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


No matter where college football fans get their recruiting rankings, there are a lot of top uncommitted recruits left to be had in the 2016 recruiting class. In fact, on 247Sports’ top 25 there are 11 remaining and on Rivals’ top 20 there are 10 uncommitted players. Of course there are some overlapping of recruits between the two player rankings but the point remains that some heavy star power could heavily influence the perception of several different recruiting classes once National Signing Day is completed.

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The majority of top talent left is located within the borders of California, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. No surprise but the teams with the most to lose and most to gain are in those states, especially for Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

The following is a breakdown of the top 10 uncommitted players, an overview of their abilities, along with a pick of which school gets their signature on Feb. 3.

DT Rashan Gary (Paramus Catholic, N.J.)

No. 1-ranked player in the nation

Gary (6-5, 295) is an instant impact kind of player out of New Jersey. Strong, quick, and plays angry.

Contenders: Clemson, Michigan, Auburn, and Alabama. Seems like a two-team race between Clemson and Michigan.

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Pick: Clemson

LB Ben Davis (Gordo, Ala.)

No. 5 on Rivals, No. 10 on 247Sports

Davis (6-3, 240) is an elite linebacker with a lot of pressure to stay in the state of Alabama. He made official visits to Georgia (Oct. 16), LSU (Nov. 14), Notre Dame (Jan. 15), Alabama (Jan. 22), and Auburn (Jan. 29).

Contenders: Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia

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Pick: Tough call between Georgia and Alabama but the Tide continue to roll.

WR Demetris Robertson (Savannah Christian Prep, Ga.)

No. 8 on Rivals, No. 14 on 247Sports

Robertson (5-11, 175) has elite speed able to take the ball from anywhere on the field to the house. Think Christian Kirk, Texas A&M true freshman in 2015. The Georgia native has made repeated unofficial visits to the Bulldogs, but will familiarity breed a lack of enthusiasm?

2015 Stats: 107 carries, 1,043 yards, 9 TDs; 12 receptions, 126 yards, TD; 41 tackles, two interceptions, and one pass defended in 12 games played.

Contenders: Notre Dame and Georgia

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Pick: Notre Dame

LB Mique Juarez (North Torrance, Calif.)

No. 9 on Rivals, No. 11 on 247Sports

Juarez (6-1, 230) is an elite athlete that played quarterback for North High School during his senior year, and excelled doing so. Had 23 passing touchdowns and 36 rushing and tallied 146 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss in 2015. Was a one-time commit to USC but decommitted following head coach Steve Sarkisian's dismissal.

Contenders: Washington, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Alabama and UCLA

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Pick: Toss up between hometown UCLA and Bama with the Bruins winning out

WR/CB Mecole Hardman Jr. (Elbert County, Ga.)

No. 11 on Rivals, No. 13 on 247Sports

Hardman (5-10, 170) played on both sides of the ball for Elbert County but will more than likely play corner at the next level. Lives within 30 minutes from the University of Georgia.

Contenders: Cal, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Georgia

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Pick: Bulldogs keep this one in state

CB Jack Jones (Long Beach Poly, Calif.)

No. 12 on Rivals, No. 22 on 247Sports

Jones (5-11, 165) is an elite defender that is quick on quick. Can cover elite college receivers from Day 1, will be challenged to take on big FBS running backs play after play at the next level. Lives minutes away from the USC campus. The Trojans always find a way to land top recruits in their backyard.

Contenders: Alabama, Texas A&M, and USC

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Pick: USC

LB Caleb Kelly (Clovis West, Calif.)

Ranked No. 14 on Rivals, No. 25 on 247Sports

Kelly (6-3, 215) can arrive on a FBS campus and play outside linebacker as a true freshman. If he adds weight, his frame can support a move to the strong side or inside depending on the scheme. Notre Dame, Oregon, and Oklahoma are pushing hard for Kelly’s commitment. The Fresno talent does not seem interested in staying too close to home.

2015 stats: seven carries for 36 yards, 39 receptions for 447 yards (tight end); 115 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, 21 sacks, and three forced fumbles.

Contenders: Michigan, Oregon, Oklahoma, Notre Dame

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Pick: Oklahoma wins out over Notre Dame

DE Jeffery Simmons (Noxubee County, Miss.)

No. 15 on Rivals, No. 19 on 247Sports

Simmons (6-3, 280) is another ready-made college level strong-side defensive end. Powerful, quick and motivated, he holds the edge and gets up field with force. Simmons is a “must get” for Mississippi State. Noxubee County is on the Mississippi-Alabama border and just a quick shot up Highway 25 to Starkville. A longer drive to Oxford up 25 and over 278 would be a big win for the Rebels.

Contenders: Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Mississippi State

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Pick: Ole Miss before news of the possible recruiting violations broke but Mississippi State could win him back

DT Derrick Brown (Lanier, Ga.)

No. 17 on Rivals, No. 9 on 247Sports

Brown (6-3, 315) has put up video game-kind of numbers at the high school level. Prospects from that part of Georgia have ended up at programs across the nation but Brown has been very open about his love for the Bulldogs.

2014 stats: 101 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, 17.5 sacks

2015 stats: 106 tackles, 42 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, 11 pass deflections, one interception, and two fumble recoveries

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Contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia

Pick: Georgia

LB Lyndell Wilson (Carver, Ala.)

No. 26 on Rivals, No. 15 on 247Sports

Wilson (6-2, 220) has size and speed. The Montgomery area native could have crisscrossed the country on official visits with offers from LSU, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Clemson, and Ohio State but limited his trips to Georgia (Jan. 15), Alabama (Jan. 22), and Florida (Jan. 29).

2015 stats: 115 total tackles, 17 quarterback hurries, five sacks, four forced fumbles, one interception

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Contenders: Florida, Alabama and Georgia

Pick: Alabama 

— 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, Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.