Like everyone else, we at the SEC Football Blog are really, really excited about National Signing Day on February 6th.
Sorry we haven’t been covering “firm”, “less firm”, “wavy”, or “de” commitments hugely this off-season, but these are mad times for recruits, and quite frankly, we’re happiest to sit and wait to see where the chips fall on February 6th – our first reminder that yes, college football will be back in a few weeks time with the Crimson/White/Red/Black/Blue/Orange/Purple/Green/Rainbow games in April, before getting to the fun times of players arrests and ejections from campus.
Anyway, there IS the important time of Signing Day. With five SEC schools predicted to be in the Rivals.com Top 10, we anticipate that things are going to once again put a smile on the Conference fans faces.
So here are some big questions:
1) Where will Robert Nkemdiche end up?
If you believe some of the hype on Twitter, Robert Nkemdiche may not be the second coming of Christ, but he’s certainly the second coming of Jadeveon Clowney. After deciding he didn’t want to play at Clemson after all, The Biggest Story Of Signing Day suddenly a favorite with Ole Miss. Apparently he’s visiting LSU before he decides – could Les Miles be able to make the last ditch signing of signings? My money’s still on Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss to snag the player. Nkemdiche’s brother plays at the school already, and there’s nothing like a bit of family pressure to get the heart going.
2) Will Florida continue to stack talent?
Florida‘s the top-rated recruiter on Rivals, and after snagging the amusingly-named-but-nevertheless-very-good-linebacker Alex Anzalone from Notre Dame, Wil Muschamp is putting together a damned good class. With the amount of talent in the State of Florida, don’t be too surprised if Florida comes through with a pretty incredible class.
3) The Name You Haven’t Heard Of But Should: Kenny Hill
We were in Texas on the first Friday of the college football season, and we caught up with a high school football game. Allen were playing Southlake Carroll, and the quarterback for Southlake Carroll was one Kenny Hill. He was a brilliant dual-threat quarterback, and despite Southlake Carroll’s 24-0 loss, Hill was one of the stars of the show. He was voted Texas High School Player Of The Year He’s now going to Texas A&M….Or is he? With the success of freshman QB Johnny Manziel, Hill’s suddenly worrying about things like playing time – particularly if he wants to play at the next level. Keep your eye on this one – this could be one of the recruits of Signing Day. If Hill goes somewhere else other than A&M, look for the Aggies to scramble to get some cover – possibly from the junior colleges.
4) How will Georgia recruit in the State of Georgia?
Every time we read about a four or five-star recruit from Georgia deciding that they don’t want to play in Athens, we wonder: What in the heck is happening at UGA? Look, it’s not like Georgia doesn’t recruit talent – the Dawgs were five yards away from going to a National Championship and will send some serious talent to the NFL this year – but it’s the fact that any TOP recruit from GA should be wanting to play for UGA first off. Unless he gets a clean sweep of Georgia talent, Mark Richt’s going to get some moaning minnies in his ear come the end of National Signing Day, but this could be interesting.
5) The Two Alabama Icons
OK, there are two of them, and they are Auburn and Alabama. The State of Alabama has dominated this century in terms of SEC and National Championships, yet everyone keeps on talking about Nick Saban (doesn’t help when Auburn was the laughing stock of the SEC last year). Alabama is going to be frightening good when it comes to recruiting (it’s predicted it will have a Top 3 class), and they go nationally to recruit talent. Auburn, though, has been putting together a quietly excellent class of its own – ranked No.13 so far. That’s what happens when your hire an offensive genius like Gus Malzahn to be your head coach. How will it all balance out on Signing Day? We predict both Houses of Alabama to be happy.
6) What’s going to happen to the new coaches?
While we’ve talked about Malzahn Bret Bielma (Arkansas) and Mark Stoops (Kentucky) have had to make some pretty quick adjustments. So far, they are 52nd and 54th on the list, with 17 players having committed to each school. Personally, we hope that both coaches can recruit some real talent this year, but it’s going to be hard work. This could mean another long year for both sets of fans.
7) Texas A&M: The Johnny Manziel effect?
While we’d like to talk up the Johnny Manziel effect (ie Kevin Sumlin will now find it easier to recruit good offensive tackles and wide receivers following the success of 2012) to our hearts content, a lot of people forget that defensive end Damontre Moore could be a Top 5 NFL Draft Pick, and if this is case, then guess what? Sumlin’s got that to sell to recruits – particularly just a few days after the Super Bowl has happened. His class (6th ranked) is tidy so far, but will the ‘Johnny Effect’ help Texas A&M to get some unexpected recruiting successes – particularly under the noses of Texas, their hated rivals?
Wow. The juniors sure put the ‘less’ in Les Miles, didn’t they? LSU was completely routed, with ten juniors (most of them starters) deciding to go pro. What kind of message is this going to give to recruits? Deep breath for that No.5 recruiting rank, folks. Don’t be too surprised if the mass exodus, plus Les Miles’ weird decision to talk to Arkansas (which – whether LSU liked it or not – showed recruits a certain lack of loyalty), hurts the Tigers. Having said that, 8 early enrolees have already helped the class. Miles will be hoping that none of them cause him as much of a headache off the field as Tyrann Mathieu did.
9) Ole Miss By Damn!
Ole Miss is giving Mississippi State fans another reason to dislike them, because Hugh Freeze is taking that great on-the-field form to the recruiting levels, which included the possible signing of Robert Nkemdiche and the commitment of Quincy Adeboyejo from Texas, a five-star wide receiver. Ole Miss also hosted four other five-star athletes last week…..Imagine what might happen if all of them came along too. Talk about Ole Miss rising again, eh?
10) Watch Out For Spurrier
It seems that most years Steve Spurrier pulls out a Signing Day Surprise, and don’t be surprised if The Visor pulls out one this year, either. Any defensive player would love to be playing on that line with Jadeveon Clowney, wouldn’t they? Heck, I would want to play in another conference just to avoid getting killed by Clowney, if I was a high school quarterback. Anyway, get ready for Steve Spurrier. He’s coming.
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