It's been a long time coming, but as the early signing period arrives on Wednesday, this weird, disjointed recruiting cycle will come to an end for most college football prospects around the country. Distracted by the ongoing college football schedule, the coaching carousel and all of the typical December festivities, this year's early signing period may feel less of an event than in years past. But due to those same factors, we could see plenty of drama and surprises.
There are 17 uncommitted prospects in the 247Sports Composite Top 100. We expect six of them to sign and make their commitments public on Wednesday, and of those 17, here are six names to watch.
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Five-star defensive tackle Maason Smith: A Louisiana native with one of the better defensive line body types in this 2021 cycle, Smith is trending towards what is likely a decision between LSU and Georgia. Despite the awful year LSU has had on the defensive side of the ball, Smith sees himself as a fit in Bo Pelini's scheme and his continued presence at defensive coordinator is a positive for the Tigers. LSU is the Crystal Ball favorite.
Five-star outside linebacker Xavian Sorey: Sorey is one of the most athletic linebackers in the 2021 cycle, and he's got great length, great versatility and playmaking ability. Georgia, Florida and Alabama are the top contenders ahead of the five-star's decision, and all three programs run a defense that fits his skillset well. Despite strong efforts out of Florida linebacker coach Christian Robinson and Alabama's Sal Sunseri, the group effort of Georgia appears to have the momentum as the decision approaches.
Four-star defensive lineman Tunmise Adeleye: A one-time Ohio State commit, the Texas native looks pointed towards the SEC on the eve of his decision. He took an unofficial visit to Florida recently and Alabama has been in this one for a long time, but Texas A&M seems to have the most buzz for the long-armed, versatile defensive lineman. The Crystal Ball is trending heavily for the Aggies, and speaks to Jimbo Fisher's recent success bulking up the defensive front.
Four-star running back Donovan Edwards: The Crystal Ball on this one is unanimously Michigan, but the confidence is lukewarm. That the Wolverines have a shot to add one of the top running backs in the country to a class that is already ranked inside the top 10 speaks to a really strong effort out of Jim Harbaugh's staff this fall. But there is competition here, as Notre Dame appears to be the biggest challenger for Edwards while Georgia is also lurking, and that's a scary thing on signing day.
Four-star quarterback Jake Garcia: A one-time USC commit, Garcia transferred to within the state of Georgia to play his senior season due to California's decision to delay high school sports. He subsequently decommitted from the Trojans, and now it would be a surprise if he lands anywhere but Miami on Wednesday. Garcia is a big, athletic, strong-armed quarterback who has a chance to backfill for D'Eriq King and the Hurricanes, keeping that offense heading in the right direction.
Four-star offensive tackle Savion Byrd: It's Oklahoma, LSU and ... SMU for one of the most talented line-of-scrimmage athletes in the country. In a race between perennial playoff contenders and a Group of Five team, the big dogs typically don't want him or the underdog has no shot. That's not the case here. SMU has the local ties that seem to be winning the day as the decision approaches.
Four-star running back Armoni Goodwin: Goodwin hails from an Auburn-friendly high school in the state of Alabama, and he has been committed for the majority of his recruitment, but he opened things back up even before the Gus Malzahn dismissal. Auburn may still get Goodwin back in the boat, but the compact, explosive back is also taking a hard look at LSU. Whether it's due to the coaching uncertainty or not, LSU may have enough to win this one out.
*No current 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions for Goodwin*