National Signing Day

Kyle Pollock


National Signing Day is a time full of excitement for college football fans and young players across the nation. It is the first day that recruits can sign their letter of intent to officially become a member of a college football team. Many of these players will have an impact on the devy landscape for years to come. Freshman are beginning to have a much bigger impact of the college game (think Christian Hackenberg, Nick Chubb and KD Cannon) and a great number of uncommitted recruits are set to announce their decision on today. Let’s take a look at some recruits set to announce their choice.

Running Backs

Soso Jamabo, Chris Warren, and Dexter Williams are expected to announce their college decisions later today. Jamabo is the most heralded of these running backs as he is a five star recruit by some sites, and even makes an appearance in Russell Clay’s running back rankings, checking in at number 23. While he has stated that ITT Tech and the University of Phoenix are his top choices, many believe Texas and UCLA appear to be the favorites to land him. Jamabo is big for a high school back, as he measures in at 6’2” and 210 pounds. He is extremely fast for his size, as he runs a 4.55 40 yard dash. This gives Jamabo a speed score of 98, which would be solid for an NFL prospect. He would be a nice addition to any class, but Texas would especially love to keep such a great player in state.

Texas is also the favorite to land Rockwall’s Chris Warren. Warren, whose dad is the Seahawks’ all-time leading rusher, has narrowed his list down to Washington, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Washington. Washington also has a good shot to land Warren, as he has a lot of family in the state and his dad lived there for years. Jamabo and Warren could potentially form a nice duo for the Longhorns, and both could see the field early on as leading rusher Malcolm Brown declared for the NFL draft. Senior Jonathan Gray should shoulder the load this season, but Warren or Jamabo (or both) appear to be the future for Texas at the running back position. If both backs end up at Texas, I would prefer Warren to Jamabo, as Warren is more of a bruiser and Jamabo tends to run upright instead of keeping his pad level low. Both players should be on watch lists of devy owners.

Florida running back Dexter Williams is also expected to announce his decision during today’s festivities. Notre Dame appears to be the favorite to land the Winter Garden product, as 85% of 247 Sport’s Crystal Ball predictions have him winding up in South Bend. Although Louisville and Florida appear to have an outside shot at Williams, Miami has come on strong in the past few days. After St. Thomas Aquinas star running back Jordan Scarlett flipped from the Canes to Florida on Monday night, Williams now is their primary focus heading into Signing Day. Williams would pair nicely with fellow Floridian Mark Walton to help solidify the Miami backfield. After losing star running back Duke Johnson to the NFL, sophomore Joseph Yearby and either Walton, Williams, or both will handle the majority of this year’s carries. Yearby is the back to own out of these three, and could be in for a big year this year. Walton and Williams are players to monitor, but would need to prove themselves more before I draft them in a devy draft.

Wide Receivers

A large number of wide receivers, including Damarkus Lodge, KJ Hill, and Equanimeous St. Brown are expected to announce their decision on Signing Day. All are four-star recruits and could be impact players from day one for their college teams. Lodge is the highest ranked out of the four, coming in at number six in the 247 Composite wide receiver rankings. He had a nice game in the Under Armour All-American Game, as he was the leading receiver with four catches for 42 yards. He has been closely linked to star quarterback Kyler Murray and his recruitment. Texas had an excellent shot to land Murray and Lodge, but just days ago Murray reaffirmed his commitment to Texas A&M. Ole Miss is now considered to be the front runner to land Lodge, but A&M is not far behind. He will enter into a crowded receiver situation at either school and probably won’t have much of an impact his freshman season. His best-case scenario would be as either team’s third wide receiver. Both schools also have other high ranking receivers coming in via the 2015 class. Number four wide receiver Christian Kirk is a Texas A&M commit, and Van Jefferson is committed to Ole Miss. I won’t be targeting Lodge in any devy drafts this off-season, but he could be a nice pick up in a season or two.

Former Arkansas commit KJ Hill also will announce his future home today. He has sixteen offers from various programs across the country but the front runners appear to be Ohio State, Alabama, and Arkansas. Hill, who hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, had initially committed to Arkansas back in August, but recently re-opened his recruitment. Ohio State has stepped up its recruitment recently, as he took an official visit to the school on January 24th. Only days later head coach Urban Meyer made an in home visit to further recruit Hill. Ohio State does appear to be his favorite school, but don’t be surprised if he ends up at Arkansas or Alabama. Hill appears the most torn out of the recruits profiled so far, and his announcement should be one of the more exiting ones. In terms of playing time, Alabama offers Hill the best chance to get in and make an early impact. Alabama loses its top three receivers including one of the best receivers in football in Amari Cooper. Hill could also develop a nice connection with Elite 11 winner Blake Barnett, who is the Tide’s quarterback of the future and enrolled early this year. At Ohio State, Hill could also be in line for early playing time as the Buckeyes look to replace two of their top three receivers and its starting tight end. Arkansas has three upper classmen at wide receiver is a run oriented offense, so this would be the worst landing spot for him. If Hill ends up at Alabama or Ohio State he could be a nice add in deeper devy leagues, but I wouldn’t target him if he were to end up at Arkansas.

Finally, Equanimeous St. Brown (yes, that’s his real name) will also announce his decision as part of today’s wall to wall coverage. Standing at 6’5” and weighing 205 pounds, he has the frame to be a dominant red zone receiver. The fact that he runs a 4.44 40 yard dash at his size could allow for him to be a solid deep threat as well. Notre Dame is the overwhelming favorite to land St. Brown. If he doesn’t attend Notre Dame, UCLA has the best chance to land him but the odds are stacked against them. St Brown will need to fight for playing time at Notre Dame, as they already have three talented juniors on the roster and have two other commits at the wide receiver position at this class. They are also targeting Cordell Broadus, the heralded wide receiver from powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Although better known for being Snoop Dog’s son, Broadus is a four star recruit and is highly coveted by many schools. Closely watch how spring practice shakes out in South Bend, and if St. Brown is getting positive buzz scoop him up in the later rounds of deeper devy drafts. If he sees the field, he could be a viable red zone option for the Fighting Irish this season.