Posted by Tom Fornelli
The impact of signing day isn't just felt inside the BCS conferences, so here's a look at how Wednesday will impact some major non-AQs.
Players to Watch
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Monroe (Monroe, GA): Tuitt could be the third member of the MaxPreps Top 100 to join Notre Dame's defensive line in 2011. The 6'6 255 pound defensive end has been a force at Monroe Area in Georgia, and though he's currently given Notre Dame his verbal, he's flirted with Georgia Tech in the last few weeks. While he's expected to sign with Notre Dame on Wednesday, nothing will be certain until he puts pen to paper. If he does sign with the Irish, he'll join Aaron Lynch (#22 on MaxPreps Top 100) and Ishaq Williams (#70) as defensive linemen in this class. A pretty nice haul. No wonder MaxPreps has Notre Dame atop its team rankings.
Ladarius Brown, ATH, Waxahachie (Waxahachie,TX): Brown is one of the best athletes in the country, and one that Gary Patterson can use in a lot of ways at TCU. Brown could find himself playing anywhere from wide receiver, cornerback, safety or linebacker in Fort Worth. Of course, he has to get to Fort Worth first. He originally gave his verbal to Oklahoma before going with TCU. Should Brown sign on Wednesday he'll be one of key members of a solid if not spectacular TCU class.
Jimmy Laughrea, QB, Rocklin (Rocklin, CA): Chris Petersen and Boise State seldom bring in highly rated recruiting classes, but the Broncos don't exactly pick up scraps either. With Kellen Moore entering his senior season it's time for Boise to look for his replacement, and they may find it in 6'2 180-pound Laughrea. The northern California quarterback gave his verbal commitment to Boise State back in June, and has shown no signs of wavering on it since.
Teams to Watch
Notre Dame: When Brian Kelly took the job at Notre Dame last winter, there were plenty of Irish fans worried about whether or not he'd be able to land the type of recruiting classes to get Notre Dame back to the top of the rankings. Well, is the best class in the country good enough? Of course, with such a strong recruiting class, the already high expectations in South Bend will only get higher. Still, stocking up on the defensive side of the football as Kelly has done in this class is a good first step toward meeting them.
TCU: TCU and Gary Patterson are bringing in a nice class for 2011, the school's final season in the Mountain West before moving on to the Big East. So this is the last class that the school will bring in as a non-AQ, and Patterson will be hoping that guys like Ladarius Brown, Chuck Hunter and Deryck Gildon can help the Horned Frogs get a little more consideration for a national title one of these days.
UCF: The Golden Knights aren't going to finish with a class that's ranked in the Top 25, but after finishing there in the polls following a win over Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, the school will have to bring in some players to make sure they stay ranked. After all, UCF wouldn't mind moving to the Big East along with TCU, and the Knights are hoping players like DE Toby Jackson and DB Jeremy Davis can help them get there.
The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow
You're not going to hear many people complain about the job Kyle Whittingham has done since replacing Urban Meyer at Utah. Still, with the Utes moving from the Mountain West to the new Pac-12, life is going to get a bit tougher. No longer will middle of the pack recruiting classes be good enough to compete for a conference title and possible BCS berth. The Utes will be hoping that having the doors to California opened to them on a larger scale will help, and as of now, over a third of their expected signees come from the Golden State.
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