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National Signing Day 2016 Announcement Watchlist

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer

On paper, much of the 2016 college football recruiting season is a formality at this point in the game with thousands of high school and junior college recruits verbally committed to their dream school or program of choice. Regardless of the stability many fan bases believe they have in regards to how their class was shaping up on Tuesday, things are sure to change by the end of today.

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The perch atop the recruiting rankings, per Rivals, is a familiar sight with a couple of surprises. Ohio State is leading the way followed by LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss and Michigan in the top five. The wrinkle within this first tier is that every team but the Wolverines have left open a couple of spots for last-minute additions and late flips. The surprise go-getters based on recent history is Ole Miss and Michigan. Both programs have excelled on the trail, especially the Rebels with two 5-star commitments paired with eight 4-star talents.

The biggest teams with the most ground to gain within the top 10 are No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Alabama. The College Football Playoff National Championship Game foes are battling it out again on the recruiting trail with several overlapping interests in top prospects. Oddly enough, both were sitting on 17 verbal commitments entering National Signing Day.

Programs with high expectations outside the current top 10 include No. 14 Auburn (17 commits), No. 15 Oklahoma (19), No. 17 Georgia (16), and No. 19 Texas A&M (18). Of the four, watch for Georgia to make the biggest gains, perhaps even over some of the teams in the top 10 thanks to the wealth of in-state talent that has yet to announce a decision.

Teams like No. 23 Miami (17 commits), No. 24 Tennessee (17), No. 32 Arizona State (18), and No. 36 Mississippi State (18) have a lot of room to add talented prospects but are floating around an average class per their peer group. Mississippi State has been pushing hard for in-state prospects but has so far lost out to Ole Miss and Alabama. The final decisions of defensive end Jeffery Simmons (Noxubee County), wide receiver A.J. Brown (Starkville), offensive lineman Scott Lashley, and wide receiver Daniel Crowell could make for a boom-or-bust recruiting class for the Bulldogs.

The two biggest teams with the most to prove on a national level today are the USC Trojans and Texas Longhorns. Two of the bigger pillars of college football history and tradition have missed the mark so far on the recruiting trail. New USC head coach Clay Helton has just 13 verbal commitments so far. In Helton’s favor, the 13 are very impressive with one 5-star (wide receiver Tyler Vaughns) and eight 4-star prospects, a group that’s highlighted by in-state offensive linemen Nathan Smith (Murrieta) and Frank Martin (Santa Ana).

Texas head coach Charlie Strong cannot make the same claim as Helton. The Longhorns have 16 commitments and thus far have been outperformed by in-state rivals Baylor (No. 12 per Rivals), TCU (No. 16) Texas A&M (No. 19), and even Houston (No. 30). The news did start getting a little bit better for Texas on Tuesday when 4-star running back Kyle Porter (Katy) picked the Longhorns over Arkansas and TCU.

The following recruits will help swing the pendulum in favor of a lot of teams while giving fan bases a reason to feel optimistic about their favorite program’s chances for success in the near future.

Related: National Signing Day 2016 Predictions — Where Will the Top Recruits Sign?

2016 National Signing Day Commitment Times

Note: All times listed are ET and subject to change

CB Trayvon Mullen – 9:10 a.m. on ESPNU

Coconut Creek (Fla.)

Contenders: LSU, Clemson, Florida State, TCU, Louisville
Pick: Mullen announced he would be signing with Clemson

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DB Jared Mayden – 9:15 a.m.

Sachse (Texas)

Contenders: Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan
Pick: Mayden announced he would be signing with Alabama

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SS Brandon Jones – 9:30 a.m. on ESPNU

Nacogdoches (Texas)

Contenders: Texas, Baylor, Arkansas, Texas A&M
Pick: Jones announced he would be signing with Texas

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LB Ben Davis – 10:10 a.m. on ESPNU

Gordo (Ala.)

Contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame
Pick: Davis announced he would be signing with Alabama

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SS Deontay Anderson – 10:30 a.m. on ESPNU

Manvel (Texas)

Contenders: Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Texas
Pick: Anderson announced he would be signing with Ole Miss

Related: 4-Star Deontay Anderson Commits to Ole Miss By Skydiving

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LB Dontavious Jackson – 10:45 a.m. on ESPNU

Elsik (Houston, Texas)

Contenders: Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Florida State

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Pick: Jackson announced he would be attending Florida State

WR Nate Craig-Myers – 11:10 a.m. on ESPNU

Tampa Catholic (Fla.)

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Contenders: Ole Miss, North Carolina, Florida State, Auburn, Florida

Pick: Craig-Meyers announced he would be attending Auburn

LB Jeffery McCulloch – 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU

Aldine Davis (Houston, Texas)

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Contenders: Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Stanford

Pick: McCulloch announced he would be signing with Texas

OT Landon Dickerson – 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU

South Caldwell (Hudson, N.C.)

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Contenders: Tennessee, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Auburn

Pick: Dickerson announced he would be attending Florida State

CB Kristian Fulton – 1:00 p.m.

Archbishop Rummel (Metairie, La.)

Contenders: Arkansas, LSU

Pick: Fulton announced he would be attending LSU

DT Rashan Gary – 1:10 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2

Paramus Catholic (N.J.)

Contenders: Alabama, Clemson, Michigan

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Pick: Gary announced he would be signing with Michigan

DE Terrell Hall – 2:00 p.m.

St. John’s College High (Washington D.C.)

Contenders: Alabama, Florida State, Maryland, Ole Miss, Florida

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Pick: Hall announced he would be signing with Alabama

LB Lyndell “Mack” Wilson – 2:05 p.m. on ESPN2

Carver (Montgomery, Ala.)

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Contenders: Alabama, Georgia, Auburn

Pick: Wilson announced he would be attending Alabama

DT Derrick Brown – 3:10 p.m. on ESPN2

Lanier (Sugar Hill, Ga.)

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Contenders: Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee

Pick: Brown announced he would be attending Auburn

TE Devin Asiasi – 3:20 p.m. on ESPN2

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)

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Contenders: USC, Alabama, Washington, Michigan

Pick: Asiasi announced he would be heading to Michigan

DT Boss Tagaloa – 3:20 p.m. on ESPN2

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)

Contenders: USC, UCLA, Washington, Michigan

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Pick: Tagaloa annouced he would be signing with UCLA

LB Caleb Kelly – 8:30 p.m.

Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.)

Contenders: Oklahoma, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon
Pick: Kelly announced he will attend Oklahoma

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— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.