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February 1, 2012
Predicting what's going to happen on Signing Day is always difficult and risky based on the unpredictability of 17-year-old football players. However, Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell, as usual, is willing to go out on a limb with his annual five predictions for National Signing Day.
1. DGB stays home
There's always plenty of interest surrounding where the nation's No. 1 player will sign, and for only the second time in five years it won't go past National Signing Day (see Terrelle Pryor, Bryce Brown and Jadeveon Clowney). After Arkansas was the leader for months, a final official visit to Missouri swings the favor to the Tigers and they get their biggest commitment ever and a great weapon to bring to the SEC.
2. Florida struggles
Last Thursday it looked like the Florida Gators would be a real threat to Alabama for the No. 1 spot overall in the rankings. Six days later, Gator fans are bracing themselves for a rough finish to what is still a really strong class. Florida was the leader for Nelson Agholor and Tracy Howard, were in the top two for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Darius Hamilton and had Jeremi Powell and Brian Poole as part of this class. Now most feel Agholor is headed to USC, Howard is Miami bound, Harvey-Clemons will end up at Georgia unless Florida State pulls an upset and Hamilton chose a Rutgers team that lost its coach last week. Powell might end up at Marshall and Poole will have a Notre Dame letter with him at his ceremony. Leonard Williams and Avery Young would be nice, but how will fans react if they get spurned by everyone?
3. USC will push towards top 5
USC might be struggling with scholarship numbers, but they aren't having any trouble getting quality in this class. Depending on how many commitments they decide to take, they could end up making a late surge towards the top 5 overall. The players still on the board include Agholor, Williams, Devian Shelton, Kyle Murphy, Aziz Shittu, Andrus Peat and even Cyler Miles, USC should easily move into the top 10 and make a push upwards.
4. Stanford has a five-star day
With all the attention paid to the crumbling of Cal's class, Washington's late surge, the great job Jim Mora has done at UCLA and USC's impressive haul, Stanford could end up stealing the Pac-12 show on signing day. Stanford is in play for four different five stars - Murphy, Shittu, Peat and FSU commitment Jameis Winston and could also flip a few commitments or players favoring other schools. While I think Winston sticks with Florida State and Peat heads with his brother to Nebraska, Stanford could very well finish with Murphy and Shittu and a couple of surprises.
5. Hokies finish strong?sort of
The big three decisions for the Virginia Tech four-star targets left on the board all occur early in the morning, but will the Hokies get all of them? They are in very good shape for linebacker Ken Ekanem and Joel Caleb, both of whom I expect to sign with Virginia Tech, but what of Korren Kirven? Word has it that Alabama could steal him away and break the Lynchburg (Va.) Brookline pipeline that sent Logan Thomas and Zack McCray to Blacksburg. I predict the Hokies get two, but lose out on Kirven.