Five teams poised to make noise through the second signing day
The first day of the Early Signing Period has come and gone and a large portion of the nation’s best prospects have faxed their letters of intent and shifted their focus to playing on Saturdays.
Of course, this is just the first batch of signees. Those who elected to hold off signing as they reviewed their options will get another crack at it on Feb. 3.
Here are five teams poised to continue to make noise through the second signing day.
It does not appear Kirby Smart’s team will capture another recruiting championship in 2021, but sitting with the nation’s No. 4-ranked haul is nothing short of impressive. Georgia received signatures from previously uncommitted Rivals100 linebacker Xavian Sorey to pair with five-stars Amarius Mims and Brock Vandagriff.
Still, the Dawgs could bolster their class in a big way with some news over the next few weeks. Five-star Korey Foreman won’t reveal his decision until Jan. 2, and Rivals100 safety Terrion Arnold is taking extra time to sift through Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Foreman made several visits to Athens this offseason and the same goes for Arnold, and signing one or both of them could push Georgia’s 2021 haul right behind Alabama’s.
December and the early signing window have been kind to the Aggies, who have steadily climbed the recruiting rankings as they bolster their 2021 class with major star power, particularly in the trenches. Texas A&M made a splash in the week leading into Early Signing Day by landing Rivals100 defensive lineman Shemar Turner and three-star mauler Remington Strickland, then sealed the deal with five-star defensive end Tunmise Adeleye on Wednesday night, edging out Florida and Alabama.
Texas A&M could be in position to net its second five-star of the week as early as Friday when Bryce Foster chooses between the Aggies and Sooners, and beyond that the Aggies are in a good spot with three of the nation’s top offensive prospects. Rivals250 wide receiver Brian Thomas is strongly considering the Aggies with a February decision on deck. He’s got several connections to the Aggies’ coaching staff and A&M quietly has momentum. There’s also Rivals100 running back LJ Johnson, a priority target as the nation’s No. 2 running back who is very high on the Aggies. Landing one or both should further fortify Jimbo Fisher’s offense.
The bulk of Oklahoma’s 2021 class was signed at the start of the Early Signing Period on Wednesday as Lincoln Riley welcomed elite signees like Billy Bowman Jr., the nation’s No. 1-ranked athlete; Clayton Smith, a top-50 edge-defender out of East Texas; and Caleb Williams, the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback to the fold. Oklahoma also caught fire with a victory over LSU and SMU for Rivals250 offensive tackle Savion Byrd, a key piece for the Sooners up front.
With 16 signees, Oklahoma ranks No. 12 nationally and tops in the Big 12. That standing could certainly improve with some major announcements over the next six weeks or so, into Feb. 3. Texas five-stars Bryce Foster and Camar Wheaton will announce their decisions on Dec. 18 and Dec. 23, respectively, with the Sooners in the lead group for both. The Sooners are also one of the favorites to nab five-star tackle Tristan Leigh, who is now signing in February, and Rivals250 safety Jardin Gilbert, a key piece that defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is hoping to add to his secondary next year.
LSU had a roller-coaster of a Wednesday to kick off the Early Signing Period, which seems fitting for a program coming off a national championship that had to face its fair share of adversity down the stretch in 2020. Two of its top commitments - JoJo Earle and Keanu Koht - flipped to rival Alabama. Meanwhile, the Tigers flipped four-star wide receiver Malik Nabers away from SEC foe Mississippi State and reeled in five-star Maason Smith, the big man on the Bayou and Rivals' No. 1-ranked prospect.
LSU may not be done yet, either. The Tigers remain one of the favorites for in-state Rivals250 wideout Brian Thomas and were connected to Rivals100 receiver Qua Davis, who intends to sign in February. There is also buzz connecting LSU with five-star offensive lineman Tristan Leigh, who was in the Swamp to see the Tigers knock off Florida earlier this month; five-star defensive end Korey Foreman, who has hinted at teaming up with Smith; and Rivals250 safety Jardin Gilbert, who grew up just minutes away from LSU’s campus.
For all the twists and turns that USC has taken with its 2021 recruiting class, Clayt Helton’s team left Early Signing Day with 20 commitments and the nation’s No. 8-ranked haul. That haul features a pair of four-star quarterbacks, including Jaxson Dart, who pledged on Wednesday.
With a handful of spots left to fill in February, USC has room for even more star power. The Trojans are on the short list of favorites for five-star defensive linemen Korey Foreman and JT Tuimoloau and are working feverishly to flip Rivals100 linebacker Raesjon Davis away from LSU. Rivals250 defensive back Ceyair Wright is a USC leans and Louisiana two-sport standout Keon Coleman also has the Trojans on his short list.