CHARLOTTE — Welcome to National Signing Day, also a national holiday for those fervent followers of college football recruiting.
Wednesday is the first day high school football players can sign binding national letters of intent with the schools of their choice. Many have committed to their schools; today they can make it official.
There are storylines all over the country, the Carolinas and, now, in Mecklenburg County, where the Charlotte 49ers are preparing for their first season of college football in August as an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision program.
Here are 10 storylines to follow Wednesday:
1. Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (kem-DEE-CHEE) , the country’s top-rated recruit, is expected to announce his decision at 7:30 a.m. live on ESPNU. Mississippi is reported to have the inside track on Nkemdiche, who originally committed to Clemson, in large part because his brother plays for the Rebels.
2. The nation’s top recruiting class appears to be at Florida, where coach Will Muschamp has 26 commitments, including cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III of Tampa, Fla., ESPN’s third-ranked prospect. Or it could be Alabama. Or Notre Dame. Check back in a few years to see how it played out on the field.
3. Here is a short list of other top prospects who have yet to commit and where they’re leaning: Cornerback Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee, Fla., (Clemson, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Auburn); offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil of Lake City, Fla. (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi); linebacker Matthew Thomas of Miami (Alabama, Florida State, Southern Cal); and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes of Auburn, Calif. (UCLA, Washington, Southern Cal, Notre Dame).
4. Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech lead the way in the ACC. Clemson landed two of South Carolina’s best players in linebacker Ben Boulware of T.L. Hanna and receiver Mike Williams of Lake Marion. Florida State’s class is led by five-star defensive back Jalen Ramsey of Nashville, Tenn. The Hokies’ top recruit is Kendall Fuller, a five-star defensive back from Olney, Md.
5. It’s another year in which many of North Carolina’s top recruits are heading elsewhere, including Charlotte Mallard Creek receiver Marquez North (Tennessee), Matthews Butler linebacker Peter Kalambayi (Stanford), Hope Mills South View defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (Louisiana State) and Charlotte Vance linebacker Larenz Bryant (South Carolina).
6. The Charlotte 49ers shifted their recruiting strategy because of their 2015 move to Conference USA and the Football Bowl Subdivision. So coach Brad Lambert had to go with quality and quantity. Instead of signing six or seven FCS-quality players, Lambert will sign 17 players today who are closer to FBS caliber.
7. There is a new era unfolding at Appalachian State under coach Scott Satterfield. The Mountaineers have 10 verbal commitments, including three-star prospects in safety Anthony Covington of Charlotte Mallard Creek and receiver Dante Jones of Southeast Raleigh.
8. What’s going to happen to the Auburn tattoo on linebacker Reuben Foster’s right forearm now that he has decommitted from the Tigers and will sign with Alabama, which he announced he was doing this week?
9. South Carolina has a decent enough class, led by Bryant and athlete Pharoh Cooper of Havelock. But the Gamecocks trail in most SEC rankings, behind Florida, Alabama, Louisiana State, Georgia and even Mississippi.
10. North Carolina missed out on North of Charlotte Mallard Creek but will sign Northern Guilford’s T.J. Logan, the state’s top running back. It still is edging N.C. State and new coach Dave Doeren, who did land four-star cornerback Sean Paul of Vero Beach, Fla.
Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14