With less than 48 hours to go until National Signing Day, SEC programs are dominating the national recruiting scene. As usual.
Rivals.com has five SEC schools ranked among its top 10 recruiting class countdown and nine SEC schools in its top 20.
Still a number of battles for America’s biggest name prospects appear as though they’ll rage on right down to the wire. Below are 12 top stars to keep an eye on as you prep for college football’s mid-winter holiday:
* Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Loganville GA, #1 player according to Rivals
The #1 player in the nation (according to Rivals) was once expected to be a lock for Hugh Freeze’s on-the-move Ole Miss program. But after a weekend visit to LSU, Nkemdiche tweeted: “LSU pushing man!!!! Getting hard now!” The Rebels have the lead, but the Tigers are closing fast.
* Laquon Treadwell, WR, Crete IL, #5 player according to Rivals
The top receiver in the country is committed to Ole Miss. His tweet last week — showing several hundred-dollar bills in his possession right after a visit to Oxford — raised a number of eyebrows and left Hugh Freeze defending his program. Though committed to the Rebels, Treadwell is still getting some pub today because Oklahoma State star running back Thurman Thomas tweeted a pro-Cowboy message to him last month… an incident the school was unaware of until recently. We only include him on this list because he tends to stay in the headlines.
* Jalen Ramsey, CB, Nashville TN, #10 player according to Rivals
A Southern California commit for quite a while, Ramsey is still being connected to both Florida and Florida State as they work to change his mind.
* Reuben Foster, LB, Auburn AL, #13 player according to Rivals
According to most services, Foster is the top player in the state of Alabama. His recruitment has taken a number of turns and his 10pm ET announcement tonight on Fox Sports South could result in Alabama fans, Auburn fans, or Georgia fans going to bed with smiles on their faces. He’s also guaranteed to tick some people off. Foster has milked his time in the spotlight as much as possible and he caused another stir this past weekend when he left Auburn during his official visit and went to Tuscaloosa instead. You might remember Foster getting a tattoo of the AU logo at one point during this process. (UPDATE – Foster verbally committed to Alabama Monday night, but with his track record of flip-flops, many will still wait to see where he actually signs.)
* Laremy Tunsil, OL, Lake City FL, #14 player according to Rivals
The race for one of the nation’s top linemen has been a confusing one. Not only for fans trying to follow it, but for the man at the center of it. Tunsil told ESPN last week that he is genuinely confused. The decision will likely come down to Georgia and Ole Miss. Some believe he is leaning the Dawgs’ way; other say the Rebels have made up ground and zipped into the lead. On Saturday, Tunsil said: “I think it’s going to be like a last-minute thing, like when I wake up the morning of signing day, the first team on my mind is probably going to be the college I pick.”
* Matthew Thomas, LB, Miami FL, #15 player according to Rivals
Most believe that Thomas will stay in state and attend either Florida State or Miami. But Alabama has a billboard up just a stone’s throw from Thomas’ high school and the Tide is believed to be making a late push.
* Chris Jones, DE, Houston MS, #20 player according to Rivals
Jones is the jewel of Mississippi State’s class having already committed to the Bulldogs. But Ole Miss and Freeze have come on strong and the Rebels are believed to be in the mix. Sadly, Jones claims that he’s received “death threats, insane messages, you name it” from sick, twisted emailers. How pathetic.
* Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, Placer CA, #21 player according to Rivals
Alabama is duking it out with a number of national programs for Vanderdoes’ signature. Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Washington and UCLA are believed to be among the frontrunners to land California’s third-ranked prospect. He was once committed to Lane Kiffin, but after a visit to Tuscaloosa this weekend, Vanderdoes said via Twitter: “I fit in perfect here.”
* Frank Herron, DE, Memphis TN, #23 player according to Rivals
After deciding to make a quick visit to Texas over the weekend, it’s believed Herron will honor his commitment and sign with LSU on Wednesday. But that trip to Austin suggests this might not be the slam dunk it was once believed to be.
* Montravius Adams, DT, Vienna GA, #25 player according to Rivals
Depending on who you ask, you’ll likely get a number of different takes on Adams’ true intentions. He has visited Auburn several times and some have penciled him in as leaning toward Clemson, but Adams said this weekend that he’s down to four: Auburn, Clemson, Alabama and Georgia.
* Von Bell, DB, Rossville GA, #32 player according to Rivals
Like Adams, there’s all manner of speculation regarding Bell. It was initially believed that he destined to sign with Ohio State. New Tennessee coach Butch Jones quickly moved the Volunteers up Bell’s list. And you can never count out Alabama as Nick Saban and crew are also involved. But this one is expected by most to come down to the Buckeyes and the Vols.
* A’shawn Robinson, DT, Fort Worth TX, #33 player according to Rivals
The big defensive tackle has reportedly decommitted from his homestate Longhorns in order to sign with… yep, Alabama. Reports this weekend suggested that Robinson has already informed the Texas coaching staff o his intention to ink with the two-time defending BCS champs.