“I think there’s plenty of opportunity for drama especially considering the guys that we would get most of the drama from, the really highly-recruited kids that had a lot of pressure and a lot of stress surrounding their decision based on the big-name programs that were chasing them, that hasn’t changed,” said Barton Simmons, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.com. “The quantity of the decisions being made is certainly less, but the pressure on the few remaining guys, if anything, has intensified.
“I think the atmosphere is right still for that kind of drama to remain, and I don’t know if that’s ever going anywhere.”
And the theatrics of National Signing Day aren’t just limited to the recruits themselves.
Alabama has taken home the top recruiting class during the past seven years, but the Crimson Tide enter this week on the outside looking in with the No. 6 class in the country, according to 247Sports.com. Ohio State, meanwhile, has the nation’s top class, followed by Georgia and Texas.
While Alabama may have the most to gain on Wednesday, the national champions have a difficult challenge trying to continue their stretch of recruiting dominance. Difficult for sure, but not totally out of the question for the Tide, according to Simmons.
“I think they do have a chance but it would take some stumbles towards the finish line from Georgia and Ohio State,” Simmons said. “Frankly, Alabama could control some of those stumbles. They’re battling Ohio State for (Tampa Berkeley Prep offensive tackle) Nicholas Petit-Frere. They’re battling Georgia for (Fort Lauderdale American Heritage cornerback) Tyson Campbell. If either Ohio State or Georgia gets those guys, it’s going to be tough for Alabama to catch either one of them.
“But if somehow Georgia or Ohio State misses on those guys, I think the door is suddenly open for Alabama.”
Outside of the top 10, there are some new coaches who could make a big impact on Wednesday.
“Whether it’s Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M, Willie Taggart at Florida State or Chip Kelly at UCLA, because of their late start, they also have some room to grow in their (classes),” Simmons said. “As we’ve gotten closer to signing day, they’ve started to gain some traction with some guys. That could result in some serious movement for those programs as well.”
And that’s not all.
“I think Tennessee is going to make a bit of a push,” Luginbill said.
Despite being saddled with a debacle of a coaching search, the Volunteers (19) have managed to put together a top 20 class ahead of signing day.
“Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee has made some impressive strides since he’s gotten on campus,” Simmons said. “They’ve got a lot of names out there that they can continue to help them out and continue to make moves towards, but what they’ve done already … he’s probably the most impressive new hire at the coaching position.”