10 key questions about Wednesday’s college football national signing day:
1. Who’s left out there? Most of the country’s top players already have made verbal commitments. But there are several who haven’t, including cornerback Adoree’ Jackson of Gardena, Calif. Florida, Southern California, Louisiana State and UCLA are thought to be the finalists for Jackson, the No. 9-rated player in the nation, according to ESPN.com.
2. Who has the best class in the Carolinas? Clemson already has signed five-star quarterback Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga.), who is in school this semester. Three other top-flight recruits – receivers Kyrin Priester (Fork Union, Va., Military), Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga.) and Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) – also are enrolled and getting an early start with Watson.
3. Who has the best class in the ACC? Clemson has to take a back seat to national champion Florida State, which has signed perhaps the country’s top running back in Dalvin Cook (Miami).
4. Who has the best class nationally? Here’s a shocker: Alabama. The Crimson Tide has five five-star recruits lined up: defensive back Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas), defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va.), defensive back Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala.), offensive lineman Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La.) and athlete Bo Scarbrough (Northport, Ala.).
5. Who’s the top prospect and where is he going? Recruiting services all have their rankings, and running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans) is at or near the top of all of them. Fournette, who ran for 5,036 in his high school career, is headed to LSU.
6. What’s in store for the Charlotte 49ers? Charlotte continues to upgrade its recruiting base as it prepares to move into Conference USA in 2015. The 49ers already have signed quarterback Brooks Barden of Cartersville, Ga., a player who they hope will succeed Matt Johnson (if not compete for the starting job). Barden, who has enrolled at Charlotte, also received interest from Louisville. The 49ers have 19 commitments from high school seniors and also will add three junior-college transfers.
7. Is Appalachian State ready for the big time? After going 4-8 last season, the Mountaineers make their long-anticipated move up to Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt Conference this season. They have a commitment from three-star receiver Shaedon Meadors of Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes. Appalachian also received a recent commitment from receiver Isaiah Lewis of Simpsonville (S.C.) Hillcrest. Lewis previously had committed to Georgia Southern, which is joining the Mountaineers in the move to the Sun Belt.
8. Did Duke capitalize? The Blue Devils, coming off an appearance in the ACC championship game, received a commitment this week from receiver Trevon Lee of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Lee is a four-star prospect, according to ESPN.com, and his decision is further indication the Blue Devils will continue to be a factor on the recruiting trail.
9. Where are the local guys going? Charlotte has two of the Carolinas’ – and the nation’s – top prospects in Charlotte Catholic running back Elijah Hood and Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier. Hood, after initially committing to Notre Dame, picked North Carolina and has enrolled, as has Grier at Florida. Rock Hill Northwestern quarterback Mason Rudolph, who led the Trojans to a state championship last fall, is heading to the Big 12, where he should compete for the starting job at Oklahoma State.
10. Any surprises? How about Tennessee, which has been down for several seasons but has what most are considering a top-five class. That includes running backs Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and Derrell Scott (Havelock High).
Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14