National Signing Day is still the first Wednesday in February even if the event has become a shell of its former self. Over the last few years, since the onset of the early signing period in December, the traditional National Signing Day hasn't been the same.
It's certainly even more different in 2021 due to the pandemic, which altered the recruiting calendar significantly. National Signing Day is still important, however, even if the number of top players unsigned is fairly small. Of the 358 prospects rated four stars or better in the 247Sports Composite, only 30 remain unsigned.
There is the potential for chaos, though, as some prospects who are verbally committed could flip their commitments elsewhere. Unsigned college football recruits always bring the drama as they make one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Plus, there are plenty of team storylines to track, so here's a primer to get you through the busy day.
How many players will teams actually sign? That's something we are watching as an industry. With a transfer exemption due to COVID-19 that will allow players to be immediately eligible along with a lot of uncertainty around recruits due to the lack of camps, combines and visits, many schools are electing to use more of their 25 new scholarship player limit on transfers.
"If it is a borderline recruit for us, we'd rather take a transfer who we know can cut it physically at the college level," said one staffer. Read more about the transfer situation here.
Will Alabama land the top-rated class of all-time? All the Crimson Tide have to do is to hold onto their current class and land this thing Wednesday. If they do, the Tide will have 325.46 points on the 247Sports Composite, eclipsing the mark set by the 2010 Florida Gators.
USC's bounceback class is also something to watch. A year after signing a class which was light on numbers and talent and finishing 64th in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, the Trojans retooled their staff and currently sit eighth with the chance to climb even higher.
All times Eastern and subject to change
The top player in the Top247, Seattle area defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau, won't actually decide until the spring as he looks to take visits. Here are when some important signings are expected to happen along with the latest intel.
- 9:10 a.m. -- Four-star CB Avante Dickerson (live on CBS Sports HQ): The former Minnesota commitment is also a star in the 100- and 200-meters. He decommitted from Minnesota in January after being committed since April. Oregon looks like the smart money over Minnesota and Nebraska, according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball, thanks to his relationship with coach Ron Chance. Dickerson could help the Ducks secure the top class in the Pac-12 yet again.
- 10 a.m. -- Four-star DE Davon Townley (live on CBS Sports HQ): Penn State might have the narrowest of leads over Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota, but this one is too close to call as of Tuesday morning. Townley could supply some Drama.
- 10 a.m. -- Three-star CB Dontae Balfour: Balfour is a late riser in the Top247. The long corner from Starke, Florida, has a lot of options, but down the stretch Auburn and North Carolina have emerged as the most likely destinations.
- 11 a.m. -- Four-star DE David Abiara: 247Sports' Gabe Brooks describes Abiara as a "Big-framed strong-side end type with virtually college-ready size, but space to add more bulk." The 247Sports Crystal Ball heavily favors Texas for the former Notre Dame commitment.
- 11:30 a.m. -- Four-star LB Raesjon Davis (live on CBS Sports HQ): The former LSU commitment is expected to stay home and play at USC, but the lack of drama should not take away from the importance of Davis' decision for USC and the Pac-12. If the league is going to get back into the national picture, it must stop losing prospects from California to teams in the East. Davis is one of the best players in the country and would help with that goal.
- Noon -- Four-star LB Trevin Wallace: Wallace is an impressive late riser who was once committed to Boston College. He was very close to being a five-star prospect in the Top247, and he's a dominant player on both offense and defense, as well as being an accomplished sprinter, long jumper and high jumper. Auburn was the favorite before the firing of Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff. Kentucky has emerged thanks to Wallace's relationships with the staff.
- 1 p.m. -- Three-star DB Juwon Gaston: Gaston is one of the late risers for the class, playing both offense and defense for Montgomery (Ala.) Carver. Auburn, the nearest power to Montgomery, is likely to get his signature on Wednesday.
- 2 p.m. -- Four-star RB LJ Johnson: Johnson's recruitment down the stretch has been hard fought between Texas and Texas A&M, but the latest Crystal Ball trends show the Cypress (Texas) star likely playing or Jimbo Fisher.
- 4 p.m -- Four-star DB Terrion Arnold: Arnold is one of the best uncommitted players in the country. He is also a basketball star who would like to play both sports in college. Alabama, Florida and Georgia are the top contenders for the star from Tallahassee, Florida. Arnold has been in contact with all three coaching staffs this week and plays things close to the vest.
- 4 p.m. -- Four-star DT Tywone Malone: Malone is one of the most interesting prospects in the class. He is also an elite hitter on the diamond and has a chance to be an impact bat at Ole Miss, Texas A&M or Florida State as well as a disruptive force in the middle of the defense. Ole Miss is the unanimous pick on the 247Sports Crystal Ball, but the confidence level of the picks is lukewarm, so this might not be the lock that it seems.
- 4:30 p.m. -- Four-star WR Destyn Hill: Hill rarely gives interviews, but the one constant in the New Orleans receiver's recruitment has been his relationship with Florida State assistant David Johnson. The Crystal Ball reads 100% for the Seminoles.
- TBA -- Four-star WR Brian Thomas Jr.: Despite discussions of Alabama being the destination, Texas A&M and LSU have been hot of late with Thomas. Most analysts in the 247Sports network have Thomas staying home and playing for LSU.