College football recruiting: The five new headliners of 2019 National Signing Day
Five prospects that have emerged from relative obscurity to become the top targets with a week to go
Come January, there is a new upper class in college football recruiting. With upwards of 80 percent of FBS signees already locked up and signed with the programs of their choice, there is an added intensity towards the remaining pool of prospects. In many cases that means you don't have to have a five-star ranking next to your name to receive the five-star treatment on the recruiting trail.
Here are five names that you may not have known just two months ago that are becoming the headliners of National Signing Day.
Four-star QB Lance LeGendre (Warren Easton High School, New Orleans, LA)
This time last year, Alabama was fighting like hell to try to beat Princeton on a quarterback -- a battle it lost. Iowa State, Texas A&M, Alabama and Florida State were among the Power Five programs in desperate need of a passer. That Iowa State won out in a heated race to get Brock Purdy proved to be consequential when Purdy went on to go 7-2 as a true freshman starter.
This year there is less desperation in the quarterback hunt as schools have largely managed the process more effectively with an assist from the transfer market. But if anything, that ramps up the intensity for the few remaining programs still looking for the answer at quarterback this cycle. LeGendre is the highest ranked remaining uncommitted quarterback and he has the size and athleticism to become a major late steal for somebody. The one-time Kansas commit took an official visit to Florida State last weekend and will now hear what Mike Locksley has to say at Maryland for one more official visit. Florida State is currently the Crystal Ball favorite.
Three-star OT Dawand Jones (Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, IN)
If you are an uncommitted offensive or defensive lineman with prototypical size, you will be a popular guy come January. That was the case even before the early signing period era but it's even more pronounced now with fewer available prospects.
Jones, an Indiana native, is 6-foot-8, 360 pounds and has a basketball background. Ohio State, Penn State and USC are the primary programs with a shot to land him and after back-to-back official visits to the Columbus and State College, a decision is on deck. Ohio State is the current Crystal Ball favorite but Penn State is surging.
Three-star TE Brett Seither (Clearwater Central Catholic, Clearwater, FL)
The surge of recruiting momentum for Seither has to be a tough pill to swallow for Michigan State, TCU and a host of other programs that have been recruiting the 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end since last spring. The Florida native is originally from Maryland and landed a Terps offer last May. He landed a Michigan State offer on an official visit last June. TCU hosted him on an official visit in early December. But then Seither had 630 yards receiving as a senior (up from just 171 as a junior) and the early signing period came and went without Seither signing. Now the race has intensified.
Seither's current finalists are Alabama, Georgia, Penn State, Michigan State and TCU. None of the Alabama, Georgia, Penn State trio offered before January. With visits this month already to Georgia and Alabama, Seither could still get to Penn State on the last weekend before signing day for an unofficial visit.
Three-star DL Wisdom Asaboro (Covenant Day School, Matthews, NC)
A native of Nigeria, there are a number of reasons why Asaboro has only emerged as a priority late in the process. The biggest factor is that 2018 was his first year playing football. In addition, the 6-8, 280-pounder reclassified recently from a 2020 prospect to a class of 2019 recruit, adding fuel to the urgency of his recruitment.
North Carolina was one of the first to dive in on Asaboro and that may have put Mack Brown's program in the lead. However, he's also taken visits to Virginia and Penn State and he has an official visit scheduled to Oregon with Auburn still hoping to get him on campus as well.
Three-star OT Ira Henry (Trinity Catholic, St. Louis, MO)
Because of the positional value of an offensive tackle and because of Henry's 6-5, 320-pound frame, he is one of the more critical remaining targets available for some offensive line starved programs, specifically Auburn and Florida State. Indiana hosts Henry on an official visit the final weekend before signing day, but the Hoosiers will have some ground to make up after compelling trips to Auburn and Florida State in back-to-back weekends.
Despite getting in the game late on Henry, the depth charts at both Florida State and Auburn are appealing. Florida State needs help right now on the offensive line and Auburn is a year away from needing offensive tackle starters out of the 2019 class.
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