RIVALS ROUNDTABLE: Memories of the 2018 class
Making predictions about what will happen on National Signing Day is usually a fool’s errand, and Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell is willing to play the fool. Here are 10 things to look out for on Wednesday.
1. GEORGIA SETS RECORDS AND WINS IT ALL
Georgia will remain with the top-ranked class in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings, but that’s not a huge prediction as the Bulldogs have a solid lead. Will they break the record for best average star rating per recruit set by USC in 2007 (4.22)? They could. Will they tie the record for most five-stars in a class set by USC in 2004 (8)? Yes, they will thanks to the addition of Tyson Campbell. Depending on how the program closes, and we know it will be strong, Georgia could set or tie some serious records.
2. ALABAMA FINISHES WITH A TOP-FIVE CLASS
Don’t panic Alabama fans, you’ll be fine. The Tide are involved with too many talented prospects – Justyn Ross, Jaylen Waddle, Nick Petit-Frere, Penei Sewell, Patrick Surtain, Tyson Campbell, Isaac Taylor-Stuart, Olajiah Griffin and others – to be shut down and kept out of the top five. Heck, Alabama could push up into the top three depending on how many surprises it can pull.
3. USC WILL TURN AWAY SOME RECRUITS
The Trojans don’t have a ton of room and will have to make some tough decisions. This won’t be a 25-prospect class, not even close to it, and they have to focus on some key positional needs like offensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Could USC turn away a kid like Isaac Taylor-Stuart as they did before the Early Signing Period with Julius Irvin and Tuli Letuligasenoa? This will be a small class and some other schools will benefit.
4. TAGGART FINISHES STRONG
Those worried about Florida State when its class was ranked in the 70s six weeks ago should feel better now. The ‘Noles could push for top-10 status before all is said and done.
This past weekend will go a long way towards determining how the Seminoles finish out but I could see them adding five or six additional recruits to make a continued push upwards.
5. SOME FIVE-STARS SURPRISE
There are seven five-stars that remain uncommitted and we know there will be some surprises. The leading candidate to shock some people are Patrick Surtain, Nick Petit-Frere, Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart. The leaders for each respectively seem to be LSU, Florida, USC and USC but I suspect one or more of them will end up elsewhere, especially with the Trojans lack of scholarship numbers.
6. BIG FLIPS OCCUR
Okay, big is a relative term. There won’t be as many flips as we’ve seen in the past because much of the class is already signed, but Georgia linebacker Quay Walker, an Alabama commitment, won’t be the only one. Will Otis Reese stick with Michigan? Will a player not on the flip radar come out and pull a stunner? We know there are some shenanigans in the works, we just don’t know who will pull them. Stand back and watch.
7. LSU CLOSES WELL
Ja’Marr Chase is expected to commit to LSU. The Tigers have been the leader for Patrick Surtain for some time and they lead for former Nebraska commitment Mario Goodrich. Quarterback James Foster is a tough call between LSU and Florida State, but even if the Tigers miss on him, Chase, Surtain and Goodrich will add to a very strong class.
8. QUIET CLASSES WILL STILL LOOM LARGE
You don’t hear much from programs like Ohio State, Texas, Penn State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and some others because they did such a great job locking down their classes in the Early Signing Period. However, that doesn’t mean that these aren’t excellent classes. Each program has a very small group of targets left on the board and could close with some big commitments, but for the most part they have put together top 10 or 15 classes without being in the news as much since December. But that doesn’t mean these won’t be high impact classes.
9. BAYLOR WILL HAVE ONE OF THE NATION'S MOST IMPRESSIVE CLASSES
A 1-11 team has a chance to finish with a top-25 class. That’s newsworthy. If you look at recruiting results compared to on-field results, you won’t find a better class than Baylor’s. Fran Brown leads the charge for Baylor and is one of the most underrated recruiters in the nation.
10. JIMBO WILL GET HIS
Between Jaylen Waddle, Leon O’Neal, Jeremiah Martin, Jashaun Corbin, Isaac Taylor-Stuart and so on, there will be some big commitments for Texas A&M down the stretch. Waddle and O’Neal seem to be strong leans, Martin is leaning that way as well as Corbin and who knows what will happen with Taylor-Stuart. I have a feeling that Aggie fans will be happy come Signing Day.