So we’ve arrived. It’s the first week of February and all college football die-hards know exactly what that means – National Signing Day, of course.
A lot of the work has already been done, but there are still a large handful of uncommitted top prospects floating around in the endless sea of the recruiting universe that must decide which school is the best fit for them. One thing is for sure; most of these final battles are fought between who else, but the SEC’s elite programs.
Here are five teams who could make a splash down the stretch:
The Tigers new head coach, Gus Malzahn, has done a great job of keeping players committed to the program despite the departure of former head coach Gene Chizik, and it’s for good reason.
Malzahn has been widely known as one of the greatest offensive minds throughout the college football world for years now and he is an excellent recruiter. Stud defensive end recruit Carl Lawson has been committed for some time now and it was thought recently that he might be looking elsewhere, but he seems to have come back around on the Tigers. Some other high-profile recruits that still have Auburn high on the list include Reuben Foster (5-star LB) and MacKensie Alexander (4-star CB).
The Bruins have done a great job of recruiting for the 2013 class and are right up there with the USC Trojans in terms of class rankings, vying for top honors in the Pac-12. This is somewhat uncharted territory for head coach Jim Mora’s program in recent memory. The work isn’t done yet for this “other” Los Angeles-based program as they are still every bit in the running for top prospects like Eddie Vanderdoes (5-star DT), Asantii Woulard (4-star QB) and Kylie Fitts (4-star DE).
Playing for the SEC title in 2012-2013 seems to have done wonders for a school who is already known as a top tier recruiting program. The Bulldogs currently rank in the top 10 among all teams in terms of class rankings for this recruiting cycle (#10 – rivals.com, #9 – ESPN) and have a ton of talent coming to Athens, as usual. But again, there is still so much that is riding on this class which will be decided during these final six days as Mark Richt and Co. could rise even further up the rankings depending on the decisions of a few players in particular; Reuben Foster (5-star LB), Alvin Kamara (4-star RB) and Laremy Tunsil (5-star OT). Tunsil would be a particularly huge coup if the Dawgs could snag him up in the final days.
The Buckeyes seem to have pulled a Texas-like maneuver and gotten the majority of their recruiting out of the way early for the 2013 class, but there are just one or two pieces that yet remain, and they are gigantic-sized pieces.
First off, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are trying to lure a last-minute switch out of long-time Oregon commit, athlete Dontre Wilson (4-star ATH/RB). Ohio State is also busy trying to secure a commitment from Ezekiel Elliott (4-star RB). Elliott is a dynamic running back out of Missouri that has been committed to the Buckeyes for some time now (April 1st of last year, in fact), but recently visited the in-state Missouri Tigers program, so the rumors have been flying as of late regarding his commitment status.
The 2013 Ole Miss Rebels class could go down as one of the most epic late pushes in recruiting history if things fall into place for head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff. It cannot be understated how fantastic a job he and his staff have done with this class so far and it could be getting exponentially better in the final week or so.
The Rebels seem to be at or near the top of every major recruits list of teams lately, including headliners such as – are you ready? – Chris Jones (5-star DE), Laremy Tunsil (5-star OT), Jordan Wilkins (4-star RB), Cornelius Elder (4-star ATH) and Antonio Conner (4-star S). Not only this, but the top prospect in the entire country, 5-star phenom DE Robert Nkemdiche is most likely going to don the Rebel navy and crimson to play with his older brother, linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche. I have no doubt that come next week this could end up being the best class in the country, behind only Alabama.
*All rankings are according to www.rivals.com