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February 2, 2005

The national race: It's too close to call

National signing day always provides plenty of excitement and drama, as well as the occasional surprise. But 2005 has exceeded all expectations, as an unusually large number of signing-day announcements has made for a rollercoaster ride for teams and fans across the country.

How wild has this day been? Rivals.com was set to unveil its recruiting national champions for the class of 2005 at 6 p.m. EST. That announcement, however, will be delayed as that race is currently too close to call.

Will USC claim the title for the second consecutive year, which would be a first in Rivals.com history, or could Oklahoma sneak in and capture the top spot? And don't count out red-hot Florida State, which is cleaning up on signing day as it seems to do every year. The reality, however, is that we won't know for a few more hours who ultimately is crowned No. 1.

Why is it too close to call?

There are still five Rivals100 prospects who have yet to make their announcements, and each of them could directly influence which team is crowned the recruiting national champion.

USC easily could move into the top spot if things go as planned with defensive end Kyle Moore of Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County and receiver DeSean Jackson of Long Beach Poly. Moore, the nation's No. 40 player, is likely USC bound and expected to pick the Trojans over Miami.

Jackson, a five-star receiver who ranks as the No. 18 player overall, is believed to be USC's to lose, but Cal reportedly has made things very interesting in the last 24 hours and could make his decision (8:45 p.m. EST) more interesting than people think.

Two players who would give Florida State a major boost are five-star defensive tackle Callahan Bright and four-star offensive tackle Matt Hardrick. Bright is down to Texas A&M and Florida State and is expected to announce his decision at 8:50 p.m EST, while Hardrick appears to be torn between the Seminoles and Ole Miss.

If USC lands both Moore and Jackson, they are likely going to be the No. 1 team in the nation. If they miss on one of those players then it could get extremely interesting as both Oklahoma and Tennessee also have a very compelling case to be the nation's top ranked class.

And don't even get started talking about what happens if Florida State gets both of their remaining targets and USC splits. If you thought the past two presidential elections were complicated, just wait, because this could cause a lot of people to clamor for recall before it's all over.


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