We are less than a week away from the early signing period, a three-day window running from Dec. 18 to Dec. 20 during which roughly 80 percent of the FBS talent pool is expected to finalize their college decisions. Some of those decisions come with more intrigue than others. Some come with bigger repercussions than others. Some just feel weighty.
As you gear up for what is now considered the new National Signing Day, here are a few impending announcements to keep a close eye on.
Five-star defensive end Jordan Burch: This one has all the makings of a commitment worth the hype. You’ve got a high-profile prospect ranked in the top 10 nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite. He almost never talks to the media, so there is no first-hand gauge on where he stands. Coaching staffs are largely in the dark. The balance of the 247Sports Composite team rankings hinges on his decision with Clemson, Alabama and LSU all contending for the No. 1 class and all taking the pole position with a pledge from the five-star. There’s also a darkhorse in the race with South Carolina very much a threat to upend the other playoff regulars. Burch goes to school in the backyard of South Carolina, and his high school quarterback is the son of Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp. Announcement: Thursday, Dec. 19
Five-star inside linebacker Justin Flowe: Forget the laid-back attitude most associated with California natives. Flowe is the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country because of a ferocious demeanor on the field. That “dog” mentality has resulted in mutual affection with defending national champion Clemson as well as Miami from the southeast while Oregon and USC are hanging around from the west coast. Flowe takes an official visit to USC this weekend ahead of a Wednesday decision, and currently, Clemson is considered the favorite. If Clemson lands Flowe, it would help its quest for the No. 1 recruiting class in the country and one of the top classes of all time. If Oregon can steal him, that speaks to the trajectory and recruiting prowess of Mario Cristobal. Meanwhile Flowe could provide a huge boost to USC and more specifically Clay Helton. The same could be said for Manny Diaz at Miami. Announcement: Wednesday, Dec. 18
Four-star quarterback CJ Stroud: The top uncommitted quarterback in the country, Stroud came into his senior year as a three-star prospect with the arrow pointing up. After winning the Elite 11 Finals quarterback competition and putting together an outstanding senior season, Stroud has suddenly become one of the most attractive quarterback prospects in the class, so much so that Georgia and Ohio State have prioritized him despite having another quarterback already committed. Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Oregon and UCLA are still in the mix with the Buckeyes the perceived leader. Because of his positional value, Stroud may be the most important uncommitted prospect left on the board, particularly given quarterback opportunities opening at Michigan, Oregon and Georgia. Announcement: TBD
Four-star wide receiver Arian Smith: One of the most athletic prospects in the entire Class of 2020, Smith has emerged this season as one of the top receiver prospects in the class after transferring in to Florida power Lakeland High School from a smaller program. Georgia has been the perceived leader and still has most of the Crystal Ball predictions by 247Sports experts, but Alabama has been making a serious push of late and Florida has always been a serious threat with prospects out of Lakeland. Smith will visit Georgia this weekend ahead of a signing day announcement, but this is boiling down to a Saban-Smart battle, something of an annual grudge match between mentor and protégé. Announcement: Wednesday, Dec. 18
Four-star defensive end Donell Harris: No signing day announcement primer is complete without a player to watch that is already committed. Harris is a Florida native that is heading out of state to Texas A&M. However, a recent trip to Florida made an impression on the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, so much so that he has publicly admitted that signing day is going to be “really interesting”. Texas A&M will get one more crack at him this weekend when he heads to College Station, Texas, for an official visit. The South Florida product has already decommitted once, backing off an early pledge to Miami. There’s a lot of smoke that he’ll be tempted to change course once again with a final decision coming on Wednesday. Announcement: Wednesday, Dec. 18
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