National signing day for the Class of 2014 is less than 48 hours away, so it’s time to take a look inside the Crystal Ball predictions for the top uncommitted prospects in the class from our national experts. National Recruiting Insiders Kipp Adams, Ryan Bartow and Steve Wiltfong, along with National Analyst Barton Simmons and National Recruiting Director JC Shurburtt give you their latest predictions, along with the reasoning behind them.
The experts are split on Adoree' Jackson's destination.
Adoree’ Jackson, CB/WR, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Announcement: 2:10 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Jackson Crystal Ball: USC (82 percent)
Adams: USC "The allure of the Florida track program, as well as the chance to play offense has made the Gators a strong contender to land Jackson. Nevertheless, even though he is not an L.A. native, Jackson has held USC in very high regard throughout his recruitment. The nearby Trojans were able to get him on campus one last time over the weekend and convince Jackson, as well as his mother, to continue the Serra pipeline to USC and become a cornerstone of the program under Sarkisian. "
Bartow: USC. “Given that the last three years he has spent in California have been a good experience for him and he has a good comfort level with lead recruiter Tee Martin, I will stick with Trojans for now. I do think Florida is right there with him and LSU is the darkhorse.”
Shurburtt: Florida. “Based on recent information, I think the chances are above average he heads east to play college football and the Gators, despite not receiving an official visit, are sitting in good shape. Florida could play him at wide receiver and if the Gators do, he’s instantly a big-play threat- something they lack. Jackson has always talked about wanting to play offense and UF could provide him with the best opportunity.”
Simmons: Florida. “I was the first to predict Adoree’ to Florida back in May and I’m sticking to my guns as signing day approaches. My confidence level is low on the pick as I could absolutely see USC hang on to him with LSU and UCLA both as real darkhorse threats. Florida was the early favorite though and the track factor is real and it’s big. In the end I’m essentially picking Adoree’s initial gut instincts to win out.”
Wiltfong: USC. "USC is the guess. Nobody has any idea or intel. One of the best kept secrets in this recruiting class. Could be a Trojan or Gator and there’d be no surprise here."
Rashaan Evans, LB, Auburn (Ala.)
Announcement: 11:45 a.m. EST- National Signing Day (ESPNU)
Current Evans Crystal Ball: Auburn (95 percent)
Adams: Auburn. "This time last year, Evans could not wait to get out of town and play for Alabama or Georgia. Then he watched as Gus Malzahn and his staff made an incredible turnaround at Auburn, just as Malzahn told Evans he would. The Crimson Tide have pushed and made his decision more difficult than people realize, but Evans is going to stay home and become the centerpiece of an outstanding Tigers' class."
Bartow: Auburn. “He is right there at Auburn High School and the Tigers had a huge season. It just all adds up for Auburn.”
Shurburtt: Auburn. “At the end of the day, it’s hard to see an Auburn legacy from Auburn High bolting across the state to Tuscaloosa to play for Alabama. There’s no doubt that the Crimson Tide has made things interesting here, but right now there’s no indication that a surprising decision such as that one is imminent.”
Simmons: Auburn. “Can a kid from Auburn whose father played at Auburn go to Alabama? Sure. But someone else is going to have to be the one to make the pick. Evans has been too big of a priority for too long for Auburn for me to see him slipping away and out their back door. Once Georgia started trending away for Evans, I’ve believed it was all Auburn.”
Wiltfong: Auburn. "The Tigers are my pick, but it’s almost becoming a tossup between the Tigers and Alabama down the stretch."
Many don't see Malachi Dupre ultimately leaving the state.
Malachi Dupre, WR, New Orleans (La.) John Curtis
Announcement: 10:30 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Dupre Crystal Ball: LSU (94 percent)
Adams: LSU. "In a whirlwind two weeks, Dupre crammed in all five official visits. UCLA made its pitch for the five-star wideout to join his teammate Kenny Young in Los Angeles, but this battle likely comes down to the Seminoles and hometown Tigers. The opportunity to catch passes from Jameis Winston is very enticing. Losing Dupre would be a very disappointing end to an up-and-down 2014 in-state recruiting cycle for LSU, but they should be able to keep Dupre inside the borders of the state."
Bartow: LSU. “Florida State put up a good fight, but I think the in-state pull was too much in the end and he signs with LSU.”
Shurburtt: LSU. “I know that Florida State and UCLA both feel good about this one. I also know that Alabama once did, but has faded. In the end, it’s hard to see the Tigers missing out on Dupre in addition to some of the other in-state prospects that have gotten away this cycle. I’m not supremely confident of this pick and could change it, but right now, I still say he’s Baton Rouge-bound.”
Simmons: LSU. “I really have thought for a while that UCLA was more of a threat than people were recognizing. I continue to think that and I think Dupre is considering non-LSU schools more than most expect but even after LSU has missed on a few key in-state guys this year, I don’t see Dupre leaving the state. I remember the day he got that LSU offer at Les Miles’ camp. He almost committed that day. He might as well have. He’ll be a Tiger on Wednesday.”
Wiltfong: LSU. "Thought Florida State last week to give one an idea of how close this is and UCLA is in it as well, but the in-state Tigers are now the pick to pull this one out."
Lorenzo Carter, DE, Norcross (Ga.)
Announcement: 2:45 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Carter Crystal Ball: Georgia (77 percent)
Adams: Georgia. Carter has been atop the wishlist for the Bulldogs' coaching staff for over a year, and the arrival of defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt did nothing to change that. Carter is very fond of Gators' coach Will Muschamp, but Georgia has led for some time now and recruiter of record Bryan McClendon has convinced Carter and his parents that staying close to home is the best choice for his future.
Bartow: Georgia. “Once the Bulldogs hired Jeremy Pruitt from Florida State I think that helped seal it for them. The defensive scheme fits, he is an in-state kid and I just think that is where he is going.”
Shurburtt: Georgia. “Carter is a great scheme fit at UGA, which would like to add another pass rusher in this class. The Bulldogs have been trending here for some time. I would watch out for Florida as a darkhorse, but I haven’t found enough evidence that he would head to Gainesville for me to change my pick to the Gators.”
Simmons: Georgia. “Georgia just makes sense for Lorenzo, on all levels. He’s a good fit in that 3-4, he’s a personality match with Mark Richt, he’s close to his family and would enjoy being more local. I’d be shocked if he ended up anywhere but Athens.”
Wiltfong: Georgia. "In the end, it looks like Georgia will keep the state's top-ranked prospect at home, but Alabama, Florida, Florida State and LSU all made it interesting at times."
Predictions for John 'Ju Ju' Smith include the Trojans, Ducks and Irish.
John Smith, S/ATH, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Announcement: 4 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Smith Crystal Ball USC (71 percent)
Adams: USC."Playing in the uptempo Ducks' offense is tough to ignore, but USC has been going all out to keep Smith home, and the opportunity to play in front of his family will be too much for him to decline."
Bartow: USC. “I am going to say USC for Smith. I think it is close as Oregon is right up there as well, but I think the Trojans get it done in the end.”
Shurburtt: Oregon. “Many feel this is a Notre Dame-USC battle and I think he could easily end up at either place, but there’s no question that the Ducks are in it and actually there is some confidence in Eugene that he will end up there. If it’s not the Trojans, but he still wants to remain on the west coast and play in the Pac-12, Oregon could be a nice “middle ground” pick.”
Simmons: Notre Dame. “This isn’t the one I’m going to be pushing all my chips onto the table behind. USC has to be considered the clear favorite, particularly with the Polynesian feel to the class they’ve compiled and how close Smith is to that group. But Notre Dame is in this. Mike Denbrock has done an outstanding job recruiting Smith, he has a buddy already committed in Tyler Luatua and he would be the gem of this class. I’m riding with my March pick but my confidence is low.”
Wiltfong: USC. "Notre Dame made it interesting for the entire process and at some points even led but in the end the coaching change in Los Angeles and the opportunity to stay close to home could seal it for the Trojans. Oregon and UCLA are also in the mix."
Ermon Lane, WR, Homestead (Fla.)
Announcement: 10 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Lane Crystal Ball: Florida State (93 percent)
Adams: Florida State. "The battle for Lane was over the moment close friend and five-star running back Dalvin Cook switched from Florida to Florida State. Travis Rudolph and Lane give the Seminoles a sick incoming 1-2 punch at wideout."
Bartow: Florida State. “That one has been done for a while.”
Shurburtt: Florida State. “This one was easy. All signs have pointed toward Lane to Tallahassee for some time. The Seminoles should add a big piece to what is an outstanding class of receivers.”
Simmons: Florida State. “This one has felt like Florida State for a long time and as the decision approaches, I’d be shocked if Ermon wasn’t all Seminole. Dalvin Cook’s flip to Florida State sealed my confidence that Ermon would follow.”
Wiltfong: Florida State. "Have counted him as a Seminole for months now."
Can the Razorbacks make up enough ground before Signing Day to land Solomon Thomas?
Solomon Thomas, DE, Coppell (Texas)
Announcement: 8 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Thomas Crystal Ball: Stanford (86 percent)
Adams: Stanford. "Even with his sister at Arkansas, nothing has occurred down the stretch to make me think Thomas goes anywhere but Stanford. He has worked hard in the classroom to be admitted into Stanford, a program that offers an academics/athletic combination that is tough for any school to beat."
Bartow: Stanford. “I think Stanford has been the leader here for the last for or five months. Academics is big with him and no place has a better combination of football and academics than Stanford. Arkansas made a big push and finished second.”
Shurburtt: Stanford. “The Cardinal remain my pick here because they’ve been the strongest the longest. That being said, Arkansas has put up a real fight. Thomas’ sister is in Fayetteville and there are other family connections. If I get more information that points toward the Hogs, I could easily switch this between now and deadline on Wednesday.”
Simmons: Stanford. “I’ve felt for a while that it was a matter of time before Thomas picked The Cardinal. With his recruiting coach Mike Sanford gone and his potential defensive coordinator Derek Mason off to Vanderbilt, does that change the game for Stanford? I don’t think it does. Academics are important to Thomas and I think he’s Palo Alto bound.”
Wiltfong: Stanford. "In what looked like a runaway at one point has become interesting between the Cardinal and Arkansas but with Coach Shaw at the top of the program in Palo Alto, Stanford has the culture Thomas is looking for both on and off the football field."
Damian Prince, OT/OG, District Heights (Md.) Bishop McNamera
Announcement: 10:20 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Prince Crystal Ball: Maryland (64 percent)
Adams: "The Jan. 31 official visit to Gainesville, Fla. left Prince feeling like he could see himself leaving home and playing for the Gators. But unfortunately for Florida, Prince had to a support group that very much prefer that he stay home and play for the Terps. Ace recruiter Mike Locksley rarely gets beat for local talent."
Bartow: [i]***[b]UPDATE 2/3/14: Bartow switches his prediction to MARYLAND based on new intel.[/i][/b] PREVIOUS: Florida. “I am going stick with Florida for Prince. I was first to pick Florida on his Crystal Ball and I think they have been among the leaders for a while. It is hard to count out the Terps for a local kid when Mike Locksley is involved, but I think area five-star Jalen Tabor going to Florida helps.”
Shurburtt: Florida. “After five-star D.C.-area cornerback Jalen Tabor flipped to Florida from Arizona and enrolled at UF, it cleared the path a bit for the Gators to resume the favorite role. Prince had a good visit to Florida and now the Gators must hold off a late charge from Maryland recruiter Mike Locksley as the Terps try to keep the big-time talent in-state.”
Simmons: Maryland. “I really believe that behind Mike Locksley, Maryland is going to start landing a few of these guys that they’re not supposed to. They missed on Jalen Tabor. I don’t think they miss on Prince.”
Wiltfong: Florida. “The Gators got the last visit and will now try and hold off the local Maryland program.”
Will Malik McDowell leave the state?
Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Southfield (Mich.)
Announcement: 11:00 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current McDowell Crystal Ball: Michigan State (46 percent)
Adams: Michigan State. "Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan have all made their pitch, but the question remains: just how seriously has McDowell these trips? He has fallen in love with the atmosphere in East Lansing, and will stay close to home to play for the nearby Spartans."
Bartow: Michigan State. “The Spartans are hot coming off a Rose Bowl win and are a very good defensive program. I think they will be able to keep McDowell in state.”
Shurburtt: Florida State. “The Seminoles were confident about this one even long before the BCS Championship. When McDowell appeared Michigan-bound and then Michigan State-bound, it was difficult to pick against the in-state teams. McDowell could easily end up in Ann Arbor, East Lansing or even at Ohio State. This pick is based on which program feels the most confident at present and that is FSU.”
Simmons: Ohio State. “Urban Meyer is a renowned closer and getting the last shot at McDowell with his final official along with hiring of Larry Johnson may be enough to get a late steal.”
Wiltfong: Florida State. “Could change my mind four times as this could still go any way between the Spartans, Buckeyes and Seminoles. Malik wants Michigan State. Parents want him out of the state. The Seminoles coaching staff has worked hard on this one."
Damien Mama, OG/OT, Belflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Announcement: 11:15 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Mama Crystal Ball: USC (100 percent)
Adams: USC. "No surprise here. Mama has long since been considered a lean to the Trojans, and his addition would be huge, pun intended, for USC.
Bartow: USC. “I think this one is already done. Distance from home and the fact that it is close to family are factors that helped the Trojans.”
Shurburtt: USC. “Mama’s recruitment has always had a staying close to home type of feel and the Trojans are the clear favorite over UCLA. Mama will add to an already stellar offensive line class.”
Simmons: USC. “As soon as Viane Talamaivao committed to USC, I’ve felt like the Trojans would land Mama as well. The comfort level on that commitment list and in that program is going higher than anywhere else.”
Wiltfong: USC. "The Trojans have been considered the favorite for most of the process."
Budda Baker, ATH, Bellevue (Wash.)
Announcement: 1 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Baker Crystal Ball: Washington (65 percent)
Adams: Washington. "UCLA put up a valiant front, but once again distance is an insurmountable factor. Baker will be the centerpiece of the Huskies' class, a nice start for the Peterson era."
Bartow: Washington. “I think the new staff won him over and the distance from home helps.”
Shurburtt: Washington. “Proximity to home has always been a huge deal with Baker, which is why things did not work out with his commitment to Oregon. UCLA made a nice run at him, but in the end, he’s the first huge in-state commitment for Chris Peterson at UDub.”
Simmons: Washington. “Baker has always wanted an excuse to go to Washington. Another mediocre year under Sarkisian was the only thing holding him back. With Peterson’s addition, I think he’s got the optimism to pull the trigger and stay in state.”
Wiltfong: Washington. “Staying close to home has always been important to Baker.”
Michiah Quick, WR/CB, Fresno (Calif.) Central East
Announcement: 5 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Quick Crystal Ball: Oklahoma (57 percent)
Adams: Oklahoma. "The Sooners feel very confident with their chances to land Quick, as does Oklahoma running back commitment Joe Mixon. I say will end up being right."
Bartow: Oklahoma. “I am hearing Oklahoma on my end slightly over Notre Dame. One of those two.”
Shurburtt: Notre Dame. “It’s either Oklahoma or the Irish for all intents and purposes and confidence is high on both sides. It’s hard to pick against ace Notre Dame recruiter Mike Denbrock twice, so I will stick with the Irish unless things change in the next 48 hours. He’s arguably the top remaining target for both programs.”
Simmons: Oklahoma. “OU just feels like the pick. Call it a hunch but I see the Sooners getting their second major northern California recruit when Quick joins Joe Mixon in Norman.”
Wiltfong: Notre Dame. “The Irish have led at several different points for Quick who continues to go back and forth between Notre Dame and Oklahoma down the stretch. It could go either way but Mike Denbrock seems to win a recruiting battle like this at least once a year.”
Braden Smith, OG/OT, Olathe (Kan.) South
Announcement: 8:50 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Smith Crystal Ball: TCU (45 percent)
Adams: Auburn. "TCU has been on Smith for most of his recruitment, and his sister throwing on the Horned Frogs' track team make it even more difficult for Auburn. That being said, Auburn feels very good about its chances to land Smith, and they have done a great job selling him on how he fits into their blocking scheme."
Bartow: TCU. “I think the family connection with TCU will push the Horned Frogs over the top. Auburn made a good push and for a while I think he believed he was going to Auburn, but TCU wins in the end.”
Shurburtt: TCU. “The family ties to the Horned Frogs program will be too much to overcome for another suitor. Smith will be an outstanding pick-up for what is shaping up to be a stellar class for Gary Patterson and company in Fort Worth. Obviously, Auburn is right there, too, so we will have to see how it plays out, but right now, my pick is with the Frogs.”
Simmons: TCU. “Smith has been a tough one to read throughout and whenever that is the case, I will follow the family. With his sister at TCU and the Horned Frogs maintaining a steady presence throughout in his recruitment, I’ll take Gary Patterson.”
Wiltfong: TCU “Completely a guess. Could go one of three ways with it being no surprise if he chose Texas A&M or Auburn. Next to Adoree' Jackson and Malik McDowell, Smith is the toughest one to predict in 2014. TCU was the leader for Smith until there was some turnover on Gary Patterson’s staff, but getting the last official visit this past weekend could help in the Smith sweepstakes.
Travonte Valentine, DT, Miami (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic
Announcement: 10:30 a.m. EST, Signing Day
Current Valentine Crystal Ball: LSU 95 percent
Adams: LSU "Valentine has committed three times already - to Louisville, Florida and Miami - and each time LSU was right there. Their consistent efforts will pay off with landing Valentine, a more than adequate replacement for the loss of in-state target Gerald Willis.
Bartow: LSU. “Valentine cancelled his scheduled Miami visit and when he did that he tipped his hand.”
Shurburtt: LSU. “Tigers assistant Corey Raymond has done an outstanding job recruiting the 6-foot-4, 337-pound Valentine and once things cooled with Miami, all signs pointed toward the massive defensive tackle signing with LSU, which perhaps does the best job of any program in developing 320-plus pounders into great football players.”
Simmons: LSU. “I thought the Tigers would get him initially before he committed to Miami. Now that he’s uncommitted once again, there’s too much LSU smoke for him not to end up in Baton Rouge. Corey Raymond has done a great job in this recruitment.”
Wiltfong: LSU. “They’ve been the pulse since the U.S. Army All-American Bowl when Valentine arrived committed to Miami.”
Derrick Nnadi, DT, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes
Announcement: 8 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Nnadi Crystal Ball: Virginia Tech (50 percent)
Adams: Florida State "The Noles feel like they are in great shape to land Nnadi, so they are the pick here."
Bartow: Florida State. “He had a good visit to Florida State and has been giving hints to people close to him that it is FSU. I think the Seminoles trump the Hokies here.”
Shurburtt: Florida State. “There’s no question that this one could easily be Virginia Tech or another program, but you have to go with what your intel says and my intel says the Noles are extremely confident on this one and the Hokies are not so much.”
Simmons: Virginia Tech. “Florida State is coming on strong with Nnadi and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if FSU is the pick, but I think Virginia Tech has done a really good job in his recruitment and I think he’ll stay in state at the end.”
Wiltfong: Florida State. “The Seminoles have been a program Nnadi has spoken highly of going back to the summer and it appears FSU has the momentum here coming down the stretch.”
Nifae Lealao, DE/DT, Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian
Current Lealao Crystal Ball: Vanderbilt (77 percent)
Adams: Vanderbilt. "After having most of their class gutted by the departure of James Franklin to Penn State, the stars aligned for the Commodores with the arrival of Derek Mason from Stanford. Lealao has familiarity with Mason and will pounce on the opportunity to earn a Vanderbilt degree."
Bartow: Vanderbilt. “I think he will end up following coach Derek Mason to Vanderbilt.”
Shurburtt: Vanderbilt. “After Lealao parted ways with Stanford, Vanderbilt and new head coach Derek Mason (who was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinal) really stepped up to land the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder, who is a swing defensive linemen of sorts. He can play inside or in some packages, outside. This will be an outstanding late pick-up for the Commodores.”
Simmons: Vanderbilt. “After Stanford admissions fell through for Nifae, Vandy immediately became a threat because of all the Stanford personnel that left for Nashville. Derek Mason and staff capitalized on last weekend’s official visit and I expect Vandy to nab him.”
Wiltfong: Vanderbilt. “Lealao follows former Cardinal defensive coordinator Derek Mason to Nashville as the Commodores beat out Cal.”
Steven Parker, S, Jenks (Okla.)
Announcement: 2:15 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Parker Crystal Ball: Oklahoma (96 percent)
Adams: Oklahoma. "Auburn did well to jump in late and get into the final two for Parker. They got him on campus as the lone official visitor and sold him on making an early impact in the secondary, but in the end he will play for the nearby Sooners, a coaching staff he has been comfortable with for some time now."
Bartow: Oklahoma. “I don't think Auburn is in the mix to add another safety at this point and Parker will pick Oklahoma.”
Shurburtt: Oklahoma. “I know Auburn is in it and he had a great visit. It’s just hard to pick against the home team here and there is some confidence on the part of the Sooners. I will say, I could very well change this pick in the near future as I get more intel.”
Simmons: Oklahoma. “An in-state standout who is a high priority for the Sooners, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t keep it in state.”
Wiltfong: Oklahoma “As of Monday morning, the in-state Sooners are the pick to hold off hard-charging Auburn down the stretch.”
Roderick Johnson, OT, Florrisant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central
Announcement: 10 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Johnson Crystal Ball: Florida State (100 percent)
Adams: Florida State. "Florida State has been the pick here for months, but Johnson has been allowed to hold off on publicly announcing his decision until signing day."
Bartow: Florida State. “Another example of winning the national title at a national program, you can go out and get kids at position of need.”
Shurburtt: Florida State. “This is one pick for the Seminoles based on more than sources being confident. Florida State has been in the cat bird’s seat here for some time and it’s actually been a little surprising he’s held off announcing. Noles offensive line coach Rick Trickett will be getting quite a prospect to develop. Johnson has one of the highest ceilings for an offensive tackle in the country.”
Simmons: Florida State. “This has been Tim Brewster’s baby for some time, along with OL coach Rick Trickett. I think it’s been just a matter of time for him to add to an already strong OL group at FSU.”
Wiltfong: Florida State. “Like Ermon Lane, been counting Big Rod as a commitment to the Seminoles for months.”
Wesley Green, CB, Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King
Announcement: 5 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Green Crystal Ball: South Carolina (84 percent)
Adams: South Carolina "Green, a former Gamecock commitment, will rejoin the fold when he announces his intentions to play at South Carolina. The departure of Bulldogs' defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to Louisville shook up the defensive back board at Georgia a little bit, although South Carolina might have been difficult to beat either way. Solid get at a position of need for Steve Spurrier and his staff."
Bartow: South Carolina. “The Gamecocks lost him and then changed the way they recruited him. They started recruiting him harder and they will get him in the end.”
Shurburtt: South Carolina. “The Gamecocks will be getting a former commit back in the fold, which is huge considering cornerback is a big priority. When Green did not visit Georgia this past weekend, it made South Carolina as close to a lock as you can get (there are no locks in recruiting, FWIW).”
Simmons: South Carolina. “South Carolina is a force in the state of Georgia and Georgia came in too late to steal him away.”
Wiltfong: South Carolina. “The Gamecocks appear to be the only true contender.”
Kenny Young, LB, New Orleans (La.) John Curtis
Announcement: 10:30 a.m. EST- National Signing Day Current Young Crystal Ball: UCLA (52 percent) Expert Picks
Adams: UCLA. "Jeff Ulbrich has been all over Young, who took his final official visit to see the Bruins and has given the UCLA staff every reason to think he will select them over Texas A&M and LSU on signing day."
Bartow: UCLA. “I think UCLA gets him because it is a position of need for the Bruins and he can play right away there.”
Shurburtt: UCLA. “The Bruins have been the team to beat for the U.S. Army All-American for some time and this past weekend’s visit only solidified that. The question here is can he help UCLA pull his teammate, Dupre and what will a serious final push from LSU do if the Tigers are Dupre’s choice?”
Simmons: UCLA. “My confidence has waned some on the Bruins landing Kenny but I think that’s where he wants to be and where he ends up.”
Wiltfong: UCLA “Seems like that’s the way it’s trending.”
Chris Lammons, CB, Plantation (Fla.)
Announcement: 1 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Lammons Crystal Ball: South Carolina (91 percent)
Adams: South Carolina. "This is closer than when I initially predicted the Gamecocks almost a month ago. Wisconsin is in this and have a very legitimate chance, but until new information becomes available, I am sticking with South Carolina."
Bartow: Wisconsin. “The latest I got on him was that he was leaning toward Wisconsin, a week ago I thought South Carolina. He liked the way former Plantation High CB Sojourn Shelton was able to go there and have immediate success as a freshman this year. He thinks that is something he can do as well.”
Shurburtt: South Carolina. “This is one of those situations where both staffs are confident, so it’s obviously a close decision. The Gamecocks almost earned Lammons commitment before he pledged to Florida a couple of months ago, so they are the pick for right now. I could switch this to the Badgers if more intel comes my way, though.”
Simmons: South Carolina. “I’m on the verge of switching my pick to Wisconsin but it’s virtually a toss up in my mind right now between the Badgers and Gamecocks.”
Wiltfong: South Carolina. “The Badgers have made it interesting but South Carolina is the pulse.”
Donte Thomas-Williams, RB, Durham (N.C.) Hillside
Announcement: 10:30 a.m. EST- National Signing Day
Current Thomas-Williams Crystal Ball: West Virginia (100 percent)
Adams: West Virginia. "Quite honestly, this recruitment is basically over. Thomas-Williams is ready to select the Mountaineers on Wednesday."
Bartow: West Virginia. “That one has been done, he told the staff in in-home last week he was coming.”
Shurburtt: West Virginia. “The Mountaineers have been in the 'definitely getting category for Thomas-Williams for some time. He’s an excellent back- maybe a little undervalued- that will be a big get for WVU and could make an impact early.”
Simmons: West Virginia. “I don’t see this one going any way but West Virginia.”
Wiltfong: West Virginia, “The Mountaineers sealed this one up during a January official visit.”
Andrew Williams, DE, McDonough (Ga.) Eagles Landing Christian
Williams Crystal Ball: Auburn (88 percent)
Adams: Auburn. "Clemson put up a fight, with Williams enjoying his time with Dabo Swinney and the rest of his staff. Georgia went all in on Williams with the arrival of Jeremy Pruitt from Florida State, and word out of Athens, Ga. is that Williams had an outstanding time during his official visit over the weekend. But that is likely not going to be enough to overtake Auburn, whose efforts by defensive line coach Rodney Garner will pay off with Williams spurning Garner's former employer to play for the defending SEC Champions."
Bartow: Auburn. “He has been a lean to Auburn for several months. I think it all adds up with Rodney Garner recruiting him and Auburn having such a huge season.”
Shurburtt: Auburn. “Williams has been trending Auburn for some time, but Clemson is in it and he visited Georgia this past weekend and the Bulldogs are making a serious push, so this isn’t a done deal. Still, the Tigers (the Auburn ones) have been stronger longer, so until there’s something more concrete about him picking another school, I plan to keep it on AU.”
Simmons: Auburn. “The Tigers have always been a place that Williams has felt comfortable and I think he could be quietly one of the better pickups in their class if things play out the way I expect.”
Wiltfong: Auburn. “Another exciting announcement to keep an eye on with Clemson and Georgia also having a realistic shot to land Williams.”
Raymon Minor, ATH, Richmond (Va.) Benedictine
Minor Crystal Ball: Virginia Tech (80 percent)
Adams: Marshall. "The question here is not Minor's interest in the Hokies, who have long been the clubhouse leader in his recruitment. if he can get in, he will attend Virginia Tech. As of now though that is very much in question."
Bartow: Virginia Tech. “The Hokies have led for Minor for a while and it looks like they have opted to sign him.”
Shurburtt: Virginia Tech. "Things have changed during the last few days in terms of Minor and the Hokies and it's now all systems go toward a signing day announcement for his long-time favorite. I was told just an hour or so ago, it's 99.9 percent that he signs with the Hokies. I never put odds that high, but it looks like a safe pick."
Simmons: Virginia Tech. “It looks like might work out between Minor and Virginia Tech. If a kid wants to be somewhere and the school wants him, those things usually have tendency to work out.”
Wiltfong: Virginia Tech. “Unless academics push him to Marshall.”
Poona Ford, DT, Hilton Head (S.C.)
Announcement: 12:30 p.m. EST- National Signing Day
Ford Crystal Ball: Texas (84 percent)
Adams: Texas. "The desire to play for Charlie Strong will lead Ford to Texas, who will be welcomed in Austin with open arms, as the Longhorns are in dire need of help at defensive tackle."
Bartow: Texas. “The connections to Charlie Strong where he was previously committed at Louisville are a big factor. He had a good visit there and the Longhorns have a need at his position.”
Shurburtt: Texas. “Ford will follow Charlie Strong to his new program and it’s an excellent fit from a needs standpoint. If the Longhorns don’t land defensive tackles this class, it will be their second straight cycle of not doing so. Therefore, it makes all the sense in the world for the ultra-athletic, but undersized, Ford to head to Austin. The preference of Ford and his high school coach have been for him to leave the state all along and you can do a whole lot worse than Texas. He will be the first player the Horns have signed from the Palmetto State since another defensive tackle, Ben Alexander, in the 2007 class.”
Simmons: Texas. “Charlie Strong is due for a big-splash pickup for Texas and I think Ford is going to be his guy.”
Wiltfong: Texas. “The former Louisville commits reunites with Charlie Strong as the Longhorns beat out Missouri and Purdue.”
Richard Yeargin III, OLB, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University Christian
Yeargin Crystal Ball: Clemson (95 percent)
Adams: Clemson. "Most have felt Clemson would land Yeargin III, and his high school's media release for signing day might have let the cat out of the bag by listing Clemson as the school he plans to attend."
Bartow: Clemson. “That has been done for a while now.”
Shurburtt: Clemson. “All signs have pointed to Yeargin III being another 6-foot-4, 230-plus pound linebacker commit for the Tigers, joining similarly-built Chris Register, since the four-star Army All-American de-committed from Notre Dame.”
Simmons: Clemson. “The writing has been on the wall for a while here. Since his decommitment from Notre Dame, Clemson has been the clear leader and I would be surprised to see him end up anywhere else.”
Wiltfong: Clemson. “The Tigers remained in the picture for months for the former Notre Dame commit and easy prediction when Yeargin reopened the recruiting process.”
Daniel Cage, DT, Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods
Cage Crystal Ball: Michigan State (86 percent)
Adams: Michigan State. "Notre Dame has made this one a little interesting in the final hour, but the Spartans' coaching staff have established a level of comfort with Cage that will result in landing him on signing day."
Bartow: Michigan State. “Michigan State has recruited him really hard. He wants to play for a top defense and the Spartans had the best last year.”
Shurburtt: Michigan State. “The Spartans have a ton of momentum and have been in the driver’s seat for some time. If I were to switch, it would be to Notre Dame if the Irish turned him on his visit.”
Simmons: Michigan State. “The Big Ten Champs look poised to add a talented defensive linemen to their top-ranked defense.”
Wiltfong: Michigan State. “Notre Dame is the other team to watch but they had a lot of catching up to do regarding the Spartans heading into last week’s official visit. The Irish still have time but for now Michigan State remains the pick.”