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Andrew Ivins / 247Sports

With the fifth year of the early signing period kicking off Wednesday, perhaps the most uncertain version of this signing period since the first one in December 2017 is upon us. A year ago, with the NCAA effectively shutting down recruiting in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more players signed early than ever before.

No official visits were taken by the Class of 2021, and there was no spring evaluation period, summer camps or in-home visits. Fast forward a year, and the Class of 2022 didn't get a spring evaluation period, either. However, there were camps, the return of official visits in the fall and in-home visits.

Yet, a crazy coaching carousel and loaded transfer portal has thrown the early signing period for a loop with a number of players pausing their announcements until January with plans to make formal their decisions on the traditional National Signing Day in February.

Nevertheless, there are a host of elite prospects that will announce Wednesday and later this week over the 72-hour early signing period. Plus, the race for No. 1 will start to crystallize.

Here is a primer to get you through the early signing period, which wraps on Friday evening.

Watch our early National Signing Day show continuing LIVE on 247Sports' YouTube channel before it returns to CBS Sports HQ at 4 p.m. ET  for commitments, signings, reactions and analysis. CBS Sports and 247Sports will also provide live updates all day in the story below. Keep it locked here for an updating schedule of commitments, the newest recruiting rankings and much more as the day unfolds.

The Storylines

The big question: Will Texas A&M reach the top spot? Georgia and Alabama are currently 1-2 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings with the Bulldogs taking the lead back on Tuesday morning after the Crimson Tide overtook them a week ago. But watch out for the Aggies. Coming off commitments from five-star defensive lineman Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy and five-star wide receiver Evan Stewart, a top 10 overall player nationally, the Aggies are still in contention for more, like five-star DL Shemar Stewart, five-star linebacker Harold Perkins, five-star cornerback Denver Harris, five-star defensive tackle Anthony Lucas, four-star safety Jacoby Mathews and four-star offensive lineman Kam Dewberry. If they can just hold on to five-star DL Walter Nolen, the No. 2 prospect in the country, it will not only solidify Texas A&M in the top three but also give it enough points to contend for the top spot.

How about new USC coach Lincoln Riley? The Trojans are waiting for five-star cornerback Domani Jackson to announce on Friday while also trying to flip two of his Mater Dei teammates, four-star EDGE David Bailey (from Stanford) and four-star WR C.J. Williams (who just decommitted from Notre Dame) after he already successfully flipped another teammate, five-star running back Raleek Brown, from Oklahoma.

Will Texas keep the momentum going? The Longhorns landed five-star offensive tackle Kelvin Banks over the weekend, and they were the landing spot for five-star 2021 quarterback Quinn Ewers, who left Ohio State and now will play at Texas.

The highest ranked uncommitted prospects announcing are five-star EDGE Marvin Jones Jr. and five-star DL Anthony Lucas. On Friday, the No. 2 cornerback in the country, five-star Domani Jackson out of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, will announce his decision. Of the three uncommitted players in the 247Sports' top 10, five-star LB Harold Perkins will announce at the Under Armour All-America Game while five-star DL Shemar Stewart and five-star OT Josh Conerly Jr. will announce during February's National Signing Day.

Schedule, predictions

All times Eastern and subject to change | Bolded names will commit live on CBS Sports HQ

  • 8 a.m. -- 4-star TE Jake Johnson (No. 83) | Crystal Ball: LSU
  • 8 a.m. -- 4-star RB Justin Williams (No. 284) | Crystal Ball: Tennessee
  • 10 a.m. -- 4-star DL Quency Wiggins (No. 92) | Crystal Ball: LSU
  • 11 a.m. -- 5-star CB Keionte Scott (No. 3) | Crystal Ball: Auburn
  • 12:45 p.m. -- 4-star LB Jaron Willis (No. 170) | Crystal Ball: Ole Miss
  • 1 p.m. -- 4-star LB Khurtiss Perry (No. 11) | Crystal Ball: Alabama
  • 1:15 p.m. -- 4-star ATH Azareyeh Thomas (No. 93) | Crystal Ball: Florida State
  • 2 p.m. -- 4-star DL Nyjalik Kelly (No. 87) | Crystal Ball: Miami
  • 2:45 p.m. -- 4-star DL Derrick Moore (No. 79) | Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • 3 p.m. -- 4-star WR Shazz Preston (No. 43) | Crystal Ball: Alabama
  • 3 p.m. -- 4-star WR Darrius Clemons (No. 131) | Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • 3:15 p.m. -- 4-star S Zion Branch (No. 47) | Crystal Ball: USC
  • 4 p.m. -- 5-star S Kamari Wilson (No. 28) | Crystal Ball: Georgia
  • 4 p.m. -- 4-star OL Kam Dewberry (No. 91) | Crystal Ball: Texas A&M
  • 4:15 p.m. -- 4-star EDGE Jihaad Campbell (No. 78) | Crystal Ball: None
  • 4:30 p.m. -- 4-star DL Anthony Lucas (No. 50) | Crystal Ball: Texas A&M
  • 4:30 p.m. -- 4-star EDGE DJ Wesolak (No. 194) | Crystal Ball: LSU
  • 4:40 p.m. -- 5-star EDGE Marvin Jones Jr. (No. 22) | Crystal Ball: Alabama
  • 4:40 p.m. -- 4-star CB Earl Little Jr. (No. 101) | Crystal Ball: Alabama
  • 5 p.m. -- 4-star OL Malik Agbo (No. 272) | Crystal Ball: Texas
  • 5:30 p.m. -- 4-star EDGE Enai White (No. 37)  | Crystal Ball: Texas A&M
  • Check out the latest Crystal Ball predictions for every Class of 2022 prospect from 247Sports