With national signing day just a week away, schools from across the country are not only scrambling to get commitments from uncommitted players, but to also try and close the deal on those who have agreed to come to their school. Backing out of a verbal commitment almost seems to happen daily in this day and age.
High school players are very impressionable and seeing a coach like Nick Saban or a school like Michigan and USC come at you late can be very enticing for a 17- or 18-year-old. Remember, these are kids and every school has a chance until the player has signed a letter of intent.
Virginia Tech has verbal commitments from 20 players in their 2013 recruiting class. A handful of those players enrolled in January and the Hokies will wait until next Wednesday and hope no one bails at the last minute, which has happened on more than one occasion in the past.
Here is a look at the Hokies’ top priorities, by position, and how they have fared to this point.
National Signing Day is right around the corner and the Georgia Bulldogs have done a lot of work this recruiting season, addressing key needs in an attempt to reach the SEC Championship game for the third consecutive year.
The Bulldogs already have 13 recruits enrolled this semester and they will likely have 35 players sign on February 6.
So what is the Bulldogs top priority on National Signing Day?
It’s simple, really. The Bulldogs must ensure every defensive players signed already committed signs onto the program. They also would like to get some of the top undecided defensive players in the country who have Georgia near the top of their list.
Committed linebackers Johnny O’Neal and Tim Kimbrough could potentially start for the Bulldogs in 2014, so it’s essential that the Bulldogs make sure that they do not decided to sign with another school.
The same goes with committed defensive backs Brendan Langley and Shaq Wiggins who could see a lot of playing time this season. Wiggins committed to UGA in Feb ’12 while Langley committed this past November.
With the Bulldogs playing the 3-4, they can never have too many linebackers, so that’s why they are working hard to grab two of the best in the country.
Matthew Thomas is considered the second-best outside linebacker in the country according to Rivals. Thomas has Georgia high on his list, but there’s a chance he could sign with Florida State or Miami.
Foster played the majority of his high school ball in Columbus, Georgia before moving to Auburn, Alabama his senior year. Foster does have Georgia on his list, but the Auburn Tigers do have a lead and because of Foster living in Auburn, he could very well stay there the next four years.
The Bulldogs also need nose tackles that can plug up space for the inside linebackers.
Enter Montravius Adams, who Rivals has the third-best defensive tackle in the country, as well as the third-best player in Georgia.
Clemson is right on Georgia’s tail for the 330-pound defensive tackle, but Georgia could get him on National Signing Day because he live in area which is pro-Georgia and he has a lot of connections with the current Georgia commits.
Just because the Bulldogs need to address the defense on National Signing Day doesn’t mean they can ignore the other side of the ball.
One player they would like to get is running back Alvin Kamara from Norcross, Georgia. Kamara is considered the second-best all-purpose back in the country according to Rivals and it’s a deadlock between the Bulldogs and Alabama in terms of where Kamara will sign.
Georgia also needs a few more offensive lineman and have a really good chance of getting the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, and that’s Laremy Tunsil from Lake City, Florida. Georgia has worked hard to build a relationship with Tunsil the past couple years and it would be shocking if he doesn’t sign with the Bulldogs when the time comes.
This will be a very interesting National Signing Day for the Bulldogs. With the players that have already committed to the Bulldogs, it will be very strong class.
If they can finish it strong with such surprise signings of Foster, Matthews and Kamara, then the Bulldogs' signing class could be the best in recent memory.
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Much like a prototypical "ladies' man," the Notre Dame coaching staff is tasked with courting the best prospects available on the recruiting market between now and National Signing Day (Feb. 6).
When that day arrives, Brian Kelly and Co. will kick their efforts into fourth gear in an attempt to put the finishing touches on what very well may be the nation's top recruiting class—the Irish's 2013 class currently ranks second behind Florida's, per Rivals.com.
With 23 current commits in its class, Notre Dame can afford to be choosy on National Signing Day, much like a ladies' man.
In the Irish's case, their top priority on National Signing Day must be the never-ending pursuit of establishing depth among the defensive front seven.
Championships are won with defense (see Alabama 2009, 2011 and 2013), and elite defenses begin with the structuring and formation of a monstrous front seven.
Notre Dame has established a formidable group up front, with players such as defensive end Stephon Tuitt, nose guard Louis Nix and hybrid linebacker/defensive end Prince Shembo. But it's a unit that now needs to develop quality depth .
The initial step in that process is the acquisition of elite prep talent, which the Irish are in the process of accomplishing.
Notre Dame is currently targeting four available defenders who would be ideal fits within defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's 3-4 scheme.
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT
Notre Dame will only have the services of Louis "Irish Chocolate" Nix for one more season, meaning that the search for his replacement should begin now.
The Irish would have a few feasible options with their current roster, including sliding Jarron Jones from defensive end to nose guard, but the more sensible option would be to secure a commitment from Vanderdoes.
The Placer, Calif., native would be a perfect fit as a nose guard in Diaco's 3-4 scheme, checking in at 6'3" and 310 pounds, which is only a few weeks in the weight room with Notre Dame strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo away from matching Nix's 326-pound frame.
And with limited depth at nose guard, Vanderdoes would likely receive playing time as a freshman.
Vanderdoes, a former USC commit, visited Notre Dame last weekend and has an official visit to Alabama—the Crimson Tide is likely the Irish's stiffest competition for Vanderdoes—scheduled for Feb. 1.
Kylie Fitts, DE
If I was a member of the Notre Dame coaching staff recruiting Fitts, a 6'4", 260-pound defensive end, I would be hammering away at the point that the Irish's 2013 class currently only has one true defensive end—Isaac Rochell.
And with former defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore's vacant starting spot up for grabs, Fitts would likely be able to compete for that spot right away. Either way, Fitts would more than likely be in the rotation for playing time at defensive end.
Fitts visited Notre Dame last weekend with Vanderdoes and has an official visit to Utah scheduled for Feb. 1.
Deon Hollins Jr., LB
Despite Notre Dame having perhaps the deepest linebacker class in the country, current UCLA commit Deon Hollins Jr. is showing serious interest in the Irish.
In fact, the Missouri City, Texas native visited Notre Dame last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed that visit, leaving the 6'2", 225-pound linebacker with a lot to think about before National Signing Day, per Steve Hare of IrishIllustrated.com.
Having been committed to UCLA for nearly one year, it's a tad surprising that Hollins Jr. is showing this type of uncertainty this late in the recruiting process—he visited Utah on Jan. 11 and UCLA the following week.
I would be shocked if Hollins Jr. chooses Notre Dame on National Signing Day because of the number of linebackers already committed to the Irish.
Torrodney Prevot, DE
While he currently considers himself a "soft verbal" to USC, Torrodney Prevot seems like a prime candidate to be yet another Trojans' decommit.
Rivals.com lists Prevot as a weak-side defensive end, though it's a certainty that he will play linebacker at the collegiate level, as he has only 201 pounds packed onto his 6'3" frame.
Because he projects as a linebacker, I would be surprised if he signed with Notre Dame due to the Irish's high number of current linebacker commits in the 2013 class.
However, his wavering commitment has only appeared weaker in recent weeks, as the Houston native visited Texas A&M last weekend and has an official visit to Notre Dame scheduled for Feb. 1.
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