What to watch for on national signing day
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ESPNU, ESPN3 Have You Covered
ESPNU's National Signing Day Special (Wednesday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET) is the place to find all the latest news and analysis on recruiting's biggest day. It will also be on ESPN3 and Watch ESPN.
Many of the nation's top players -- including five-star prospects Mario Edwards (No. 1 in the ESPNU 150), Dorial Green-Beckham (No. 3), Andrus Peat (No. 9) and Eddie Goldman (No. 10) and many more -- are expected to make their choices on the show. ESPN college football reporters will also be stationed at campuses across the country, and analysts Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert, Mark Schlabach, Corey Long and Jamie Newberg will break it all down.
Announcement times (ET)
Airing on ESPNU
DE Mario Edwards (No. 1 in ESPNU 150): 9:05 a.m.
OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons (No. 17): 9:15 a.m.
CB Tracy Howard (No. 18): 9:35 a.m.
DT Eddie Goldman (No. 10): 10:05 a.m.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham (No. 3): 10:15 a.m.
OLB Kwon Alexander (No. 29): 11:05 a.m.
S Trae Elston (No. 10 safety): 11:05 a.m.
WR Nelson Agholor (No. 47): 12:05 p.m.
WR Thomas Johnson (No. 33): 12:20 p.m.
OT Andrus Peat (No. 9): 1:35 p.m.
OT Avery Young (No. 61): 2 p.m.
CB Ronald Darby (No. 38) 2:30 p.m.
Other notable ESPNU 150 announcement times
DE Korren Kirven (No. 100): 8 a.m.
ATH Joel Caleb (No. 83): 8:30 a.m.
OT Brandon Greene (No. 30): 9 a.m. ET
DE Dante Fowler Jr. (No. 71): 10 a.m.
DT Leonard Williams (No. 50): 11 a.m.
S Landon Collins (No. 6): 1 p.m.
ATH Ricardo Louis (No. 21): 1 p.m.
OT Kyle Murphy (No. 27): 4:15 p.m.
*Note: All times subject to change.
Complete class rankings »
Here are a few programs that could finish strong on national signing day.
The Gators could challenge for the No. 1 class if everything falls their way. Big if, but they are in the hunt for five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and four-star prospects Darius Hamilton (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep), Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar), Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep), Leonard Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) and Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens). So if the majority of them put on Florida hats and do the Gators chomp, that's the kind of closing day that would be felt throughout the rest of the SEC.
The Dawgs have a chance to go out barking in a big way with a big finish. UGA is in the hunt for Josh Harvey-Clemons, the nation's top OLB, junior college receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson), and ESPNU 150 offensive tackle Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens). Landing any of these would give an already great class a big boost.
Maryland might not yet feel the full effect of the recent addition of experienced recruiter Mike Locksley to the staff, but it's reasonable to think he could turn a recruit or two for the 2012 class. Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) has decided to wait until Feb. 10 to make his announcement, giving Locksley longer to work with the four-star receiver. Don't be surprised if Maryland makes a strong push thanks to the optimism surrounding Locksley's hiring. Suddenly, 2-10 seems like a long time ago.
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes narrowly edge out Michigan State, but much of that has to do with timing. The Spartans picked up two of their final targets on Sunday and Monday, while the Buckeyes will have to wait until after signing day. The Buckeyes are in great position to flip Cleveland Heights tackle Kyle Dodson, a Wisconsin commit, and they are among the final two for four-star Jamal Marcus (Durham, N.C./Hillside). Five-star ATH Davonte Neal (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) and Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), who is No. 13 in the ESPNU 150, will announce after signing day, and the Buckeyes are in play for both of them.
Texas A&M Aggies
After landing a pair of top defensive standouts in four-star defensive end Polo Manukainiu (Euless, Texas/Trinity) and three-star safety Edward Pope (Carthage, Texas/Carthage) on Sunday, the Aggies are hoping to carry that momentum into signing day and add one final piece in ESPNU 150 WR Thomas Johnson. The four-star receiver from Dallas Skyline, a former Texas commit, had a good official visit to College Station and would be a nice finishing piece to a solid class.
Washington might miss out on four of the top five in-state prospects, but it could be making moves on top out-of-state prospects. There is still a chance the Huskies could cap off their class on a high note. It started by landing ESPNU 150 safety Shaq Thompson (Sacramento, Calif./Grant) and they can still get defensive back Brandon Beaver (Compton, Calif./Dominguez), wide receivers Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) and Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles/Dorsey) and center Shane Brostek (Kamuela, Hawaii/Hawaii Preparatory Academy), who all look like Washington leans right now.
Hitting a speed bump
Here are a few programs that could stumble down the stretch.
It could be the classic case of feast or famine. However, expect Florida to finish somewhere in the middle as most expect the Gators will retain a top-five class and could move as high as No. 2 (and past archrival Florida State). With so much focus being put on a strong close, it would be very disappointing for the Gators to walk away from Wednesday without any additional high-impact signees. Either way, many eyes will be on Gainesville and closely watching Will Muschamp's first full recruiting haul.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
No team is more likely to struggle leading up to national signing day than Rutgers. That's certainly not a shot at the institution, but more of a result of coach Greg Schiano's decision to leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No one can question Schiano for taking the job, but doing so less than a week before national signing day makes the timing hard to overcome. The Scarlet Knights have already lost out on local athletes Devin Fuller (Old Tappan, N.J./Northern Valley) and Yuri Wright (Ramsay, N.J./Don Bosco) to UCLA and Colorado, respectively. Now, they're hoping to best Florida for defensive end Darius Hamilton (Ramsay, N.J./Don Bosco), who will announce his decision Tuesday afternoon.
TCU Horned Frogs
The Horned Frogs were looking pretty good prior to this weekend. They still have a solid recruiting class, but losing ESPNU 150 athlete Daje Johnson (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) and safety Edward Pope (Carthage, Texas) definitely was a blow. With 20 commitments -- including four-star Deante' Gray (Houston/Westside), who switched from Stanford -- TCU must look to land one final high-profile recruit in order to fully stabilize itself after losing two of its biggest recruits.
USC is targeting some elite blue-chippers, but only receiver Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) appears to be a solid lean right now. The Trojans have a definite shot at offensive linemen Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) and Andrus Peat (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol) and defensive end Leonard Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland). Land two of three as well as their typical signing day surprise and it's another banner year for the Trojans, but there's also a real possibility they don't sign a full 15-man class this year.
They are the story of the year in recruiting, but will the Commodores take a hit on Wednesday? Georgia is trying to flip one of their top committed players in defensive end Josh Dawson (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and Vandy is getting poached on many fronts. The Commodores need to find a way to hang on to what they have.
The Badgers cannot complain too much as they have four four-star prospects after grabbing just one four-star recruit over the past two classes combined. However, the Badgers have only 12 commitments and were hoping to close strong. OT Kyle Dodson (Cleveland/Cleveland Heights) appears to be a signing day casualty after the Badgers lost four-star tackle J.J. Denman on Jan. 22. The Badgers missed out on four-star safety Demetrious Cox, who the staff was hard after. The other top target is ESPNU 150 tackle Jordan Diamond, who will make a decision Friday.