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With this being the fifth year of the early signing period taking place in December, much of the drama reserved for February's traditional National Signing Day has shifted a few months earlier. And while the amount of early signees has increased each year, the lack of a spring evaluation period (for the second straight year amid COVID-19) -- coupled with late-spring official visits being limited to just June and then a wild coaching carousel -- has added far more intrigue to this year's early signing period.

In fact, because of all those developments, more players may sign in February than we've been used to seeing since the debut of the December period. So while a program may hold the distinction of having the No. 1 class at close of business on Wednesday, this race may not wrap until the traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 2.

The No. 1 team in the nation on the field also sits atop the team recruiting rankings at this time as Alabama holds 21 commits, just ahead of Georgia. No. 1 for much of the season on the field, the Bulldogs are right behind the Crimson Tide at No. 2 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings. Meanwhile, Texas A&M, Ohio State and Penn State round out the top five with Notre Dame pushing for that final spot. The Fighting Irish could push for that spot if they close strong.

But we are here to discuss the race for No. 1. Alabama and Georgia will be tough to catch, but Texas A&M is the one team that could shake up the top of the rankings. Here's how it should go down on Wednesday.

Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. ET for Signing Day Live on CBS Sports HQ as our 247Sports experts cover all the ins and outs of the early signing period. From live commitments to updated class rankings and everything in between, Signing Day Live will be your one-stop shop for live coverage as the top programs in the nation sign the Class of 2022.

Alabama is back on top following a commitment from four-star wide receiver Isaiah Bond, and with two composite five-stars deciding soon, the Tide could bolster their class even more. The big fish in play is edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr., the No. 22 player in the nation and son of the former Florida State star, who got his first Crystal Ball for the Tide this week. So too is cornerback Domani Jackson, a longtime USC commit. The nation's No. 7 player opened things up prior to Lincoln Riley's arrival at USC but now has a final two of Alabama and USC. Alabama may get an official visit from five-star offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr. (No. 23 overall), this weekend, but Conerly, 247Sports' No. 1 tackle, won't decide until February. And while OT Devon Campbell (No. 10 overall) may be a longshot, the Tide are still in the mix. Four-stars defensive lineman Khurtiss Perry and offensive lineman Earnest Greene are also targets. Then there are the commits to other schools they're still chasing, notably five-star offensive lineman Kiyaunta Goodwin (No. 25 overall), who is committed to Kentucky but took all five official visits and gets a visit from Nick Saban this week. Current rank: 1
Kirby Smart and the Dawgs may not be No. 1 heading in to the College Football Playoff or early signing period, but they have a chance to best the Tide, at least in these rankings. Georgia is at the top with five-star safety Kamari Wilson (No. 28 overall), who UGA leads for in Crystal Ball predictions. The Dawgs also have Campbell and Jones taking official visits; if those two pick UGA, it could easily soar ahead of Bama. Four-star linebacker Shemar James is also set to visit this weekend. Then, of course, there is in-state four-star defensive lineman Christen Miller, who Ohio State and Alabama are also pulling to sign. Lastly, Greene still has the Dawgs ahead of the Tide ever so slightly, but Bama is making this one interesting. Current rank: 2
Will the Aggies pull off a stunner and finish No. 1? They're trending upward with two huge commitments over the last 10 days. All out-of-state eyes are on Shemar Stewart (No. 9 overall), the five-star defensive lineman from Florida, four-star DL Enai White and Jacoby Matthews, the four-star safety from neighboring Louisiana who is trending for the Aggies. In-state, five-stars CB Denver Harris (No. 17 overall), OT Kelvin Banks (No. 15 overall) and LB Harold Perkins (No. 5 overall) and four-star OL Kam Dewberry are all top targets. Of course, another key is holding on to five-star DL Walter Nolen, the No. 2 prospect in the country, who committed last month but is still listening to other schools. If Texas A&M can add Stewart and White to the defensive line class that includes Brownlow-Dindy and Nolen? Well, the Aggies might just make that move to the top. Current rank: 3