Five players to watch on signing day
Jadeveon Clowney, DE (Rock Hill, S.C./South Pointe)
Naturally, the nation's top-rated player is going to be a big part of Wednesday's chatter, whether he decides to make a commitment or not. As it currently stands, Clowney is prepared to wait until his birthday -- Feb. 14 -- to make his final decision between in-state South Carolina, Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina and LSU and could even take more visits after signing day. This story will be active until the ink on his letter of intent dries.
ESPNU, ESPN3 Have You Covered
ESPNU's National Signing Day Special (Wed., 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.com.
At least seven top players, including top-10 and five-star players OT Cyrus Kouandjio, RB Isaiah Crowell and LB Tony Steward, are expected to make their choices on the show. Reporters will also be stationed at campuses across the country, and former Miami coach Randy Shannon will join analysts Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert, Robert Smith, Bruce Feldman, Corey Long and Jamie Newberg to break it all down.
Here are five programs that could finish strong on national signing day.
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles currently have the nation's No. 1 class and have already begun the closing process with commitments from three four-star prospects -- linebacker Arrington Jenkins (Miami/Coral Park), tight end Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) and offensive tackle Josue Matias (Union City, N.J./Union). Now the Seminoles want to finish with a bang and that includes Steward (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez), defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) and defensive end Jermauria Rasco (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian). If the Seminoles can run the table, it will make a great class even greater.
The national champions have been on a hot streak since the end of the BCS Championship Game by adding commitments from ESPNU 150 cornerback Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) and running back Tre Mason (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista). Now the Tigers will try to close their class with commitments from three Under Armour All-Americans -- Kouandjio (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), defensive tackle Gabe Wright (Columbus, Ga./Carver) and defensive back Erique Florence (Valley, Ala./Valley).
The Bulldogs have all kinds of irons in the fire. First and foremost is the status of Crowell (Columbus, Ga./Carver), who will select between Alabama and Georgia. Beyond that, there were rumors about former USC commit Kent Turene (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla./Boyd Anderson) already switching to Georgia, but he'll be making his final choice Wednesday. Also, former Florida and Clemson commit Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) is high on the board for the Bulldogs.
The Ducks have already made noise in the final hours with the potential switch of DeAnthony Thomas (Crenshaw, Calif./Crenshaw), but the Ducks are also in the hunt for McKeesport (Pa.) teammates Delvon Simmons and Branden Jackson. The announcement of ESPNU 150 ATH Marqise Lee (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) will also be on the minds of the Oregon coaching staff.
Central Florida Knights
The Knights appear on the verge of becoming one of the elite non-AQ programs in the nation. Even though UCF lost out on top-flight JUCO wide receiver Anthony Denham (Monterey Park, Calif./East Los Angeles) to Utah, the Knights now appear to be the team to beat for quarterback DaMarcus Smith (Louisville, Ky./Senaca) and have gotten in the race for ESPNU 150 running back Javorius Allen (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln).
Hitting a speed bump
Here are five programs that could stumble down the stretch.
The Bruins will get some names to fill out their class, but for a program that needs difference-makers it's hard to see much good news coming on signing day. They are holding out hope for Steward and former USC commit Jalen Grimble (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), but they are clear long shots in both situations. UCLA was going to have a small class to begin with, but it could be smaller than anyone would have expected.
Even though the Cornhuskers did get the late commitment of kicker Mauro Bondi (Boca Raton, Fla./West Boca Raton), they lost out on his teammate wide receiver Robert Lockhart, who chose Virginia Tech. Nebraska still has a few names out there, most notably four-star defensive tackle Todd Peat Jr. (Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol), but it looks like it's an uphill battle for all of them.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Red Raiders started off the week with a sour note as Roberson flipped to Auburn. Texas Tech is also in play for Turene, but it looks like Georgia is the team to beat there for now. Same situation with teammates Simmons and Jackson as Oregon is coming on strong down the stretch. Right now, Texas Tech might be in a situation in which it is trying to hold on to what it has.
The Gators can go either way down the stretch, but there's a chance they will miss out on Curtis Grant (Richmond Va./Hermitage), Maggitt and Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, N.C./Anson), all of whom were thought to be leaning toward Florida at various points during the season. With only two commits since Will Muschamp became the new head coach, Gators fans are looking for a strong finish to lead into next year's class. Can the Gators sneak in and grab Rasco or Jernigan? It's going to take some work.