Some of the big stories in the Southeast region for the 2009 recruiting year don't yet have an ending. Several of the South's top prospects will announce their college choices on National Signing Day.
1) Signing Day intrigue
There are so many kids who decide to commit early, there was some sentiment that there was no more intrigue with National Signing Day. That's couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, early commitments are up, but what happens Wednesday could be the most interesting in recent memory - especially in the South. There will be NSD announcements of receivers Rueben Randle, Marlon Brown, Kendall Kelly and Patrick Patterson as we well as linebackers Jarvis Jones, Frankie Telfort, Barkevious Mingo and Tana Patrick, defensive end Sam Montgomery, offensive guard Quinton Washington, defensive tackle Corey Gaines, safety Darren Myles, athlete Denard Robinson and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Of course there are committed players who could end up elsewhere like running back Trent Richardson, athlete Marsalis Teague, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and offensive tackle Aubrey Phillips. Also, keep an eye on wide receiver Orson Charles, who may not sign Wednesday. We haven't even talked about the potential flip-flops – kids committed to one school who could possibly sign with another.
2) Kiffin and his new staff
New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin hired an all-star recruiting staff with Ed Orgeron, Lance Thompson, Eddie Gran and Frank Wilson. He pried Orgeron away from the New Orleans Saints and Thompson away from Nick Saban and Alabama. Meanwhile, Wilson went from Southern Miss to Mississippi State to Tennessee in a matter of days. Gran was arguably the top recruiter for Tommy Tuberville at Auburn. Perhaps Kiffin's biggest coaching coup was getting his father, Monte, who is arguably one of the game's greatest defensive coordinators. Volunteers fans want recruiting success now. Think long term Tennessee. It will be worth the wait.
3) Brown and Miami situation
Bryce Brown's initial intentions were to follow his big brother and sign with the Miami Hurricanes. The nation's top prospect committed early to the 'Canes. Things started to change and he opened things back up and visited such schools as Oregon, Missouri and Clemson. He still says he's committed to the 'Canes but now wants to take a break and not sign Wednesday. He may possibly visit two more schools and it could be early March before his decision is made. Teams like Kansas State, USC, Tennessee, Auburn, etc. are all fighting to get one of his last two visits.
4) Clemson landing Boyd
Tajh Boyd had previously committed to West Virginia and Tennessee before things opened up with the new coaching staff in Knoxville. It was thought he would end up in Oregon, maybe Ohio State. But Clemson got the last visit and turned him in the end. That's quite a coup for the new Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
5) Nine SEC schools ranked in the top 25
You have to be kidding, right? Nine SEC schools in the Rivals.com top 25, including four in the top 10 and five in top 11. The nation's top-rated team is LSU. Alabama will make a push for the top spot once again. Georgia likely will land in the top five if a few key players fall its way. Florida could work its way up as well. Things have gone well for South Carolina. The same can be said for Arkansas and the new staffs at Mississippi State, Tennessee and Auburn.