10 questions heading into Signing Day 2017

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday January 31, 2017

1. Has Alabama wrapped up its 7th straight No. 1 class?

The Tide sit at No. 1 once again (based on 247 Composite), but Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan and even Florida State could all make big jumps on Wednesday. There’s not a huge difference between classes at the top, but Urban Meyer admits he looks at rankings for a little competition. “I personally look at recruiting rankings, because I think it’s kind of fun to watch that, but it’s not how we make decisions,” Meyer said last July. “It’s how do you fit in the culture.”

2. Can Texas make another big jump late?

A year ago, Charlie Strong’s program entered Signing Day at No. 33 with 15 players. They finished with 28 players and the No. 7 class, thought that included some later additions of former Baylor commits. Strong said he told a lot of kids simply not to announce for the Horns until Signing Day. Under Tom Herman, Texas has the No. 25 class with only 16 commits. How many more will come on Wednesday?

3. Which new head coach will have the strongest finish?

Along with making a staff, finishing up a recruiting class is the biggest stress on a new head coach in such a short amount of time. Ed Orgeron has the No. 6 class at LSU, but he’s been on staff for years and in the head coaching role since early fall. Among external head coaches, Willie Taggart’s Oregon class at No. 24 is the highest-ranked class for a new head coach. The Ducks only have 20 commitments right now. Matt Rhule inherited a Baylor program with 1 commit, and they're up to 24. And again, Texas at 16 commits is another to watch.

4. Where will Marvin Wilson land?

The highest-ranked remaining uncommitted prospect (No. 6), the defensive tackle out of Texas has a final five of LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USF. Notice there are no Texas schools on there, but Charlie Strong clearly has made an impact. LSU appears to be the favorite.

5. Will Florida get a needed strong finish?

As of this posting, the Gators only have the No. 21-ranked class with 17 commitments. That’s the No. 7 class in the SEC. Jim McElwain has two SEC East titles in two years, but the offense has been an issue, without many offensive playmakers and all sorts of quarterback problems. There is one QB in this class in 3-star Jake Allen. The Gators made a big jump in recruiting rankings in 2015 with a late flurry. Can McElwain do it again?

6. Will any players will have late drama that spills into the following days?

Coaches always worry about last-second problems. Whether it’s an upset parent, an issue with the fax machine or a late assistant coaching change, there are always some situations that don’t go according to plan. A few years ago, Malik McDowell wanted to go to Michigan State, but his mother didn’t want him to. His NLI was eventually sent in two months later in April, and he became an All-Big Ten player.

7. Which coaches will have the most celebrations in the war room?

ESPN and other networks will be on location at some schools with the top recruiting classes, and you see reactions to some of the top selections — remember celebration after celebration at Ole Miss a few years ago? What I’m looking forward to: Les Miles will be on ESPNU’s set, and he plans to put on a Nebraska hat when his son’s letter of intent goes in.

8. Will we have more props?

In the past, we’ve seen a bulldog puppy, a baby alligator, a little tree and even a player commit while skydiving. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to see a live elephant or a real leprechaun. Signing Day includes plenty of ridiculousness, and some coaches speak out against it, but it's hard to fault the kids for having some fun before they're back at the bottom of the totem pole. I mean, look at this puppy.

9. Will this be the last mega Signing Day as we know it?

In April, it’s likely that the NCAA will approve a December signing period, beginning in 2017. That means some of the festive school selections will come earlier, but not all on one day like we get now. Will December become the bigger signing day, or will it remain February? An early signing period is going to change how coaches and players handle the process (and media), and it won’t culminate on one big day anymore.

10. Will this Lane Kiffin video actually get people excited?

FAU’s No. 79 class is already one of the highest-ranked in school history, with only 16 commits. This video, though…

I preferred Andy Staples' take on it instead.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.