Signing day delivers next crop of college stars
It's finally here. The months of waiting for players to ink their names to a National Letter of Intent are almost over for coaches and fans. It's finally here for more than 2,000 high school seniors who get to realize their dreams by signing their names to play Division I-A football.
What people tend to forget about in recruiting is that we're dealing with 17- and 18-year-old kids. Choosing a college is a tough task for most high school seniors, but it's even harder to make that decision under a national spotlight, after months of being wooed by numerous suitors.
Event: National Signing Day
Date: Feb. 1, 2006
Time: Noon to 6 p.m. ET
Follow along to get the latest signings, player reactions and analysis from Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert and Todd McShay.
• Signing Day blog
• Signing day show, noon ET
• Complete coverage
To receive ESPNU, contact your local cable operator or satellite provider.
Several of the top-ranked players will keep the nation in suspense until the last moment. ESPN 150 OT Andre Smith, ESPN 150 DT Aleric Mullins and ESPN 150 RB/LB Marcus Sims will reveal their choices on ESPNU on Wednesday.
Based on verbal commitments, a few schools have put together excellent classes. Florida, which has recruited well to its philosophy on offense and defense, is hoping to hold on to the top spot. In-state ESPN 150 QB Tim Tebow fits the bill, as do top wide receiver Percy Harvin and high school teammate Damon McDaniel, but both wideouts might be considering last-minute commitment changes.
USC has filled holes on defense with verbal commitments from Taylor Mays and Antwine Perez, two of the country's top three safeties. They Trojans have filled holes in their backfield with ESPN 150 RBs Stafon Johnson, Emmanuel Moody and C.J. Gable. Vidal Hazelton, the school's top wide receiver commit, also might be considering a last-minute commitment change, though.
Texas, Georgia and Notre Dame round out my top five classes right now. Texas has done a tremendous job of recruiting the top talent in its own state, although QB Matthew Stafford from Highland Park, Texas, is headed to Georgia. Notre Dame has improved by landing the athletes and team speed it has lacked for several years.
Teams looking to make a push into the top five on national signing day are LSU, Oklahoma, Penn State, Auburn, Florida State and Ohio State.
Keep an eye on signings for two other schools Wednesday, as well. Nebraska relied on many junior college players last year, and after Wednesday, it could have as many as 11 juco commitments in this year's class. The Cornhuskers need to land more top high school talent to secure long-term success.
Michigan lost the nation's top-rated corner, Eugene, to LSU, but the Wolverines are on the final lists of DT Jason Kates, ESPN 150 S Jonas Mouton, DE Adam Patterson, DE McKenzie Mathews, OT Daron Rose and DT Corey Peters.
From last-minute switches to shifts in the top five, signing day is always full of surprises. This year should be no different.