I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
We need to come up with a new name for the February signing day. It just doesn’t feel right to call it “National Signing Day” while pretending like 70 percent of the 2018 class isn’t already signed.
I vote for something like “Second Signing Day” or “Final Signing Day.” Whatever we want to call it, we should just have some sort of way of addressing it for what it is.
But every news outlet (including this one), will still provide as much coverage as you can handle because there are still major storylines to follow and questions to answer.
Here are 5 B1G questions I have for Wednesday:
1. Does Rasheed Walker commit to Penn State?
If Penn State closes with a top-4 class, it could depend on whether the Waldorf, Maryland recruit signs with the Lions. Walker, a 6-6, 300-pound offensive tackle, is down to Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech.
The Lions’ top remaining target took an official visit to Columbus a couple weeks ago, but Penn State is still the favorite in the 247sports crystal ball. The No. 65 overall recruit could end up being the top-ranked B1G signee on Wednesday.
If Matt Limegrover’s efforts result in a commitment, Penn State will have landed 6 top-100 recruits in its 2018 class. In Penn State’s first 3 full recruiting cycles under Franklin, the Lions had just 5 top-100 recruits combined. Walker’s signing would cap off what’s already been a huge 2018 for Penn State.
2. Will Otis Reese stick with Michigan?
Whenever an elite recruit from below the Mason-Dixon Line verbally commits to a B1G school early in the process, there’s always that “yeah, but.” As in yeah, he committed to a B1G school, but the in-state SEC school is probably going to flip him.
Unfortunately for Michigan, that could be the case with Reese. The Leesburg, Georgia native got the full-court press from the in-state Bulldogs. Kirby Smart has a knack for flipping elite recruits late, but he did watch Michigan steal 5-star defensive lineman Aubrey Solomon in 2017. The question is if Georgia made enough of a late push to land Reese, who has been verbally committed to the Wolverines since the summer before his junior year.
Michigan does still have Reese’s guy Solomon in its back pocket, but the 247sports crystal ball favors Georgia. If the Wolverines miss out on Reese, it could be their first time without signing a top-100 recruit since Brady Hoke’s first class in 2011.
You can bet Jim Harbaugh would like to avoid that stat.
3. How high does Nebraska rise?
Bravo, Scott Frost. Take a bow. Seriously.
Nebraska’s recruiting class was completely in shambles when Frost took over in December. The Huskers didn’t even have a top-70 class. Now, they’re in position to close with a top-25 class thanks to Frost, who definitely hasn’t slept much the last 2 months.
Nebraska could still had several more 4-star recruits on Wednesday. Four-star running back Maurice Washington (No. 10 RB) is expected to pick the Huskers, and they have a chance to land both 4-star outside linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste and U.S. Army All-American center Tyrone Sampson Jr. If all three of those recruits and 4-star verbal commit Cam’Ron Jones sign with the Huskers, they’d finish with 7 recruits rated 4-star or better.
Mike Riley, for as celebrated as he was as a recruiter, never finished with more than 5 such signees. For Frost to best that with the new Early Signing Period AND doing so while coaching UCF to a Peach Bowl victory against Auburn would say a ton about him as he enters Year 1.
4. What does Michigan State’s finish look like after sexual assault scandal?
I wrote in the wake of the MSU sexual assault report from Outside The Lines that I thought recruiting was going to be an uphill battle for Mark Dantonio moving forward. I still think Wednesday will show why MSU was fortunate that the new Early Signing Period went into effect for the 2018 class.
ESPN recruiting director Tom Luginbill confirmed that on a conference call on Monday.
“They’re obviously going to have to manage that because those questions are going to be asked, but they can only answer based off of answers that they have and kids will have to either trust in that or they won’t,” Luginbill said. “I think this would be much more damaging for them if we were sitting here under the old regulations and having to sign an entire class on Wednesday as opposed to just a few players.”
The Spartans aren’t expected to make any big splashes on Wednesday with 20 signees already in the fold. As it stands, they have the B1G’s No. 6 class and the nation’s No. 29 class.
It wouldn’t be surprising if both of those rankings dropped on Wednesday.
5. Will Ohio State hold on to No. 1?
The Buckeyes can make some history on Wednesday. They can lock in the top recruiting class in 247sports history…as long as they can fend off Georgia. Ohio State holds the No. 1 spot entering Wednesday, but a lot can still happen.
OSU got a chance to make a final impression on No. 1 offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, who took an official visit to Columbus last week. The Buckeyes also made a strong push for the aforementioned Walker in hopes of adding one more elite offensive tackle. They could be in the market to make other moves like adding Jean-Baptiste, though it’s unknown how the latest Greg Schiano reports could impact the New Jersey native.
Ohio State’s push for No. 1 is obviously dependent on how many big-time signees Georgia has left. The Dawgs are the favorites to sign 5-star cornerback Tyson Campbell, 4-star Alabama commit Quay Walker and the aforementioned Reese. If Georgia lands all 3 of those top-100 recruits, you’ll likely see a new No. 1 by day’s end regardless of how OSU finishes.
Either way, Wednesday will be the first time that Alabama doesn’t have the nation’s No. 1 class since 2010. Who was the coach who accomplished that feat, you ask? Urban Meyer.
Earning the No. 1 spot in Columbus would add yet another impressive accomplishment to Meyer’s ever-growing résumé.