Top 5 uncommitted recruits heading in to National Signing Day


Decision day looms for college football recruits around the country. A number have already made their decisions through a verbal commitment, but on Wednesday will mark the first time those solid verbals can be become official with the signing of a National Letter of Intent.

A handful of recruits have yet to make their decisions known. Here are the five players still undecided at the end of January with just days to go, according to Rivals.

1. DB Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, CA, Rivals)

Leading Candidates: Florida, USC, LSU, UCLA

This much seems certain, Jackson will be playing his college football in either the SEC or the Pac 12. Being the California native, it is no surprise USC and UCLA have been in the mix, but the Trojans look to have pick dup some steam in the recruiting game since Steve Sarkisian was named head coach. USC’s biggest need may not be in the defensive secondary, but the future outlook for USC seems more optimistic right now and that makes the Trojans a huge player heading in to signing day.

Prediction: USC

2. LB Rashaan Evans (Auburn, AL; Rivals, pictured)

Leading Candidates: Auburn, Alabama, UCLA

Considering Auburn just played for a BCS championship and knocked off Alabama to get there, it would be a major shock if the Tigers let one of the nation’s top linebacker recruits sneak right out of their backyard. Auburn’s defense was good last year but certainly not their strength. Adding some hometown star power would make a great addition.

Prediction: Auburn

3. WR Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, LA, Rivals)

Leading Candidates: LSU, UCLA, Ole Miss, Florida State, Alabama

Dupre has been making a number of visits in January leading up to signing day, but LSU still looks like a strong favorite for the Louisiana wide receiver. the 6’4” 175 pound receiver is the second highest rated recruit in Louisiana and second at his position in the country. With a need at receiver, LSU looks to have one locked in.

Prediction: LSU

4. OL Damian Prince (Forestville, MD; Rivals)

Leading Candidates: Maryland, Florida, South Carolina

Where the 6’5”, 292 pound offensive lineman from Maryland ends up is one of the more up-in-the-air decisions to be made. Maryland has long been a popular favorite for the instate lineman, but Florida and South Carolina appear to have been making a decent push. The wild card in the equation may be Penn State, and Florida State may be in the mix as well. This is a tough one to predict, but Prince would be a huge keep for Maryland if they can hold on to him.

Prediction: Maryland

5. DB John Smith (Long Beach, CA; Rivals)

Leading Candidates: USC, Notre Dame

Another recruiting battle that appears pretty wide open is likely to have two strong contenders in the field with days to go. The California wide receiver from Long Beach is believed to be choosing between USC and Notre Dame. Again, the momentum is a huge factor in this recruiting battle, and USC seems to have it at the right time. The Trojans had Smith on an unofficial visit and an official visit in January that followed up an unofficial visit in December.

Prediction: USC

Central Michigan adds former Oregon State interim coach Cory Hall to staff

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After coaching the second half of the season for Oregon State in 2017, Cory Hall is now making his way to the MAC. Hall has officially been added to the Central Michigan coaching staff, where he will serve as the team’s secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator.

“We brought Cory in, and he made a presentation to the defensive coaching staff,” CMU head coach John Bonamego said in a released statement. “(Defensive coordinator) Greg Colby and the rest of us were impressed with his preparation and what he had to say. “There is no doubt he is a high-energy coach, and he’s a great fit for our program.”

Hall was named the interim head coach at Oregon State midway through the 2017 season following the removal of Gary Andersen. According to The Oregonian, Hall did not interview with new Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith to remain a part of the Beavers coaching staff in 2018.

Steven Montez throws 2 TDs, 2 INT in Colorado spring game

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Spring football practices concluded for the Colorado football program on Saturday with the playing of the annual spring game. Starting quarterback Steven Montez had his ups and downs with three total touchdowns and a pair of interceptions thrown in the scrimmage.

Montez led six and a half drives during the game, ending his day going 8-of-15 for 90 yards and two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher in the scrimmage with three carries for 43 yards. Co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini shrugged off the two picks by Montez after the game in a postgame interview.

“That’s going to happen, especially if we’re calling stuff that’s aggressive, it’s going to happen,” Chiaverini said. “What I like about him is he comes right back. It doesn’t bother him. Some guys get shy and won’t let it go. He comes right back in that two-minute drill and pulls the ball and runs for 60 yards. I like the fact that the kid loves to play football. That’s something you can’t teach kids. He loves to play, he loves to compete.”

Montez completed 609.5 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

Colorado is coming off a 5-7 season, a year removed from playing for the Pac-12 championship in 2016. Colorado ended the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak to prevent the Buffs from being able to play in a bowl game at the end of the year.

Colorado estimates a total of about 4,500 fans attended the live scrimmage.

UCF, Lane Kiffin, Neal Brown among college football underdogs celebrating NCAA Tournament madness

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The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been a joy to watch over the course of the first few days. Highlighted by some significant upsets and some thrilling finishes, this year’s tournament has everybody talking, including college football coaches. This is especially true for college football’s non-power conference programs, who seem to be celebrating the upsets performed early on by schools like Marshall, Loyola-Chicago and, of course, UMBC.

UCF took to Twitter to extend congratulations to the University of Maryland Baltimore County after the 16-seed Retrievers became the first team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s history to upset a No. 1 seed, in which UMBC throttled No. 1 Virginia by 20 after an unbelievable second-half performance that left Virginia clueless how to respond.

UMBC has been the story of the first round for the historic upset of the Cavaliers, but FAU head coach Lane Kiffin claims he picked UMBC to win the game. In fact, Kiffin showed off a bracket in which he picked UMBC to win it all. Of course, such a bracket cannot be taken too seriously, especially after closer inspection reveals Kiffin went heavy with the underdog mentality throughout his bracket. Perhaps such a bracket strategy plays into the kind of mentality Kiffin is attempting to build at FAU.

Troy coach Neal Brown also used the UMBC upset to make a case for the Group of Five representation in college football to get more of a fair shake in the sport of college football.

Brown is not the only person to have this thought, although the idea has just as many on the other side of the fence as well. The College Football Playoff is a much smaller system to determine a college football champion and expansion is a hot-button topic of conversation for a variety of reasons. The current format allows for one guaranteed spot in a major bowl game for the highest-ranked conference champion from the non-power conferences, but undefeated UCF was still left out of the College Football Playoff last season and it may be a long time before a non-power conference champion gets a shot at the playoff.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach has proposed a 64-team college football playoff, but the most likely step for expansion of the playoff system will double the field to eight teams. That would still likely leave out some top non-power conference options, but it would leave the door open just a little wider for a team like UCF last year.

Former Navy LB Caleb King killed in fighter jet crash

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A routine U.S. Navy training flight that ended in tragedy had a college football connection.

Earlier this week, two Navy aviators were killed when a fighter jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida, this past Wednesday.  Those who lost their lives were, according to the Associated Press, Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King, who served in the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three (VFA-213).  Johnson was the pilot of the aircraft.

“[T]he aircraft crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field following a training mission,” wrote.  While details are scant at the moment, below is from that website’s report:

The crash happened around 4:30 p.m., Hecht said. Both pilots onboard the Super Hornet ejected, he said. Initially, Hecht said a search-and-rescue effort for the aircrew was still ongoing around 6 PM, but later he said the pilots were recovered within minutes and taken by ambulance to the medical center.

An eyewitness, Barbie Wilson, told the crash “looked like something out of a movie.”

Wilson, who lives on the back side of the air station, said she stopped to watch an F/A-18 flying overhead, as she often does, and was shocked to see what appeared to be a massive malfunction in midair.

“Literally, the wings went vertical, and there was a fireball, and it just literally dropped out of the sky,” Wilson said.

King (pictured, left) was a linebacker for the Midshipmen football team from 2009-11.  He played in 38 games during his time at the military academy.

“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the entire King family,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said in a statement. “We lost a dear brother and warrior. The entire Navy Football Brotherhood mourns the passing of a great American. We love you Caleb!”