College football recruiting: Seven bold predictions for National Signing Day 2018
Nick Saban may be unseated for the first time this decade by his former assistant
Don't be fooled by the talk that there won't be any drama on National Signing Day. The volume of commits may be limited, but the spotlight on those precious few remaining spots is amplified. Here are seven predictions for what should be an interesting Wednesday.
1. For the first time since 2010, Alabama won't finish with the No. 1 class: Nick Saban's remarkable run of seven straight No. 1 classes ends this year. Mathematically, it's still possible to see Alabama finish No. 1 at the end of Wednesday, but it would take a flawless finish along with some stumbles from other schools. It's much more likely that Alabama finishes strong but comes up short at the hands of either the monster he created in Kirby Smart at Georgia or the coach he took the recruiting title from in Urban Meyer.
2. Georgia will land its first No. 1 class of the internet era: It's going to be a really close battle with Ohio State, and if the Bulldogs miss on five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell, then all bets are off. Currently, the expectation is the Georgia will close with Campbell and that should be enough to just edge out Ohio State. If Ohio State was to land No. 1 offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, then suddenly the Buckeyes should be considered the favorite to finish on top. But as his announcement draws closer, Ohio State still looks to be just outside the top spot.
3. Alabama will lose two-to-three commitments on National Signing Day: OLB Quay Walker, DT Bobby Brown and ATH Vernon Jackson were all Alabama commits that decided not to sign during the Early Signing Period. They are all at risk of opting out of Alabama on Wednesday, too. Brown and Jackson both visited Texas A&M on the last weekend before National Signing Day and now the Aggies are in a position to potentially flip both. Walker is anybody's guess but there is a lot of buzz that either Tennessee or Georgia will flip him and sign him. Other action will likely compensate for these losses in Tuscaloosa, but you can bake in at least some attrition during this busy Alabama close.
4. USC will finish inside the top six: USC always closes strong on National Signing Day and Wednesday will be no different. The expectations start with cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Olaijah Griffin -- both guys that the Trojans are fighting for with the SEC. Top100 WR Devon Williams, No. 2 offensive guard Penei Sewell and No. 3 inside linebacker Solomon Tuilaupupu are also all in play. Even four of those five would probably land USC inside of the top 5 by the end of Wednesday.
5. Florida, Florida State and Texas A&M will be some of the day's biggest risers: Florida had a pretty solid Early Signing Period. Florida State and Texas A&M didn't. All three have new coaches and all three have unique challenges in finishing out this class, but the closer we've gotten to Feb. 7, the more traction these new coaches have been able to find. Florida look poised to finish inside the top 15 and if it lands Petit-Frere, that finish could turn into top 10. Texas A&M started the week at No. 35 nationally, but a realistic finish could see the Aggies end up in the top 20 by the end of Wednesday. Florida State, a school that once sat as low as 65th in the rankings, looks likely to finish close to the top 10 if not firmly inside of it.
What big-time recruits are headed to your favorite school? Visit 247Sports.com to see how your team's future will be changed forever. Their recruiting analysts are on the ground right now for National Signing Day. Plus, use the code SIGN2018 to get 30 days completely free on any plan they offer!
6. We'll all still be guessing by the time Nicholas Petit-Frere announces: The No. 1 offensive tackle in the country is the guy that is going to keep the most people guessing for the longest. He took an official visit over the weekend to Ohio State. He's also taken visits to Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama and Michigan. As his decision approaches, there is very little concrete information leaking as to who he favors. In this day and age, the suspense is usually gone by the time the announcement hits but there is no such indication that we'll have a feel for Petit-Frere's selection before the announcement takes place. There are some heavy hitters waiting with bated breath.
7. Herm Edwards will salvage some credibility on signing day: After being one of the running jokes of the coaching carousel, Edwards hasn't done a lot to inspire confidence in Tempe. He's expressed awe at the recruiting process, has had to replace a big chunk of his coaching staff and has settled in at No. 75 in the 247Sports Team rankings, last among all Power Five programs. But Edwards will have some fun on signing day. Among those that could be included in the Sun Devils close are four-star safety Aashari Crosswell, four-star linebacker Merlin Robertson, three-star guard Jarrett Bell, and three-star speedy wide receiver Geordon Porter. Don't expect some Top 25 finish, but after looking like a lost cause just a few weeks ago, Edwards has made some strong assistant coach hires (Tony White from San Diego State, former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce from Long Beach Poly HS among them) and looks close to capitalizing.
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