College football recruiting: 2020 National Signing Day key announcement times, predictions, picks

The first Wednesday in February looks a lot different than it has in the past. Once a day filled with frenetic activity, a grand culmination of years of work that could alter the future of a football program, it is now roughly 25 percent of itself. That's because the early signing period has arrived to scoop up roughly 75 percent of FBS signees off the market.

The monsoon of action may be gone but scattered thunderstorms of drama remain. In addition to a host of uncommitted four-star prospects and some committed prospects with decisions to finalize, there's also the race for a No. 1 recruiting class and some final statement recruiting battles to sort out. Here's a primer to get you through the busy day.

The Storylines

The big picture storyline to watch is a student versus teacher battle for the No. 1 class in the country. Kirby Smart enters the day with the No. 1 class, and it is possible that Georgia can finish the day in that spot. But if it doesn't, it will be Smart's former boss in Nick Saban that tops him. That swap will likely boil down to whether Alabama can land four-star defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson. (More on that later.)

The highest-ranked uncommitted prospect is five-star running back Zachary Evans, but we expect Evans to skip out on signing day altogether and bypass making any public decisions after already signing in the December period with Georgia and then backing out of that decision. He wouldn't be able to sign a second letter of intent regardless, but more visits may come in March and a decision doesn't appear to be imminent.

So where will the surprises come from? Committed prospects like Jordan Burch (South Carolina), Broderick Jones (Georgia), Sedrick Van Pran (Georgia), Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech) and Ashaad Clayton (Colorado) are all generally expected to stick with their current pledges, but there's a reason none of them have signed a letter of intent yet. It's a surprise for a reason.

The Announcements

All times Eastern and subject to change

  • 9 a.m. -- Three-star CB Ennis Rakestraw: A senior riser that emerged as a priority target for some heavyweights late, Rakestraw took official visits to Alabama, Missouri and Texas in January with the in-state Texas visit coming most recently.
  • 9:30 a.m. -- Four-star WR Savion Williams: TCU will be looking to add one of the top uncommitted wide receivers in the second signing period with SMU, Arkansas and Texas all heavily involved in January.
  • 10 a.m. -- Five-star OT Broderick Jones: A Georgia commit who didn't sign in December, Jones appeared to be deciding between Georgia and Auburn before cancelling an Auburn official visit last weekend and now Georgia appears to be optimistic he sticks.
  • 10:30 a.m -- Four-star DT McKinnley Jackson: A commitment that is likely to decide the No. 1 class, Texas A&M and Alabama appear to be the most likely landing spots for the Mississippi native.
  • 12:30 p.m. -- Four-star DB Avantae Williams: A one-time Oregon commit, Florida appears to be the favorite over Miami down the homestretch.
  • 1 p.m. -- Five-star DT Jordan Burch: South Carolina, where Burtch is committed, has been forced to sweat after Burch declined signing his letter of intent during his December commitment ceremony. After a January official visit for LSU, the Gamecocks seem to be poised to hang on.
  • 1 p.m. – Four-star WR Malachi Wideman: One of the top remaining targets for Mike Norvell at Florida State, the two-sport star that excels on the basketball court -- and who is already committed to the Seminoles -- has been seriously considering Ole Miss and Tennessee and also took a visit to Oregon.
  • 3 p.m. – Four-star QB Malik Hornsby: Arkansas and Baylor have been battling for one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the Class of 2020 with the 247Sports Crystal Ball currently favoring Sam Pittman's Razorbacks.
  • 3:20 p.m. – Four-star DE Princely Umanmielen: After January official visits to Florida and Texas, the big-bodied defensive lineman is also considering Baylor. This would be a big win for Dave Aranda, but Florida appears to be pushing hard.
  • 4:50 p.m. – Four-star DL Alfred Collins: After a monster senior season, Collins' recruitment narrowed into a race between Alabama, Oklahoma and the in-state program Texas.
  • Check out the full list of announcements this week from 247Sports.

The Predictions

There are eight prospects inside the national top 100, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, that have let uncertainty linger ahead of their final decisions. One of those, Evans, is unlikely to make any decision at all. For the other seven, here are my predictions a day before the action hits.

  • Five-star DT Jordan Burch (South Carolina commit): An unofficial visit last weekend to South Carolina and the long-term comfort level at the home-town school wins out over LSU. Pick: South Carolina
  • Five-star OT Broderick Jones (Georgia commit): Georgia has had Jones committed for more than a year. After OL coach Sam Pittman's departure caused some uncertainty things seem to have settled back down. Pick: Georgia
  • Four-star DB Avantae Williams: Dan Mullen will get a big win in the Sunshine State and stretches his lead as the clear winner in that important battleground state. Pick: Florida
  • Four-star C Sedrick Van Pran (Georgia commit): Despite official visits in January to Alabama and Florida, Georgia hangs on to the Louisiana native. Pick: Georgia
  • Four-star DT McKinnley Jackson: This is a toss-up and if I could, I'd wait to make the pick until the morning of signing day. Who knows what persuasive phone calls may be coming tonight. Texas A&M and Alabama are both confident. Pick: Alabama
  • Four-star DE Alfred Collins: Texas is going to make a splash, and big Alfred will be a reason why. The Texas legacy sticks with the Longhorns. Pick: Texas
  • Four-star RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech commit): Despite some of the heaviest of heavy weights giving chase, Gibbs sticks with his initial pledge to Geoff Collins. Pick: Georgia Tech
  • Check out the latest Crystal Ball predictions for every Class of 2020 prospect from 247Sports.
CBS Sports Writer

Barton Simmons has been involved in college football and recruiting since 2000, first as a player and then as a reporter and analyst. As a player, he was a two-time All-Ivy League safety at Yale before... Full Bio

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