could wind up with its first top 25 class since 2005. “They’re a sleeping giant because the state of Maryland is loaded so is D.C. and northern Virginia but the problem was in the past, those guys went elsewhere in the country,” Lemming added. “But Maryland has been able to keep them at home. D.J. Durkin has learned a lot since he was the defensive coordinator with Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.” Another Big Ten school — Nebraska — is also making waves thanks to recruiting the West Coast. A move that Farrell thinks could pay off. “I think the class could finish in the top 15, which for them they don’t usually do that. They don’t have a recruiting foundation and there aren’t a lot of kids out where they are located.”

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By Matt Murschel

Orlando Sent

(c)2017 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

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(c)2017 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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