The college football season has only been over for a month, but it’s already time to start looking towards next season. Wednesday marks the 2014 edition of National Signing Day, when recruits will decide which schools they are going to join.
Most of the nation’s top prospects have already committed to playing for a certain school, but some are waiting until the last moment to announce their decision.
Below is a look at the nation’s top programs, heading into the big day.
They may have had a disappointing finish to their season, but the Crimson Tide are ready to reclaim the top spot in college football. For the third straight year, Alabama should have the No.1 recruiting class in the NCAA for 2014. According to ESPN’s rankings, head coach Nick Saban has landed one-third of the 15 best recruits in the nation, including top-ranked offensive lineman Cameron Robinson and cornerback Tony Brown.
While Alabama is expected to have the best freshman class, the Tigers are looking very strong, as well. Running back Leonard Fournette is scheduled to officially become a Tiger on Wednesday. In the eyes of many experts, the New Orleans native will enter the 2014 season as the top true freshman.
For the first time since 1997, Mack Brown will not be leading the Longhorns’ new recruiting class. Texas saw a few players decommitt with the hiring of Charlie Strong. Defensive tackles Trey Lealaimatafao and Courtney Garnett left in January, and ESPN reported on Tuesday that brothers Sione Tehama (2014) and Maea Teuhema (2015) will no longer become Longhorns. The new head coach hopes a few recruits who still haven’t made up their mind will choose Texas and give the school a top 15 class.
The Buckeyes might have a top five class, even though they haven’t gotten commits from multiple five-star recruits. Raekwon McMillan will bolster Ohio State’s linebacker corps, and he’ll be joined by at least 15 four-star commits, according to rivals.com.
Following a surprising run to the BCS National Championship Game, the Tigers appear to have an incoming recruiting class worthy of the top 10. Entering Singing Day, the biggest question for head coach Gus Malzahn surrounds Rashaan Evans. The linebacker is set to decide between rivals Auburn and Alabama on Wednesday.
By the end of Signing Day, the Fighting Irish class will be somewhere near the top 10, and perhaps similar to Auburn’s class. Linebacker Nyles Morgan and offensive lineman Alex Bars highlight Brian Kelly’s newest recruits. However, the best could be saved for Wednesday. Players like JuJu Smith and Michiah Quick, who are considered elite athletes, will make final decisions on Signing Day. Both players have Notre Dame at the top of their lists.
The national champs might not need much help next year, considering they’re bringing back a Heisman Trophy winner who should only get better. Still, the team’s recruiting class may only be outdone by only one or two other schools. Jameis Winston will have a few more weapons in wide receiver Travis Rudolph and running back Dalvin Cook. The Seminoles are also likely to land Ermon Lane, who decomitted from Florida in January.