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With National Signing Day in the books, half-dozen four-star 2019 prospects remain unsigned

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Just because National Signing Day has ended doesn’t mean all of the signings have done the same.

While most of the attention is focused on signing day itself, that date, Feb. 6 this year, is merely the start of what is the regular signing period that runs through April 1, 2019, for both the FBS and FCS levels.  While the vast majority of top recruits, either on National Signing Day or the three-day Early Signing Period in mid-December, have already put their collective Herbie Hancocks on a National Letter of Intent, not all have.

In fact, six four-star prospects (out of more than 340) on 247Sports.com‘s composite board have yet to put pen to NLI paper and, thus, could still be recruited over the next seven weeks or so by a handful of Power Five football programs.

  • Safety Nick Cross (No. 55 on 247Sports.com’s composite board)
    The fourth-ranked safety and top-ranked player at any position in the state of Maryland has been committed to Florida State since September of last year.  While Cross prefers FSU, his parents want him to attend Penn State, with Maryland viewed as a compromise choice. 247Sports wrote Wednesday that “FSU seems to be out of it,” although a final decision has yet to be made.  It’s believed that the decision-making process won’t last more than a few days, although that’s far from certain.
  • Wide receiver Puka Nacua (No. 136)
    The top-rated player at any position in the state of Utah, Nacua committed to USC June 18 before taking a trio of official visits to Pac-12 schools in the two weeks leading into signing day — Washington (Jan. 25), UCLA (Jan. 30), Oregon (Feb. 1). “We need more time to break down the information and talk. We’ve been too busy and unable to find quality time,” Nacua’s mother, Penina Nacua, told the Deseret News in a text about the family’s decision to delay the recruit’s signing.  Despite the commitment to the Trojans, the Huskies are viewed as the favorites to land Nacua.
  • Dual-threat quarterback Anthony Harris (No. 233)
    Listed as a quarterback, it’s believed Harris will move to the defensive secondary at the collegiate level.  Harris committed to Tennessee over the summer, and is still viewed as a hard commit, but the athlete could end up staying in his home state of North Carolina and playing for the Tar Heels.
  • Defensive end Braedon Mowry (No. 234)
    After committing to Texas A&M last April, he’s still viewed as a hard commit to the Aggies.  Speculation is the Katy, Tex., high schooler is working to get his academic house in order before officially signing with A&M, which is expected in time so that he would be available for the 2019 season.
  • Wide receiver Darren Jones (No. 253)
    The 6-8 receiver committed to Utah on Aug. 21.
  • Defensive tackle Josh Ellison (No. 335)
    Like Mowry, Ellison is a hard commit to Texas A&M (he committed a year ago this month).  Also like Mowry, Ellison is working to clean up some academic issues.  Unlike Mowry, the rumor is Ellison will very likely grayshirt and kick off his collegiate career next year.

Going even deeper, four other 2019 prospects, all three-stars, in the Top 500 of 247Sports.com’s composite board remain unsigned.

Toledo announces future three-game series with Kentucky

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How about a little Power Five-Group of Five scheduling news to start off your Wednesday morning?

This week, Toledo announced that it has reached an agreement on a future three-game series with Kentucky, which is essentially a home-and-home plus a one-off.  The two schools will play in Lexington during the 2025 and 2028 seasons, with the Wildcats traveling to the Glass Bowl in 2027.

Specific dates for those matchups, which will be the first-ever between the school, weren’t divulged.

“We are very pleased to enter in this three-game series with the University of Kentucky,” said UT athletic director Mike O’Brien in a statement. “Bringing an SEC opponent into the Glass Bowl is huge for our football program and for our fans. We look forward to an exciting series with the Wildcats, beginning with the game in Lexington this fall.”

That 2027 game will mark just the second time an SEC school has ever traveled to Toledo for a football game, with the first being Missouri in 2014.  All told, the Rockets have played four games against members of that conference and have gone 1-3 in those contests, with the lone win coming against Arkansas in 2015.

Love lost as Memphis LB enters transfer portal

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For the third time this offseason, Memphis has seen a member of its football program sucked into the infamous portal.

Citing a source familiar with the decision, the Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Nyle Love has entered his name into the transfer database.  No specific reason was given for the departure, although positioning on the depth chart would be a likely place to start.

Other FBS schools will be able to contact Love without receiving U-M’s permission, with the linebacker also retaining the ability to return to the Tigers if he so desires.  As we have noted multiple times in the past, the school now also has the option to strip Love of his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

If Love moves on to another FBS school, it’s very likely he’ll have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Love didn’t play a down for Tigers after coming to the AAC school as a three-star 2018 signee.

USC confirms JT Daniels is still Trojans’ starting QB

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The drama in the Land of Troy, such as it was, is officially over.

For most, there was a three-man battle for USC’s starting quarterback job throughout this offseason — incumbent JT Daniels, Matt Fink and Jack Sears.  Tuesday, the Trojans ended the competition charade by confirming that Daniels will indeed be the team’s starter when they open the 2019 season later this month.

Most intriguing, though, is the fact that true freshman Kedon Slovis, who has been mostly an afterthought in the competition, has been chosen as the true sophomore Daniels’ backup over Fink, a redshirt junior, and Sears, a redshirt sophomore.

Daniels started 11 games as a true freshman for the Trojans this past season, with Sears starting the other.  Fink seriously contemplated a transfer this offseason before opting to remain at USC.  Slovis, meanwhile, was a three-star 2019 signee who was rated as the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the country.

In his first season as a starter, Daniels completed almost 60 percent of his 363 passes for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Michigan transfer Brandon Peters wins starting QB job at Illinois

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Michigan transfer Brandon Peters has won the quarterback derby at Illinois, Lovie Smith announced Tuesday.

“We loved Brandon when we got a chance to know him during the recruiting process,” Smith said. “Now that we’ve seen him on the field, he has been everything we though he would be. He has really thrown the ball well and is a better runner than he’s given credit for. Most importantly, he has moved into a leadership role for us. We’re pumped up about Brandon leading us heading into the season.”

A former 4-star recruit, the Avon, Ind., native is a graduate transfer who still has two years of eligibility remaining.

At Michigan he appeared in 10 games with four starts, completing 53 percent of his 110 throws for 680 yards and four touchdowns.

Illinois opens its season Aug. 31 at home versus Akron.