Posted by Chip Patterson
Before we get geared up with the madness known as National Signing Day, here is a rundown of some of the last minute names and stories in the Big East.
Players to Watch
Kevin McReynolds (pictured), DT, Washington, DC (St. John's College HS): McReynolds is a four-star defensive tackle who has been deciding between Syracuse, Kansas State, UCLA, and Mississippi State. He took his last official official visit to Manhattan, and supposedly has his mind made up. But Syracuse remains hopeful that they can pull in this big-time recruit from the Wildcats. The Big East doesn't have many big time announcements to focus on, but this is certainly one of them.
Marquise Wright, DT, Paramus Catholic (Paramus, NJ): Wright was previously committed to Pittsburgh dating all the way back to June. After Dave Wannstedt's forced resignation, Wright re-opened his recruitment. When Rutgers picked up former Panther assistant Jeff Hafley, Wright immediately reconnected with the man who was going to bring him to Pittsburgh. Wright is expected to sign his letter on Wednesday, and it will sound like nails on a chalkboard to Pittsburgh fans.
Damarcus Smith, QB, Seneca (Louisville, KY): Unfortunately for the Big East, this storyline also concerns backing out of a verbal commitment. But instead of a conference rival, the three-star former Louisville commit has been rumored to switch his commitment to UCF. The Cardinals are hoping that Smith will ignore the crowd at his position, and stick with the school close to home. But many sources believe the Knights have convinced him otherwise.
Teams to Watch
Louisville: Before he left Florida, everyone knew that Charlie Strong had a future as a head coach. But count me out of the crowd that figured he would be able to make such an impact so quickly. In his first season as head coach, Strong delivered the first bowl appearance (and win) since the 2006 season. Now Louisville enters National Signing Day with a class that is arguably the best in the Big East. Louisville may have just squeaked over .500 at 7-6, but the future looks brighter than ever under Strong's guidance.
Syrcause: Big East schools will not be well represented in highly publicized hat-ceremonies on National Signing Day, but one of the most notable will be with defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds. The four-star defensive tackle has narrowed will announce his decision between Syracuse, Kansas State, UCLA, and Mississippi State on Wednesday. It would be a huge snag for Doug Marrone, who has gathered a solid class - but lacks one big-time recruit.
West Virginia: West Virginia has been known to slide in and deliver some National Signing Day surprises in years past, so you can never completely ignore the Mountaineers. Arguably the most notable target will be Dominique Terrell, athlete from the DC area who is considering West Virginia along with Miami and Virginia. Terrell will announce at 11:30 ET, do the Mountaineers still have the last-minute magic?.
The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow
Pittsburgh, traditionally leading the way amongst the conference around this time of year will be crippled in the aftermath of Dave Wannstedt's "resignation." What could have been a really special class fell to pieces with de-commitments after the announcement. Todd Graham has been scrambling, picking up some recruits from Tulsa and trying to lock down whatever he can for the Class of 2011. But with former Panthers recruiting guru Jeff Hafley now at Rutgers, things are getting awfully tough to piece back together in the Northeast.
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