Road to NSD: Five who could flip
Many college decisions go down to the wire and that’s certainly the case with committed recruits, too. Here is a quick glance at five prospects who could change their minds on National Signing Day.
WR Tyrie Cleveland, Houston (Texas) Westfield (4-star)
There is buzz exuding from various corners and all the noise suggests Cleveland won’t sign with hometown Houston on Wednesday. His final choice, though, remains a big question mark, with three other suitors still in the hunt. The four-star wide receiver took official visits last month to TCU (Jan. 15), Arkansas (Jan. 22) and Florida (Jan. 29), and all three programs have reason to believe they have a shot to land the signature. Cleveland, the No. 73 overall prospect in the Rivals100, raved about each trip but has not tipped his hand.
CB Tyler Byrd, Naples, Fla. (4-star)
Official visits taken on the final weekend before National Signing Day are always noteworthy, especially if that visit is to a school a recruit is not committed to. Byrd pledged to Miami last February, making him one of the longest-standing commits in the class, but he visited Tennessee this past weekend to make things interesting in the final stretch. The No. 7-rated cornerback was stellar in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and would likely be an instant impact candidate, no matter if that’s close to home or at Rocky Top.
DT Shavar Manuel, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy (4-star)
Florida might have emerged as a leader for the Under Armour All-America Game standout, landing a commitment in early January, but recruiting is often about the finish and Florida State convinced the in-state star to make it to campus over the weekend. Jimbo Fisher has shown an ability to close strong in the past and he got the last say with Manuel, who was a part of a loaded group that visited Tallahassee. A flip could happen or it might not, but credit the Seminoles for their relentless pursuit and generating some uncertainty heading into Wednesday.
DT Garrett Rand, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton (4-star)
After assessing the options, the Rivals250 prospect has arrived at a decision, his father told Rivals.com recently. Rand is set to sign Wednesday morning at Hamilton, with Wisconsin and UCLA being the finalists, but the Badgers looking like the favorites since he never formally decommitted. Rand announced for Wisconsin in October, but he took an official visit to Los Angeles two weeks ago while he weighed options following the departure of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to LSU.
DE Tomon Fox, Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill (4-star)
Fox’s commitment to North Carolina is in serious question after the four-star defensive end visited Virginia Tech alongside teammate Emmanuel Belmar, a Hokies commit, this past weekend. The trip reportedly went very well and it’s believed that Fox, the No. 12-rated weakside defensive end in the 2016 class, now intends to make an announcement on National Signing Day. That usually doesn’t mean good news for the school a prospect is currently committed to.