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Storylines to follow for the Late Signing Period

Shazz Preston
Shazz Preston (

The Early Signing Period remains in effect until Friday, but an eventful kickoff on Wednesday certainly set the stage for even more drama when the cycle rounds out on Feb. 3.

As Wednesday came to a close, three SEC teams are jockeying for the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Alabama is in the driver’s seat with Georgia and Texas A&M right behind. Unsurprisingly, all three programs fared well this week on the recruiting trail.

The battle for the class of 2022 recruiting championship is one of the several storylines to monitor leading into the Late Signing Period:

MORE NSD: Winners and losers | The Gorney awards | Travis Hunter spurns Florida State, signs with Jackson State | Breaking down team rankings | Where will Deion's next job be? | How teams announced their signees


CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State | JUCO

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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Can anyone catch the Tide for the No. 1 class?

Alabama, Texas A&M and Georgia are all within a stone’s throw of one another in one of the more highly contested races for the No. 1 recruiting class in America in recent memory.

All three SEC powers had eventful starts Early Signing Period. The Tide inked two of the nation’s top receivers in Shazz Preston and Aaron Anderson and big-time defenders Khurtiss Perry, Jihaad Campbell and Earl Little. It was equally as eventful in College Station, where the Aggies inked several Rivals250 prospects including in-state lineman Kam Dewberry and out-of-state splashes like Jake Johnson, Enai White, Anthony Lucas and Marquis Groves-Killibrew. Georgia closed out a strong week by reeling in five-star edge-rusher Marvin Jones Jr. after landing pledges from Daylen Everette and CJ Smith earlier in the week.

There are still some major chess pieces on the board, including the top-two cornerbacks Domani Jackson and Denver Harris, in addition to Rivals250 athletes Kendrick Law and Cyrus Moss, all of whom are set to reveal their decisions Friday or Saturday. Alabama was long in the driver's seat to land Jackson before Lincoln Riley landed at USC. Harris is expected to bolster Texas A&M’s class but is also considering the Tide. Law has long been considering Alabama but there's been a late push from the in-state Tigers down the stretch. Moss was a longtime Oregon lean but with a wild coaching shakeup, there's much less certainty.





Can Texas secure a top-five class?

December has belonged to the Texas Longhorns, who over the span of a week have secured a transfer from Quinn Ewers, originally the No. 1 recruit in 2022 who enrolled at Ohio State in August, and signed Kelvin Banks, a long-time Oregon commit who backed off his pledge and inked with Texas after Mario Cristobal’s departure.

Since then, the Longhorns flipped Rivals100 cornerback Terrance Brooks Jr. away from Ohio State, flipped local Austin (Texas) Westlake defensive end Ethan Murke from Michigan and flipped in-state athlete Xavion Brice away from rival Oklahoma.

With the Late Signing Period next, the Longhorns are sitting No. 4 nationally with room to climb. Texas is a finalist for five-star Houston linebacker Harold Perkins and perhaps the favorite for five-star lineman Devon Campbell. What a finish for Steve Sarkisian.



Expect the unexpected

Evan Stewart
Evan Stewart (

The class of 2022 is earning a reputation as one of the more unpredictable ones in recent memory. There was COVID-19, an unprecedented number of prominent coaches changing gigs – and getting axed – and always the sheer sense of drama at the tail end of the recruiting cycle.

The nation’s No. 1 player flipped from Florida State and signed with Deion Sanders at Jackson State. In Louisiana, one wide receiver flipped from Miami, which fired Manny Diaz and replaced him with Mario Cristobal, to LSU, which hired Brian Kelly after dismissing Ed Orgeron mid-season. And in the last week at Texas, Steve Sarkisian added commitments from former Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers; the nation’s No. 1 tackle Kelvin Banks; Texas A&M legacy defensive back Terrance Brooks Jr. and also flipped a Michigan commit and an Oklahoma commit.

So yeah, anything is possible.

Five-star Evan Stewart has not yet signed with Texas A&M; are the Longhorns lurking? Five-star Denver Harris privately signed, but won’t reveal his decision until after playing in the state title game Saturday night. The Aggies are deemed the favorite, but Alabama is also lurking. LSU and Texas also haven't lost hope. Five-star Oregon commit Tetairoa McMillan is also considering another Pac-12 team.


Can new hires make more noise late?

The teams vying for a recruiting belt were the heavy hitters on Wednesday’s signing day. Besides ultimate winner Jackson State, blueblood programs like Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Texas A&M, Auburn and Tennessee were others who landed big-time prospects.

Conversely, the likes of USC, LSU, Oklahoma and Florida saw some fireworks but not at the same heights. First-year Trojans coach Lincoln Riley signed only six players. Brian Kelly’s Tigers came up short on several in-state receivers to rival Alabama. After gaining some pledges early in the quiet, it was quiet in Norman on Wednesday.

Only first-year Florida coach Billy Napier bucked the trend and edged out some conference foes to get five-star Shemar James back in the fold. The Gators also won out for in-state four-star defensive backs Kamari Wilson and Devin Moore. With nine players signed, Napier’s giving plenty of reason to believe more fireworks could be ahead.


Committed, but unsigned

Gentry Williams
Gentry Williams (

Evan Stewart headlines a small but talented crew of elite committed prospects that, for some reason or another, did not officially sign by end of day Wednesday. In addition to Stewart, the nation’s No. 2 receiver that was also one-time committed to the Longhorns, speedy Oklahoma DB commit Gentry Williams, who saw Lincoln Riley depart for Los Angeles and has been a top target for Sam Pittman’s Arkansas Razorbacks, and Alabama tight end commit Jaleel Skinner didn’t ink after visiting Miami over the weekend.

In other words, this cycle is far from over.