National Signing Day: Who are the instant impact players?
The crop that signed on the February National Signing Day was drastically smaller than the one that signed in December during the Early Signing Period, but there was still plenty of future stars on the list. We named five instant impact players in December and we do it again in February.
Each year, coaches are playing more true freshmen, trying to get the best on the field to win games, so who will make major contributions later this fall? We take a look at five that signed just a few days ago.
The running back position is one of the easiest to transition to from high school to college, and with Ealy’s size and ability, he will play. There are not many backs like Ealy in the 2019 class. He is a three-down back that can do it all. He is a threat to make a play from anywhere on the field at any time.
The only worry left for Ole Miss is — will he ever show up in Oxford? All signs point to Ealy being drafted very high in the 2019 MLB Draft June 3, so Matt Luke will have to hold his breath until then. If Luke and new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez get Ealy on campus, there is no doubt, he will make an immediate impact.
Griffin is likely to turn out to be the jewel of this class for Georgia Tech. The four-star running back could start right out of the gates. He was a priority for new head coach Geoff Collins and he took Griffin away from NC State late. Griffin is a two-time state champion, he is as productive as they come and he is ready to make plays in the ACC. He can run with toughness, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he is a capable blocker and he is physically ready to make plays on the Flats.
Pickens, without a doubt, was the story of the National Signing Day. He entered the day committed to Auburn, but then announced that he was flipping to Georgia. The five-star wide receiver was going to be on this list regardless of who he signed with. Georgia lost a couple of wide receivers early to the NFL Draft and one-time UGA commit Jadon Haselwood signed with Oklahoma, so combine those things with what Georgia has on the roster and Pickens’ talent equates to early playing time.
Georgia has not had a true No. 1 receiver in years, arguably since AJ Green, so Pickens will have the opportunity to play right away.
If Sopsher arrives in Tuscaloosa with the proper attitude and in shape, he has the ability and the body to immediately compete for minutes on the defensive line. It would be a little surprising not to see Sopsher on the field in some fashion in the fall.
One of the surprises of the day was To’oto’o to the Vols. It looked like Alabama or Washington entering the day with Tennessee trying to hang around, but as the day rolled on, the Vols had momentum and closed the deal.
To’oto’o likely will instantly help the Vols defensively. He is an athletic linebacker with the speed to be very good in the SEC and he will come in physically ready with not many like him on campus in Knoxville.