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Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Early Offer: Signing day is here

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The Class of 2014 will go down as one of the wildest recruiting rides in recent memory. With so many players switching commitments and some elite prospects still left on the board, here are five things to keep an eye on heading into recruiting’s biggest day.

Does Bama have the best class ever?

The Crimson Tide have 18 ESPN 300 prospects, five five-stars and 16 four-star recruits and could get even stronger if they pull a recruiting upset and land No. 52-ranked Rashaan Evans, a four-star outside linebacker from Auburn (Ala.) High School. All signs point toward Evans picking the hometown Tigers, but Alabama has put in major work to make the race a lot more interesting than a lot of people expected it to be. If it can land Evans, then Bama can make legitimate argument it has landed the best class in the modern era of recruiting.

What will Adoree' do?

USC, UCLA, LSU and Florida are the finalists for five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), and nobody has done a better job of keeping fans on the edge of their seats than him. Jackson announces at 2 p.m. ET today on ESPNU, and I've predicted he will sign with the Trojans. But keep a close eye on LSU. When he and his family visited with ESPN's Mitch Sherman leading up to signing day, Sherman definitely got a sense the Tigers are a bigger factor than many people believe.

Carter, Dupre could make in-state schools happy

Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and No. 1 receiver Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) have in-state fans hoping for good news today. Carter has been trending toward Georgia the past few weeks, and Mark Richt has pulled out all the stops to land him. But folks in Tallahassee, Fla., are quietly confident they’re in the race for Carter more than many believe. Dupre is in a similar situation. Everybody has had him pegged to in-state LSU for months now, but FSU coaches were feeling good about their chances for him as well. The smart money is still on the Dawgs and Tigers, respectively, but if either ends up at FSU it would become the headline of the day. Dupre announces at 10:50 a.m., and Carter goes at 3:30 p.m., with both decisions carried on ESPNU.

Thomas starts it off

No. 25-ranked prospect Solomon Thomas, the four-star defensive end from Coppell, Texas, kicks off ESPNU's announcement schedule when he picks his school at 8:10 a.m. Everybody has had Thomas projected to Stanford for quite some time, but don’t be surprised if Arkansas pulls off a shocker here. The Hogs really impressed him on his official visit two weeks ago, and his sister is a student in Fayetteville. Thomas would be Bret Bielema’s biggest recruit since he was hired at Arkansas.

McDowell’s destination

No recruit has been the center of more drama this week than No. 60-ranked Malik McDowell, a four-star defensive tackle from Southfield, Mich. Michigan State was thought to be the leader, but his mother was quite vocal in her thoughts about the Spartans. "We don't want him at MSU," Malik's mother, Joya Crowe, told the Detroit Free Press. “Something happened; I don't want to put it out there what it was, but I had a bad experience at MSU." That has potentially opened the door for Ohio State and Florida State, which could end up becoming compromise schools for McDowell.