Are the postseason rich about to get recruiting richer? To answer a question with another question: would you expect anything less when it comes to the Early Signing Period?
For those of you unaware, today is the first day of the third Early Signing Period, which runs for three days from Wednesday through this Friday. Any players who remain unsigned after that period — last year, roughly 80 percent of recruits who signed with FBS programs put pen to paper during the Early Signing Period, and that number is expected to creep up this cycle — will have to wait until National Signing Day, February 5 of next year, in order to put their Herbie Hancock on a National Letter of Intent.
And, as we head into the early signing period, three of the College Football Playoff semifinalists will carry team recruiting rankings in the Top Five — No. 3 Clemson has the current top-ranked class, while No. 1 LSU is at third and No. 2 Ohio State at fourth. The other semifinalist, No. 4 Oklahoma, sits inside the Top 10 at eighth on the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
All told, the SEC has six of the Top 10 classes in Alabama (No. 2), LSU (No. 3), Texas A&M (No. 5), Georgia (No. 6) Florida (No. 7) and Auburn (No. 9). Clemson and Ohio State are the only Top-Ten schools from the ACC and Big Ten, respectively, while Oklahoma is one of two from the Big 12, with No. 10 Texas being the other.
As for the other Power Five conference, No. 21 Stanford is the highest-rated school from the Pac-12. At No. 52, Cincinnati is the highest-rated school from a Group of Five conference (the AAC).
Below is the complete Top 20 as we enter the Early Signing Period, as of this post and, again, as ranked on the 247Sports.com composite board:
Of course, those rankings are extremely fluid as there are a handful of highly-rated recruits who have yet to give their verbal commitments let alone sign any paperwork to make those verbals official. As of right now, five of the 28 players deemed five-star prospects in 247‘s composite rankings have yet to commit to a school. Of the five, Clemson is in on two of them — California inside linebacker Justin Flow (Oregon is considered a slight favorite) and South Carolina strongside defensive end Jordan Burch (Clemson is considered a slight favorite over South Carolina, LSU and Georgia) — while Georgia is a sizable favorite to land two others — Arizona cornerback Kelee Ringo and Nevada athlete Darnell Washington. If UGA lands Ringo and/or Washington it won’t be today as the recruits will select their college of choice at some point during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 4.
The other uncommitted five-star, Texas running back Zachary Evans, is considered a very heavy lean to sign with LSU. Evans won’t be signing with anyone today, though, as he has previously stated he’ll announce his commitment during the Jan. 2 Under Armour All-American Game.
Extend it out to the Top 100, and only nine prospects have not yet verballed. None of those, all four-stars, are inside of the Top 50.