National Signing Day: Programs in the spotlight
Nearly all of the major players in the 2022 class have already picked where they'll be playing college football but there are still some huge names that have yet to make their decision. With a number of big-time players getting ready to announce their commitments on Wednesday, here are the programs that should be in the spotlight.
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The Aggies are bringing in a really impressive recruiting class already. They finished the Early Signing Period at the top of the Rivals.com Team Rankings and, if everything plays out perfectly, Jimbo Fisher's program could be looking at a top-five all-time class.
Shemar Stewart, the five-star defensive end out of Florida, is one of the big prizes on Wednesday. He had been leaning toward Texas A&M but Miami and Georgia have been making this a very hard decision.
Linebacker Harold Perkins was committed to Texas A&M but decommitted. However, the Aggies are still very much in the fight here, while LSU and Florida are charging hard for the Rivals100 prospect.
The same three programs are pushing for five-star safety Jacoby Mathews but Texas A&M is hoping he'll value the longstanding relationships he has with the Aggies coaching staff and sign with them. If Alabama doesn't add to its total and Texas A&M signs two out of these three prospects, the Aggies will win the recruiting title.
In addition to Perkins and Mathews, the Bayou Bengals have their sights set on a couple other in-state prospects. Rivals100 running back TreVonte' Citizen had been committed to LSU since July but decommitted at the end of November. His interest in the Tigers is coming back around now that Brian Kelly and his new coaching staff is on the ground. Florida, Auburn and Miami appear to be the main competition here.
LSU is also pushing for tight end Danny Lewis. The former Cincinnati commit just took an official visit to the in-state school and it sounds like everything went very well. The Tigers seem to be trending for Lewis but Alabama and Florida are still involved.
Wide receiver Caleb Douglas is also in play for LSU but Florida is in the mix. If LSU was able to score commitments from Mathews, Perkins and Citizen along with Lewis, the Tigers would likely be looking at a top-10 class when the rankings are finalized.
Wednesday should be a crazy day for the Canes. Mario Cristobal and his staff have been working furiously to add quality prospects to this small recruiting class. Stewart has been trending toward Miami in recent weeks but Texas A&M is trying to hold on as we near the finish line. Miami is involved with Citizen but LSU, Florida and Auburn might be in better position at this point.
Late-rising defensive end Jack Pyburn is announcing his commitment Tuesday and the Canes are hoping to keep him from choosing Auburn or Florida. A lot of schools are pushing for four-star defensive tackle Ahmad Moten but Miami is in a fairly good position with this in-state defensive lineman. Current Iowa State verbal commit R. Mason Thomas is trying to decide among the Cyclones, Miami and Oklahoma but the Canes' coaching staff isn't making it an easy choice for him.
In-state offensive linemen Anez Cooper and Matthew McCoy have Miami among their top choices heading into National Signing Day and the Canes should land at least one of them.
Former Oregon four-star commits Dave Iuli, a Rivals250 offensive lineman, and defensive end Gracen Halton are strongly considering following Cristobal to Coral Gables but there is stiff competition for both of them. Iuli has USC and Oregon among his final three while Halton is looking at Oklahoma and Oregon as two other possibilities.
Speaking of Oregon, new head coach Dan Lanning has had his work cut out for him since arriving in Eugene. The Ducks only signed seven prospects in December but have added a couple more verbal commitments since then, including four-star Jahlil Florence on Monday.
Jordan Bryant-James and Emarrion Winston are two big names for Oregon fans to watch for on Wednesday. Bryant-James, a Rivals250 running back out of Tennessee, has been a verbal commit to Georgia since March. He never signed in December and the door remains open for him to go elsewhere. Lanning's ties to Bryant-James should help the Ducks here.
Winston was committed to Oregon under the previous staff but decommitted in early December. The new coaching staff has re-engaged with him and it appears he could be on his way back to committing to the in-state program.
The Ducks are in play for a number of other big name prospects such as Christen Miller, Halton, Iuli, Cooper and Arlis Boardingham.
Billy Napier and his staff got off to a great start in Gainesville. They signed nine prospects in December including five-star Shemar James and Rivals100 safety Kamari Wilson along with a few other big-name prospects but now they're hoping to steal the headlines on the February Signing Day. Florida has been working hard to get Perkins and it sounds like the Gators made up a lot of ground but this is a tough fight with LSU and Texas A&M still in contention.
Mathews took an official visit to Gainesville in January and the Gators had some momentum coming off that trip but LSU and Texas A&M seem to have weathered that storm. A late offer to the in-state Pyburn got him on campus for an official visit in January. Auburn and Miami have been involved in his recruitment for longer but don't count out the Gators for Pyburn, who announces his commitment on Tuesday.
Current Florida offensive line commit Jalen Farmer is slated to announce his final decision on Wednesday morning but Alabama offered him in January so his decision bears watching. Florida has been working on former Auburn commit Caden Story but the four-star out of Alabama is strongly considering Clemson as well.
The Sooners could have a very eventful National Signing Day. Defensive back and former Florida commit Jamarrien Burt is announcing his commitment on Tuesday. He'll be choosing between Oklahoma and the Gators. Halton, a four-star defensive lineman that used to be committed to Oregon, is looking at Oklahoma along with Miami and the Ducks but the Sooners appear to be trending.
Oklahoma is also pushing hard for four-star defensive tackle Ahmad Moten and current Iowa State commit Thomas. Five-star offensive lineman Devon Campbell has Oklahoma in his top two along with Texas. The Longhorns are considered the favorite but it's hard to count out Oklahoma for an offensive lineman like him.