While many top college football recruits have already declared their firm choices of powerhouse programs to attend, several intriguing players won’t make it official until National Signing Day in February.
Much of the top talent signed during the early period, but most prospects on this upcoming list still garner the gaudy designation of a 5-star.
Here is a look at the National Signing Day decisions that will be most worth monitoring leading up to February’s signing period.
Jadon Haselwood, wide receiver, Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, GA)
Regarded as the best wideout in the country, Haselwood is planning to announce his decision around the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5.
At 6-foot-2.5 and 198 pounds, he has a decently filled-out frame but could pack on a little more weight. He’s a precise route-runner with great physicality and ball skills, so it behooves Haselwood to bulk up, which he will in college.
It seems Oklahoma is the front-runner to land Haselwood, with Tennessee, Miami and Florida State as additional finalists. However, his home-state Georgia Bulldogs are bucking the odds to make a late, serious push. Georgia lost Haselwood’s commitment in October.
This is a compelling recruitment because Haselwood could see the field and make an immediate impact in the passing game as a true freshman.
Bru McCoy, athlete, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
Like Haselwood, McCoy will announce at the All-American Game. Although he’s considered an athlete, his primary position is receiver.
McCoy (6-foot-2.5, 212 pounds) certainly looks the part of a future No. 1 pass-catcher. There’s a rather striking similarity to Dez Bryant in terms of size, ball skills and the way McCoy doesn’t shy away from contact as an aggressive after-the-catch runner in the open field.
Hailing from a big-time prep school should only aid the swiftness of McCoy’s transition to the collegiate ranks. Plenty of Mater Dei players have stayed near home and gone to USC, notably quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Matt Barkley. Texas joins the Trojans among McCoy’s chief finalists.
But considering he took an official visit last weekend and likes the USC coaching staff, look for McCoy to make the Trojans happy again.
Ishmael Sopsher, defensive tackle, Amite (Amite, LA)
The top-ranked player at his position and No. 9 overall prospect, per 247Sports, is waiting until February’s National Signing Day to make his call. Sopsher has LSU and Alabama atop his list, which also features Texas A&M, Auburn and Clemson.
Can’t really go wrong there, but the hometown Tigers may well get the edge over the mighty Crimson Tide. It’s hard to argue with the rate at which both SEC programs produce NFL-caliber talent, particularly on defense.
Listed at 6-foot-3.5 and 334 pounds, Sopsher is already a grown man who has stunning athleticism for his size and should be a space-eating, run-stopping force in college.
Kyle Ford, wide receiver, Orange Lutheran (Orange, CA)
Jan. 5 could be an epic day for USC, because Ford may join McCoy as the second dynamic playmaker to commit to the Trojans.
Ford has an almost identical stature to McCoy at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds. He’s not quite as athletic or explosive, hence his slightly lower standing in the 247Sports composite rankings.
Nevertheless, Ford is a 5-star stud who can high-point the ball as well as anyone in this class and instinctively knows how to use his size to create separation. His precocious route-running ability and sure hands make Ford a can’t-miss prospect.
Most other finalists to land Ford’s services are out West: Colorado, Oregon and Washington, though Michigan is on the list as well.
Quavaris Crouch, athlete, Harding University (Charlotte, NC)
Per 247Sports, his junior campaign in 2017 included not only 14 sacks, but also 3,142 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.
Crouch projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker who has the quickness to drop into coverage when necessary and the feel for the running back position to track pass-catching tailbacks when he needs to.
He’s already an imposing figure at 6-foot-2.5 and 230 pounds. With his size and explosiveness, however, it may be hard to keep Crouch from playing offense.
That’s a fun dilemma to have for whoever scoops him up when he announces on Jan. 5. The top contenders are thought to be Tennessee and Clemson. Crouch could be a huge get for the Volunteers to rise in the SEC.
Chris Steele, cornerback, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
This is an offense-heavy list no doubt, but someone has to defend these up-and-coming stars. Look no further than Steele, a 4-star prospect ranked fifth at cornerback in the class of 2019.
Any program would be fortunate to land the 6-foot-1.5, 187-pounder. Steele’s athleticism is off the charts. His lateral quickness is incredible, as is the fluidity of his hips, knack for changing direction quickly and innate feel for man coverage.
There’s no denying Steele has the tools to be future lockdown corner, which is so important in this era of pass-happy, high-scoring spread offenses.