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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

5 Players and Programs to Watch on Signing Day - Predictions Where the Top 20 Undecided Will Go -

Programs across the country want to finish strong in recruiting on National Signing Day.
Here are the five most likely to have a big finish:

1. Georgia: Wednesday will be a huge day for the Bulldogs, who are already rolling toward the finish line. The nation's top running back prospect, Isaiah Crowell (Columbus, Ga.), linebacker Kent Turene (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and defensive linemen Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, N.C.) and John Jenkins (Mississippi Gulf Coast College) remain as strong possibilities. Throw those potential signees on top of Top100 prospects Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome (Valdosta, Ga.) and Ray Drew (Thomasville, Ga.) -- all of whom have committed to the Bulldogs in recent weeks -- and it's an impressive recruiting finish for Mark Richt and the Georgia staff.
2. Florida State: Though the Seminoles have the nation's top class currently, there are still some big fish to catch. Five-star Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla.), the nation's top defensive tackle prospect, and five-star linebacker Tony Steward (St. Augustine, Fla.) are the two primary targets the 'Noles are pursuing. Sweeping those two would give Florida State most of the top Sunshine State talent in this class -- which is significant considering many feel the crop of Florida talent in this recruiting cycle has as many difference-makers as ever.
3. Auburn: The Tigers have two major prospects -- safety Erique Florence (Valley, Ala.) and defensive tackle Gabe Wright (Columbus, Ga.) -- announcing on National Signing Day. Offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (Hyattsville, Md.), the No. 2 player in the nation, is also a player to watch for the national champions. The Tigers took standout offensive lineman Christian Westerman (Chandler, Ariz.) from Texas and also landed defensive back Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and tight end Brandon Fulse (Fort Meade, Fla.) recently. Auburn has had a tremendous run in the last 12 months.
4. Oregon: The Ducks appear poised to possibly turn five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif.), the top overall prospect on the West Coast in this recruiting cycle, away from USC. That in and of itself makes for a huge finish. Oregon also is a possibility for defensive tackle Delvon Simmons (McKeesport, Pa.) and others. Combine that with some of the high-profile prospects the Ducks have received commitments from this month -- including Devon Blackmon and Colt Lyerla -- and it's a big finish for the Ducks.
5. Alabama: As big of a day as Wednesday is for Georgia, it's equally as big for the Crimson Tide. Kouandjio is scheduled to make his announcement around 9 a.m. One of two "franchise players" in the recruiting cycle according to 247Sports, Kouandjio is expected to pick the Tide or Auburn. Alabama fans also will be watching the Crowell and Pagan announcements and paying close attention to the decision of Nickolas Brassell (Batesville, Miss.). On Feb. 14, Alabama will learn if it gets the nation's No. 1 prospect, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (Rock Hill, S.C.). It appears Clowney's decision will come down to the Tide or South Carolina.

ESPN Recruiting
5 Players to Watch on Signing Day
Jadeveon Clowney, DE (Rock Hill, S.C./South Pointe)
Naturally, the nation's top-rated player is going to be a big part of Wednesday's chatter, whether he decides to make a commitment or not. As it currently stands, Clowney is prepared to wait until his birthday -- Feb. 14 -- to make his final decision between in-state South Carolina, Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina and LSU and could even take more visits after signing day. This story will be active until the ink on his letter of intent dries.

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha)
The No.1-ranked offensive lineman in the nation is down to Iowa, Auburn, Alabama and maybe New Mexico. Different reports have Kouandjio eliminating New Mexico but nothing is confirmed. The 6-foot-7, 320-pounder has an older brother at Alabama but loved his official visits to Iowa and Auburn. It's anyone's guess what Kouandjio will do, and for those that discount the Lobos remember that defensive tackle Calvin Smith put on a New Mexico hat on ESPNU last season, so be prepared for anything.

DeAnthony Thomas, ATH (Crenshaw, Calif./Crenshaw)
The No. 1-ranked athlete in the Class of 2011 was seemingly 100 percent committed to USC, but he took a visit to Oregon over the weekend and now the Internet is buzzing about a potential switch to the Ducks. One thing that caught everyone's attention was Thomas' insistence on playing running back at USC, while the Trojans were trying to convince him to play on defense. Plus, the switch of running back Amir Carlisle (Sunnyvale, Calif./The Kings Academy), a former Stanford commit, to USC further complicated things.

Tony Steward, LB (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez)
The No. 9 overall player in the ESPNU 150 has seemingly been 50-50 between Clemson and FSU since the middle of the spring. Even now, the 6-2, 220-pounder claims he doesn't know where he's going, yet. To further complicate matters, UCLA has been sticking around. While the chances of Steward going to the West Coast appear to be slim, he's been sure to tell everyone that is listening that UCLA remains in the chase.

Isaiah Crowell, RB (Columbus, Ga./Carver)
This is an old-fashioned SEC recruiting battle between Georgia and Alabama for the nation's top-rated running back. Will Crowell be part of the "Dream Team" in Athens or continue the run of top-flight running backs headed to Alabama. A decision for Georgia could give the Bulldogs a top-five class, while a decision for Alabama could push the Crimson Tide to No. 1.

Corey Long and Jamie Newberg
ESPN Recruiting
Twenty players in the ESPNU 150 are still uncommitted heading into national signing day. So where will they end up? ESPN Recruiting's Corey Long and Jamie Newberg offer their predictions.

(Schools considering) Long Newberg
No. 1 Jadeveon Clowney, DE
(Alabama, Clemson, FSU, North Carolina, South Carolina) South Carolina South Carolina
No. 3 Cyrus Kouandjio, OT
(Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, New Mexico) Alabama Alabama
No. 4 Isaiah Crowell, RB
(Alabama, Georgia) Georgia Georgia
No. 9 Tony Steward, ILB
(Clemson, FSU, UCLA) FSU FSU
No. 17 Tim Jernigan, DT
(Florida, FSU, LSU, Tennessee) FSU FSU
No. 26 Gabe Wright, DT
(Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee) Auburn Tennessee
No. 32 Stephone Anthony, OLB
(Clemson, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia Tech) Clemson Clemson
No. 46 Curtis Grant, ILB
(Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, Virginia) Ohio State Ohio State
No. 52 Erique Florence, S
(Auburn, USC) Auburn Auburn
No. 53 Jeoffrey Pagan, DE
(Alabama, Georgia) Georgia Georgia
No. 63 Curt Maggitt, OLB
(Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin) Florida Florida
No. 96 Marqise Lee, ATH
(Miami, Oregon, USC) USC USC
No. 98 Darius Jennings, ATH
(Ohio State, Virginia, Wake Forest) Ohio State Virginia
No. 105 Antonio Richardson, OT
(Auburn, Georgia, Tennesssee) Tennessee Tennessee
No. 111 Christian Heyward, DT
(Oregon, San Diego State, USC) USC San Diego State
No. 117 Aubrey Coleman, ATH
(Washington, others) JUCO JUCO
No. 122 Dominique Terrell, ATH
(Miami, Virginia, West Virginia) Miami Virginia
No. 129 Zachary Witchett, ATH
(Western Kentucky, others) JUCO JUCO
No. 149 Javorius Allen, RB
(Alabama, Auburn, USC) USC USC
No. 150 Spencer Region, OG
(Auburn, Clemson, Louisville, Wisconsin) Louisville Clemson

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