With National Signing Day quickly approaching on Wednesday, a number of schools that have focused their energy on February instead of the early signing period in December are poised to wrap up their classes. Whether it was a result of coaching changes, expected NFL departures or just being old school, there is still some intrigue surrounding the first Wednesday in February despite the early signing period stealing some of the buzz in recent years.
Below is a look at five schools that will still have their eyes wide open come Wednesday for some key announcements that will help them close 2022 National Signing Day on a high note.
The team that is already No. 1 in the recruiting rankings is chasing history at this point as it leaves everyone else behind. The Aggies are aligned to sign the highest-rated class in 247Sports history -- and that's if they didn't sign another player in this class. Still, they are in the mix for Harold Perkins, the nation's No. 1 linebacker, who committed to the Aggies during the Under Armour All-America Game but decommitted a week ago. They're the Crystal Ball leader for top-10 prospect Shemar Stewart, the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2022 class and a player that could make the already elite defensive line class Jimbo Fisher is welcoming to College Station even more special. And they're in the final three for four-star safety Jacoby Mathews, the top-100 prospect from Louisiana who is weighing the Aggies, LSU and Florida.
If Lincoln Riley's departure from Oklahoma to USC wasn't a big enough move during a wild coaching carousel, Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame for LSU raised it up a notch. While the Tigers had a good-but-not-great December, their February could be great if a few things break their way. They, too, are waiting with bated breath to see what Mathews will do; will he stay in-state and stick with the Bayou Bengals or will he spurn the home-state Tigers for Texas A&M or Florida? LSU hosted Perkins this weekend for an official visit, and they would absolutely love to rip him out of the Lone Star State themselves. Four-star running back and former LSU commit TreVonte' Citizen opened things up after Kelly's arrival, but his announced final four still includes the Tigers.
Miami will factor into things for Citizen, however, who took his final official visit to Coral Gables this past weekend. With his first official visit since June, can first-year Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal and Co. use that to their advantage and reel him in? That's their goal. Miami also hosted the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country this weekend in Josh Conerly Jr. While Conerly isn't going to announce his decision until March -- he'll take his final two visits that month to USC and Washington -- the 'Canes are hoping Cristobal's success with offensive linemen impacts his final choice. Who knows, maybe Cristobal can convince him to sign this week? (We doubt that happens, though). Miami is also staying in the mix for in-state five-star product Stewart, but Texas A&M may be too far out in front. The 'Canes are also the favorites to land four-star offensive lineman Dave Iuli, the former Oregon commit while Cristobal was at Oregon who visited officially two weekends ago, but the Ducks are taking one last crack at him this weekend. Georgia native Christen Miller, a four-star defensive lineman, also has Miami in his top five, though he's leaning to stay in-state.
The Ducks hosted a big weekend visitor list and will be keeping tabs on several players over the next few days. Can they flip Iuli back in to the mix? Can they reel four-star cornerback Jahlil Florence back in the fold -- the former Oregon commit who opened things up immediately upon Cristobal's departure but now will decide between Oregon and USC on Wednesday? Do they have a realistic chance to pull Miller out of Georgia? Plus the big question, and one that is building positive momentum: Can new Ducks coach Dan Lanning strike a bow across his former program and steal four-star running back Jordan James, the Tennessee native who has been a longtime commit to Georgia but was wowed on his visit to Oregon last week?
Billy Napier has had a pretty good January, starting with the announcement of four-star running back Trevor Etienne at the All-American Bowl and four more subsequent commitments since then. Now he'll see just how good he is at closing. The Gators are in play for Perkins, who visited officially during the first weekend of visits in January. They are one of the final three for Louisiana product Mathews, who has Texas A&M and LSU in the mix, too, but has a longstanding relationship with Napier. Citizen, another Louisiana product, has the Gators in his final four, and like Mathews, that long relationship with Napier could play heavily in to their favor. Four-star defensive lineman Caden Story took an official visit to Florida this weekend as the Gators are going head to head with Clemson for his services, and they also get the last crack at Georgia running back commit James, the same Tennessee native whom Oregon is trying to lure its way.