Early Signing Period: Which teams have the most on the line?
The early signing period begins in just two days but there is a group of schools that have a lot more on the line this week compared to others. Which programs will see its top targets commit which would then improve its higher ceiling for success next season, or be forced to take option B this winter?
RIVALS ROUNDTABLE: Early signing period storylines to track
Nimari Burnett will announce his commitment Tuesday, which will either be a giant win for the first-year staff at Alabama or it will be back to the drawing board for the Tide. They do have Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly sitting out this year, but Burnett had been their priority dating back to the spring and losing him to Michigan, Oregon or Texas Tech would be a gut punch.
However, Alabama could make up it later in the week with its top two forward targets ready to come off of the board. First, on Saturday, Isaiah Jackson will announce for either Alabama, Kentucky or Syracuse. The next day, Keon Ambrose-Hylton is expected to commit. It would not be a complete surprise if Alabama went two-for-two with Jackson and Ambrose-Hylton.
Eric Musselman has begun to pick up some traction along the recruiting trail thanks to Saturday’s commitment from Moses Moody. The top-50 wing joins Davonte Davis in the Razorbacks' 2020 class, and more could be coming this week.
Will Jaylin Williams, the top in-state center, end his recruitment in favor of Arkansas despite originally not planning on committing until December at the earliest? Will KK Robinson do just the same, giving Arkansas its point guard of the future? Chris Moore will choose between Arkansas, Auburn and Memphis on Friday, and there is a chance that Keon Ambrose-Hylton commits on Sunday, with the Hawgs battling Alabama, Dayton and NC State for his signature.
Juwan Howard got his guy a few weeks back with Isaiah Todd. The five-star forward was a monumental win for the first-time head coach, but let’s see if Todd will sign this week or wait until the spring. Delaying would only increase the questions about Todd possibly jumping straight into the professional ranks.
The Wolverines have a few other prospects they are keeping tabs on, including Hunter Dickinson. The top-40 center’s intent is to sign within the coming days but he must first commit. Duke made its run and so did Florida State but this feels more like a battle between Michigan and Notre Dame. The recruitment of Dickinson has never been the easiest to read, nor has that of Nimari Burnett. He will announce his commitment tomorrow and it may prove difficult for Michigan to beat out Alabama, Texas Tech and Oregon for his signature.
Finally, Howard’s oldest son, Jace Howard, a three-star small forward, might be ready to pledge to his father’s program before the signing period closes.
Kevin Keatts has already put together a fairly decent 2020 class, but there is still more work to be done. Shakeel Moore has been an often-discussed NC State lean in recent weeks and while Providence garnered most of the talk throughout the fall, the Wolfpack might be able to nudge Moore into signing sometime this week.
They would love for his school teammate, Josh Hall, to do the same. DePaul is one to watch but all signs point towards Hall signing with NC State in the coming days. Finally, Keon Ambrose-Hylton is set to commit on Sunday and while Hall and the Canadian are comparable to some degree, Keatts would love nothing more than pair the two together next season.
Mike Boynton has completed his biggest task, which was securing the commitment of Cade Cunningham, arguably the school’s top recruiting win during the Rivals.com era. Now, it will be worth monitoring if Cunningham does in fact sign this week and if he can get someone other than Rondel Walker to join him within the coming days.
Bryce Thompson is ready to end his college recruitment Tuesday. North Carolina doesn’t have much of a chance, but the Pokes do. Can they defeat Kansas and Oklahoma to secure another five-star? Does J.T. Thor sign in the early period? If he does, it would be in favor for the Big 12 program, giving the Cowboys a super versatile, talented forward that would pair well alongside Cunningham.