Three things to watch on Signing Day

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1. The rich get richer. As things stand on Signing Day eve, Alabama has the nation’s top recruiting class and is one of seven SEC teams in Rivals’ top 10 class rankings. But it’s not just the traditional SEC powers — Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU — that are adding loads of talent.

Kentucky’s class currently ranks 13th by Rivals, ahead of powerhouse programs like Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Michigan and USC. Ole Miss (No. 15) will bring in another talent-rich class after blowing the doors of signing day a year ago.

Tennessee, which hasn’t had a 10-win season since 2007, currently has the third-best class in this cycle. And Texas A&M is bringing in the top-ranked quarterback in Kyle Allen (No. 7 overall) and third-ranked wide receiver in Speedy Noil (No. 21 overall). Not a bad way to replace Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans.

It’s a rosy situation for every SEC team — 2013 SEC East champion Mizzou has the 36th-best class, for one. But Gary Pinkel has generally done a good job turning diamond-in-the-rough types (like Sean Weatherspoon and Michael Sam, both two-star recruits) into elite collegiate players.

Ohio State, Florida State and Notre Dame are bringing in top-10 classes, while Texas (No. 17) and USC (No. 34) can blame their lackluster showings on regime changes.

Long story short: The talent gap between the SEC and the rest of college football’s conference will only widen when the fax machines get to work on Wednesday.

2. Plenty of talented players are still uncommitted. Seventeen of Rivals’ top 100 players have yet to verbally commit to a school, led by No. 6 overall recruit Adoree’ Jackson. If Jackson stays home in Los Angeles and commits to USC, he — along with five-star recruit JuJu Smith — could rocket USC’s class into the top 25.

No. 1 linebacker Rashaan Evans is down to Alabama, Auburn and UCLA — but he’s from Auburn, and missing out on him, especially to Alabama, would sting for the Tigers.

Of the 17 uncommitted Rivals100 players, seven have five star ratings. Those are the kind of players who can make or break a class — like five-star tackle Damian Price, who has Maryland, South Carolina and Florida in his top three.

3. The surprise decommitment. We’re talking about life-changing decisions for 17- and 18-year-olds here, so cold feet are a real possibility. Parents sometimes get involved and try to force a change, like last year’s Alex Collins saga.

Inevitably, a high-profile recruit will decommit at the last second and fax his letter of intent elsewhere. And when that does happen, don’t do something stupid.

Despite commitment to Tennessee, Shaq Wiggins visits Mississippi State

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Hit the pause button on Shaq Wiggins and his intent to transfer to Tennessee. There appears to be a new contender in the running. The Clarion-Ledger reports Wiggins is visiting Mississippi State even after previously committing to the Vols last month as he pursues a graduate transfer destination from Louisville.

Wiggins arrived at Mississippi State on Sunday and the visit will reportedly go through at least Monday night, according to The Clarion-Ledger‘s report. Wiggins is a graduate transfer so he will be eligible to play immediately for any other FBS program this fall.

Wiggins announced his intent to transfer out of Louisville in March. His previous connections to former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was a key reason why he ended up transferring to Louisville from Georgia. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Grantham is now at Mississippi State. However, Mississippi State was initially reported to be on a short list of schools Louisville was blocking Wiggins from considering, likely because of the Grantham connection after Grantham left the Louisville staff. Other schools reported to be blocked included Kentucky, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky (a mix of future opponents and regional rivals). Fortunately for Wiggins, an appeal to be able to consider Mississippi State was approved.

Wiggins previously announced his commitment to Tennessee in late April. Now that remains in question as Mississippi State was initially going to be high on Wiggins’ personal list when he decided to transfer. With the Bulldogs once again a potential option, they could swipe Wiggins from the Vols at the 11th hour.

San Jose State safety Chad Miller recovering from stabbing in brawl

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San Jose State safety Chad Miller is recovering in a hospital after being stabbed in a fight in San Jose this weekend. Early reports suggest Miller is expected to recover from the injury.

“He is hospitalized and is expected to recover,” a statement from San Jose State said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Chad and his family for his prompt recovery.”

According to a report from NBC Bay Area, Miller was stabbed in a brawl that involved at least 12 people. The incident occurred off campus from San Jose State, according to The Mercury News. At this time, San Jose police have not commented on the situation and are thought to be investigating the manner. No charges have been filed at this time.

Miller played in all 12 games, starting in three, for the Spartans last season. He recorded 25 tackles and forced a fumble.

Auburn’s John Franklin III may not be completely done playing QB after all

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Auburn quarterback-turned-wideout John Franklin III may not be completely done taking snaps behind center after all.

The Tigers’ new offensive coordinator tipped that the speedy receiver likely would be the best option to fill the team’s emergency quarterback spot in 2017 while speaking to AL.com during a meeting with a booster club over the weekend.

“I think he definitely could be (the emergency option), for sure,” Chip Lindsey told the site. “He’s done it his whole life, so I think he could definitely do that if we needed him to, for sure.”

Auburn suffered a host of injuries at the position last season, which prompted some extended playing time for Franklin as he appeared in all 13 games of the 2016 campaign and threw for 204 yards and a touchdown. He was moved to wide receiver during spring practice following the arrival of highly touted Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham and seems likely he’ll see the bulk of the action catching passes during the year instead of throwing them.

However, transfers out of the Plains have changed the equation a little bit at quarterback for Auburn. On top of former starter Sean White still recovering from a broken arm, redshirt freshman Woody Barrett decided to move to a JUCO and fellow backup Tyler Queen dropped all the way down to a Division II school this offseason. That leaves just Stidham and White with any experience at the position this year and true freshman Malik Willis behind them on the depth chart.

You can bet that Lindsey and head coach Gus Malzahn want to preserve Willis’ redshirt in 2017 so it certainly makes sense to have Franklin slot in behind the team’s unquestioned top two quarterbacks if either were to go down with an injury. Even if everybody stays healthy, it seems likely we’ll even get to see Franklin in a few Wildcat packages for the Tigers given his skillset so his days behind center don’t appear to be fully over just yet.

Ex-UCF lineman sues athletic department over use of his name and likeness

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Central Florida is involved in yet another lawsuit with a former player only this time it’s over the use of a former lineman’s likeness.

Jah Reid, who played at UCF from 2006-10, has sued the school’s non-profit athletics association as well as a separate corporation led by football coach Scott Frost for “improper use of his likeness,” the Orlando Sentinel  reports. He is apparently seeking some $200,000 in royalties and a whopping $600,000 in damages over the case.

At the heart of the matter is apparently how Frost’s summer camps advertised using Reid’s likeness to promote it to future recruits. The former offensive lineman’s picture was reportedly used and the lawsuit brings up the fact that a brochure used the line: “come to camp and have a chance to earn an offer like Jah Reid.”

Reid did not play for Frost during his time on the team and instead was recruited and coached by former Knights coach George O’Leary. Reid was later drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and is currently a member of the Kansas City Chiefs organization heading into the 2017 season.

The use of an athlete’s name and likeness have been litigated quite in recent years, notably in the O’Bannon vs. NCAA case that continues to make its way through the court system. It will be interesting to see if the Reid lawsuit against UCF even makes it to trial in light of that or if the parties eventually settle out of court before it gets to that point.

Either way, probably not the offseason news that Frost and the UCF athletics brass wanted to see this summer.