College Football National Signing Day: How To Watch, What To Watch For

Bryan Altman

Still recovering from the thrilling conclusion to the 2016-17 college football season?

Well, believe it or not, it’s already time to turn the page and look forward to the 2017-18 college football season, which more or less kicks off on Wednesday afternoon as National Signing Day gets underway.

Those in the know when it comes to the top high school football recruits will tell you National Signing Day is more or less the icing on the proverbial cake; most of the top tier targets have already committed to the school they’ll be playing for and signing their NLI (National Letter of Intent) on the dotted line is a mere formality.

But, for the casual observer and college football fan who isn’t caught up on all things high school football, National Signing Day offers the first in-depth look at the next batch of college football standouts.

Here’s how to watch National Signing Day as it unfolds and what to look out for as football’s next generation formally graduates to the collegiate level.

When: National Signing Day begins on Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. ET.

Where To Watch: On National Signing Day, CBS Sports Network will be airing a live streaming show from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET covering all things national signing day. The show will air live from Clemson University’s campus.

CBS Sports Digital will be airing a five-hour live streaming show, “National Signing Day Live” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, which will be available on CBSSports.com, 247Sports.com, MaxPreps.com and all CBS Sports apps on TV and mobile devices.

ESPN will feature 11 consecutive hours of signing day coverage, beginning at 8 a.m. ET on ESPNU. Their coverage will move from ESPNU to ESPN2 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET before returning to ESPNU for the final two hours of their coverage.

Who Are This Year’s Top Recruits?

Courtesy of CBS Sports/247 Sports

As we mentioned above, most of the 2017 recruiting class has already committed to a program and Wednesday is likely just a formality. Below are the Top 10 recruits overall and where they’ve committed, but also the Top 10 recruits that haven’t committed yet.

Top 10 Recruits – **Regardless of committed or not.

  1. Jaelan Phillips, DE (Redlands East Valley H.S., California) – UCLA
  2. Cam Akers, RB (Clinton H.S., Missouri) – Florida State
  3. Najee Harris, RB (Antioch H.S., California) – Alabama
  4. Alex Leatherwood, OT (Washington H.S., Florida) – Alabama
  5. Foster Sarell, OT (Graham-Kapowsin H.S., Washington) – Stanford
  6. Marvin Wilson, DT (Episcopal H.S., Texas) – No Commitment
  7. Jeffrey Okudah, CB (South Grand Prairie H.S., Texas) – Ohio State
  8. Chase Young, DE (DeMartha Catholic H.S., Maryland) – Ohio State
  9. Joshua Kaindoh, DE (IMG Academy, Florida) – Florida State
  10. Walker Little, OT (Episcopal H.S., Texas) – Stanford

Top 10 Recruits – **No known commitment, rumored schools listed

  1. Marvin Wilson, DT (Episcopal H.S., Texas) – LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USF
  2. Aubrey Solomon, DT (Lee County H.S., Georgia) – Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, USC
  3. LaBryan Ray, DE (James Clemens H.S., Alabama) – Alabama, Florida, Miss. St., Ole Miss, Tennessee
  4. Joseph Lewis, WR (Hawkins H.S., California) – USC, Nebraska, Oregon
  5. Austin Jackson, DT (North Canyon H.S., Arizona) – USC, Arizona State, Washington
  6. K’Lavon Chaisson, DE (North Shore H.S., Texas) – Texas, LSU
  7. Jeff Thomas, WR (East St. Louis H.S., Illinois) – Miami, Louisville, Oregon
  8. Jay Tufele, DT (Bingham H.S., Utah) – Utah, BYU, Michigan, Ohio State, USC
  9. Devonta Smith, WR (Amite H.S., Louisiana) – Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Miami
  10. Deommodore Lenoir (Salesian H.S., California) CB – Oregon, Nebraska, UCLA

See more at CBS Sports’ National Signing Day HQ. 

Additional Things To Watch/Miscellaneous Notes:

  • The biggest name to watch of the players above is definitely Marvin Wilson, defensive tackle from Bellaire, Texas. Wilson is the top recruit who hasn’t decided where he’ll play yet and he’s set to make the announcement at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon live on ESPN.
  • Barring any unforeseen circumstances, such as sudden decommitments, which are rare, Alabama and Nick Saban will have the top recruiting class for the seventh straight season.
  • The SEC as a whole is once again poised to be the nation’s top conference in terms of recruiting. Their year shakes out as follows:
    — Alabama – No. 1 overall class. Five 5-star commits, 15 four-star commits.
    — Georgia – No. 3 overall class. Two 5-star commits, 18 four-star commits.
    — LSU – No. 6 overall class. One 5-star commit, 12 four-star commits.
    — Auburn – No. 10 overall class. One 5-star commit, Nine 4-star commits.
  • Urban Meyer has likely secured the best recruiting class of his tenure at Ohio State. The Buckeyes have the No. 2-ranked class according to 247 Sports, including five 5-star recruits and 13 four-star recruits.
  •  Somewhat surprisingly, Maryland is poised to put forth its best recruiting class since 2005 and arguably its best ever. 247 Sports has their class ranked 16th overall and they currently have eight “blue chip” recruits committed with more potentially on the way. This could be a major coup for second-year head coach DJ Durkin in his first go-around recruiting for the program.

It’s also worth noting that Wednesday may be the end of an era. Reports are indicating that the NCAA may make drastic changes to signing day procedure when it meets on April 13th and 14th of this year. The changes wouldn’t necessarily change the process itself, but would change the timing of it, moving most of the signings to December, according to a report from Sports Illustrated. 

So enjoy National Signing Day college football fans: it’s a fun — if not antiquated and slightly overblown tradition — that may be very different this time next year.

Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for a player to be named later.

Questions or comments? Feel free to follow Bryan on Twitter or send him an email.

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